Childrearing

Anonymous Mom: I’m Raising My Son Catholic But We’re Not Ignorant Bible-Thumpers

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church aisleAnonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.

My husband and I both grew up in families that regularly attended church, but our attendance waned as we got older. By the time we met, neither of us had attended church in years. We decided that if we were going to raise a family, it was important that we start going to church again. Two weeks after we got married, we found a church and have gone almost every Sunday since.

I didn’t really know what to expect, but to my surprise it all felt very familiar and welcoming. As we became regular church-goers again, an incredible thing began to happen. Things that we had been fretting over and worrying about in our lives just started working out for us. There was a sense of peace that fell over us and our relationship, and we gained a lot of perspective. As the week would go on, I could feel tension and anger over everyday stresses building up, but then attending service was almost like recharging my batteries. Church became my place of self-reflection and almost like meditation. I enjoy the message, but it is also a place where I look deep inside myself to see where I fit in to the equation.

I became pregnant about two months after we started attending church again. After I had our baby, I missed a few weeks of service. My husband went by himself when our son was a week old. When he came home, he told me that at least a dozen people stopped him to ask if I had had the baby. They were so excited for us and offered him their blessings and prayers. When he told me that story, it really made me realize that we didn’t just join a church, we joined a community. I had no idea anyone even paid attention to us, and for them to take the time to send their support meant a lot to me. Since then, I have made more of an effort to be aware of others around me and offer the same compassion that we received.

As to why I think it is important for my son (and any future children) to grow up in a church, the reasons are endless. It is a place outside of the home where he is given unconditional love. We are instilling values in him that are being reinforced by people who are not his parents. For one hour out of the week, he can be in a place where he feels completely safe, knowing that no one around him will be rude, call him names, or harm him in any way.

My son is still a toddler, but when a teenager holds the door for me, calls me ma’am, and helps carry my bag or takes my missal back to the lobby for me, I am glad he is witness to these acts and hope he grows up to be just as polite. He also participates with us in donating food to the food bank every month, adopting a family every Christmas, and volunteering our time and money to help those less fortunate.

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