My kids, being teens, now are not so little. However, I remember what it's like to have little ones. I remember what it's like feeling overwhelmed. I remember.....
Reading many comments over the years about a churches lack of babysitting, nursery, or even children church makes me sad. Reading comments from mothers stating what's the point of going (to church) if there is no child care of some kind.
Listen! I get it! My kids, if you remember, are 10 months apart. I remember what it was liked to spending most of the Mass outside the main sanctuary, because of a noisy baby, diaper changes, etc. Some Sundays it seemed like the kids double tagged me.
Sigh... What's the point of going to church? The point is being there, even if you feel overwhelmed, out of touch, and dealing with fussy baby or wiggly toddler is feeding your soul. You might not feel like it, but it is.
Yes, it's fustrating to have to deal with a little one. Yes, it would be nice to just sit in church and not have to deal with a little one, but your child needs to be there as much as you do. How else are they going to learn what is expected of them if they aren't there?
You might be overwhelmed in that moment, but if you take a deep breath and accept that this is just a season, it gets better. If you take a deep breath and remind yourself it's just for today, it gets better. Once this season is over you will be thankful and better for it. Seasons come and go.....
Some tips to make it a little smoother:
1. It's a season, soon enough it will be over and a new season started.
2. If you haven't already adjust your expectations to match your child's age and abilities.
3. Bring quiet activities for your child to do. This is especially helpful for those toddler/preschool years.
4. It's OKAY if you spent most of the Mass outside the main sanctuary, because of the kids. Know that even though it doesn't feel like it your soul has been feed.
5. While you are there to feed your soul, it's really not about what you get out of it; It's about what you put into it.
6. Your efforts now to start sharing Mass with your children, even as babies and toddlers, will show in the later years.