No one in my immediate family could have fully prepared me, or coached me about being a pastor and raising kids in the church. I had heard from adult PK's about the trials of living under the microscope of the congregation, but really had no idea what I was getting them into.
What has taken me sometime to figure out is how to juggle the expectations of being a mom and also being a pastor. I am not sure my male colleagues have the same struggles, but we women put a lot into our expectations for what a mom, a working mom, can accomplish outside of work, and then you have a congregation that needs to meet in the evenings and early in the morning and at times when you are out to dinner to celebrate with your family (in emergency situations).
I suppose all working moms do the careful dance of learning how to balance/juggle/maintain career and motherhood.
Each time I have had a new ministry position on the horizon, my first worry is about how I will be able to meet the needs of my congregation and my children, from the reality of not being able to be in two places at once. Will I be able to afford childcare for evening meetings if my husband is out of town? Who will I get to watch my children? Will the church offer childcare? What will I do if there is an emergency on a Saturday and my husband is working or out of town?
So here is the place where I brag about my current congregation, they are so amazing in embracing my family and our needs so that I can minister to them. When Dan was out of town, one family has on two occasions watched my son, first so I could officiate at a funeral and then to stay home with him on a Sunday he was running a fever. When my kids have a performance at school and a meeting is scheduled they are okay with me going to the performance. My husband, congregation and I have gotten into a nice rhythm that is a smooth symphony. In regard to my congregation I believe it because they would do the same for anyone, not just the pastor's family. They truly live up to the call to be a caregiver for any child, be it with a crying kid while mom is singing in the praise band, or to sit with a child when dad is reading scripture.
A lot of the solutions to making sure that my kids are being taken cared of where solutions I had not imagined before moving to El Paso. What used to be a worry is no longer. And I hold this as an example for how we as a church can move forward into the uncertain future, we may not have all or any of the answers right now but we walk forward nonetheless.