This week’s topic for Morning Glory’s Woman to Woman writing project is:

Is It Really a Family Night Out?

What are your views regarding children under age 5 attending formal events such as funerals, concerts, and weddings? What about church services? What tips or tricks have you developed that make these events go well for you and your little ones?

Obviously having a large family and a steady supply of little ones affects my opinion and practice in this area. My children have attended many funerals. If they didn’t know the person or I have babysitting available, I might not take them; otherwise we all go. Sometimes I’ve found the best solution is to attend the visitation instead of the funeral.

The kids attend weddings with us, too. We have actually been invited to three weddings on the same Saturday next month, and time-wise it is conceivable that we could make them all. I would like to find babysitting for our one-, three-, and five-year-olds, because I think it would be too much for them. I have friends whose relatives are able to keep their kids during weddings, and they are able to have “wedding dates”–how romantic! That’s a wonderful option if it’s available to you, if not, my advice is to always respect others by keeping your children quiet or removing them if necessary.

As far as church services go, our children have always attended with us. We don’t have a nursery: we worship as a family. This is an area where child-training is essential. As I said before, remove a noisy child. The goal, however, is to train your children to remain quiet and still during services. Will you hear every word of every sermon? Heavens, no! Just remember: they’re your children and it’s your responsibility to train them; you’ll both reap the rewards when they learn self-control and self-discipline. This weekly training pays off in the other situations (funerals, concerts, weddings), too.

There will come a day when I won’t have little ones. I’ll soak up sermons; cry through weddings (and not because I’m in the lobby with a fussy baby); truly reflect and remember during funerals, without distraction. That time isn’t now. The worst thing I could do is feel sorry for myself about what I’m missing. I’m not saying I’ve never done it–I have–but it’s a dangerous trap for a mother to fall into, one that leads to discouragement and discontent, emotional quicksand for mothers.

To see what others have to say on this topic, visit Morning Glory!

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