2.03.2008

Parenting With Prayer and Alcohol...

I am not a fan of Saturday night Mass. I much prefer to go on Sunday morning when I am fresh and happy. The problem with Saturday night Mass is that it starts at 6 p.m. In my home, 6 p.m. is usually the time in which I snap. It is the time that my patience with children has worn thin. 6 p.m. is not good around these here parts and if I ever comit a crime you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be at 6 p.m. No doubt.

Another reason I do not enjoy Saturday night Mass is because it is the children's Mass. This means that there are little kids singing and playing musical instruments. I don't mean to be mean because I know very well how difficult it is to get up in front of an entire Church full of people and perform, but the singing is bad and the music is worse. Usually it sounds like an animal is being sacrificed to God up in the Choir area.

And another thing. I have been going to Catholic Mass for, lets see now... MY ENTIRE LIFE! Why do choir directors think it is a good idea to "introduce" a new song to the congregation at the Children's Mass? It would be so much easier if she stuck to the old faithfuls so that the congregation might have a fighting chance at drowning out the children's choir. Instead, we all hold our Glory and Praise books and try to follow along with the melody to a new song that none of us have ever heard before. There is a time and place for change (The Political Campaigns for example...) but Saturday night Mass is not one of them.

Last night we had to go to Saturday night Mass. My husband had to work today (yes, working on the Lord's day... not laying about watching the SuperBowl 12 hour pre-show.) One of the reasons why 6 p.m. is not good for me is because our 4 year old is in rare form at this time of night. Maybe it is because the sugar from the day has finally kicked in, or maybe it is because she is a vampire and only comes alive after sun-down... I don't know. The baby is always a peach in the evening as well. This could be because her bedtime is 6:30 p.m. so she knows she is fightging a losing battle and she is going out like Billy the Kid with her guns a blazin'. She can be the most pleasant sweet child all day long, but come 6 p.m. and she is a squirming, squealing, let me pull you hair and stick my finger up your nose, type of baby.

Last night was no exception and the two little ones were a handful. We were that family in Church that you talk about once you get into the safety of your own car. "Did you see that little girl? She was naughty! Can you believe that mother spanked her right there in the middle of the Consecration? What is this world coming to? This is America's future... Lord help us all."

I could have sold Emma last night to the lowest bidder. There was one point in the Mass when I was holding my hand over her mouth and she kept speaking with a loud voice saying "I AM HUNGRY!" She told me she didn't like me, she told me I was mean, she even told me that my butt looked big in my pants. While all of this was happening, I was holding a squirming, grunting, squealing baby. One that didn't want to be held and only wanted to stand up and look at the people behind her and suck on the kneelers. She pulled my hair, she lifted my shirt up so that the people behind me could see my lovely nursing bra strap and she ripped a chunk of skin off of my nose when she was trying to stick her fingers up it.

Eventually my husband took the baby out and I pulled the 4 year old close and threatened her within an inch of freedom. This did not stop her, children know there is safety in crowds. No way would a mom spank a child in front of all of these witnesses. What a small child does not realize is that eventually they will no longer have the safety and protection of the crowd around them and they will be home, in their bedroom with a sore butt and no dinner.

These are the moments when I simply apologize to God. This was my prayer last night... "I am sorry for not paying one bit of attention today... but I am trying here Lord. I have got to get some points for trying. Also Lord, I would think that I would get some Big points for my amazing composure throughout this ordeal... this ordeal with YOUR CHILDREN I might add. I mean, c'mon God, you would think that you could help out a little at Mass with these kids. Put your big hand on them and tell them to sit down and shut up. Something Lord. A little help would be much appreciated right now. Oh, and can you please always make sure they are protected and safe from evil... because I do love them very much, but right now I want to cry and run screaming from this pew. Forgive me for the alcohol I will be consuming after Mass tonight, and please forgive me for those thoughts about my mother-in-law earlier today. Yes, I know I am supposed to be nice. I am trying. In Your name I pray."

When we got home Emma did get a spanking. We talked. I told her that her big sister Hope only got ONE spanking from being naughty at Mass. She learned her lesson quick. Her brother Aaron received a spanking for 5 years straight after every Mass. Some people take longer to catch on. Emma says that this will be her first and last spanking ever. Let's hope she is right.

So, next time you see a mom and dad in Mass having a time of it with little children, don't gasp or click your tongue in judgement for the poor job you may think those parents are doing. Instead say a prayer for them, and if you see them out at the bar after Mass, by all means buy them a drink! They'll need it!

25 comments:

Anna B. said...

LOL!!!

Cheers!!

the mother of this lot said...

I can't count the number of times I've been in this position! I would rather go anywhere than evening mass with kids.

Love your blog, by the way!

The Other Half said...

Amen! Been there, done that and know what restraint it took not to get up and leave.

Stina said...

Yes, we too learned the evening Mass is not for our children last weekend. Except we were at the last chance Sunday Mass. We now have new motivation to get our butts out of bed on Sunday mornings!

Beth said...

I never ever cluck my tongues at parents with unruly kids during Mass.

I like unruly kids. Because the more unruly kids there are, the better my unruly kids look!

kat said...

At least she didn't try to change her own diaper in a pew overflowing with people in a standing room only crowd. That happen a couple of years ago to a mom just behind me and, of course, older sister had to yell at the top of her voice telling the entire congregation what was happening. As mom was running for the door, I race her down and gave her a hug. Poor thing. And just two weeks ago, I heard behind me, a dad tell his son "just wait til I get you home." I also made sure that I praised the parents of that threesome. See, three of my five were up on the alter serving and I know exactly how they felt.

mel said...

My 3yo was a monster at mass this week as well...he's been getting better, but every so often we have a terrible time again. I never bat an eye at naughty children in mass either...I've been there too many times and mostly I'm just amused to see I'm not the only one. :)

Sniz said...

Oh, my. You just described evening church with kids, all right. I feel for ya, babe! She said your butt looked big? And she's still alive?

Kasia said...

My fiance threw one public temper tantrum as a child. I think they were at the store and he wanted to look at the toys but there wasn't time, so he started wailing. His mother walloped him one on the butt and walked out of the store with him. He never did it again.

(Of course, that was pre-1980, so public spanking was not the cardinal sin that it seems to be now...)

Hopefully Emma is as quick a study as Hope and the Canuck were...

Lori said...

I keep asking my kids "Do you like spankings?" And to their "What, are you crazy, Mom?" looks, I say "Then figure it out...when you do this, you get a spanking. Simple enough!"

I, too, was spanked once as a child...ONCE, period, not just after Mass...I figured out darn quick that it HURT!!! I try telling my kids this, but they won't listen...Sorry for Aaron's learning curve, but I'm glad to know there are other kids out there that don't catch on that quick.

And at least you could respectably consume alcohol after an evening Mass, instead of, say, 9:30 am (not that I haven't been THERE, too!)

the Mom said...

Cris,
Been there, done that. I, too, hate the children's Mass.

Your little ones need to learn what mine did this weekend..I may not spank you in public, but I will put you in the corner. And as they discovered, God's house has corners too!

annemcd said...

There's a reason why at the end of Mass Father tells us to go in peace and we parents cry out, "Thanks be to God!!!!"

Anonymous said...

I used to say that they could use our kids as the Planned Parenthood Poster Family -- Don't End Up Like These People!

Now, my kids will stand outside of Planned Parenthood with a poster. Maybe they weren't so bad after all.

Texas Mom

chestertonian said...

Bless you, Cris. Wonderful post. We've been in the same spot with our kids at Mass before and it always sucks. Many trips home after Mass have ended with a spanking -- and then a trip to the fridge for a beer.

I think you get time off in Purgatory for the nasty stares you get from others (old people are the worst, in my experience. You'd think they of all people would know).

Sister Mary Martha said...

We had quite the discussion about the whole problem, starting here:
http://asksistermarymartha.blogspot.com/2008/01/mass-suffering.html

Julie said...

One the bad side: Spankings for the lot of them until they learn to behave!
When they're good: Donuts after Mass! The bad kids have to watch the good kids eat the donuts. Doesn't entice as much on a Saturday night as on a Sunday morning, though.
A year or two ago, my husband and the 3 older kids were somewhere when I had to take the 3 little kids to Mass with me on Saturday night. The toddler was rotten, but so were the 3/4 and 5/6 year olds. I got to a point where I said, outloud, "That's it! We're outta here!" The priest HEARD ME and LOOKED UP! SHOCKED. I was so embarrassed!

Hope said...

we avoid the sat mass and the 11 am sunday mass for the same reason...it's like some srot of devils triangle time wise...nope we go early on sunday while the kids are still in stupor...by the time they wake up Mass is over and it's time for CCE...it's a delicate yet altogether blessed balance.

Stephanie said...

Do I dare respond? I'm not sure you can ban me for having a different view on the situation. I have been reading here for a short time and I love your sense of humor.
This post hurts and all of these replies hurt too so what to say???

Maybe nothing but as a mother, a Christian, a radical unschooler and a trying to be a respectful parent I just can't shut up.

I am sorry that you all spank your kids, wow I just don't know what to say, maybe I'll just shut up. Maybe you might reconsider your view on spanking, who knows?

Stina said...

OH...I have an award for you on my blog.

Momto5Minnies said...

I actually enjoy evening mass. I find it very calming after a day of pure busy. Of course mass has really been a lot more meaningful to me since my husband (who is in RCIA) comes with me (all the time) and my 2 year old mostly attends the nursery ;)

Therese said...

Bless your heart, Chris! You might also try sitting up in the first row at mass. Keep reminding the kids that Father can see them, and sitting up so close, they can follow what is going on, so their behavior GREATLY improves. Be sure and tell her that there is a miracle about to happen, that Jesus will be there at the Consecration and then during the Consecration she must be very quiet and very reverent. Even the baby will be able to understand when you whisper in her ear, very reverently, "shhh, be very quiet. Look, it's Jesus. It's a miracle."
or whisper to whichever one you are holding to say quietly to herself when the priest elevates the Host, "I love you Jesus." It instills the sense of wonder we all should have, and it gets them to understand better what is happening which children can really appreciate. It always worked for me!

Kasia said...

Or you could do what the neighbors down the street did to their kids and TBS...tell them that the candle by the tabernacle means that Jesus is in the tabernacle, and do they know what that means? That means JESUS CAN SEE YOU, so you'd better behave in church, because JESUS WILL KNOW IF YOU DIDN'T! :-p

Worked on TBS, but she was a very obedient child to begin with...

Kasia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elijah said...

Churches should have a sound proof spanking room.

family intervention said...

Consuming alcohol is really not good for your health. Instead of drinking, you should probably be spending some quality time with your family.