October 9, 2013

An Open Letter To the Church Nursery

Dear Church Nursery, 

I want to start by thanking you. From the deepest parts of the bottom of my heart, I am unbelievably grateful for your service to parents. Loving and teaching my children each week while my husband and I attend church service is a priceless act. I know that you and your volunteers do hard work each and every week to offer this ministry. 

I am fully aware that for the past few years, this has been a very lopsided relationship. It's not you. It's me. I take and take and take each week when I drop my children at your door and bolt, but I never give back. I've gotten your emails, your phone calls, and I know that you want me to give a little back. I get it. I do. And I guess it's time that I explain why I don't reply. 

You see, I feel bad. I feel bad that I can't give in the way you want me to. You want me to stay and hang out. You want me to play games and rock babies; read a Bible story and sing songs. But I was up all night pacing my halls rocking a baby. I read stories every day and sing songs to restless bodies late into the nights. I spend hours every day on the floor playing games and building blocks. And on Sunday morning, this threadbare mama needs to sit in service and have an hour or so to get before God and worship and learn without little hands tugging at her pant legs. 

I know that when you need help, it seems like a simple solution to ask the parents who use your services to give a little in return. But when you're tired and weary from a long week of crying babies, sleepless nights, and pouring all you have into your babes,  you need that break to sit in service and participate in corporate worship. Can't we communicate the need for nursery workers to young singles? Or maybe the parents of grown children who haven't held a baby in a while? Isn't there someone else who can rock babies that hasn't been rocking babies every day for a half a decade? 

Please don't be upset with me. Please know how much I appreciate and adore you. And I promise, when I'm no longer changing diapers and singing lullabies at 3am after nightmares, I will come back to you. I will come back and give for all the times I took. 

So don't think I don't care or that you are unimportant to me. In fact, it's quite the opposite.  But this month, this year, this season of raising babies is a season in which I need to be attending church service. 

Thank you for allowing me to do that. I am a better mother because of it. 


A Mom of Littles


  1. I do understand. I began helping in our church's toddler room shortly before my oldest (now five) moved in there. I stayed in there until recently. I worked the first two Sundays of every month, but last year, I began helping every third month in the 4&5 year old chapel, so I was cut back to one Sunday a month in the toddler room. I'm not sure if they "renewed" my help for this coming year (they come up with the teachers and helpers list every September) or not. I enjoyed it, I did, but like you, there were many times I yearned to be in the big church. It was hard last year when I also worked in the nursery during Vacation Bible School. My youngest, then 18 months old, would not let me put him down the night the VBS kids (including my oldest) did their nightly program. I walked out of the room and cried about it. I'm like "hey, I am with you every single day (I am a SAHM); why can't I get ten minutes away from you?" There were plenty of others in there helping me out, encouraging me to go watch my oldest, but I felt bad about making them watch an inconsolable toddler. I finally went and stood in the back to watch my oldest, all while trying not to break down again.

    P.S. The majority of the workers in the nursery have older kids, anywhere from teenager to old enough to have babies of their own, and that is good. I did not, do not, mind helping out but after being with my kids 24/7, yes, I needed that time to be in big church and focusing on God, not my kiddo. I hope that doesn't make me selfish.

  2. Oh mom of littles, I appreciate you. Thank you for loving your babies well in the middle of the night and worshiping your God well at church. Thank you for being a constant servant.

    And oh it is hard, church nurserys are perpetually over-filled and understaffed. Someone always sacrifices. I've loved it as a single woman when families invite me in. I love holding hands and picking boogers and playing princess. But I didn't know. I didn't know how hard moms have it until one told me.

    When my mama friends invited me into their mess and showed me I knew. And I feel loved to know and to serve. I hope there are young singles who know, but likely they don't. And likely they won't until someone tells them.

  3. Oops, hit publish...

    But yes mama friend, I appreciate you! I and in know there are singles near you who will love and appreciate you too. They just need a little nudge :) and you, you have so much to offer them!

    xoxo Angi

  4. Kelly, I hear your heart. You speak for a lot of mummas of littles. I agree with you, our Church is the same its the mummas whos bubs go that are on the roster, my little fella doesn't go but I know how much mummas need a break even for an hour or so and be filled, better mummas for the week ahead. It is a way that I serve the my weary mumma friends. Don't feel guilty, there is a season for service and a season to be served sometimes. Tara.

  5. This was amazing. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes to infinity. I get this and am so blessed that you wrote this because it is reality for a lot of us.


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