“Hi, my name is Jess and I grew up a PK.” Ha! Sometimes it felt like we needed a support group! As a mom now myself, I know that all of us, regardless of whether we are in full-time ministry or not, are just trying to do the best we can by our kids. Being a PK, I can offer a unique perspective to your specific circumstances. Here are some things I would love to tell ministry moms:
Think outside the box when it comes to childcare. Anyone with young kids will most likely tell you that date nights are few and far between. No matter how often we hear how important they are, it is still something that we struggle to actually make a reality. However, when your kids are in school and your main “working hours” are on the weekends, date nights become even more elusive. Consider using some of the older women in your congregation as your childcare. When my sister and I were young, we often had a woman come and watch us while my parents went out. She offered a different perspective that was lacking with our own grandparents living hours away. She came with a bag stocked with knitting supplies and other craft items. We grew to love her and it made going to church feel all the more like we were visiting family.
Be candid about the things of the world. Of course we want to shelter our kids, but we also need to be upfront with them about the things that are happening around them. As much as we would like for them to live in the safe bubble we’ve created forever, it just won’t happen. We need to be careful to be honest with them so that they don’t experience extreme culture shock when they leave the comfort of our home and head out to preschool, Middle school, college and work.
Help your kids own their faith. Similar to being candid with them about the world, we also need to be careful that our kids are owning their faith and not just following their parents. One thing that I never felt like I had growing up was the freedom to doubt. I remember a specific time when I questioned something a Sunday school teacher was saying and I was met with hostility. What I really needed was a listening ear and a willingness to talk things through, not someone just telling me I was wrong.
Everyone will think they have a right to parent your child. This isn’t hard and fast, of course, but there will be some people who will think it’s totally fine for them to stick their nose in situations where they don’t belong. I had one member of the church tell me that my dad would be disappointed with me for a decision I made while I was confident that wouldn’t be the case. Talk with your kids about how to handle these situations in a respectful way. It’s hard feeling like everyone can tell you what to do!
Take advantage of your husband’s flexible schedule. Yes, you may be called out in the middle of the night and yes, you may miss some big moments, but you also have the flexibility to be present when people with 9-5 jobs don’t. I don’t remember my dad missing a softball game or chorus concert, and we were able to take some day trips during the week when the amusement parks and other attractions were less crowded. Of course there are negatives to being “on the clock” 24/7, but try to embrace the positives of your reality.
Most importantly, be understanding. It’s not easy going through some of your most awkward and intimate moments in front of your Dad’s whole congregation. I remember having my first boyfriend . . . everyone had an opinion on what we should be doing and who should be involved in our relationships. Did I always make the best choices? No. And neither will your kids. But if you let them know that you understand that their situation can be difficult and annoying, it goes a long way.
PK (Pastor’s Kid) to one of our bloggers