Dear Moms who bring their kids to daily Mass, Church, adoration, and other church-ly activities, Thanks. Thanks for being an inspiration to women like me who are getting ready to start our own little screaming, crying, talk-whenever-they-want, make-all-kinds-of-bodily-noises brood. The fact that you bring your one (or seven, or somewhere in between) children to daily Mass with you gives me hope. I'm not going to lie, I can sometimes get distracted by the incredible cuteness of your children. I love when they say "AMEN" louder (and longer) than the rest of the congregation. The way they go up for communion, genuflect, and wait for Father to bless them is basically the cutest thing ever. And you know what? I even love when they scream and run around the church during Mass. I love it because they are there, you are there and together you are trying. So what if they don't behave perfectly at every Mass? So what if they smack their lips in the back of the adoration chapel because it makes a cool noise? So what if your baby screams bloody murder before the choir starts playing the communion song? The fact of the matter is that you are there and you are witnessing to the beauty of children and of family. You are witnessing to the beauty of motherhood, and I for one couldn't be more grateful. There are days, as my own due date draws closer, that I wonder how on earth I'll ever enjoy Mass again. But then I look at you and your kids, and even on the days they misbehave, those kids bring so much joy to Mass that I can't help but be filled with hope. Instead of being filled with worry and dread, I see you teaching your kids about Mass, about Jesus, about the responses we sing and say and what a gift our priests are and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to do the same with my kids. For the record, I'm also sorry for all the times someone has given you nasty looks when your children are crying. I'm sorry for the priests who have told you - individually or from the pulpit - to take your kids to the cry room for the duration of Mass or who have suggested you leave your kids at home. I know it happens and it breaks my heart, because as a 'Mom in waiting' you and your family give me hope and remind me of the beauty of family and the vocation of marriage - a reminder we could all use a little more of, if you ask me. For every sneering face you see, I'd be willing to bet there are at least a few like me who are grateful that you are there - even if we don't say it. You mothers (and fathers!) give us hope that life doesn't end when we start a family and that faith can and does deepen when children come along. So, because I know it doesn't get said nearly enough, thank you. Thank you for coming to Mass with your children, bringing them to adoration and teaching them. The joy of their innocence and the strength of your vocation are truly an inspiration. Love in Christ, Amanda
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