As the wife of a pastor, I wear a lot of hats. These are not physical hats but a term I use to represent the roles a pastor’s wife plays. Most people do not realize how many there are. I dare say there are pastors who don’t know everything their wives do. Well, let me just say the job is not for wimps!
For starters, many pastors’ wives wear the hat of an employee. Our families are like any other family; many times two incomes are necessary. Even if the pastor’s family can live on a single paycheck, medical insurance is so expensive most churches cannot afford a personal policy, and group coverage is needed. I have spent many years in the workforce to provide medical insurance coverage for our family.
Managing a household requires a different hat. I often wonder how I have had time to work outside of our home. There is so much to do: grocery shopping, planning and cooking meals, housecleaning, and laundry. If there are children in the home, someone has to make sure they are bathed, dressed, and fed; older children need transportation to school and extracurricular activities.
I also have a bookkeeper’s hat. Because my husband is a full-time pastor and is considered self-employed in some ways, I keep detailed financial records so we are prepared when tax time comes. This also includes paying the quarterly taxes. Then, of course, there are bills to be paid, junk mail and credit card offers to be shredded—you get the picture.
There are several church hats in my collection as well. I am the church pianist and director for the Wednesday night children’s program. Since I am married to the pastor, I am involved with him in other areas throughout the church. We attend fall festivals for the children, youth group fundraisers, and the Bebop Doo-Wop Club (senior adult) excursions. As I am able, I accompany my husband on hospital and nursing home visits and attend many of the funerals and weddings he is involved with. Because I am an editor by profession, I am a sounding board for sermons before the congregation ever hears them.
I am learning that as life seasons change, so do the hats. Our children are on their own now, but they are learning to be adults, and they ask for advice from Mom and Dad. I have added a grandmother hat, and my daughter hat is getting more wear as I become more involved with my aging parents.
Life can become overwhelming at times. My brain wants to think about too many things at once, so the use of a planner helps me to stay on task. I have a binder with loose-leaf pages that can be refilled year after year, but electronic versions are available too. So, pastors, if you are looking for gift suggestions for your wife, here are two for you: a planner and a hat rack!
Maleah Bell is a freelance editor and pastor’s wife. She and her husband make their home in Middle Tennessee.