A few weeks ago, there was a great post on Her View From Home about taking kids to church (read it here). I could relate to it instantly, as taking our kids to church is something that brings me both stress and joy.
Sometimes, as many parents with tiny humans probably know, the stress overwhelms the joy. So a couple weeks ago, my husband and I dropped off our two boys at my parents’ house on Sunday morning so we could go to church by ourselves.
Let me tell you — it was enlightening and weird, all at once.
No matter how many encouraging articles or blog posts you read about taking your kids to church, it’s still hard to not feel all eyes on you when your toddler starts to act up. It’s still hard to not feel alone and like your kids must be the only stinkers in church, even though it’s not logical. Feelings of self-consciousness don’t mesh well with logic, after all.
But now I know – this time without a doubt – my kids are not the only noisemakers in church. Going on our own allowed me to really hear other kids for the first time. And more than anything, it encouraged me and made me miss our kids being there with us.
Yes, it was nice to listen to an entire homily without interruptions. Yes, it was also nice to walk up to communion without my toddler trying to poke the person in front of me.
But it felt like part of me was missing at church that week.
With or without my kids, I am a mom. It’s part of my identity now, and while there are times it’s nice to have a babysitter and get away, I realize now that church is not one of those times for me.
Even though my boys are young and most definitely had more fun at the grandparents’ house than they would have at church, I felt selfish for excluding them. One of my biggest hopes for my boys is that they grow up with strong faith and love for God. How are they going to do this if we don’t take them to church because it gets a little stressful for us?
So, in this still new year of 2016, I’m making a late resolution. Instead of feeling self-conscious or worried about how my kids act, I’m going to focus on the joy of taking them to church. They might not get much out of it yet, but soon they will. And I might miss some of the homily, but I won’t miss out on giving my kids a chance to grow with Jesus.
As my fellow HVFH writer said, it’s so worth it.