Monday, 25 February 2013

Shameful Sunday

Yesterday was not one of my better days. Sometimes, I really suck at this whole Catholic-wife-and-mother thing. I'm insular, impatient, terrible at communicating, etc, etc.

One of our goals for this year, is for my husband to pass his test to drive in the UK. He doesn't think we can afford formal lessons, so I'm the 'instructor'. I'm crap at it. He tells me that all I have to do, is be calm and patient with him, but I don't know how in that situation. He asks why, in the UK, you have to do X, Y, or Z while driving, and I get flustered, because the 'why' doesn't matter. A driving test is an exercise in following the rules, to the satisfaction of an examiner, to pass the test. That's it. But, I will work on being calmer.

So, we arrived at Mass. I was in a foul mood because of our argument about the driving, and because I was anticipating the kids acting up. Usually, because we sit right at the back, the nearest people to us are other parents, at the opposite end of the pew. That suits me. I don't know why, but I hate sitting in close proximity with other people, it makes me very uncomfortable. Of course, yesterday, Mass was busy, and 2 women came and sat beside us. I know that I should be happy when Mass is busy, but I find it hard to balance that knowledge with my own discomfort. I kept trying to move further and further away, until my husband chastised me because he was half way off the pew. He indicated that he needed more room. I moved away from him, towards the other woman, folded my arms across my chest, and snarled 'happy now?' First impression these women got - Bad Wife.

Then as Mass progressed, Gareth got more and more restless and noisy. So Tommy took him out of the stroller, which, of course meant Molly began to protest at the injustice of it all. I didn't want either of them out of the stroller, but knew we couldn't let one out and not the other. My heart was dark, and I was filled with resentment. Once again, I was That Woman who can't keep her kids quiet in Mass. My actions were tense and impatient. I wasn't gentle taking Molly out of the stroller. Once again, my husband admonished me, that the women sitting next to us were looking at me in slight horror, and that I needed to 'get myself together.' Second impression these women got - Terrible Mother.

In the end, I had to go out into the entrance hall with Gareth at the start of the Consecration, and I stayed there until the end of Mass. I was too filled with anger, and shame, to go back in. One of my main goals in life is to get through it with as few people noticing my existence as possible. When you've got 2 noisy, boisterous toddlers, you kind of have to kiss that idea good bye.

So, yesterday wasn't one of my best days. In fact, I've not really been up to the mark for some time. I'm giving myself a quick punch on the thigh in anger at my perceived shortcomings far too often. I call myself a 'useless bitch' multiple times a day, without even realising it. It's became an automatic response to doing anything wrong.

Yesterday was not a day I'm proud of. May god grant me the ability to make amends.


  1. I have seen mothers with only one child having to disrupt their concentration during mass to cater to their child. You have two and that makes it even harder, Let's pray that they grow up faster so that they can atleast attend Sunday school and let you be.
    Thank you for letting some of us singles understand the other side to the mother with young toddlers, during mass.

  2. Thank you, Kate. No Sunday School here until they're 5 (primary school age) but hopefully, even in a year or so, they'll be a little more engaged with the Mass. :)

  3. Dear Ashleigh, you hold yourself to an impossibly high standard, and then beat yuorself up for not achieving it. You had a bad day. It happens. Yes, you probably treated people around you badly, but they love you and will forgive you.

    What worries me more is that you have no patience toward yourself, and you show YOURSELF no kindness or compassion, and that will almost certainly leak over into your other relationships. Would you ever talk to your husband or children the way you talk to yourself? Words matter. They do.

    Being tired, being out of patience, being HUMAN is normal. Most people don't view children acting up in Mass nearly as negatively as you think they do. I mean, the Church tells us to have all these kids, then they can listen to 'em!!

    You are loved, and beloved and lovable. No one expects perfection from you, except you. Whoever is in your head, living rent-free and telling you to be a horrible person toward yourself needs to get tossed onto the street!!


  4. Thank you, Amy Anne. Wise words as always x