1. The state of MN has Early Childhood Family Education classes offered at the schools for children up to age 5. The usual format is to read a story, parents and children do art project and possibly science experiment together, then children play while parents discuss a parenting topic. I was impressed with ECFE when we did attend regularly. We did not start to attend regularly until after Lamb 3 was born. While I was pregnant I was hesitant to go to a room full of kids with possible germs each week. Before Lamb 3 was born, I was just too overwhelmed to add in a commitment to take the Lambs up to the school each week. Perhaps we missed the ideal time to take Lamb 1 to ECFE. Lamb 1 is too old now. The teachers are willing to let him attend, but I see him so much older than the other children that I don't really want him to attend. Most parents stop bringing their children to ECFE after they go to preschool. So Lamb 1 and 2 seem much older than the other kids that attend. The first year of ECFE the topics for the parenting part were good. After that, the topics seemed to be the same. I know we can always improve our parenting skills, but often the topics did not apply to me (with all boys, more than 1 child, regularly attend church, homeschool, no TV, etc.). For all these reasons we are not attending regularly any more. The teacher spoke to me about possibly teaching ECFE (the student part while the teacher taught the parent part). I'm considering this as it might be the answer for us for ECFE-especially Lamb 3 is missing out on what the other Lambs had by us not going to ECFE. We'll see. Anyway, see if your state offers anything similar to ECFE at the school. (I believe that MN has a unique program, but it's worth checking into.)
2. I want to post this in full disclosure of what there is to do in our local community. One of the neighboring communities received a grant to do early childhood education events/education. This often partners with ECFE, but does it's own events. They have now spent most of their grant money and now they are working on raising money to continue to do events for the children in the community. Ram is not an official board member, but he often attends their meetings. They love to have a dad at the meetings to get his perspective and ideas. This group was perfect for our Lambs-when it started all 3 of our Lambs were in the 0-5 age group. Some events they have done are field trip to farm; big toys day-bring in construction equipment, fire truck, etc. and let them pretend to drive them; dad/child reading nights, etc. We are thankful that our local community decided to do this and know that if we were even one community over from where we live, we probably wouldn't be close enough to participate in many of their events. We will miss this when all the Lambs are too old. Many of the events don't cost that much-just need some one to plan them and the community to participate.
3. I'm actually glad that there aren't children in this area with SAHM moms to set up play dates with. My Lambs have learned to play with their brothers well. I don't have to deal with discipline of another child/ren at my house. I don't have to clean up my house for them to come over. I don't have decide if my child is sick if we should cancel the play date. I don't worry about getting their germs if they don't know they are sick. Would it be nice to have another mom to come over and chat while the Lambs play with her child? Yes. Do I think it would be worth the hassle? No. Do I want to drive my kids some where else (either another child's house or some place in the community) to go to a play date? No.
Check back tomorrow for more about being a rural pastor's wife.
Do you have any final thoughts about being a rural pastor's wife with children?