I feel kind of funny describing my family as “big.” Several of my friends have twice the number of children I do, and so my five-child family pales in comparison. Nevertheless, when I venture into public with my four young children and pregnant belly, strangers inevitably feel compelled to remark on my “big family.”
There is no custom-designed soulmate for you. There; I said it. As I am already aware from having this debate on social media, some people will want to come after me with pitchforks. I’m okay with that. Just hear me out first, and wait for me to make a will so John and the kids get my stuff.
Earlier this year, Fr. Michael White, pastor of the Church of the Nativity and author of the book Rebuilt published an article entitled, “Why We Don’t Encourage (Little) Kids in Mass.” At his mega-parish, kids are expected to attend a children’s program while parents attend Mass. Since I was raised attending weekly Mass and now bring my four children every Sunday, this article made my blood boil.
This weekend marked my first wedding anniversary and I wanted to reflect on the some of the feelings and spiritual lessons that I have learned along the way this past year.
Recently the vicissitudes of the Interwebs have me thinking about talking sex with kids.
Not in a creepy way, of course, but in the parent-to-child, where-do-babies-come-from, when-can-I-start-dating, if-I-buy-a-girl-dinner-that-means-I-can-X way.
I’m part of a Catholic Moms group on Facebook, and several conversations in the group recently have made clear to me how very, very, important it is for parents to have The Talk with their kids not once or twice, but several times throughout their lives.
Our holiness and goodness grow when we let the Mother of God speak to us and teach us and move us, just as she did with her Son.
To my dear friend Mr. D.,
Yesterday I witnessed your union in holy matrimony to a woman who is now Mrs. D. In honor of your wedding, I have composed this letter-prayer for you and your bride:
Have you noticed that after every scandal, both mass and social media become a flood with exhortations about the importance of sexual consent? Someone has even developed a sexual consent app.
At the start of this school year, a Youtube video by “One Funny Mother” circulated social media. The video features a mom frantically piling a Target cart high with supplies for her children’s teachers as she rants about her kids. “I will give you anything to take my kids,” “That means I don’t have to talk to my kids anymore,” “I don’t have to pretend to entertain my kids anymore,” are among the many statements she makes. I saw it shared by tons of people, gleefully acclaiming that “this mom hits the nail on the head”, or “this is so me!” or “ so true!”
Despite the good times, the memories, the wonderful things about this person that you’ve come to love, you’ve decided that it’s time to end it. You weren’t sure before but you’ve prayed and thought and discerned and consulted and now you know what you have to do. You just have to actually do it.
If you’ve ever been through a breakup, you know it can be one of the more painful experiences in life. Modern psychology tells us that the end of a significant relationship can even trigger emotional distress similar to that caused by the death of a loved one. It’s not fun to say the least and unless you are one of the small minority that marry their first boyfriend/girlfriend or never date at all, you will go through a break up or two at some point.
Many rightly speak of the miracle of life in response to the birth of a child. However, when it comes to the role of the father in the delivery room our anecdotes are full of jokes and awkward, nervous laughter. My experience at the birth of my first child was somewhat different. My daughter’s delivery taught me about marriage and spoke to, not just the miracle of life, but the miracle of love.
There are some days as a mom I wonder if it's possible to be a saint. How can I maintain a prayer life when I am exhausted from constantly changing diapers, wiping permanent marker off the walls or cleaning up split milk? How can I give my full attention to Sunday Mass when I am chasing after my toddler in the pews or trying to keep my daughter from licking the person sitting next to us?
I’ve always wondered what happens to the man in the relationship when a woman decides to have an abortion. From different things I’ve read, many men are relieved when the woman decides to abort their child, freeing him from the shackles of fatherhood. Others sit on the sidelines and tell the woman that it is their choice and they will pay for their half. Others are simply absent and flee the scene of the crime once they’ve made their score. I wonder how many of them voice their parental and fatherly right to claim that unborn child as their own? Maybe it’s time for men to stand up and embrace fatherhood with new vigor.
It’s 2:00 a.m. on a Friday night/Saturday morning and my husband is not home yet. I checked our bank account this morning and I saw all the restaurants he has been spending money at without me. I have noticed he has been on his phone quite a bit lately and even takes calls late into the night. Last weekend he went on a work trip and it just so happened that there was no reception where he was staying. The signs are clear, my husband is obviously involved with someone else and her name is Youth Ministry.
You’re probably expecting me to say something about strapless dresses and not showing too much skin, but I’m not. Okay, I can’t resist so here’s my opinion on the subject: Don’t be trashy, The Dress is about your wedding day, not your wedding night. With wedding season upon us, what I really want to talk to you about is a lot less fun than lace or tulle and the right neckline. I want to talk to you about slavery.
Just over a year ago, I thought that I was pregnant. Again. For the fourth time in four years. I was freaked out. Mike and I had learned a new method of NFP (the Marquette Method) and were diligently following the rules to space out the conception of another child. We had talked and prayed and discerned that with two full time youth ministry programs, a side ministry of Mike and Annie Talk, the exhaustion of having three toddlers/babies at home, and the mental and physical wear and tear on my body from another quick pregnancy, we had legitimate reasons to add a bit of space before Baby #4. So when I thought that I was pregnant again, my first honest thought was WHAT THE HELL?!
As I sat counting the days, I knew it had been too long. I knew I was pregnant. I didn't even want to take a test; I didn't want it to be true. A few days later as two bars appeared, it was confirmed, my life flipped upside down. I promptly got sick. Not being an emotional person, I shocked myself when I cried for 3 whole days. You could say I was not handling this well.
NFP is often referred to as the “best kept secret of the Catholic Church.” It has never been a secret in my life. My parents practiced NFP and teach it to engaged couples. I’ve read countless articles and pamphlets about the joy that NFP has brought to many marriages. There are plenty of places where you can get information about the how to and benefits of NFP. But those things are not my intention with this post. Instead, I want to take a good, hard look at what practicing NFP for six years has done for me as a wife, mother, and sinner striving for holiness.
As the mother of two, I have been told off by a security guard at a local church for allowing my son to hold a hymnal... I have been not-so-politely directed to the "cry room" in a parish... and I have suffered the strange indignity of overhearing strangers complain about me and my family—of strangers wanting me to hear them complain.