Friday, June 14, 2013

Mass With Young Children

Recently I was part of a discussion about how hard it is to keep young children quiet and still during Mass. One mom said that Sunday was the hardest day of the week for her. She explained that attending Mass with her toddler challenged her mentally and physically to the point of exhaustion. Some of the moms said that they stayed outside in the foyer while their family sat together in the church. Other moms said that they kept their kids busy with books and small treats. One mom said that her family attended two different Masses so that the youngest children did not have to go to Mass. All of the moms could not wait until their young children were old enough to sit still so that they could enjoy Mass as a family.

I knew how the other moms felt because I stood in the foyer for many years. Now all three of my boys sit quietly during Mass every week. It is a joy to be able to worship together, but I have a confession. I miss standing in the foyer. As a 37-year-old woman that struggles with infertility, I know that I may never be distracted by another toddler while at Mass again. Now I wish I had enjoyed the time I spent with my toddlers in the foyer more. My time spent wrestling my toddlers at Mass was hard, but holding my children close to me, quietly teaching them the responses and listening to them try to sing along with the choir are some of the most beautiful moments I have experienced as a parent.

I wish I could tell every mother that struggles through Mass with young children what a remarkable woman she is. Whether she is in the cry room, foyer, or in the sanctuary getting the mean looks from other parishioners, she is doing an amazing job. The time with fussy babies and wiggly toddlers will fly by, and they will be big enough to sit quietly and worship before too long. She will have years full of Masses where she will be able to listen and pray without distractions. I want her to forget the angry glances and mean comments from other parishioners. There are so many more people that are happy that the little children are there. Most importantly I hope she knows that she is fulfilling the vocation that God planned for her. God knows her love for Him because she is caring for the children He gave to her. He knows her frustration, and He gives her grace.

~ Pictures are from my nephew's baptism on December 30, 2012, the Feast of the Holy Family. ~
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