I have 3.8yo DS and 8mo DD. I normally take both to our family morning service and sit with the music group (I used to play in the music group pre-DC) and the others that are part of the group are supportive and try to help out. DH wants the children brought up going to church but normally only goes at Christmas and Easter so I muddle through each Sunday morning and take sticker books and colouring for DS and use the Happy Bags the church provide with books in. Each week I feel we cope but I end up focussed on the DC rather than the main reason for us going. I would love DH to come with us but don't want to pressurise him too much so that he becomes resentful.
Today for various reasons we weren't ready in time for the morning service so I suggested to DH that we all went to the 5.30 service. DS really misbehaved though - wanting to run round, slapping DH and pulling his glasses, pulling my hair and being noisy. There is a side chapel where some people with children sit but I'd rather not resort to that as at some point DS will have to learn and it detaches us even more from the reason to be there. I was grateful that DH was there and I didn't have to manage by myself but I fear DH has been put off coming! One not so helpful lady also afterwards came up to me holding DS and said to him "You need to be a good boy when you come to church" and gave me a knowing look that made me feel a completely useless mother.
I guess I'm sleep deprived on top of that thanks to DD waking and lack of lie in this weekend. Just needed to let that all out. If anyone is still reading and cares to say a quick prayer to help my feelings from today's experience pass, for DH to come and support at church a bit more and for it generally to get easier, I@d appreciate it!
Actually I agree with you seeker , in fact I don't think there should be faith schools, however my point for this thread was that whether at a faith school as Ginger suggests or not, in England, for the foreseeable future they will be expected to get used to prayers and assemblies, however I think that is different at church when there may be other more appropriate options. Also as her son will probably be one of the youngest in the year he may find it challenging at school too.
ds is younger than your ds SES and he really enjoys the children's liturgy, it's not just a way of keeping him quiet, so I would go down that route.
I'd tell him you really need him to come with you.
If it's a lie-in issue, he can take the kids somewhere n Saturday morning and you can relax, then Sundays you both go to church, then afterward you take the kids somewhere for a bit and he goes home and relaxes. Would that work? On Sundays after Mass if DS has behaved himself we get coffee and juice and donuts and go to the park.
CheerfulYank - it is partly a lie in issue. DH takes DS to Rugbytots on a Saturday morning so I may suggest I have a lie in Saturdays as DD currently will often sleep (other than one or two wakings in the night!) until 8am. DH can then have his lie in Sunday when I go to church. Will need to rethink when I'm back at work end of April though as I will be working Saturday mornings! The idea of DS getting to go to the playground as a treat if he behaves nicely is a good one too.
SES - get your arse over to chat! where have you been?!
it gets easier the more you do it, is the only answer.
is Children's Liturgy the same as sunday school? if there isn't one in your church but they often have loads of children, it might be worth talking to your priest about starting one. (the parents who use it could take turns being "in charge") then, even if they are supposed to be "part" of the service, they could all sit together at the front for most of the service.
I actually think, though, that you're worrying too much.
Do you think that others are judging you because your DS is trying to run about? they're not, you know.
Let your DS go into children's liturgy, and you hang around the music group with DD. You'll feel a lot less stressed that you've not got both to deal with, and you can concentrate on the service better. Whe DD was 8 months, she was no hassle at all. She's a bit more lively now, but at least she can hold herself up and entertain herself for a while (while we're doing the anthem after communion, one or two of the ladies in the church take her to their pews so I can concentrate)
DH and I used to split up our lie-ins that way (me Saturday, him Sunday) but now we both go to church, so when we get home DH has a nap and I hang out with DS. Although now that DS is older he often gets an hour of TV and DH and I both have a bit of a shag lie down.
We've taken our five children to church from Day 1 and have not found it to be particularly difficult.
One of the things that we have done is to insist on good behaviour (or behaviour that is not annoying to others), and I have made a point of doing this without resorting to snacks.
When they were little, we virtually straitjacketed them into staying still and would thrust a book in front of them. Our church has excellent goody bags with board books and soft toys.
If they are brought up with the expectation of good behaviour in church, they will see it as second nature.
It helps to go to a lively church, with a high standard of children's work. Our children were only in the main service for 20 minutes before going to their own groups. A lot of that 20 minutes was fairly engaging for young children, with lively songs, maybe a baptism, and perhaps something 'fun', (eg a quiz or treasure hunt).
My kids are 6 and 2 and we tend not to take the younger one to the monthly all-age service because there are no Sunday school groups and he can't sit still for an hour, even though the service is aimed at families. On other Sundays they are in for the first 10 mins and then go off to crèche/Sunday school. DH often takes them on his own as I work some Sundays, and some Sundays I sing with the music group. I think he'd be pretty unimpressed if I wanted him to take them so I could have a quiet morning in bed though! I go to the evening service (which is not child friendly) on my own sometimes, is that an option? It can be difficult to gt anything out of it for yourself if all you are doing is crowd control ...
I think you're right - I was being too hard on mysf. It was exacerbated by tiredness which never helps get a good perspective now, does it?! I did manage to make it to weekday mass today with just DD as DS was in pre-school, and feel much better for it.
My DH started to go to church when the kids started saying "why do I have to go, Daddy doesn't!". Depending on the child, it gets easier when they are able to read or take part, generally. If the service isn't child friendly, that makes it harder to integrate them. And for me, it still hasn't got easier at church, but harder, DS is now 11 and sometimes creates havoc (but then he does have SN). I'm beginning to think that the Holy Spirit has been overgenerous with the gift of Joy, when it comes to him! He is such a happy boy, it just spills out!
Yes Mary, I think - as with most things - it does depend a bit on the child.
Thank you for everyone's support. It's helped me realise that I need to pursue the lie in sharing with DH, go once a month to the evening service by myself or with just one DC, routinely go to the family service and start DS going to children's liturgy.
MaryBS: I'm with you there! The church we've been part of for the last two years isn't just accepting of DS2, they positively celebrate him. He is always the first to volunteer to go up to the front to help with waving flags, holding something for the vicar during the all-age talk etc. We have had several people say that DS2's openness and obvious enjoyment of the music actually inspires them in their worship.
DS2 is 22 months and can be hard work. We have an in church creche where little ones can sit and play. Luckily our minister has a 3 year old who is often as lively as DS2 so he says not to worry about any noise. People are generally very accepting of the kids.