What is it about going to church, that makes me want my family to look perfect?

Why is it that that is where I notice, the other families who seem so nicely put together.

Unlike mine.

Have you ever seen them? These nice big families where the children are all sitting quietly, the girls all have their hair done, their all dressed nicely . . .and I’m sitting there thinking why can’t I do that?? Now, I’ve gotten to know enough of these moms to tell you that they actually are human too. But I’m still working on not comparing.

And so it was, a few Sundays ago, I was herding all of my dear children into church–late of course–hoping for a nice, quiet, well-behaved, inconspicious entrance when, well . . .the comedy began to unfold.

My husband stepped out for a moment to take a phone call and I couldn’t find a pew empty enough to accommodate all 7 of us so I figured half of us could sit in one pew and half of us could sit in the pew behind. Sounds simple enough. So I march my little ones, myself and my daughter into a pew and motion for my boys to sit in the pew behind me.

But they won’t budge. So I’m gesturing away. And their gesturing back and I’m gesturing bigger and . . .

then the people behind us brought to my attention that the people next to us had actually moved so there was room for all now.

Yes, Mass was going on the whole time.

So now with everyone settled, I’m sitting there, trying to throw myself back into the Mass but feeling like everyone around me must be looking at me, judging me.

You know how when the kids are little and they’re doing things like running out into the aisles and making noise and you feel like you’re running a three-ring circus right in church? That day, I realized there was more than one way to run a circus.

Or how about the time a couple months ago, when we were heading to the early Mass and it was time to go and my 4 year old could’t find his shoes? So I said just get in the car and so we get to church and  I’m looking down at his feet  and his socks don’t even match, now completely exposed since he’s actually wearing no shoes.

Sometimes Mass feels more like a comedy of errors than a prayer.

But the truth is, the only thing that’s hurt in these situations is my pride. And yes, the kids can be quite distracting in Mass but so can my own pride, my fear of being judged and me looking around judging others.

You know, we women love to compare.

But that’s not why we come to Mass. Not to judge, not to be judged. Not to have our ego fed.

We come to be in the presence of the God of the universe and to have our souls fed and our will strengthened to continue to do this crazy parenting thing.

The kids are distracting enough . . .let’s try not to distract ourselves with things we don’t really need to worry about.

Personally, I think God smiles at mismatch socks.

One comment on “The Divine Comedy–Taking my family to Church

  1. Shahzad

    Your honesty and humor about family dynamics in church resonate deeply. Thank you for reminding us that imperfection is part of the human experience, and that ultimately, it’s the spiritual nourishment we seek, not perfection.

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