These topics distress me enough to write two blog posts in one week! People! Why do we argue about how to attend church with our kids? *shakes head mouth ajar*

In case you’re new to this controversy, it’s yet another way good people waste time on the internet: getting huffy about how others attend church with their kids. For reference, my kids are 7, 5, 3, and 14 months. The 7 year old always goes, but it depends with the others.

We can all agree to this: attending Mass is a profound privilege and the most important part of our week! We aspire to be reverent, to worship, and to not detract from other’s experiences of the same.

We struggle to agree on children’s place in all this: they should be in the cry room; they should be in the front row; they shouldn’t come until they’re old enough to behave like adults; they should come and behave as they’re able to and we should welcome them despite their struggles.

Our family has done it all: parents splitting up to go to Mass alone; me solo with all four kids; older kids with us; toddler at home; front row; back row; middle row; books and coloring; nothing; bribes of donuts; threats of trouble, etc.

My experiences has taught me that nothing is more humbling than expecting and demanding that my small children behave a certain way in public. Especially in a public place that should be quiet and reverent.

What works for you this week might not work next, same for this year to the next. Maybe you’re embarrassed and stopped going to Mass because your spouse isn’t into it anyway and suffering through temper tantrums and dirty looks is too much. Maybe your nine kids behave like angels and the older help with the younger. Maybe you’re desperate to actually pray during Mass and leave the little kids with a relative so you can have an hour of peace.

Let the children come to Jesus.

Please, be sympathetic if you think a family isn’t shutting their kids up and they should. Maybe one of them is on the spectrum and they’re doing their best. Please, be kind to the mom whose three kids under three are crawling around and crying and she’s not taking them to the back. Maybe her postpartum depression is crushing her. Please, don’t turn around and glare if two kids are scuffling in the pew while their mom is trying to discretely feed a younger sibling. Maybe it’s hard to feed a baby in public.

If you think people aren’t being reverent at Mass (repeatedly) because of how they allow their kids to behave, first pray about it and then talk to your priest. Please leave the family alone. They’re probably exhausted and trying their best. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.


So what’s that phrase? March in like a lion, out like a lamb? I vote there should be one for February. In like a funk, out like ___. “a fun time?” “a frenzy?”

This month has been bitterly cold. January is always bitterly cold in Minnesota, but this Feb has taken the cake. When I was little, it was cold like this, but now as an adult, it’s been relatively mild for a while. Yes, Minnesotans talk about the weather, a lot. There’s a debate (light hearted? cold hearted?) going on both on my instagram and Facebook about how many layers we bundle our kids up to go out in the morning. Watch me zoom around getting everyone into their duds and you tell me! (I let them play in the snowbanks on the way back in so that’s part of the snow pants part!) (I also was always cold as a kid so . . . projecting?)

The funk has been more pervasive for me than the cold weather.

Maybe it’s because I saw a single mom friend’s support system crumble. Maybe it’s because a friend’s baby is home on hospice. Maybe it’s because we attend kinder-12th grade Mass at our parochial school and I want to earnestly remind all the high schoolers that this is the best way to spend your morning (like a crazy middle aged mom) as some of them giggle in the pew and crack their knuckles.

When my kids are all in school and I’m facing hours of my own time to myself, I’ll find another excuse why the bathrooms aren’t clean and I’m not exercising. I’ll have reasons why I can’t call that older old friend and say hello even if I might not speak to them again. And it won’t be because I’m nursing down for naps.

Hold on, Nell! So profound!

But it hit me deeper, in a raw place, of excusing myself from completely entering into my own life because I’m either annoyed I can’t do what I want, or held back from diving in with the kids for fear of losing what little is left of me.

That which is left of me from pre-kids is pretty slender, given I’ve either been nursing or pregnant for 8 years. I’m still pre-baby me. I’m selfish and I’m small, I’m gluttonous and I’m lazy. Having kids has made me less filled with all these vices because I must tend to them and their needs, even if I’m doing it without a charitable heart. Let’s hope I lose all of that!

I’m using the fact I have littles in my life as the ultimate excuse for not being fully preset to my life.

What’s holding you back from being fully present to your own life? Lent is the perfect time for me to examine these ugly truths, these things I’d rather paper over with chocolate late at night (because no sweets is our thing!). If you’re doing the Lent journal along with thousands of other Blessed is She sisters, I’m praying alongside you. I hope you’re brave enough to face your ugliness too and come out from the 40 days a little more honest, a little more real. I hope to be!

I’m not on my blogging game! I have so many drafts but the interruptions are constant and the time scarce. The baby (toddler, truth be told) got four molars at once so no one has slept much. Work has been insane for my husband so mostly I’m battling many kids on all fronts by evening and can’t inch over to my computer!


Yes, I reopened my Whole Parenting Goods shop with flannel skirts for the deep cold of winter that Minnesota is experiencing. Mostly because I just love flannel and lace. A few are left!


It is a mere two weeks away and Blessed is She has another reflection journal authored by Laura Kelly Fanucci, even more amazing than our Advent one, and that’s saying something. If you want to do something different this Lent, something deeper, something beautiful and hope filled, it’s here. We always sell out so if you’re on the fence, get off it. Laura wrote more about it on her blog. The short of it is that “She Who Believed” is a journey through the Old Testament ladies and New Testament ones, hearing their stories and hearing our own echoing within them. It all ties in with our journeying with Christ toward Calvery. Beautiful and life changing!

Okay, now for the big discussion.

Can we all agree that mothers who work outside the home and mothers who work in the home are all doing their best? I have yet to meet a mother who is determined to ruin her children’s emotional and mental health. I wrote about it extensively last year when I was on the Jennifer Fulwiler show discussing it but it bears repeating. Being a career mom is not an immoral choice. Being a neglectful and unloving mom is. The two are not synonymous.

That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Back to nursing & rocking, my fav evening activity. I *might* even shower later!! Exciting times!


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