I will be the first to admit that Mass does not always go well for us. With 6 little people all wanting different things how could it. Being still a bit of a newbie to Catholicism I began going to Mass when my youngest daughter was about 4 or 5 months old. I started to wonder why would any sane woman put herself through all that to come to Mass. After understanding the strong need for the Eucharist and wanting my children to have Faith that they could only get by fighting through it, I started to figure out what worked and what didn’t.
1. Lovies. Every kid has one. Take the lovie if anything in secret so that when a problem arises the child be calmed by his/her lovie.
2. No food/drink. This does not include infants. Kids and yes even toddlers can go an hour without eating or drinking. It’s distracting and can add problems for another parent. Not to mention the mess that may or may not be made.
3. Support. My husband is very good about taking turns handling one kid or the other. It’s nice to have him there when Duke feels like pouting or Little Kermit is hungry or even when the older 2 decide to fight or play. I can’t say divide and conquer more like divide and calm.
4. Blessing. Duke has a habit as all children do of constantly asking is it over yet. I tell him you have to get your Blessing first. He doesn’t pay better attention but he does get excited to get his Blessing. Even to the point where occasionally he runs from the back of the Church to the front of the Chapel to jump in line.
5. Books/coloring Books. This worked well for the girls for a short period of time. We stuck to religious books only. This way they understood this was a special day. It was meant to be celebrated with Jesus and God not Dora and Sponge Bob. When they got older the Mass books were great.
6. Children’s Church/Liturgy. Duke and Bubbles enjoy getting to go and hear things on their level. They only miss the readings and the homily. Plus it gives us time to focus on the other 4.
7. Pray hard to Mother Mary. There is no one who understands more than her what we are going through. There is nothing in the Bible that says Jesus was a clam and easy-going toddler. 🙂 I recently was having a hard time juggling kids when I found a prayer card. It affirmed to me that Mother Mary had her hand on my shoulder and was going to continue to help me through. ( I love how the Holy Spirit works)
8. Breathe. No matter if you get to hear the homily or miss out on the Eucharist. You are blessed for just being there. You are showing your children how important being in God’s House really is. You are giving them the best example of carrying a cross they will one day bare themselves. It’s funny to imagine my kiddos one day wrestling their 2-year-old during Mass. What a wonderful thought.
Whatever you do don’t give up. Remember why you decided to bring them up in the Catholic Faith or your Faith. Kids need boundaries as well as love. Show them why Church/Mass is important to you and they will grow to appreciate it as well. As we return this Sunday with all the kiddos after missing 2 weeks because of illness, I will be praying very hard for Mother Mary to help me survive another Mass. Have a Blessed weekend 😀