An excerpt from Sabbath in the Suburbs:
Even if you’re not a creature of habit like I am, a lot of parenting is painfully repetitive. I’ve heard that the average baby uses 6,000 diapers before becoming toilet trained. I ponder our family’s 18,000 diapers—I wonder how much landfill space that entails—and I think about how much time Robert and I have spent diapering these last few years.
I vary the lunches I make for Caroline, not because she wants variety—she doesn’t—but because making peanut butter sandwiches for 180 days in a row, every year, might cause me a repetitive stress injury in my brain.
We don’t like to admit to the monotony, especially if we know someone who’d give anything to have children; or someone whose child is sick; or someone who has lost children to illness, accident, or other tragedy. I know all of the above.
But it’s true. Parenthood contains moments of bewilderment and joy, but it can also be deadly dull, punctuated by spilled juice and kid-on-kid hitting. Sabbath doesn’t save us from the dullness, but it does provide a set-apart time—an opportunity to reconnect with the idea of parenting as a holy vocation, even when life seems an unholy mess.