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BIS LIVES Blog

An Open Letter to Moms at Mass with a Toddler

toddlers kids at mass

Dear Fellow Mom,

Our eyes meet across the church and we exchange soft smiles. This week, it is my toddler causing commotion, announcing his dissatisfaction with the fact that we are trying to sit still and be quiet rather than play. You know the look on my face, how unsettled my heart is right now, as I try to glean something, anything, from the Gospel as my earrings are used playthings and my nose suddenly becomes the most interesting thing to behold.

I shift my son from one arm to the other, feeling a tight pinch in my shoulders, missing my husband’s helping hands right now. I feel the need to flash around my left hand and draw attention to my ringed finger. As if I need to prove my worthiness to be here in God’s house. It is bad enough that my son is boisterous and social during periods of silent prayer. But I am also here alone and feel like there is a spotlight on me and my parenting.

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Thank You for Seeing Me

Thank you for not looking away when our eyes met. For smiling at me, encouraging me through this hour of WrestleMania, striving to draw as little attention to ourselves and utterly failing.

Parenting is hard on any given day for a variety of reasons. We are tired, often lonely, probably undernourished because we subsist on coffee and peanut butter. What used to be a time of peace and personal development has now become (at times) something we dread: Mass. With a toddler. It can be hard enough to get dressed for the day with little hands pulling everything out of drawers and putting anything in their mouth that is not nailed down.

Thank You for Accepting Me

Thank you for offering me encouragement in a space that can be intimidating. For understanding rather than judging. One of these Sundays, when it is your turn to feel drained and strained, blessed but stressed, I will be sitting here with my own little one ready to offer you a warm smile and a silent prayer for peace and grace to help you through your own Sunday morning struggles. Please know that I am rooting for you. Yes, you.

We may not know one outside of “brunette mom of two girls” and “blonde mom of one boy.” We may not ever get a chance to connect after Mass for the next few years because naptime is right after church time and we need to get to the car before our ticking little bombs go off. But I’m cheering you on.

I am thankful for you and I am praying for you.

Sincerely,

Your Sister in Christ

Is there a mom of toddlers in your own parish who shows up faithfully, week after week? Send them some encouragement today?

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LeAnn Wood is a former summer camp director turned middle school teacher. She is a regular consumer of YA literature and coffee. When she isn’t busy with her own little family, she enjoys writing about intentional praying and living on her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Erin
    October 30, 2018 at 1:31 am

    As a mom of a 13-month-old “ticking time bomb” of my own, I really needed this today. Taking my little boy to Mass every week is difficult (but so worth it). I don’t remember the last time I’ve been able to just sit and listen to a homily, or even just sit in the pew for a whole Mass! When things get rough, I try to think of Mother Mary and to remember that what we moms are doing is making God very happy…even when we feel distracted and struggle to be present during Mass!

  • Reply
    Edan
    November 5, 2018 at 7:03 am

    Definitely needed to read this too. My 3 year old was a handful at mass on Saturday evening and now that I have my 5 month old with us at mass as well, it has become very stressful. The weight of raising my boys Catholic is weighing on me heavily since my husband isn’t religious. Keep me and my little family in your prayers. Thank you for this little letter that I needed to see.

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