Church Tales: Being a Mom is Tough

Children in car

Children in carI don’t know what your Sunday mornings are like, but mine are rarely the peaceful, worshipful times I would like them to be. They usually start off well, especially when I get up to have a bath and spend a few quiet minutes reading my Bible and praying while everyone else is still fast asleep. However, once I rouse the rest of the household we start down the slippery Sunday slope.

First there’s a mad rush to get dressed. One son can’t find matching socks (even though I put ten pairs in his drawer a few days ago). My youngest daughter complains she’s still tired and hides under the covers. Another son has his dirty clothes on from yesterday, even though not five minutes ago I told him to put on CLEAN clothes.

Then, there’s the breakfast fiasco. Children squirm and fidget when my husband asks what we read about yesterday in our family devotions. No one remembers. He expresses his frustration, and everyone quiets down. Then, five minutes after we start eating, our youngest daughter has to “go pee,” something that seems to happen at every meal. One of our sons reaches for something and tips over his full cup of milk. Another son is refusing to eat because he doesn’t like what’s on the table this morning.

Next comes the ride to church. We all sit in the van, waiting for our sixteen-year-old daughter. She gets in and glares because she wasn’t allowed to drive this morning. It takes a few minutes for everyone to get their seat belts on and then we’re off. Two minutes later, one son is crying because his brother walloped him across the face. When I ask “Why’d you hit him?” he shrugs his shoulders. “Hands to yourselves, everyone,” I plead. A couple minutes later our younger daughter starts whining that she’s thirsty. There are no water bottles in sight. Fortunately the drive to town only lasts ten minutes.

We’ve finally made it to church. While I’m catching up with my friends, one of my sons is running laps. I catch him and remind him to walk. We resume our conversation, only to be interrupted again. Another son is using the bathroom and forgot to close the door. When we enter the sanctuary, I focus on quieting my heart and mind. That lasts a couple of seconds—until my kids start fighting over who gets to sit beside me. We get the seating arrangement sorted out. Then my youngest son suddenly needs to go to the bathroom. Of course he’s sitting the farthest from the aisle, and he trips over someone’s foot on the way out. Now his nose is bleeding. I rush him to the bathroom, holding his nose with my hands as we walk. When we make it to the bathroom, I discover my son has splatters of blood all the way down his brand new shirt. We clean up the best we can and return to the sanctuary.

Again, I try to calm my heart and mind and focus on what God wants to teach me. Sometimes I actually grasp most of the Pastor’s message. Many times I don’t. But I’ve come to love and accept Sunday mornings with my imperfect kids and my even more imperfect parenting. After all, God doesn’t love me because I’m perfect; He loves me because He chooses to love me.

I’ve discovered that some of life’s greatest lessons are taught not by what happens, but by how I respond in messy situations. (Click to Tweet) I’ve also found peace in the midst of the turbulence of raising five challenging children, because God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. Here are some choices that help me cope:

  1. Celebrate the “gifts” I receive every day, no matter how small or insignificant. (e.g. My washing machine works, I’m alive, The sunset is beautiful)
  2. Acknowledge that I cannot successfully do anything without God
  3. Spend time reading the Bible and praying
  4. Practice God’s presence – remind myself that He is always with me and talk to Him about my joys and frustrations throughout the day
  5. Share my journey with other women who will be brutally honest with me—I still struggle with this, but Facebook helps 🙂

What about you? Can you relate to my Sunday morning mishaps? What helps you cope?


  1. Colleen on July 16, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Ruth, I could echo your post. Our Sunday mornings are very chaotic with 5 children ranging in ages 16 months to 14 years. It’s good to know that I am not alone in this. I was very blessed and encouraged by your post.

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 16, 2014 at 7:13 am

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m glad you found my post helpful. Many times we think we’re all alone and no one else understands what we’re going through, but that’s not true. Let’s keep trusting God for grace and strength each day 🙂

  2. Jody on July 16, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I’m so glad to hear that someone else’s Sunday mornings aren’t all sunshine and peaceful. If we ever made it to church without someone being mad at someone….I probably went at church by myself! Thanks for making me feel more normal.

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 16, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Your comment made me chuckle. Remember that “normal” is just a setting on the dryer. As long as we are seeking God’s best in our lives, it doesn’t really matter what people think or what happens. Welcome to the Sunday slippery slope club 🙂

  3. Paige on July 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Oh my, how this resonates! My favorite is how I’m the ONLY girl in the house and am always ready to go first. Also how everyone seems to congregate at the kitchen door and then just stands there. Completely in my way as I’m rushing around grabbing Bibles, treats for the dogs, putting the last dishes in the washer and turning off the coffee pot. “Move forward, move forward!” Sunday mornings have got to be the least holy in my whole week!

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 16, 2014 at 8:19 am

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your last statement made me think – “Sunday mornings have got to be the least holy in my week.” Perhaps we need to rethink expectations? Sundays are set aside for worship, so how can we do that in the midst of our busy lives? Thanks for the food for thought!

  4. Connie Inglis on July 16, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Oh my, yes, Ruth, I can relate–although my three children are now in their 20’s and my Sunday mornings aren’t like that anymore. But I remember. And, to be honest, sometimes I wish for those mornings again NOT because I want to re-live the chaos but because I want to re-live my response to the chaos and not try to be the control-freak that I used to be. However, by God’s grace and goodness and because of thousands of prayers said for my children, they are all strong believers growing in their faith. Despite my mistakes, God broke through. He is GOOD.

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Thanks for sharing 🙂 What a relief it is to know that God uses us with all our mistakes and imperfection to accomplish His will. Yes, He is definitely good 🙂

  5. Debbie W. Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS Team on July 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

    Ruth love your story and know women all over are going thru the same tough times. But I was thinking as I was reading what would help and some of what I used to do. Get them to pick out their clothes, socks and shoes on Saturday. Also, rotate sitting beside you. My kids used to get in arguments about who would ride in front with me on our 45 min drive to school so one rode in front in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Make a schedule for them and stick to it – maybe post and remind them on Sunday morning who gets to sit beside Mom. Loved your blog today. Great job! Debbie

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 16, 2014 at 9:36 am

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate your helpful comments and will have to give them a try 🙂

  6. Katrina Wylie on July 16, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Ruth! I loved your “click to tweet” quote!! It definitely holds true for my mama life . I only have 1 child so far but I can see that if I’m going to be able to successfully handle more, I need to continue to learn to go to God with life’s messy situation that we moms tend to experience a lot of. This is an area where my “imperfect momness” comes rising to the surface for sure! Nothing like having a messy reaction to a messy situation to clean it all up 😉 Thanks for sharing your descriptive story. It was fun to take a peek into your Sunday with you. Though your story held what seemed outwardly like chaos, I could sense God’s love weaved through your words. May His love continue to bless your story!

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 16, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an encouraging comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and the tweet. We definitely can’t handle the messy mommy situations without God and His amazing grace. May God continue to meet you in your messes and draw you and your family closer to Himself.

  7. Sabrina Ebert on July 18, 2014 at 12:27 am

    My Sundays are not like this…YET! 😉 Kids are to young. 3 year old and and two week old…but I remember giving my mama grief on a Sunday. Head under covers was a soooo me and the rest of my siblings also gave her a hard time. The future seems interesting…lol…I lie, Scary but yes you are so right…just keep praying. After all my mum persevered and I turned out alright…eventually! Blessings and thanks for sharing!

    • Ruth L Snyder on July 18, 2014 at 6:20 am

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving an encouraging comment. There are challenges and things to enjoy at each age and stage of our children’s development. I’ve found it helps to focus on the enjoyable things. That makes it easier to trust God for the challenges. Best wishes on your parenting journey 🙂

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