Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Work/Life Balance and the Religious Professional
Here is where I want to be on Sunday evenings. For the last decade, my husband and I have had dinner at his mother's house almost every single Sunday night. It's Sunday Night Dinner - a family tradition and institution all it's own. His sister makes it, we make it, our children have grown up expecting that they will see their grandparents every week for dinner.
This year I took on a new time slot for hosting a Young Adult group at church, and let myself get convinced that Sunday evening was the right time for Young Adult ministry. And I started missing a lot of these family dinners as a consequence.
I have a great job that lets me have time off during weekdays that most other people don't get off. But I also am working evenings and weekends - the time that most other people do have off. And I'm seeing that there is a real problem of becoming separated from your family because you miss Sunday Night Dinner, or because you have to be at a meeting the evening of your son's birthday (never mind that you took him out to lunch - the rest of the family is doing a dinner), or because you can't go away for a weekend ever.
It's not just about time, it's also about Together Time. I'm going to take the kids to the ocean this month - on a Monday-Tuesday. That's when I can go. But my husband works a "normal" job, and so he can't go with us. He could go if we went Saturday-Sunday, but I can't be gone on a Sunday. It's a struggle to find whole-family time.
But I'm setting some limits. I'm taking some steps of self-care and one of them is that I really cannot be responsible for young adult ministry in my church. I already have enough to do with ministry to infants through high schoolers and their families, and young adults have different needs, some of which are to meet during the times that I really need to keep for my own family and marriage's health (example - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings) and so that I can also have a social life outside of church.
Next year, you won't find me at church on a Sunday evening. My family has a norm of sitting down to a nice meal together on Sundays, and that's where I'm going to be.