**Addendum** This post has sparked a lot of chatter among my online and offline friends. I think that’s a good thing. I want to preface by saying this is just one mama’s musing about why it’s hard to “let go” and put your child in the nursery. I speak semi-tongue-in-cheek. I am NOT making a judgment on nursery workers or saying the nursery is “bad.” Ultimately, I believe it’s every mom’s decision about if/when it’s right for their family to put their child in the nursery. Please read with these thoughts in mind! Thanks.
Among other things (spiders, randomness, unfriendly people), I am afraid of putting our baby in the church nursery. Reading Stephanie at Metropolitan Mama’s post about why she doesn’t use the nursery only gave me more to think about.
Nevertheless, our baby is nearly 6 months old, and so, I have recently started putting him in the church nursery… um, sometimes. Don’t get me wrong – our church nursery has good development in cleanliness and health/safety guidelines for workers. But, I’m a new mom, and I still have “new mom anxiety!” And, I hate that mostly I started putting him in because of pressure from people. I’m not opposed to the nursery in my OWN church, (not so much if we were visiting a church!), but as a new mom, I waffle on nursery vs. no nursery:
- I want to listen to an entire sermon without being distracted (he is active and vocal!) BUT… if I am worried about my baby in the nursery, that is also distracting, mentally!
- I want him to be independent and not scream if he is separated from me (with my permission) BUT… if I leave and he does start screaming, I am not okay with that!!
- I want him to meet other kids and learn social skills (since we aren’t doing day care and we’ll be home schooling) BUT… I don’t want him catching their colds or picking up bad habits from kids I don’t know.
- I don’t want to hand him off to strangers BUT… then again, most of the nursery workers in my church are personal friends or family.
- I like that there’s a place for babies and young children to go BUT… I want my children to be IN church with their family early on to learn the importance of worshipping as a family
So you can see why I might go back and forth? And then I deal with the laundry list of other fears:
- my baby will miss me
- I will miss my baby
- my baby will chew on the floor, dirt, sharp objects (kidding!), or even worse – a toy another baby has chewed on.
- my baby will eat someone else’s food (hello, food allergies!)
- no one can love my baby the way I do (okay, I KNOW this is true!)
- someone will throw away my cloth diapers, or even worse, not change my baby at all b/c he is cloth diapered!
- my baby will get dropped on his head (or any other soft and lovie part of him!)
- there are germs that will transfer to my baby and he will get the first sickness of his tiny life
- other kids have cooties (come on, we all knew this to be true when we were younger. Nothing has changed).
What to do? I compromise. I hold my baby during the song service – he enjoys the singing and people-watching. Then I feed him and, if I’m feeling brave and he’s agreeable, I put him in the nursery for the last half of the service… well, you know, when I can work up the nerve… Right now I’m easing in with the times my mom, sister or sister-in-law are on duty – who better to introduce him to the nursery than Grandma and aunties, right?
So, next time I decline your offer to watch him into the church nursery… it’s not because I don’t like you (well… maybe it is…ha ha), it’s probably because I am still figuring out what I want to do as a new mom and am just not comfortable letting my little one go into the nursery full time yet. I’ll get there… but in my own time!
Thoughts? Advice? Do you use your church nursery? Why or why not?