Church is Hit n’ Miss

This week was our church’s primary program where the kids each had a speaking part and they sang cute songs to our congregation. Mr. C was right front and center. He sang the songs, he said his part into the microphone and overall was well behaved.

My husband Michael is currently a primary teacher, so he was up on the stand and even got a few speaking parts too. When little miss A saw her brothers and dad get up out of our pew she wanted to participate too. I tried to hold the little diva star back, but even as I held her, she stood on her tip toes yelling across the congregation, “Dad! Daddy! I see you!” and she was yelling at mr. C too.

Photo by: Juniel Rocca

I figured it was probably going to be a lost cause and I was going to have to drag little bossy miss A out into the waiting area. But I decided to give her one last chance and I asked her, “Are you going to be good? Can you be quiet?” Little miss A nodded and in her 1 year old words told me that yes she would be good. She got down off my lap, stood next to me for a second, walked a few steps away like she was going to pick up a book and then darted out of the pew as fast as she could, and was heading straight for the front of the church.

I jumped out of our pew, darted up the other isle, ran in front of half the congregation and intercepted her, snatch her up mid run and continued right out the side door.

I’ve had church goers over the years ask me why I wear converse shoes to church and not “church shoes” and early on I came up with a good response that is now just my go-to, “Have you met my kids?” If they have, they usually get it and smile. I have energetic, fast, busy kids, and my first was a sneaky runner. I could never keep up with mr. L in heels! If they don’t know my kids and usually scowl at me while saying no, I smile and say, “Oh, you will. Give it time” and I leave before they can ask another invasive question.

Now are you wondering how mr. L did in front of the congregation? He didn’t. Either he didn’t want to or he didn’t understand what was requested of him. We asked his favorite babysitter who happens to be a member of our church to be his buddy during the performance. When his favorite babysitter asked if mr. L wanted to be a part of the primary program mr. L enthusiastically took a quick left and headed for the primary room 🤷‍♀️

This is our kid’s favorite babysitter and his little sister

So little miss A, mr. L, babysitter and I stood around the waiting room during the rest of the primary program. Mr. L occasionally ran across the waiting area laughing and was just happy to be there, little miss A usually followed after him laughing and occasionally tripping over her own shoes, and I chatted with mr. L’s buddy about comic book tv shows and we commented on mr. L’s lack of primary program desire.

I asked Michael over lunch that day, “What percentage of our church congregation do you think, thinks we’re bad parents?” and my husband told me, “The percentage that doesn’t matter” and you know what? He’s right. We don’t go to church for the other members, we go for Jesus.

Now don’t get us wrong, if our kid is yelling, we’ll take them out of the meeting. We shh our kids, we teach them to walk in the halls, to fold their arms during prayer, and to not take a handful of the sacrament bread (we bring our own bread so the kids can have seconds 😜).

But I think some people forget what it’s like to raise kids, children aren’t robots ya know, they need practice just like everyone else… just maybe a little extra practice. And then when you add in autism to the mix, learning the social norms of this once a week ritual can be very confusing.

So to the old lady that pointed at me and said, “Oh you’re the mom with the bad kid, let me teach you how to spank him” before I slap you into next week, I will take a breath and ask, “Can you spank diabetes’s away? Can you spank depression away?” And when you ‘don’t get it’ I’ll already be walking away in my converse shoes.

My husband and I have had so many moments of learning patience when it had come to church members, from being asked to leave to strangers trying to grab my son without my permission. But I have to say, where there are crappy people, you can still find the good.

Over the years we have also found the smiles, the people who do ‘get it’ and even the people who don’t get it but tell us we’re doing a good job. If you want to know how to be a good person, simply tell stressed moms they are doing a good job. There is a special place in heaven for those people.

Over the years Mr. L has got better at going to church, and right now we are in a good place where most of the members are either good with my kids, are trying to help, or know I’ve got it and know I don’t need any disciplining advice 😉

How do your kids handle church? How do you handle church 😜? Have you ever got unsolicited parenting advice?

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  1. My autistic kiddo is 13, so, that means I have gotten unsolicited parenting advice for the last…. 13 years. Church is tough. High ceilings, echoes, singing – can all contribute to sensory overload in a place that is supposed to do the opposite. Of all the places my parenting has been judged, the church community is one of the most hurtful, and just outright hypocritical!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unsolicited parenting advice is the worst. You make a good point with the way most church buildings are built… they don’t seem to have the special needs community in mind when they design those.


  2. We belonged to a great church, with very understanding people, but Chloe just couldn’t deal with the overstimulation of it all. I so miss going.

    Liked by 1 person

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