Sunday, May 29, 2011

My kids and my work


Oh, this is such a balancing act. Everyone who has family and work has to balance the needs of both, but my job happens a lot of the time during family time (evenings and weekends). And the congregation expects to see my family as part of the church community - they will actually remark on their absence if they don't come to church or to various social events. This is hard on my husband, who is not a UU or a "church person" (his way of phrasing it). But he's supportive and so he shows up, often enough and when I need him.

The kids are with me a lot more, and most of the time that's great. They have friends at church, so we are part of the playdates and birthday parties and so forth of the church community. And that's good - for them and for my work relationships.

But then there is the down side, like last week when I was trying to do the RE Recognition reading in the worship service, and Hypatia came up and stood at the pulpit with me and was trying to look over it. The congregation thought it was cute (mostly) but I could have strangled her. Of course, the DRE can't halt in the middle of praising children in order to turn and strangle her own child in church. Urgh.

Today Carbon joined me for part of the Flower Communion in worship, but he was pretty much OK. He stood at my side while I accepted the flowers - it was probably sweet looking. I just worry about how to keep that balance, when I'm teaching or leading worship, between having my children there and part of the community and having my children be distractions or "make me look bad".

A male former-pastor that I know remarked that there is some sexism at play in how much slack the congregation cuts me. When he was a pastor, people weren't so forgiving if he had his kids with him while he had to work. As a man, he was expected to be more dedicated to his work and free of other responsibilities. I feel like he's right, and that bums me out a bit.

On the other hand, I'm happy they do cut me some slack, so I can be a good mom and still have a full-time job.

So it's worth it. I love having my family be part of my work. So sometimes the kids aren't perfect, but the congregation likes to see them there, and it's all good in the end.

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