On Ash Wednesday I took my three older kids to church alone. I left the twins home with their dad since one of them was sick.
Our family hasn't been to church since Christmas. We used to go every week for ten years. Then little by little for the next two years my husband was going with us less and less until he was going not at all unless it was a holiday. I got very sick of taking them alone so this past summer when school let out I gave up and all of us quit going. It was just too hard for me to deal with all the kids alone in church while my husband spent his Sundays at home sleeping. It was causing me a lot of resentment towards him.
On Ash Wednesday the service was at 730. All the kids were tired and didn't want to go but I made them anyway. When we got there I seated my twelve and ten year olds on one side of me and my eight year old on the other side of me closest to the aisle so he wouldn't be sliding back and forth to the end of the pew and back. Most kids these ages can handle sitting in church, especially if they had been going since birth as my kids had up until recently.
My eight year old was never the best at sitting through church, but when his dad was with me he acted much better, wasn't disruptive and just fidgeted. When it is just me he is absolutely awful!
This particular day he was more horrible than I have ever seen him. He kicked the kneeler. He slammed the kneeler up and down. He stood on his knees in the pew so no one behind us could see. He laid under the pew. He laid across the pew. He sat in the aisle. He stood when we were supposed to kneel and sat when we were supposed to stand. Every time I whispered stop he said "NO hahaha" loudly. When I said shhhhh it was louder than whatever he was doing. I could feel myself getting redder with embarrassment. I covered his mouth and he was obvious about pulling away from me. I tried to pull him up to stand and he went limp. I tried to push on his shoulders to get him to kneel and he locked his knees. I couldn't win. By now I was so hot I thought I would pass out.
I felt very self conscious and worried what everyone thought. I just knew people were looking at us wondering what kind of mother I am that I can't control such an old child. He clearly appeared to be a very misbehaved child and I appeared to be a mother who has no idea what I'm doing. I wonder though, did they see how well behaved the other two kids were. I hope so, because they all have the same parenting so it is undeniably just the one child that can not sit through church. I tried to remind myself that they don't know my child, me or our struggles. It really didn't help but I tried to keep my composure.
By the time I left the church I was sweating profusely as if I had run a few miles, I felt as if I would cry, and I remembered just why I do not take these kids to church by myself any longer! I think that hour was just about enough church for us until Good Friday!
Do your kids behave in church?
Do you have a bad experience to share?