Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You're Either the Flower or You're the Watering Can

One isn't better than the other. They are complimentary. Both are good. Of course, that's easy for me to say, since I'm the flower.

But it really does seem to be true of all the marriages I'm party to the ins and outs of. And it doesn't always break down according to temperaments or personality type.

I've also heard it referred to as in a marriage someone is the gas and someone is the breaks, but that sounds kind of negative. *I* like flower and watering can.

I think it basically comes down to the fact that, in a relationship, one party feels important and fulfilled by taking care of someone else and the other party feels important and fulfilled by being taken care of. It all works out quite nicely. (And, of course, we both play both roles every now and then.) But I think it's important to be cognizant of which part of the equation we usually are so we can avoid falling into some traps.

If you're wondering which one you are, here are some questions:
  1. Do you do your family's taxes?
  2. Do you usually answer the home phone when it rings?
  3. Do you usually pick the movie?
  4. Is whatever the thing you are working on right now at this moment really, really important and just might change the world?
If you answered "yes" to one and two, you're probably the watering can. If you answered "yes" to three and four, you're probably the flower. If you answered "yes" to some other combination of questions, I'm probably not very good at writing personality quizzes.

I do not do our taxes or keep track of of important deadlines or do most of the periodic maintenance-type stuff around the house because I am too busy thinking about my own list of priorities (even though that list is almost all related to my family -- but it's imposed by me, not outside forces, so I don't suffer it so much). I don't like to get up to answer the phone or look for a lost shoe or find out what all that screaming is about because in my mind anything I'm doing -- whether it's writing a blog post, or making dinner, or doing schoolwork with the kids, or curling my hair, is a really important thing and should not be interrupted.

And even though the vast majority of my time is spent in taking care of other people, it's not because I gain personal satisfaction from being needed by others. When I take care of my home and the needs of my husband and children the satisfaction I get is in the fulfillment of a noble duty and the feeling of having done a job well (hopefully). Other mothers would be motivated to do exactly the same things each day, but for very different reasons. 

Just to clarify: also I love my husband and kids and they are great. Especially the husband. Really, really great. The best.

Which brings me to why any of this matters . . . 

If you have read a post on this blog in which I encouraged you to not focus on finding me-time, you should note that I was talking to other flowers. Let's face it, flowers have almost nothing BUT me-time. When I'm washing a kid's hair in the tub, I'm also working on hashing out a plot point in my novel, or meal-planning for the week, or realizing what I should have written in response to that blog comment. Me-time: I've got it. 

What I do not need is to be encouraged to focus more on myself or make extra time to focus on myself without my children around. That would not help me to be a better person. What *I* need is to be encouraged to rip myself away from all the stuff I'd like to accomplish and give my time and attention to my husband and my children.

But if you're the watering can, when you are reading a story to your children you probably let them pick whatever one they want even if you hate it and don't even leave out paragraphs when you're reading it. Your day probably IS focused on other people and it just might be very important for you to schedule some me-time. I don't know. I haven't been there.

If you're the watering can AND the primary caregiver, well, I don't know how you do it. I'm sure you appreciate feeling needed, but it could easily become too much. I'll bet you look over at your spouse and wonder why in the world he doesn't notice that you need help. Well, as a flower, I can tell you that it's because he genuinely believes that the thing he is engaged in, even if it's objectively a stupid thing, is really important. If he didn't think it was important, he wouldn't have started doing it in the first place.

I'm not trying to excuse it. Just to explain it. We flowers should help you watering cans more. We definitely should. I'm just not sure how you get us to do it, since, really, what we're doing is super important.

If you're the flower and the primary caregiver, I think things around the house naturally have a bit more balance. Between the husband and me, I'm the one who would be more likely to shirk my household responsibilities in favor of other pursuits (like computer-stuff or hobbies) that I think are more important, or at least more edifying. But since I know that the house and the kids are MY job, I know I need to make them a priority. And I do.

But the husband notices when I need help or something needs doing and he does it. It's lovely. So lovely that sometimes I forget that even though they are just as much his kids as they are mine, he has a different full-time job. So if he is putting all the kids to bed because I am having an embroidery emergency or someone on Facebook is wrong about something, I need to be grateful. Grateful enough that he knows I noticed.

And, as the flower, it's not fair for me to expect him to help and look after me in some areas of life, but then get all offended when he does the same thing in other areas. I need to realize that he's just doing what watering cans are supposed to do.

Here's where it would be great to put some advice on how to get flowers to engage and help out, but I guess you'd have to ask the husband. Or talk amongst yourselves. Any watering cans out there have this figured out?

In any case, whether it's fixable or not, I think it's really helpful when dealing with other people, but especially my family, to understand what's motivating them and what's motivating me.

I'm all for increasing self-awareness. I can't work on improving myself if I don't even really know who myself is. (Wow, that's good grammar.) Personality tests -- awesome. Learning about temperaments -- totally blew my mind. Really, I had no idea that everyone didn't see the world just the way I did. I also love the whole introvert/extrovert thing. (If you love an introvert, you should read this comic.)

Understanding if you're the flower or the watering can can help too.

In mostly unrelated news, these exist and are awesome:

found here

Okay, that's probably enough world-altering blogging for me today. I also have a giant pile of laundry to fold. I need to make the world a better place by taking care of that.


Monday, July 29, 2013

We DO In Fact Have Our Hands Full, Do We Not? (A Summer Re-run)

After last week's post about not judging other moms, I figured it might be good to re-run this post about how other moms really aren't judging us anyway!

Back a few years when we lived in Chicago, and I only had three kids, something horrifying happened to me.  The kids and I were in line at the cutting table at the fabric store (which takes a long, long time) behind a young black man with a big pouffy afro.  Jack was three and a half at the time and quite chatty.  The man turned back towards us and Jack announced, loudly, "You have crazy hair." I was mortified.  But before I could even apologize or chastise Jack, the man had asked him, "Do you like it?" Jack looked closely at him and considered, while I squirmed, then he said, "Yeah, I like it." The man said, "Thanks, I teach at a school.  The kids there like it." Jack said, "My hair's yellow.  I think the kids at my school probably like it." The man agreed, and that was it.  He got his fabric cut and so did I and I never saw him again.  But I learned a lesson from him that has been very useful to me as a mother of many, which is: Assume the best of people's comments, ask follow up questions and you just might find that they meant well all along.

Once a week or so in my Facebook feed, a friend will post something about how some person at some place said something to them about how many kids they have and how offended they were.  And I recently read a lovely and impassioned defense of mothers of many against people at the grocery store and what they say and what they probably really mean.

I have been there, for sure.  I have stewed and thought of witty retorts in the car on the way home and vented to the husband (this was before I was on Facebook, so HE got to hear about it).  But now I'm thinking that if my feelings were hurt by an offhanded comment in the grocery store, it was probably because of my own insecurities rather than other people's actual prejudices against my family.

Now, before I bother to get offended, I ask myself, how sure are you that they really meant to insult you?  Did you assume the best?  Did you ask follow up questions?  

I get comments all the time, of course.  Just about every time we go shopping.  Especially since I often have all six kids (10 and under) with me.  We are a spectacle.  There's no denying it.  And yes, I've heard "Are they all yours?" (As if perhaps I swing by a local daycare to pick up some extra kids to bring with me to Target) and "You sure have your hands full," more times than I can count.  And even that most inappropriate of all, "You're done right?" more than a few times.  But perhaps we're the only family of our size that that particular lady has ever seen at Target, and maybe she's just trying to make conversation.

So, instead of getting defensive, I assume the best and ask a follow up question.  I'll say, "Yes, they're all mine.  They're pretty cute through, right?"  Or "Yes I do, but better full than empty, right?" Or, "Goodness, I hope not.  We figure we'll just keep going until we get an ugly one.  So do YOU think we're done?"

And sometimes, that's it.  But MOST of the time, I'd say 80-90% of the time, they'll then tell me how they are one of five or their mom was one of eleven or how they always wished they'd had more themselves.  Then they almost always say something complimentary, even if it's "Well, I could never do that, but good for you." But more often it's how the kids are friendly or well-dressed or well-behaved.

Which brings me to the second aspect of this . . . THIS is my apostolate.  The apostolate of being a big family at Target and Costco and Trader Joe's.  EVERY TIME before we go inside I remind my kids that how we behave inside that store is probably going to determine how this particular group of people view big families.  If my kids are sweet and helpful then all those people will think that big families are sweet and helpful.  But if I look like I just rolled out of bed and my children are unwashed and screechy, then any negative stereotypes about big families that they might have had are now confirmed.  
(I don't count Frankie.  I figure if everyone else is good, but he's throwing groceries at me, we're probably still okay.)  And if someone was just trying to make contact with what SHE considered a creative and funny comment and I get defensive or sanctimonious, well I've just lost an opportunity to make a friend, or at least have a conversation.

I am here to tell you that I take my kids out in public.  All of them.  Often.  And I can't think of a single time when someone was genuinely unkind to us (except this time, and that was just me and the baby!), unthinking sometimes, but not unkind.  I think that allowing people to see the beauty of my lifestyle is MY responsibility.  And I think even unthinking people deserve for me to give them the benefit of the doubt, just like the guy with the afro did for me.

P.S. Jack and the husband want everyone to know that Jack is wearing a Cubs hat because that's his little league team this year, not because we are Cubs fans.  We are White Sox fans, and we are just crazy enough to take off our shirts and charge the Kansas City Royals' third base coach, if necessary.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Duke of Whales: 7 Quick Takes XXII

Me: Hey, remember when we watched the Royal Wedding? The Duke and Duchess are having a baby today!
Bobby: What's he the Duke of?
Me: Wales, I think.
Bobby: The Duke of WHALES? How does that work?

well, something like this, I'd imagine

As it turns out he's the Duke of Cambridge, not nearly as cool.

And to all the pooh-pah-ers on Facebook and the rest of the internets: I would like to state for the record that I LIKE THE ROYAL BABY. I suppose I should call him George, or Prince George, or His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge (that last one does seem to go a bit too far). Or Stormageddon?

If you are mad that your daytime television watching was interrupted, may I suggest Tivo? Or, ya know, books? Or maybe outside? 

If you are mad because they are British and we have gained our independence from their sovereign control, may I remind you that our American freedoms extend to liking even British babies if we want to, and also to turning off television sets should we not like what we see there?

And if you'd like to use this opportunity to further your cause or promote your product, even if it's a very good cause or product, may I say, I think you're better than that? (So does Simcha, or maybe she doesn't.)

I think everything about it is lovely. Interrupting regularly scheduled programming for GOOD news? Yes, please. The young couple out there together introducing their baby to the people? Adorable. They seemed so happy, it really brought back all those memories of the day after my oldest son was born. We, too, were happy and tired and thrilled and bewildered. (My hair did not look that good.) I got to live it all again through them.

And how CUTE is she? I'm pretty sure she'll never wear that dress again, right? But I'M going to have a baby in November. Maybe she'll let me borrow it for when *I* leave the hospital?

In case you missed it, I had rather an eventful last Friday at Mass. But, lemons to lemonade and all that. Frankie and Anita and I have been having a perfectly ordinary time at daily Mass at the next parish over this week. And I'm getting some extra exercise in the morning. 

We have a real love/hate thing going with the baby jogger. The kids love it. I hate it. I keep telling myself that I'm trying to get exercise anyway, and this way I'm just getting MORE of it, right? But . . . 

When I go for a run by myself, I feel like this:

And when I'm pushing the baby jogger, I feel like this:

(except wearing pants)

So, um, hooray for mortifications.

The other nice thing that came out of all that was an awesome link-up about cry rooms.

I have really loved reading everyone's comments and posts.

Some highlights . . .

And thanks to Lisa for posting this awesome flyer on the Catholic All Year Facebook page:

Really, all the posts were great, and so were the comments. The link-up is live through Saturday. So if you've got an opinion, come share it!

Last week, I shared the Buzzfeed post: 38 Things Catholic Girls Love but I told you I wasn't familiar with number 24: The Dick van Dyke Show episode "The Life and Love of Joe Coogan."

But ya'll, I did some research up in here and watched it on Netflix streaming. And . . . they're right. It is super-cute.

You can find it on Netflix (it's Season 3, Episode 16) or watch it here on hulu. If you're like me, it will make you smile. And feel even worse than you already do about having ever watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Jack turned eleven last month, so I've let him start reading the Harry Potter books. He read the first three in a week! I love overhearing him laughing to himself over on the couch while he's reading. 

We've had some great discussions about it so far.

But my favorite was today when Jack asked me about the Dementor's Kiss:
"You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you'll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no...anything. There's no chance at all of recovery. You'll just -- exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever...lost."
Remus Lupin on the Dementor's Kiss[src]
He wondered which would be worse, to go to Hell or to suffer the Dementor's Kiss?

I'm pretty sure there isn't an official Church position on this, but I'm thinking if you're bound for Hell, existence as an empty shell is probably preferable.


And finally, I'm working on a sewing project for the first time in quite a while and I do like me some mindless telly to have on in the background while I work. So, I've been watching America's Got Talent. 

I have to say, that show is the perfect example of a concept I try to drill into my children from a very early age:
You CAN'T be anything you want to be just by trying really hard and having a lot of heart and painting with all the colors of the wind. 
That's not how it works.

It is amazing to me to see the gifts that God has given some people. Obviously they have also put a lot of work into it as well. But, wow. Some people are really great at dancing like robots, some people can totally karate chop through 40 cement blocks, some people can hold their breath for a crazy long time. These are clearly gifts from God. (Some gifts seem less useful than others, but you don't get to pick.)

I could want it with all my heart and really dream big like all the cartoons say and I would still not be able to rip a phone book in half or use my foot to throw a bunch of bowls onto my own head (while riding a really tall unicycle). And I'm okay with that. 'Cause I can do other stuff that maybe the book-ripper and bowl-tosser can't do. 

I just pray I can help my kids find what their gifts are and develop them. (And also keep them off of reality TV shows, ideally.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

This Just In: My Vocation is not Everyone's Vocation

It's easy for me to fall into an us against the world mentality. Especially when the priorities and loves of the world are so far away from my own. But, lately, I've really been trying to be aware of not closing my circle in so tight that I exclude a lot of folks that ought to be in here with me.

I've written previously about how important it has been for me to find like-minded friends, friends who share my love for God and my Catholic faith, and for the teachings of the Catholic Church, even on "controversial" issues.

We often have other incidentals in common as well. Many of my friends also homeschool, also have big families, also stay home with their children. It's easy to begin to see those things as things that all "real" Catholics do too.

Especially since, for me, those things didn't necessarily come easily. I never would have thought I'd end up with a big family, but God keeps blessing us with children. I thought homeschooling was only for weirdos until it was the only thing that worked for our family. Up until after my first son already was born, I kept my options open for going back to work, because I wasn't sure I wanted to be a stay at home mom.

But I have come to believe that all of those things are an integral part of my vocation. I feel very deeply and strongly that those things are right for my family and they are helping me get to heaven. I had to make the (sometimes difficult) choices to follow what God had put on my heart, and I'm so glad I did.

It's taken me much too long, however, to fully recognize that MY vocation is not everyone's vocation. And that the mentality that we must all be just the same can be really hurtful to Catholics who are just as devout as I am, but are living out their own vocations -- which just happen to be different from mine.

There are women who would love to have a big family, but that's not the way it worked out for them. Or who would love to stay home with their children, but can't. Or who would love to homeschool, but are not able to do so. How terrible it would be if our Catholic community was making these mothers feel any worse as they do their best in a challenging situation.

But it's more than that. There are also devout Catholics who are open to life but are happily living out a vocation of one or two or no children. Because that's God's plan for them. There are devout Catholics who are called not to homeschool, but rather to start private schools that serve their community, or be a light to the public or private schools where they choose to send their kids.

I don't understand it myself, I couldn't imagine it for my own children -- but that's because it isn't MY vocation!

Saint Gianna Molla would probably have something to say about the idea that women who have children, even many children, can't also have a professional vocation.

I think that's what finally sold it for me. Glancing over at my four volume edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints and realizing that THAT is how many ways there are to do it right.

Because if the only way to get to heaven was to found a religious order or preach the gospel in foreign lands or die for my faith, I might be in trouble. But those are the ways other folks have made it to heaven. You never know what God will have in store for me, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be any of those things. I think I'm going to continue to be sanctified by trying to bend over a pregnant belly to pick up a baby spoon. Again. By changing diapers and wiping up after sick kids. By reading the same story for the 716th time. By homemaking and homeschooling and blogging.

That's my path, probably. But it's unlikely that yours is exactly the same as mine. It's hard for me to remember it always, especially when my own vocation seems so right to me and has born so much fruit in my own life. But God made us complementary, not the same. We need each other. We need our differences.

It's hard enough to be a mother and a Catholic and a Catholic mother without feeling that other Catholic moms might be giving you one of these:

Not cool. Let's not be that guy.

Hey, the cry room link-up is still open. Have a blog? Have an opinion? The world wants to know.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Why I Would Like to Fill All Cry Rooms With Cement

In my last post: In Which I am Asked Not to Come to Mass . . . by a Priest, I mentioned that I would like to fill all cry rooms in the country with cement.

You guys noticed. And some of you wondered why.

Hannah said: I'm confused - what is it that you hate about cry rooms? 

Here's my response:
Only everything.

I've never been inside one where families were making an attempt to participate in the Mass. I have experienced children loudly playing with baskets of noisy toys and parents chatting in full voice about their plans for the weekend.

I think when you tell people they don't qualify to be a part of the actual community of believers, they act like it.

But if a cry room exists at that church I'm likely to be given zero tolerance for teaching my children to behave in Mass out in the real church. "We have a place for kids, you should be in it," is often the attitude in those parishes. But I don't want my kids, even my toddlers, to learn that the Mass is playtime. I want them to learn to participate.

I also think we should try to see every person who comes into that church, be it a noisy child, or a moaning special needs person, or an old man loudly complaining to his wife about why the priest won't speak up, as part of us -- part of the body of Christ. Not as someone else's problem that we shouldn't have to be bothered with. That we should shut up in a special little room where we can pretend they don't exist.

I just keep coming back to the fact that the Mass is for God. It's for what God would like not for what we would like. God made children and special needs people and the elderly and I feel certain that he wishes them all to be welcome at his Mass. It's his party and he invited everyone.
So, I figured that would take care of any confusion.

But then Kim of on our way today said she goes in them -- ON PURPOSE. I was shocked. 

So I thought perhaps we could have a discussion. Leave a comment, or if you have a blog, write your own post on it and link it up here. I know some bloggers are participating in Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days: An Epic Blogging Challenge, so here's a topic for ya!

Speaking of link ups, here's What I Wore Sunday -- when we attended Mass at a church that likes families, and we sat in the second row, and I didn't have to take anyone out. Frankie babbled some (a lot) but he never got too loud, except during the recessional hymn which he REALLY belted out. He was complemented by Mass-goers on his singing efforts all the way out.

I think most of this stuff is repeats. Dress: Target Maternity (already starting to get short, yikes!), Sweater: Anthropologie, Belt: ModCloth, Shoes: Zappos, Necklace: my Grandmother's pearls, Earrings: from the Amalfi Coast on our last trip to Italy (the same place poor Jenny was vacationing when she was driven home to Rome by feverish youngins, ARGH!), Bump: 21 weeks, Baby: Frankie

And my photographer, Betty! Dress: gymboree, shoes: Target, watch: Target (And wow, has getting watches for my two big kids made a difference this summer! Now I can tell them at what TIME to do things or be home. And they do it! Awesome.)

And for those of you looking for some closure on what I decided to do about daily Mass . . . I plan to start attending a different parish. We're only here for the summer anyway, this is an established pattern of behavior for this particular priest, and frankly I don't like the idea for myself of going somewhere I'm not wanted.

Most of the commenters recommended the humility and obedience of continuing to attend the same Mass, sitting in the back. And that sounds lovely, especially when paired with the suggestion of really trying to win this priest over. But I honestly don't think that's the right move in this particular case. The priest will have my prayers, but I think we were perhaps unwelcome by the parishioners as well.  As I've looked around at other parishes I think I've found a different Mass that would work with my schedule, and I think it will be better for me to have a fresh start.

I have also, as a couple of you recommended, sent a letter to the Archbishop -- since I don't think he follows my blog.

I really look forward to reading your comments and posts. If you do link up, please put a link back to this post on your blog, and remember to link to the particular blog post about cry rooms, not just to your blog's homepage. And if you've written on this topic before, feel free to link that up. It doesn't have to be brand new, you can edit it to include a link here and you're all set!

7 Posts in 7 Days: An epic blogging challenge
7 Posts in 7 Days: An epic blogging challenge
7 Posts in 7 Days: An epic blogging challenge


Friday, July 19, 2013

In Which I am Asked Not to Come to Mass . . . by a Priest

The husband knows an awesome priest who likes to say, "You should remember that when you pray for humility . . . God just might humiliate you."

I think he said it in reference to having tripped up on the altar, which I would do every day and twice on Sundays, rather than experience what I did this morning. But, hey, we don't always get to pick our own mortifications, right?

And I have been praying for humility, so, score one for me . . .

Even though a run-in with a Church Lady who chastised me about my baby's behavior in an adoration chapel is what inspired me to start writing this blog, I really have almost always felt very welcome with my young children at Masses all over the world.

We've had literally countless people come up to us and compliment the children's behavior and thank us for bringing them with us to Mass. I have felt that with our Mass Survival Strategies and our Parenting With Authority that I really did have a handle on getting my kids through Mass. Not just surviving, but really having a manageable if not even pleasant experience.

Now, I should mention that that baby from the first blog post is now a toddler and as I (perhaps too) frequently bring up here, he is a real piece of work. But, I'm mostly able to keep his noise down to a babble and when he gets much past that, I take him out.

I have kept an eye on all the back and forth on babies and young children in Mass, notably Fr. Ryan Erlenbush's

Crying children call to mind the mystery of the Mass

and Dr. Gregory Popcak's

The Contraceptive Sanctuary: Why you SHOULD Bring Baby to Church

and Meg Hunter-Kilmer's 

Your Screaming Kids Are Distracting Me

but I mostly felt that this was a philosophical discussion, and I was confident that I had the right answers. I knew that if any more grumpy parishioners came up to me (but why would they? my kids are great) I would know just what to say.

I just wasn't expecting it to come from a priest.

I knew that this particular priest has given other mothers of young children a hard time in the past, to the point that my sister-in-law and her family, along with my husband's parents have switched to a neighboring parish for Sunday Mass, which has a glowing environment of welcome for families. It's a joy to be there. But for morning Mass, I tend to favor convenience and this parish is a quick and easy run from my in-law's house (where we're staying for the summer) and at a time which exactly allows me to get my big kids off to swim practice, load my two youngest into a single jogger (hey, we work with what we've got), run, attend Mass, stay for the Rosary, pick the kids up from swim and get them off to day camp, all by 10am. Whew.

So, I was taking what I could get, priest-wise. Hey, it's still the Mass. And even this particular curmudgeon complimented my little guy just weeks ago and said how happy he was that we sat up front. So, I pat myself on the back -- I thank you God that I am not like those other mothers with children who cannot be made to behave in Mass -- aaaaaaand crash and burn in three, two, one . . . .

So Frankie hasn't had a great couple of days, today was especially not great, and I had to take him out twice, which I did. I knelt in the side vestibule during the consecration, with the door to the church cracked open a bit so I could hear the consecration and keep an eye on both my crying 20 month old past the glass door outside and my sweet little four year old swinging her feet in the front pew. Not ideal, but I was trying my best.

Well, after Mass, the priest came up to me and informed me of the existence of the Church's cry room (if you stop hearing from me abruptly one day, please assume that I was arrested for systematically filling all cry rooms in the country with cement).

There was a good deal of back and forth. (Which was a big improvement for me, my response to the Church Lady the first time around had been basically to open and close my mouth like a fish -- not super effective.) 

I calmly shared all my bullet points for why my child, even if he is not perfectly behaved, has a right to be at the Mass in whatever seat we choose: he's a baptized Catholic, this is how they learn, the Mass is for God's edification not man's, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me."

And the priest calmly explained to me that he is very surprised at my extraordinary selfishness, I am wrong about everything, no one can pray unless there is silence, and he knows a lot more than I do about scripture.

He flat out told me that if I had any concern for others I would leave my baby home (alone? with a dog nanny a la Peter Pan? he didn't say) or just not come to Mass.

When I pushed him on it and asked if he really meant that if I wasn't willing to sit in the cry room I was not welcome in Mass, he back-pedaled a bit and said that I just wasn't to sit up front.

I left the church reeling (and also crying, stupid being pregnant).

I was prepared for this from another Church Lady and I was prepared to refute and, eventually if necessary, ignore her. Because, although I believe that courtesy to my fellow man is very, very important, I believe that it's even more important to raise a new generation of good Catholics. After all, those fifteen old ladies at every parish's daily Mass aren't going to last forever.

But I didn't get it from a Church Lady, I got it from a priest. A priest whose office deserves my respect even if his people skills, liturgical practices, and general worldview do not.

So, first step, of course, is to pray for him, which I will continue to do and I ask you to join me. But I also have to decide what to do.

My original plan was to show up to Mass early on Monday and take a poll of the regular attendees to see who wanted us there and who didn't. Next I thought about sitting in the cry room but taping a bunch of posters to the window with slogans like "We Are Not Second Class Catholics" and "Tell Father to Let Us Out of Here!" It's a really good thing I'm married to my husband, you guys, or I probably would have done it.

Now that I've talked with my husband (and my friend Abby) I know that my choices are: Attend a different daily Mass which will be less convenient but will be welcoming to my family, or sit obediently in the back and attend the convenient Mass under protest. Because that priest is wrong, but it's his parish.

I really think there could be benefits for myself in pursuing either option.

If I stay and sit at the back, I will be practicing humility and obedience. Those are good things for me to practice.

If I attend a different Mass, I will be getting a more pleasant and welcoming and almost certainly more reverent experience, I will also be able to offer my being inconvenienced as a prayer.

Even though I should NOT have had to experience this, and I pray not one more mother ever will, I know that either option has the potential to help me to grow in my faith. But the other thing I'm going to do is keep bringing my children, no matter their ages, to Mass. And I'm going to pray that some of my sons and some of yours will have a vocation to the priesthood and become holy and welcoming and truly pro-life priests. Because THAT is what will solve this problem.

Update: Since the Cry Room issue seems to be of interest to a lot of commenters, I have given it it's own post AND LINK UP (my first one!). So, if you'd like to comment about cry rooms specifically, please head over here to Why I Would Like to Fill All Cry Rooms With Cement and comment or link up your own blog post.

Also, if you're wondering what I decided to do about daily Mass, you'll find the answer there.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

On Cross-Dressing Cartoon Characters: 7 Quick Takes XXI

I was so sorry to read Dwija's sad news that they lost baby Nicholas at 21 weeks along.

I have felt so identified with her struggles since I am also 21 weeks pregnant. It's been such a joy to witness how she dealt with the challenges of this pregnancy with such hope and joy. I can't imagine the sorrow she and her family are going through now, but I am confident that through God's grace they will find comfort. There are so many people praying for them right now.

And since there is no good way to make an appropriate segue here, I'm just not going to try.

Hey, remember when I told you I was cool with nudity in movies? Well, today I'd like to defend cross-dressing in movies.

That's right. Hooray for cross-dressing (sometimes).

Cross-dressing is funny to kids because of how ridiculous it is. If it wasn't ridiculous, we wouldn't laugh at it. A friend told me that her family won't be going to see Despicable Me 2 because it features a cross-dressing minion and, at the time, I wasn't sure what to think about it. 

I have not seen Despicable Me 2, so I can't comment on how it's handled in that movie in particular, but now that I've had some time to consider, my take on it in general is: Boy characters in movies and in cartoons have been dressing up as girls for comedic effect since the dawn of the medium and I do not choose to turn it into something that it's not for my children. 

It isn't supposed to be a sexually deviant thing when Bugs Bunny or Tom or Dale or Pumbaa or Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon dress up as women. Rather, it highlights the feminism (in the actual sense of that word) of real women by showing us how silly it looks when a man tries to do it.

And in the case of the minions in the first Despicable Me (which I did just watch, see below) I'm pretty sure those guys are asexual lab-created beings anyway (which is an ethical issue of its own I guess), but the cross-dressing in that movie was a disguise not a sexual identity issue.

Despite what California lawmakers would like us to believe, transgender identification is not an issue that affects anything close to a statistically significant number of people in this country. It's just not a discussion I need to have with my kids. And I'm not going to let the struggles of a few rob my children of comedy gems like this:

C'mon, that's hilarious!

I did not see Despicable Me when it came out in theaters, and I hadn't seen it since then either. But the kids' swim team was planning to watch it tonight . . . starting at 8:30pm (!) as a "team building activity." My kiddos do NOT need to be up that late to watch a movie. So the husband came up with a compromise: we could watch it the afternoon as a Team Tierney team building activity (and the kids could go have dinner with their swim team and then come home to go to bed).

As with Wreck It Ralph, this is a movie I had preconceived notions about. They turned out to be right . . . and wrong.

Overall, I found it funny, creative, and well-acted. There is a charming scene of the three little girls saying their prayers before bed. And the overarching storyline is that fatherhood changes one's priorities for the better. I agree with that.

BUT . . .

my fear was that there would be a lot of crude humor. And boy was there. Fart jokes, toilet jokes, operating a keyboard with your behind jokes, etc. it has them in spades.

So, this is one that I would say is fine for one-time viewing or on an airplane, but isn't going into the rotation at my house. My boys don't need that kind of inspiration, they're good.

While at a waterpark that was rockin' the hits of the eighties, nineties, and today, I heard the following two songs:

(If you enjoy smoke machines and dramatic snapping, I cannot recommend highly enough the first 30 seconds of the above video.)

Here's a little lyrical comparison (don't trip over all the production value):

It got me wondering, what if the thing Hall and Oats can't go for and the thing Meat Loaf won't do . . . are the same thing? Wikipedia doesn't know, so I'm going to call it officially unknowable.

And here are some things you missed if you aren't on Facebook (or you are on Facebook, but you just don't "like" Catholic All Year). . .

This song has been driving my inner grammar lover CRAZY for almost two decades. Thank you Rachael and Eliza Hurwitz for finally fixing it:

Catholic All Year strongly supports Brandon Vogt's Free the Word campaign:

I'll bet you can spare the two minutes to watch this:

From the good news/bad news department . . .

My bloggy friend Marquette featured one of my LESS successful project attempts from Anita's owl party on her hilarious crafting fail blog: Pinstrosity. So check it out, but only if you don't scare easy. 

And, as one of the commenters summed it up: <sigh>

The Darcy Effect: Why Two Centuries Later, Mr. Darcy Is Still The Man

Good news, I finally wrote some posts (here and here) that many people wanted to read and NO ONE was mad about. Hooray! (It can't last, next week I'll end up writing something like "As Catholics, We Have a Responsibility to Hate Puppies" and ruin all my good mojo (can Catholics say mojo? probably not. see, I've done it already).

ANYWAY, in the comments section of one of the posts, Colleen got me thinking about kids and self-esteem. In case you missed it, here's what I said:

I certainly wouldn't advocate someone giving responsibilities to their children that they don't believe that the children are ready for.

But that being said, with my own children, I think long and hard before I tell them they are not capable of doing something. I want my children's self-esteem to be based on actual responsibility and actual usefulness (not some everyone's a winner, trophies for everyone, fake self-esteem). In order for them to develop that I have to be willing to trust them in real situations.

Obviously, I have assessed my children individually and taken the precautions that I feel are necessary to minimize the risks.

My seven year old son makes an excellent fried egg. He's the only one of them who can flip it without breaking the yoke.

I never would have known if I hadn't been brave/foolhardy/morning sick enough to let him try.

And finally, in this week's installment of "Things Christina posted on my Facebook timeline," I give you:

It's a funny (in both senses of that word) thing to be on BuzzFeed.

Here's how *I* thought they did . . .

I am TOTALLY not down with #4, if I like #10 you're not going to get me to admit it on the internet, #18: blech no tartar sauce - ever, not familiar with #24 (I'll have to look it up), actually not into #26 personally, or #32. But I DO love all the other stuff to varying degrees and, hey, #38 was new information, and I have two daughters who are not currently betrothed, so, ya know, it could come in handy.

And is it just me or do we totally beat the Jewish girls on this one?

Oh, one more thing: The only way I could figure out to get my comments on other people's blogs to link to my email address was to quit Google+ and go back to using a Blogger profile. It doesn't matter to me any, since I never, ever used Google+, but I think it does mean my posts won't be linked up there anymore. So if that's how you were following . . . I'm sorry, but there's always Facebook or Bloglovin' or Feedly or Google Friend Connect or email, right?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!