Integration

I wrote the following shortly after my first day back at church:

"My maternity leave, a very generous 12 weeks that left me longing to live in England where maternity leave is significantly longer, is over. Last Sunday my little family attended church once more...and it was hard.

Having to switch gears and focus on everything BUT the baby and concerning myself with the needs and concerns of everyone BUT my family was, truth be told, horrific. I couldn't attend to my baby when he fussed mid-service (his Mommy had it covered but it was still tough) and after church my VERY tired 11 week old (and his equally tired Mommy) had to wait, and wait and wait for his Mama to finish up at coffee hour.

Welcome to the life of being a mom/priest. I am well aware of how lucky I am to be able to take the baby to work and be able to work part time (part of which is from home). But, I will be praying quite a bit about what it means to be a priest and a mom...and how to address the needs of a congregation while not neglecting the needs of my own baby.

I love my calling and my congregation...and this is a whole new way of being for all of us!"

And, today, 2 weeks into my return it has gotten a tad bit easier...and I am able to focus on my gratitude to have a call where I can bring in the baby to work. The world has not ended, the baby is doing great, and really, so are we. And, along with our general state of well being, this integration of mothering and priesting has lent itself to some humorous moments!

This past Sunday was a warm day and the custom on warm summer days at my parish is to err on the side of comfort and NOT wear the layers of vestments (just a stole and clericals for clergy; street clothes for acolytes/organist/musicians). So, last Sunday, I had carefully timed my morning to allow myself to take 15 minutes prior to the service to pump. So, there I was, in the upstairs office on a hot July day doing what needed doing. At the end I had a lovely 4 ounces of milk in the jars and a less than lovely 1/2 ounce or so spilled all over my pants. Which is why, 20 minutes before the service began I had to inform those participating in the liturgy that we would be vesting. Smooth...

So, here I am, a priest and a mama. I'm hoping that each of my callings is better for the existence of the other.

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