Millennium Mom

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Managing Church

As I write this Sunday, or "church day" as my kids like to call it, all is well. But usually at around 11:30 when we start preparing to go to church, all is not well. Let me give you a bit of background. I am Catholic, but married to a Jew. We were married by a priest and a Rabi. Our children are being raised in the Catholic faith by me. My husband has a different faith than mine which I respect 100%, hence I do not expect him to "co-parent" with me when it comes to religion.

This means of course that he does not attend church with us...just me and the 3 kids. I have been taking all three of them for about a year, since Sarah turned 2 I felt I had no more excuses for not taking them. So off we go each week to the 12 noon mass. I chose this mass very strategically. It is not very crowded, not tons of kids (as they would often want to chat with them) and not very long (i.e. not the choir mass). We have our normal seats in the front (though I constantly get asked why can't we sit someplace different) and friendly parishioners around us.

But, with each week I never know what I will get. For a long time I brought books or coloring for them. But once Ben turned six I really felt we needed to pay more attention and listen, so that stopped. It hasn't been as bad of a transition as I expected. Now they get to bring one thing in with them, as long as it is quiet.

I usually hold Sarah the entire time, just to keep her happy and content. We rotate who gets to put the envelope in the basket each week and who gets to pass it to the row behind us. Now I attempt to get them to stand, kneel and sit on demand, but often this is asking too much.

I often think the people in church think I am either nuts or a saint, not sure which. It is very important to me that they go to church, learn about their religion and have a faith. And I know this won't come to them unless we go to church. We now pray each night when I put them to bed too, which they love. Perhaps I am insane for expecting three kids to want to go to church, and like it. I don't recall much that I liked it. And it is harder when "dad gets to stay home"...but tough choices is what makes us parents and each Sunday I make that tough choice and off we go.

If any of you have great tips for getting children to behave in, like or enjoy church, please pass them along...I could use them.


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