I can’t answer this for everyone but I can give my insight as a 39-year-old mother of three young children. My husband does not come to church. So if my children are going to go to church I have to bring them. After the third child was born (my kids ages were newborn, 2 and 4) I decided it was too much to bring them all. I left them at home and became a Eucharistic minister. I LOVED it! I got the same feeling that I did when each of my children were born. It was an amazing feeling.
Then my first son received his first communion. Now it was my job to make sure he got to church. So when I had to serve as a Eucharistic minister I found myself going to church twice. Then he became an altar server so he could come with me when I served and we could serve God together.
Shortly after that my second son was finishing up first grade and getting ready to start first communion preparation. I decided I had to put them first. I was the parent and it was my job to make sure they went. I stopped serving and just concentrated on bringing them.
Bringing three young kids to church is NOT easy but it is even harder when you are doing it as a single parent. I am on edge the WHOLE time and feel like I am being watched and judged. The churches offer a children’s mass but it is an earlier mass that we cannot get to. I use to bring plenty of stuff to keep them occupied but now I try to just have mass related stuff for the older two. Sitting still for an hour is HARD.
It is easier to just not go. I hate to say it but it’s true. Especially now a days, there are many sports offered to kids on Sundays. It is not easy. However, I try to teach my children that God gave us our lives and everything we have. We can at least give him an hour on Sunday. We have also found a few wonderful churches that have made it more enjoyable for kids to be there.
I do think that we as Catholics need to stop judging each other and offer support. My husband brought all three kids plus our nephew to a mass that was honoring a group I was in. During mass someone had a comment on how the kids weren’t behaving! Well guess what? That doesn’t make my husband want to be there or ever come back.
So please if you see families who ARE at church but the kids might be restless try not to give dirty looks or stare but say a prayer for them. Try and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe if we can find a way to bring young families back to church all the children in church will sound like music and not annoyance.
If you are Catholic and do not attend I would love to hear why and if you are willing to try to go more often. Thanks!
copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent