I Took the Kids to Mass Today!

I took the kids to Mass today. By myself, praying for success, armed with coloring pages of the different parts of mass, a small snack of goldfish, spill proof water bottles, a board book bible, and hoped for the best.

You see, I haven’t been able to worship on Sundays for . . . um, years, it feels like.

Really, I guess it’s been months, but it feels like ages. I started to get this feeling that I was being called back to church, and I had to heed His call. But, in my acting-single-mommyhood during Hubs’ 2 month patrols, I would have to go it alone with no back up. If the kids weren’t having it, I’d have to leave. There was always this thought in the back of my head that I would ruin our Sunday by trying to go to church and failing halfway through – and then cause wailing and crying and fit-throwing when we would have to leave early. . .

So, I hadn’t been going to church. Even though I missed it SO much.

Trying Other Options

I guess I should point out that I know NO ONE at the church. It’s simply the Catholic church in the area that I attend. There is one other family that attends sometimes, and are friends of ours, but both of us are technically visitors to the church. Friends warmly invited me to try their churches. At one of which, the kids are very comfortable, because we attend Wednesday night dinner and bible-study (the kids have their own classes) there with a friend. But, I’m Catholic, and worship at a non-denominational Christian church was. . . weird to me, and frankly, boring. Which obviously it was not to the congregation there. But it was to me.

So, I prayed about it, and I thought about my quandary, and I asked friends and family members for advice and ideas. And then, I decided.

I couldn’t abandon or avoid the Catholic Mass of my faith because of my circumstances.

Sure, caring for small children excuses us from the obligation to attend Mass. . . but I was being CALLED back. I looked forward to going with all of my heart!

And I dreaded going with all of my mind. Because I didn’t want it to be a massive fail.

I had tried going to other churches, but it wasn’t right for me. I felt at home at a Catholic Mass. So, that’s where I needed to worship. And, I realized, after doing a lot of praying and reading others’ blog posts on the subject that my children were not baggage that I had to take with me and hope didn’t offend anyone.

No, they are precious blessings, small little members of the Body of Christ that will attend mass with me, because they belong there.

How it Went

Let’s just say I have a love-hate relationship with the idea of the cry-room or family-room used during Mass. . . love the idea that if my kids start all of a sudden bawling their eyes out or screaming, that nobody in the church proper can hear them. Hate it because you’re not really attending Mass. You’re stuck back in a glorified penalty box, with way too many kids that don’t know WHY they’re there, and it enables children to be loud, since there’s no consequence. No one can hear you.

After our other attempts at attending Mass, Abbey also has an opinion about the cry-room, and it’s not a good one.

“It’s loud in there, and stuffy in there, and boring in there” she says. “Please do not make me sit in there!”

I feel you, Abs. I do.

So, armed with the suggestions of my dear sister-in-law, Natural Parents Network volunteers, and others, I took my kids to Mass in the church proper. The second pew. And there was only one time that the wiggly-gigglies turned to screaming and wailing. I call that a huge SUCCESS.

I was on cloud nine. I had gotten to attend mass, I loved singing hymns, listening to my children sing and follow along with their tiny little fingers on the hymnal, hearing the Word of God, listening to a great homily on the Body of Christ, participating in prayer, taking communion . . . It was GREAT!

How was I supposed to know that the announcements portion of the Mass was going to be 20 minutes long? (I found out afterward that it is “Catholic Schools Week” and that’s why they had an extra long announcement time)

And that is when the fussing started. I was conflicted. I had promised Abbey that if she could remember the rules we set for Mass and listened to me during church, that we would not have to go to the cry room.

And the only reason that Joseph was fussing was because the announcements section of Mass was droning on and on.

Abbey said “I don’t want to leave now. Please don’t make me go to the cry room!”

So, I just stayed put and hoped that either Joseph would calm down, or those around me would forgive his noise during the droning on about how great the Parish school is.

I mean, at least he wasn’t screeching during the Consecration, right?

“Let’s Call it a Wash”

After mass, at donut time, several people greeted us and said what darling, beautiful children Joe and Abbey are. I thanked them and told them that I have been staying home for so long because I couldn’t succeed at bringing my children to Mass but that I was trying my hardest to include them in the church and teach them the ways of Mass. They patted me on the back and said “good job, mama!” I was seriously on a mommy-high from making it through – no – actually being able to enjoy and worship the Lord – for once in what seemed like years!

And as I passed the priest on our way out, I thanked him for a lovely homily, and told him how excited I was that I was able to attend mass successfully with my children.

And his response?

“Just make sure that you utilize the cry room when they start up making noise- I have had several people with hearing aids with concerns that the noise of children fussing makes it impossible for them to hear me. Maybe you could sit closer to the cry-room so that you can take them in there. That’s what it’s there for. It’s hard for people to hear.”

*sigh* . . . I politely indicated that I would be sitting in the second row of the church again with my children next week. Because they did well, they can’t see anything or learn to be at Mass from the cry-room, and that I was happy to be attending Mass again. And then I walked away.

Let’s not get into how upset I was that he totally killed my happy, “We succeeded!!!!!” high.

Let’s not talk about how I mumbled that people with hearing aids didn’t need to hear about how great the Catholic Schools are because their children are not school-aged. . .

Let’s just go with what one of my friends commented when I vented about it on facebook. . . let’s just call it a wash.

 

And go to Mass again next week.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Honestly, Amy, I think it went really well! Kids will be kids and you cannot expect them to be perfectly still. From what you said, it doesn’t sounds like their behavior warrented the cry room. IMNSHO, the cry room is for things like throwing fits, needing to move around, learning to behave and needing direction that might distract others (I use it when I need to repetedly remind the kiddos on how to sit) and so on.
    Take heart- my kids are 2, 4, 7 and 8. We had some rought years in there but they WILL learn to sit through Mass. We also saw a huge improvement when my son took Communion for the first time. There are huge, tangable graces from the sacraments and graces from simply going to Mass
    LauraWaldenMommy

    • Thank you, Laura, for reading and for your encouragement! I’m heartened by your response. And I really am proud of the way the children were at Mass today. Especially given the way that we have (all) acted before!

  2. I think it sounds like a rip-roaring success to me! Sounds like you got to connect with a few people who were kind about the kids and you held your own with the priest. And the kids were good, it sounds like to me. And, of course, there was the Eucharist!

    • Thanks for the support, Jen! I think the only reason that the priest’s comment felt so awful was that I was coming to him with an exclamation of pure JOY for having enjoyed the Eucharist and really, the whole mass for the first time in ages, and all he had to say was “next time your child makes noise, you know there’s a cry room for that” LOL

      I’m going to hang on to the fact that I enjoyed worshipping Him through song, prayer, and adoration – with my kids in tow! and forget my exchange with the priest. If the fussing happens again around the same time next week, we’ll just be first in line for donuts downstairs ;)

  3. cath friend says:

    Oh God bless you momma! And GREAT job taking them. I too am a military wife, and while my husband was deployed 2 yrs ago, I had our 3rd child, with the oldest 35 months old. When baby was about 3-4months old, I attempted the same thing. I had an old couple behind me to ask me to please go to the (non-existent) ‘nursery’ (they meant the lobby). I told them God said “Let the children come to me.” and I was doing the best I could as a single-mom while my husband was deployed and I thanked them for their support. They ended up moving seats, which was fine.
    I’m proud of you for telling the priest you’d be there next week in the 2nd row. That’s where we sit now, and I’ll tell you, it’s the best seat in the house for little ones. Keep on teaching your kids mama! Keep going to mass when you think you can, and even if you’re nervous, keep at it. Keep teaching them at home too. You’re raising up your children for God to the best of your abilities. Great job!
    On a different note, have you tried the base chapel? We live overseas, and now that it’s our only option really, I love it because it’s several other young families. I remember the few times stateside we went to base chapel, it was always young families as well. May be a good option, and a great place to meet other Catholic military families going through what you’re going through. God bless you mama!

    • Oh, man, I admire you for speaking up for yourself! At 3-4 months post partum, I probably would have started crying if someone said that to me, and never showed my face there again. You’re very brave and such a wonderful mama!

      You know, I’ve considered the base chapel because the Navy Chaplain (We’re stationed on a Coast Guard ship that docks at a Navy Shipyard) is awesome and he knows me through my position as volunteer Command Ombudsman. But I think Sundays are non-denominational worship. Holy Mass is only on special days.

      Where overseas do you live? Thanks for your support, and for your family’s service to our country! <3 (and for your support on my facebook page as well. Yep – I noticed! LOL)

      • cath friend says:

        If you saw me on fb, then you probably figured out where I live ;-) I enjoy following blogs, in my non-existent spare time, especially Catholic AND military ones.

        Don’t worry, I did cry because I ended up giving up during the homily and leaving (because of my kids, not the other people!) It was a rough day, but just like riding a bike, I had to get up and get back on ;-) You may have some bad days in the future too. But just keep on.

        • Thanks for the continued encouragement. I really appreciate it! Your facebook profile is private, or semi-private so I couldn’t see where you live (I always click over to new “liker”s fb pages to see who they are and if they have a blog or business that I might be interested in!) but I’ll send you a friend request so I can satisfy my curiosity and connect with a new mama friend!

  4. Maybe the priest needs to open up a hearing aid room, where the people with hearing aids can sit behind soundproof glass and listen to the Mass over speakers, with no kids around?

    Congrats on getting back there and keeping the kids so well behaved! :-)

    • LOL that would work! But then I’m sure they would feel like they weren’t included in mass. hmmmmmmmmm sounds familiar ;) Thanks for your support! It means a lot to me!

  5. I have the same sentiments about the cry room. Yes, it is helpful to others but it pretty much takes away the essence of going to church. I admire your dedication to come and attend mass again–with your children. It just shows how much of a wonderful Catholic momma you are. And yes, with all due respect to the parish priest, please do keep sitting where you actually want to sit. :)

  6. Sounds like the priest was speaking in generalities–I doubt anyone complained specifically about your kids. If you were in the second pew, I’d say that Father heard the kids better than any supposed hearing-aid-wearing Mass-goers, and HE certainly should be able to handle it. WELL DONE!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] A few days ago, I shared my thoughts about how I admire parents who take their children to Mass. Today I would like to share my thoughts about the “cry-room” (also known as the family room) that most churches provide for mothers or families with young children. My thoughts were inspired by one mother’s experience on taking her kids to Mass alone. (If you want to read about it, here it is: “I Took the Kids to Mass Today!“) [...]

  2. […] We went to mass before, and had a pretty successful, but slightly disheartening time of it. So, I was all geared up to try again. . . […]

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