I look forward to Sunday mornings every week. I love getting to gather with my brothers and sisters in Christ and hear the good news of the Gospel proclaimed in song and preaching. But there is one part of Sunday morning that brings a little bit of stress into my life.
Dropping Corley off for nursery.
Every Sunday I get a little tense when I drop her off. Will she cry? If she does cry, will she cry long? Is she going to pinch other kids like she does me? Will she hit or throw a fit? Are they going to have to come get me during the service because they can’t control my child? These thoughts go through my mind every week.
I think as a mother, similar thoughts go through our minds any time we drop our child/children off with people who have volunteered (or are even paid) to watch them for a set time. It’s a mother’s pride I’m sure, but we all want our children to be well behaved, especially at church! We all dread seeing our pager number flashed on the little monitors at church. We all hate dropping off a child who screams or cries for us as we pry their little fingers off of our dress and walk away, hearing their cry echo down the hallway.
I can tell you honestly, and truthfully, no mother enjoys it.
And usually, when we have that kind of drop off, we also fear the pick up. The possibility of seeing our child still in tears or seeing the worn out look on the worker’s face as they try to put on a mask when you ask “So, how was she?” I’m sure this probably all sounds silly, but it really is terrifying. Our mothering skills are up for judgment. And that’s the hardest thing to possibly have criticized, even if silently.
So, as we came out of a “separation anxiety” phase with Corley, where fits were thrown any time I was out of sight, even for a second. That dread built in me yesterday morning as I dropped of Corley in nursery. I wouldn’t be able to help her today. I was beginning my teaching during Bible For Life with the 2 year olds and was covering for someone during Extended Session. I desperately needed her to be extra well behaved.
So I dropped Corley off, told her BFL teacher where I would be, gave Corley a kiss, and watched her big eyes look back up at me, worried. Please don’t do this today, I prayed. Her BFL teacher was great, and quickly got Corley distracted to come play. Not a tear was shed.
Phase one, complete.
But even though I had most of my mind preoccupied with my own kids to watch during both BFL and the church service, as parents picked up their kids and asked how they did, my mind would immediately flash to Corley. How was she doing? Is she too tired because we had to wake her up for church this morning? Did she throw a fit for breakfast? I hope she’s sharing well. There were new kids in her class, smaller kids, oh I hope she’s being gentle!
The service came to an end and parents began picking up their kids one by one. Corley’s BFL teacher stuck her head in and called me over. She then went on to rave about how sweet and well behaved and talkative (of course!) Corley was this morning. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to hear this, and I made sure she knew how thankful I was and how worried I was about how she would be. It was so good to hear!
But the good news didn’t stop there.
As I was reunited with Josh and a clearly tired Corley, I got even more news. Josh said that the extended session workers were going on and on about how great Corley was. How she was so sweet and such a helper, and of course, how much she just talked and talked. I cannot tell you what good this did my heart.
I say all of this long story to say a few things:
1) As a nursery worker/childcare worker, if you have a fussy child, just remember that some kids have bad days and it should not reflect on the parents. And remember that the parent isn’t thrilled about leaving the kid with you, but you are enabling them to have some uninterrupted (hopefully) time to worship and grow in their relationship with God and they appreciate it much more than you may know or realize.
2) If you have a child who is well behaved to any extent, be sure to let the parent know. It’s always such a relief and it really does do a mother or father’s heart good.
3) As a parent dropping off your child, take a breath. It will be okay. Don’t expect the worst, though I know it’s hard. But trust that your child is in good hands, and even if they have a bad day, everyone will survive, even you.