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Old 03-05-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: MA
675 posts, read 1,574,072 times
Reputation: 925

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So we're barely halfway through Ash Wednesday and I already feel like a Lent failure.

One kid is sick and my husband is travelling on business so it looks like I won't make it to Mass - Ash Wednesday won't have any ashes

I'm also nursing another child and even though I intended to fast as much as possible, I feel like I just can't do it. Still abstaining and trying to eat simply but I'm struggling - nursing leaves me so hungry.

On top of it all I just feel so apart from God right now. At Mass I'm always wrangling squirmy kids, and at home I barely get any alone time to have some quiet contemplation and prayer. I'm realizing that even when I do have time to do something on my own (to write on City-Data for example) it's eyes open, distracted, always with an eye on what the kids are doing, and often I'm interrupted. Life lately isn't conducive to meditation or prayer time with God.

I can spend time leading the kids in prayer or reading Bible stories or guiding them through Mass, etc. but it's not the same faith experience I had before I had kids, it feels so diluted and distracted.

Could use some comfort and advice - how do you keep up your personal faith life with young kids? What will you do this Lent?

Thanks all.
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:40 AM
 
1,312 posts, read 1,378,095 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribechamy View Post
So we're barely halfway through Ash Wednesday and I already feel like a Lent failure.

One kid is sick and my husband is travelling on business so it looks like I won't make it to Mass - Ash Wednesday won't have any ashes

I'm also nursing another child and even though I intended to fast as much as possible, I feel like I just can't do it. Still abstaining and trying to eat simply but I'm struggling - nursing leaves me so hungry.

On top of it all I just feel so apart from God right now. At Mass I'm always wrangling squirmy kids, and at home I barely get any alone time to have some quiet contemplation and prayer. I'm realizing that even when I do have time to do something on my own (to write on City-Data for example) it's eyes open, distracted, always with an eye on what the kids are doing, and often I'm interrupted. Life lately isn't conducive to meditation or prayer time with God.

I can spend time leading the kids in prayer or reading Bible stories or guiding them through Mass, etc. but it's not the same faith experience I had before I had kids, it feels so diluted and distracted.

Could use some comfort and advice - how do you keep up your personal faith life with young kids? What will you do this Lent?

Thanks all.
Just an idea, maybe there's a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group in your area. We've had one for years. MOPS Home Page

When I Became a Mom... - YouTube

Last edited by Cephas40; 03-05-2014 at 11:16 AM..
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:08 AM
 
32,524 posts, read 34,863,222 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribechamy View Post

I can spend time leading the kids in prayer or reading Bible stories or guiding them through Mass, etc. but it's not the same faith experience I had before I had kids, it feels so diluted and distracted.

Could use some comfort and advice - how do you keep up your personal faith life with young kids? What will you do this Lent?

Thanks all.
Your life is different now. Try hard to not compare your faith life before and after kids. Things have changed. Your faith is still there. That's what counts. You may not have ashes but you have.... a family. I'd encourage you to think about what you have now and not what you used to have.

Of course you'll have to snatch moments to do all that thinking since you're a Mom now but.... Lent isn't something that's "failed" simply because your body wasn't in a particular place at a particular time. As far as feeling apart from God, this is the time to trust that He's there. He's there in the noise and the diaper changes and the fussing and crying and the sick child in the middle of the night and the story time and the play time and the dozens of things that now fill your days.

Be well. Be blessed.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
31,378 posts, read 17,865,232 times
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The OP's story sounds much like my life when trying to combine being a stay-at-home Dad while writing a book and/or magazine articles. Focusing is difficult and sometimes nigh impossible. You can't help but get frazzled.

As a nursing Mom with a couple of kids and with hubbie on the road, it's no wonder you're feeling betwixt and between.

Cut yourself some slack. Take advantage whenever possible to have a bit of quiet time. (I learned to get a lot done during their naps.)

Try not to fret. I'm sure your God understands.

(And before you know it, the little rug rats will be in school and your life will become near-normal again.)
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:37 AM
 
Location: USA
17,157 posts, read 10,127,481 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutDude View Post
The OP's story sounds much like my life when trying to combine being a stay-at-home Dad while writing a book and/or magazine articles. Focusing is difficult and sometimes nigh impossible. You can't help but get frazzled.

As a nursing Mom with a couple of kids and with hubbie on the road, it's no wonder you're feeling betwixt and between.

Cut yourself some slack. Take advantage whenever possible to have a bit of quiet time. (I learned to get a lot done during their naps.)

Try not to fret. I'm sure your God understands.

(And before you know it, the little rug rats will be in school and your life will become near-normal again.)
I learned to get a lot of sleeping done during their naps. In those days, it was much needed.

Tribechamy, there's simply no denying that for most of us, being a mom of small children is a taxing time, mentally, emotionally and physically. Trying to have the same kind of experiences that you had before kids can leave you feeling down on yourself and resentful of your family. As I see it, focusing on your hubby and kids and taking care of yourself IS "mediating" on God, just in a different way than before.
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:56 AM
 
Location: MA
675 posts, read 1,574,072 times
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Thanks all for the comfort. I like the idea of meditating in a different way than before - it's a reminder that family life is actually seen as a vocation as much as the consecrated religious life. You've all also reminded me that it's no small thing that my faith is there - that I'm faithful enough to worry that I'm not faithful enough.

Thank you.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Missouri Ozarks
7,372 posts, read 18,496,848 times
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First of all, you are not a failure.
I don't have any young kids at home but I still have distractions and I think most of us probably do. When I hear of people sitting around and doing quiet time with God, my question is, how do they do it?

About the only quiet time I have is when I go to bed at night. I use that time to talk to God, ask forgivness, etc. I have a few devotions I read and a chapter a day out of the Bible I read. Even though my days are chaotic with things going on, I get these all read. It's not how I would like it to be, where I could have an hour of quiet time daily, but it is something, even though it's throughout the day. Instead of focusing on one specific quiet time, do it throughout the day. Get some kid friendly books, short stories and read them to your kids. Kids love stories, but short ones.

Some will disagree with me but I think it's better to make an effort throughout the day than do nothing at all. God understands our situations.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
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Is there no childcare at Mass? I don't remember from my childhood. We're Presbyterian now, and our church has a nursery for babies/toddlers, and for pre-school to 1st grade, the children stay in church for about 15 min. where the pastor has all the kids come up to the chancel stairs where he says the "word to the children" (basically, sums up the homily for them on their level, in a 2 min. talk), and then they go to a class. That way parents can focus without wrangling little kids. But maybe not all Catholic churches have that sort of thing for babies and little kids?
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:38 PM
 
Location: MA
675 posts, read 1,574,072 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverian View Post
Is there no childcare at Mass? I don't remember from my childhood. We're Presbyterian now, and our church has a nursery for babies/toddlers, and for pre-school to 1st grade, the children stay in church for about 15 min. where the pastor has all the kids come up to the chancel stairs where he says the "word to the children" (basically, sums up the homily for them on their level, in a 2 min. talk), and then they go to a class. That way parents can focus without wrangling little kids. But maybe not all Catholic churches have that sort of thing for babies and little kids?
Most churches I know don't have childcare. I once went to a church that did have it and it was nice for the first few masses but then I realized (about a month later, at a church that *didn't* have childcare) that our kids weren't learning how to behave in church - a lifetime of good habits lost in a few weeks.

We've also been to churches where the kids go into another room for kid-sized versions of the readings and homily. That's a great practice but it only works for the older kids (not squirmy babies and toddlers!) We attend a church with a "crying room" now - it's still hard to concentrate but at least we're hanging out with all of the other families and don't have to worry about disrupting the service if baby starts crying.

Ideally I do the readings and pray on my own before Mass, I've gotten out of the habit, hoping to start doing that again this Lenten season!
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Old 03-05-2014, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,163 posts, read 25,753,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribechamy View Post
Most churches I know don't have childcare. I once went to a church that did have it and it was nice for the first few masses but then I realized (about a month later, at a church that *didn't* have childcare) that our kids weren't learning how to behave in church - a lifetime of good habits lost in a few weeks.

We've also been to churches where the kids go into another room for kid-sized versions of the readings and homily. That's a great practice but it only works for the older kids (not squirmy babies and toddlers!) We attend a church with a "crying room" now - it's still hard to concentrate but at least we're hanging out with all of the other families and don't have to worry about disrupting the service if baby starts crying.

Ideally I do the readings and pray on my own before Mass, I've gotten out of the habit, hoping to start doing that again this Lenten season!
We have a "cry room" too and used it when our twins were babies that would usually sleep through the whole thing. For our kids, once they start 1st grade they have to sit through the whole thing and learn to behave for an hour. I remember my grandfather bribing me with mints in Mass when I was very young lol! But it's just beyond comprehension for little kids, IMO.
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