Early this summer I spent the weekend with a friend while her husband was out of town. The best part? She has two little boys, a two-year old and a five-month old! As we navigated Sunday Mass, dinner out, and even a trip to a city in South Carolina for the day, I was immersed in the life of a mother of small children.
It reminded me of this post that I read the week before. The blog Young & Wild Catholic Mothers asked moms on Instagram ” What can the clergy do to support young moms?” She cataloged all of the answers and wrote them out in this post.
Some really jumped out at me:
- Getting a babysitter for anything means dropping $50-100. If there is no childcare, we can’t go.
- Try your best to have childcare available for parish events that would be good for young families. In my city, a parish does a marriage enrichment/family month long seminar with dinner but no childcare is provided, so no young families come.
- Just be supportive of young kids in general. Thank parents for bringing their kids to Mass. Don’t give stink eyes/stop the liturgy to chastise crying kids. Encourage parents to keep their kids in the sanctuary during Mass instead of mentioning the cry room at every opportunity.
- Encourage them after Mass but more so from the pulpit so it’s public so other parishioners know that the children and babies are welcome. This can reduce comments from annoyed parishioners if they know Father wants the children there.
- A few years ago my parish advertised that the priest would give a special blessing to any expecting mother who asked for one, using a beautiful rite—this could be offered for pregnancy and other things as well.
- Have memorial Masses for miscarried babies.
- Have a changing table in BOTH women’s and men’s washrooms if there isn’t one.
- Do things during times when working moms can come. Especially adoration and young adult group type stuff. Our parish just started young adult group board game night with childcare provided and it was awesome to have community.
- Acknowledge the fact that NFP is expensive and birth control is free. So many priests preach about NFP and truly have no idea what they are talking about. Not to mention, young couples typically don’t have the funds to pay extra. Finding ways to financially support young couples practicing NFP would go a long way.
- Have a ministry to organize meal trains for new moms. Some have no family or friends around, especially if they’re new to the parish, so they don’t have anyone bringing meals postpartum.
- Perhaps a mom-friendly adoration hour where young children are welcome…we avoid holy hours because our toddlers would be way too loud!
- Childcare available during confessions AND confessions offered throughout the week at all different times of day – nothing like trying to juggle kids, confession lines, and nap schedules all at once!
What does your parish do to support families in their role as Domestic Church?