Monday, May 16, 2011

Pro-Life Means Pro-Child

Have you ever gotten up early on a Sunday morning, made breakfast and gotten dressed and then gotten one or two or six children dressed?  And packed a bag of snacks and drinks and quiet diversions?  And removed the mooing and rattling and explosion-sound making diversions that certain children deny having tried to sneak into the bag?

Do you know where her other shoe is?  Did someone step in the cat puke?  Where is my blankie?  No, not that blankie.  The other blankie.  I cannot go anywhere without that blankie, and you know it!  Jeez, try and keep up...mom.

Sometimes, frankly, you don't even want to go to church.  You just want a day off.  But you know you should and you're always glad you did, even if, when it's over, you're not glad glad.  Because sometimes early mornings like that spill over into late mornings in Mass.  Small people are sliding off pews, and someone tears a page in the hymnal, and the stage whispers are turning into something that no one could ever call a whisper.

There are cheerios spilling out of that little tupperware container because the one year-old has gotten a hold of it, but you're so busy trying to pry the pen out of your three year-old's hands because he has attempted to tarnish the thus-far unblemished pew, and you just will not have it, that you aren't able to snatch it in time before it makes that awful, powdery disaster of a mess.  And dear Jesus, will you please take the devil out of these chidren for just a few minutes, at least while we are here in your house trying to be like civilized people?


And that's when it happens.  That's when you feel the heat of a scowling Death Glare boring holes into the back of your neck.  You sneak a peek at the pew behind you.  There she is.  Glowering.  Your inability to completely control every action of every single person in your care (thinking, feeling, real humans with opinions and free will who are still learning to compromise and moderate and close their lips during quiet time) is ruining her personal, private Jesus time.  Ruining it!

Recently I had a little discussion about this phenomenon with some smart, sweet girls on Twitter.  And I only say "girls" because if I say "women" that makes me "ancient".  If I say "girls" maybe I can be something younger than "super old".  But I digress.  Sarah from A Beaten Copper Lamp of Deplorable Design (I'm saying that three times fast as we speak) mentioned that she had seen a haggard mother on the receiving end of the Death Glare during Mass that morning.  She was clearly trying, but her kids seemed to be getting the best of her, and Angry Lady had apparently had enough.

We got to chatting about how the scenario of families of young children being made to feel embarrassed at their own parish for coming to Mass, which is not always very easy or pleasant with young ones ( and by "not always" I of course mean "hardly ever"), is apparently a common one.  And I couldn't help but marvel at the entire concept.

Unless I am missing some crucial information or there is some piece to this puzzle that has not yet been revealed to me, if someone professes to be pro-life, they must, necessarily, also be pro-child.  Because it seems that the result of celebrating a culture of life is going to be, you know, a whole lot of children.

Have you met children?  They are loud.  They are messy.  They are unreasonable.  They are also at the most  impressionable, perfect stage to learn about their faith, how to love God, and how to love each other.  So even though they are loud and messy and unreasonable, they need to go to church.

If a person wants some personal, private Jesus time, perhaps they should consider participating in Eucharistic Adoration outside of the community celebration of Mass.  Maybe they can pray to Jesus in their own quiet, child-free homes before or after enduring the stresses inflicted upon them by all those inconsiderate juveniles and their irresponsible parents.

Parents who have said "yes" to the blessing of children from God, who have gotten up and hauled their brood to church on Sunday morning, who are tired and frustrated by the demands their blessings are putting on their already-thin patience and who would like nothing more than to have all of them sitting quietly in their seats with their tiny hands folded in their pristine laps, do not need a Death Glare.  They need love.

If the sippy-cup rolls under the pew, pick it up for them.  If it looks like they're about to cry, offer them an encouraging smile.  If they are trying to juggle the diaper bag and a car seat and a stack of books while corralling several wily humans, offer to carry something for them.  Lift them up.  Celebrate their sacrifice.  Show them the love of Jesus. 

And please, whatever you do, leave the Death Glare at home.
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70 comments :

  1. Sometimes even those of us with kids that are on the way out of the bad behavior spectrum and have so effectively blocked those horrors from their memory need to hear that...

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  2. Seriously. Word. People acting like that always give me the urge to aim a little bit of my child's projectile spit-up in their direction. Usually I resist this urge!

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  3. I must admit that I have been guilty of a Death Glare or two. I will keep this in mind next time I go to church. I shared this on FB as well, for the Mom's I know who bring kids to church.
    Very well written and makes one think

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  4. My husband is a eucharistic minister in our (Episcopal) church and I often have our three in the pew by myself. Luckily there is a group of young families who typically sits together so at least when there is child noise and the inevitable glares we take it as a group. It's hard. I try to extend this sentiment across the board at church now- when I am tempted to be judgmental about anything during that hour I force myself to celebrate the fact that that person got up and made the effort to worship.

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  5. Well said, and can be applied in more places than church.

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  6. As a fellow Catholic, I LOVE this. My 7-month old loves to "chat" in church and so I have been the recipient of many death glares. I do my best to ignore them too because I want her to grow-up experiencing what church is really like. The cry room is great for its purpose, but I just don't get a lot out of the homily myself if I'm stuck in a room filled with little ones running around. Kudos to you for putting this thought out there!

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  7. I'm so lucky at our current church. They really do embrace families. The pastor stops the sermon to make sure parents know that their screaming child is a blessing from God. I took Klaw into the narthex because he was being crazy & several older people came out to tell me they loved his singing.

    I won't go to a church that doesn't welcome children wholeheartedly. Good luck with death glare lady. Maybe have your kids give her a small gift like some picked flowers or a drawing?

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    1. They love his singing!! That is wonderful!!

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  8. It's a shame that folks can't be bothered to remember when they were a kid, or even when they were a young parent. Every death glare deliverer was at some point in their lives an unruly child, causing their parent(s) frustration and embarrassment. Most were young parents, who undoubtedly lived through exactly your experience.

    It's a darn shame that their memories are apparently as short as their tempers.

    Great post. :)

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  9. It would be terribly un-Catholic of me to swear in joy over the words in your post. It wouldn't be God-like for me to call that woman and all the Death Glarers like her nasty names. But I want to.
    This is part of the memoir I'm writing, so hopefully someday you'll read it...but growing up in the Catholic church I witnessed some very, very bad and scarring behaviors against children by parishioners and priests. I tried get over those memories and return when we had our own children.
    We don't go to church anymore. I can't stand the hypocrisy of the people who are so vehemently pro-life but stare at a young family with such palpable anger. Yuck. You're a stronger 'girl' than I am, Dweej! Amen. (Now THAT was a rant!)

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  10. I don't actually even go to church, but I appreciate this post because the idea extends to many places other than church. I can't believe people give death glares even in church! The thought actually made me tear up a bit at the thought (maybe I am a bit emotional today?). If one doesn't like kids, they shouldn't go places where there are a lot of kids....like church....or family/kid-friendly restaurants!

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  11. Wonderfully said!! I myself struggle with trying to get my kids to behave in church and feel like some days it isn't even worth it. It makes me glad to know I am not the only one who feels like this!! I wish peace to you and your family.

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  12. How encouraging to read - you are so right about that. I need to remind myself that my boys are boys, and they will act like boys. I have been on the receiving end of both glares, and also helpful hands and encouraging smiles. I hope when I'm older I remember these days, and offer a smile and a hand!

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  13. New follower here - I love your blog!

    I too have been on the recieving end of the Death Glare...especially recently when my 4 year old Isabella decided it would be a grand time to toot during the renewal of Baptismal promises, a very quiet time during Mass. And also during that same Mass, after she lifted the back of my dress up, exposing my backside to everyone behind us. As much as I wanted to walk out and never come back, I stood there, grinned and bared it (literally!)...having children at Church definitely teaches humility, and it also teaches us not to take life so seriously.

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  14. I was raised Catholic and always bored out my mind in church. The death glare came from my own mom though!

    I'm now attending a non-denominational church (non-denom is a denom in itself...), and the kids go to Kid church while the adults go to service. At first I thought this was weird,to have the kids away from parents, until I served in Kid church and saw that they were learning what their parents were, and it was at their levels. They can sing, dance, praise Jesus AND have snacks with no death glares.

    My daughter in law has four kids, and once she gets them all to church, she says it's her second favorite hour of the week. Her favorite is discussing with her kids what they all learned about God in their session.

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  15. I enjoyed how my church (Episcopal) used to do things. The children would go to Sunday School and then join us for Communion. I got to worship in peace for the first 3/4 of the service and my children were with me for the final 1/4. It prevented them from getting bored and therefore they were very well behaved. They enjoyed Sunday School and actually looked forward to church.

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  16. I recently got a death glare from another mother of older children at a restaurant. I simply made eye contact, smiled and said "What, this never happened to you?" Enjoyed this post.

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  17. Hi! Just wanted to put in a word. (I'm a UD grad, too). :) Our pastor, who is great, said in a homily that we need to support families with young children and part of that means not giving them dirty looks if a child cries or if the parent doesn't get them out of the pew fast enough. He said, "But, you CAN give dirty looks to the people whose phones go off in church. :) Here is an awesome post from my friend from a few years ago about some people sitting on the end and making a family with little kids climb over them. Classic! http://theomamagy.blogspot.com/2007/11/excuse-thee.html

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  18. Amen, Dweej. I just wither under the death glares. It isn't as if we're sitting in the pews, egging our children on! Jeez.

    Great post.

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  19. Sometimes I hear a baby crying in the pew behind me and I want to turn around cause you know, crying = baby = cute. But then I'm worried the parent will think I'm giving them a "please shut it up" look instead of a "I want one" look.

    My little 6 mo old cousin-in-law sang her way through all of the latter half of Ash Wednesday service. Her parents were mortified, but I told them that it's not like people don't know all the words to that part of the mass anyway. If a baby crying is *really* completely disrupting your prayer time, you might've been looking for a distraction anyway.

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  20. We were all children once - I'm sure they weren't always well behaved "proper" children all the time either. I bet Death Stare Lady even got dirty once in a while! (for shame!)

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  21. Beautiful way of saying all of this!

    Although I do not have children yet, I just love babies and children at Mass. It's very common at my current church for families with many children to sit near the front (so they can see what's going on!) and so that's where I tend to sit so I can be surrounded by all of the wonderfulness that are children. :-)

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  22. This was great, I laughed all through the first paragraphs remembering Mass with my siblings when we were kids. I'd forgotten what it was like until I went to mass with my best friend and her three little ones age 1 - 5. Watching her and her husband try to control the chaos in our pew gave me a new appreciation for my parents' patient determination to get us all to Mass every Sunday. If parenthood is my vocation I'm sure going to need a lot of grace!

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  23. Thank you, Dweej! At Mass we are ALL there together as God's beloved children: young, old, all shapes, sizes, and cultures. Beautiful!

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  24. Lol! I have to laugh but I know it is very hard. I have a 10 yr old and an 11 month old. The baby is already walking and at one time interrupted the pastor in the middle of the sermon. Everyone just laughed. Great post! Thanks for following. Now following you back. Have a great week!

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  25. Oh, this makes me feel so very blessed. Our priests are wonderfully patient at my church. I used to go to daily mass, but my wee one has recently become a miniature insane fireball, and my four year old likes to egg her on, so once a week is really about all I can take anymore, though I hope to pick back up and give daily mass (it's only 30 minutes) another go. I have had the priest tell me numerous times that the screeching and yelping does not bother him, and the little old ladies just love the kids. Maybe the angry women are jealous. That's what my mom always said when somebody was mean to me. ;) Loved this post. And all the others, too. You're livin' the dream, Dweej!

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  26. THANK YOU!!! I have gone of on very similar rants a time or two myself. I have even been tempted to write a blog post about it myself.

    How my mother managed to drag all three of us to daily Mass by herself I will never know!

    I have to say my best experiences at Mass have been when I have had one of those Sundays and as we are walking out feeling totally defeated and like someone has literally beaten us with a baseball bat . . . someone approaches us to tell us we have a beautiful family and such well behaved kids. I always have to bite my tongue to keep myself from telling them that surely they are confusing us for another family!

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  27. When I read the title of this post, I thought we would have a moment of "let's agree to disagree". I thought you were headed in that heavy issue arena. But I gave it a chance and was pleasantly surprised that what you wrote really resonates with me. My niece was bat-mitzvahed this weekend and my 3-year-old son was acting a fool in the sanctuary. However, the congregants were wonderful and just smiled at me and him and let him do his thing, as long as he wasn't disruptive. Once he was disruptive, I took him outside to burn off some energy.

    Great post and a very interesting viewpoint!

    http://www.alittlenosh.net

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  28. This is so real! Our old pastor would tell this old ladies.. that we silence children enough due to abortion , let us hear them now. He made us feel great for a. having children and b. bring them to mass. I also remember him once said to these few older ladies.. that the mass is a sacrifices which means one suffers, so suffer!

    God Bless all!

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  29. I am so glad your post wasn't what I thought it was going to be from the title. I've often found that people think that pro-choice means that you hate children. haha, so not true. I read your title and was like, "oh no dweej, not you too!" but then I came and was happily surprised that is not what you were talking about. Phew! While I do think there are situations that you need to remove a screaming child from (say, a funeral) I think that people need to be more tolerant in general. They're just kids and let's face it, church is boring when you're a kid unless it's sunday school where there are toys, snacks and games. It's hard for kids to sit still that long, cut them, and their mama some slack. Now, if they're repeatedly kicking the back of my chair, that's a whole different story :p

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  30. I love your words. You're awfully good at this here story-tellin' thing. :)

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  31. i feel your pain! this morning at mass a man was practically turned his chair around to glare at my insane children. i was so mad i almost gave him the finger. then as i was struggling to get the kids to the car, he came running and scooped up the intollerant one and buckled him in the carseat for me. i was so stunned that i just stood there staring, once i realized he wasnt trying to kidnap my child. all i can say is thank goodness for cry rooms! at least some of the screaming and inappropriate comments are muffled. love your blog:)

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  32. Wow, I am overwhelmed by the response to my little rant! Thank you all for reading and offering your comments and insights...and mostly your experiences.

    For anyone who has their email linked to their id, I tried to send a personal response. For everyone else, please know that I really appreciate you reading and commenting :)

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  33. My wife sent me this and I laughed as I thought it sounded like something she could have written.

    As a lover of Latin Mass, and especially the EF, I wish that we had the opportunity to have the kind of Mass that fosters reverence for the mysterium tremendum et fascinans,

    AS WELL AS sympathy and patience for those of us who long BOTH to receive our spiritual inheritance AND to have children to pass it on to.

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  34. Well Written Dweej!
    I have definitely had my fair share of these glares too, but at my church we have excellent childcare for little ones and sunday school! It's so nice now cause they really look forward to it (after the separation anxiety 6 month period I had to push through with my little one-cried for the first few months when she saw we were even driving toward the church.) It is discouraging when you see fellow parishioners not welcome your little ones and you. Next time just turn around and say....God bless you too and give her a big Smile....my mom and dad always used to tell me 'kill'em with kindness'.

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  35. This post ought to be published in every bulletin in every church of every denomination. Well, well, written with an honest voice that speaks to a mother who cares deeply about her children's faith.

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  36. OK, I will admit, I am way behind still on reading all the posts but I just had to say something on this one because it almost made me spit out my tea. I guess first off that I am a glarer but usually its when we are out having dinner and someone is letting their children run through the restaurant or letting a child screaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam for half an hour, then they need to be taken out side for fresh air and a little quiet time with mom or dad in the car. Back in my day it would have been quiet time in the car by yourself, but the world isn't what it used to be. I was shocked because I didn't even know they allowed kids that young INTO church now (I haven't been since we were married), when I was growing up no kids were allowed into the services until they were over 10 years old, and yup, if you weren't well behaved you were asked to stay downstairs with all the little kids on the next Sunday. Maybe that's why I loved going to church when I was 10, it made me a big girl. :) In all honesty, if there were a lot of crying, kicking kids in my church, I would leave in the middle of the service myself. Sorry, not trying to be snotty, just was a little surprised, and now of course feeling VERY old. lol

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  37. I think people without kids don't really get it. I don't have kids, but I definitely understand that kids are just that. No it does not excuse wild and super crazy behavior, but you cannot ask for perfect angels all the time. Let's be honest, none of us were. I always think it is the worst on long airplane trips. I hate when people get mad at the crying baby or the mom 'not doing enough to comfort them'. Yeah right, that is really what she wants. An unhappy baby. Give me a break. Great post, Dwija!

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  38. Amen to that!!! I have seriously gotten my share of "death glares". Is it so hard to smile? Or at the very least just ignore us??
    Great post!!

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  39. Well I'm late to the party as always. Please know that for as many Death Glaring people there are also as many who smile & enjoy the little ones in Mass. Remember Our Lord said, 'Let the children come.' I believe he knows these little ones and it wouldn't surprise me if he put them in-front of the Death Glaring person for a reason. I personally thank him for the humor & send blessing up for the mother.
    Katie

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  40. Dweej I agree 100%. Children should always be welcome in church, no matter what denomination or age group. I am LDS and my kids have Sunday School before Sacrament, so they are used to a longer time... but that also means they are even more comfortable 'being themselves,' shall we say. :) We teach them reverence but they are still alive. Our son has a 45-minute rule, which I think is phenomenal for a 4-year-old!

    I have been very blessed to have not had any trouble with death glares in church, except once in a while a particularly crotchety older person might forget their manners and in Whose name they are attending worship.

    However, the other day my sister and I took our kids to Target. My 4-yr-old wasn't feeling well and ended up throwing the most enormous tantrum I've seen in years, right at the checkout. My sister, her two daughters, and my daughter went to the restroom just as he got started.

    Too late, I realized she had the keys to her car and so I was stuck keeping Weston indoors. His tantrum was so obviously psychotic and he kept running away, and I was terrified that he would run into traffic in the parking lot. (I have arthritis and can only hold a strong, writhing, kicking boy for so long.)

    You should have SEEN how many women (yes, women! Almost all of whom appeared old enough to at least KNOW children, if not HAVE them!) how many women gave me the death glare. Ridiculously obvious death glares! Like the kind where you don't even bother to think, 'Maybe she had gas,' or, 'Maybe she was confused as to what was going on and so she was knitting her eyebrows together...' you know?

    But I was not about to go put my little guy's life on the line just because absolutely NOBODY around me seemed to approve of my keeping him in the store.

    You know what I think of people who glare at moms and dads who (surprise!) can't force their living, breathing, energetic, beautiful little people into a cold, silent mold? I think those glaring people are the ones whose parents forced THEM into molds. Or tried. And they still haven't broken out on their own. :( Sad for them.

    Thank you for this awesome post!!! I adore it. :) E

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  41. The "Death Glarers" are everywhere but in a church environment they always seem to have more power unleashing their facial displays of child disgust. Maybe it depends on the particular branch of religion.

    My experience as a Catholic has put me in the company of people who tolerate nothing but their own self-centered magnificence while looking down at other church members as lesser-beings..while under God's roof.

    My oldest married into a Jewish family who recently held a memorial in the synagogue; both of my young Grandsons were in attendance for the long, long service; both were squirmy and noisy. After more than an hour, the Rabbi did a blessing of the challah and my older Grandson yelled out "Thank God, FOOD at last!"
    Everyone clapped, laughed and the Rabbi gave a special blessing for the children.

    Excellent post, Dweej!

    Patty

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  42. AMEN! Very well said. I am scared to bring my kids to church. Maybe I should man up.

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  43. You can do it, Becky! Once they get older, they'll be so good at it you won't even remember that it was hard in the beginning :)

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  44. I apologized to priest at a church we were visiting once when my two girls, then ages 3 & 1 were a little rowdy during Mass. He stopped me and said, "They have more right to be here than any of us. Thank you for bringing them.)

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  45. Thank you Dwija, that is well said. I have felt this way for years(even before kids), but what you said, pro-life means pro-child is dead on. So I wont' get political here, but this is frankly what pisses me off. I think people tend to forget that that life becomes a being and that being is not a silent, obedient, non-thinking being.

    If we are to care about the "life" part of it, then we need to foster children to act with life. They need to live, and they cannot stop it during mass, which quite frankly can be very boring to a child.

    I feel terrible, and I'm ashamed to say but we've become those Easter and Christmas Catholics, and we try oh so hard every Sunday, but 9 am mass, become 10, then 10:30, then 11, then finally the noon mass- if we make it. If not, it's almost nap time by then. And this is all when we only had 1 child (I know, tisk tisk, shameful).

    It's amazing to me how people forget. Even people who have had children, or even have grandchildren, they are the worst sometimes. They eyes, the looks, the judging, ugh I'm always so close to yelling and them "what? have you never seen a child have a tantrum before?"

    Anyway, you're not alone. But thank you for writing about this, and I hope more people realize it.

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  46. Amen. I've been putting off taking Sasha to church partly because I know an 11-month old isn't going to sit still through the whole thing. There are plenty of places children should not be taken to if they can't behave, and it's pretty selfish to inflict them on others. Church is NOT one of those places! It should be the family-friendliest place of all.

    To your title - I've always found it interesting how judgmental my pro-life mother and her friends are of an unwed pregnant mother. If you don't want her to have an abortion, maybe you could try some compassion and support for the tough road ahead of her in keeping the baby.

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  47. Hi~ Saw this on FTLOB. Oh this is so true and so well written. I just love you! ;)

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  48. Dweej! You are my hero! How in the world did you come up with JUST THE RIGHT WORDS about this? Everything you said is the Gospel Truth...AMEN SISTER! HALELUJAH! THANK YOU JESUS!!

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  49. That was just beautiful!

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  50. I see moms by themselves at church with children all the time. Sometimes Dad is at work, sometimes Dad is just not in the picture anymore. These moms and all moms that manage to get up and get out the door on Sunday morning with kids looking reasonably dressed and groomed should be applauded. For years we sat in the far back corner with our children. The Cherios Corner we nicknamed it. One weekend an older couple sans children, deigned to sit there and glared at me with my children, as my husband hustled around taking care of various duties. They finally got up and moved to another pew. Really what were they thinking sitting in the back where the families with young children sit? That is my rant on this subject, thanks for letting me chime in.

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  51. My son was not a terror at church, but he would not sit still at mass when he was little. We tried everything. He was not loud or terribly (I hope) disruptive, but he moved around all the time and would lay down on the pew LONG after he was too old to do so, things like that. It was embarrassing and infuriating and I know it bothered people.

    In fourth grade he was diagnosed with ADHD and although we were terrified of it we tried medication. It was like a miracle. Suddenly things we had thought were just his personality were GONE. He was not an angel but he could sit. He could listen to directions. He could remember what he was told to do -- at least some of the time!

    No one had any idea what we were dealing with. WE had no idea what we were dealing with. The people in church did not know that we could not go out to dinner (he couldn't stay in one place that long, even at McDonalds), go to a movie, go to the mall... They had no idea what our lives were like. It has made me much more compassionate and forgiving of others. Sure, some kids really are spoiled and are allowed to misbehave (I've seen it!). But never, never assume you know what is going on in anyone else's life.

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  52. This is o good I just read it again!

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  53. You'd be amazed how many pro-choice people love kids and have lots of them, too. It is a slightly different attitude about when and how it is OK for that individual to have children, and that is all--none but a very few outliers, who don't have all their marbles anyway, are going around with a meat cleaver looking for kids of all ages to attack.

    And that death-glare thing in church is one symptom of the reason so many put off childbearing or space it widely apart (well, that and having a baby a year really is not good for your body or your baby--sorry, God designed us that way and I'm voting with the big guy). Because there's no societal support unless you are an Absolutely Perfect Parent. Everybody has gotten into this mental mode that children are just an expensive hobby and not THE entire next generation of human beings without which we'd all perish from the earth. I'm kind of tired of it, too. Quit judging me for doing all the things you wouldn't do and not doing every single thing you would do, and get back to parenting your own kids or training your dog or whatever it is that you do. That is pretty much how I see it. And then you wouldn't see so many women heading for the clinic. It is HARD raising a child alone, only slightly easier doing it with two parents and wow, it sure looks like a lot of people's extended families and cultural communities have opted out of their "village" role--sometimes permanently.

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  54. Oh and especially, I should add, when so many adults who grew up hearing the admonitions (OK, laws) "thou shalt not steal" and "thou shalt not covet" and when you tell them you're going to have a hard time raising a child, or when you already have a child and suddenly run into trouble, their ONE solution for you is to take your child away so they can raise it and call it their own. Not "can I help you get into a place" or "can I help you buy groceries" but "can I help myself to your child." And the Catholic Church is just as guilty of this as any organization.

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  55. You've been spying on me and my brood, haven't you!

    I ADORE this -- and it's 100% on the money. :)

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  56. What an awesome post, but at the same time, as the mom of 5 bunchkins, I think there's a happy medium to be found. I spent literally years in the back in the narthex or cry room with the youngest--or ready to head back there quickly if the need arose, especially when going to a very, very quiet monastery chapel for Mass. The trick is trying to figure out whether the little one is making a brief sound that will be over soon or whether it will be ongoing and truly disruptive to everyone else who is trying to fully participate fully in Mass. It all comes down to charity--that of the would-be glarer and those of us with young children both.

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  57. There have been times when I had three toddlers (twin babies and a 3 year old) that I simply walked them outside of the church for an hour to be as close to the mass as possible...but I still felt God's love outside:) Didn't even make it INTO the church!

    But thankfully I have always felt welcomed inside as well, even with our "madness."

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  58. So, so, so appreciate this post!

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  59. Glad to know even mothers of children raised in a catholic church have their moments. I am still pretty resentful that my husband chose to become catholic and force me to wrangle my 4 children into sitting through mass, when they are used to having sunday school and children's church in their protestant upbringing. They used to love church and now they pretty much hate it. My question is HOW IN THE WORLD!!!!! is a "good catholic" mother ever supposed to enjoy/listen/worship during mass? I just have more and more hatred and frustration. Would much rather stay home than fight the fight and have my children feel chastised for wiggling and not paying attention like adults.

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    1. I started writing a reply and realized it was as long as a blog post and then decided that maybe other moms would like to read it too, so I'm going to make it a post and then come back and let you know when it's ready. I'm so glad you stopped by to ask this. It really gave me a lot to think about!

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    2. Okay, as promised: http://www.houseunseen.com/2012/09/sometimes-it-sucksand-thats-okay.html

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