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Old 06-01-2003, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I had my first child at the age of 36. For years I've been playing with other parents' children when I came to synagogue: taking them out of the room to read a story if they got bored, etc. But still, I managed to pay attention to the service most of the time and to pray.

In the first few weeks that we brought him with us on Saturdays, my son was asleep for most of the service. But now he's awake. The last two or three times I wore him in the baby carrier (front pack, no luck with the sling just yet.) I had to bounce up and down and I mainly hung out in the back of the room, or even a room away through a partially opened door.

It's not just my lack of proximity. I'm thinking about the baby, not the service.

Does anyone else have this problem? Did it go away as your children got older and could look after themselves? I don't mean that you ever really stop thinking about them, but did you ever manage to get back to congregational praying?

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 06-01-2003, 11:29 PM
 
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I can only speak from my own personal experience.

My dear daughter was born when I was 26. I was able to sit through a whole service again when she was had her bas mitzvah when I was 39.

She is very demanding for attention all of the time.

(I had three dear sons after her, but she is/was very demanding.)
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Old 06-02-2003, 02:21 AM
 
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c'o, so much empathy here you can't imagine ...

Before babies I had my own particular makom (set place) in shul, "on the right side under the clock." DH was one of the gabba'is, so he was the first to arrive, along with the other gabba'i ... and me. First there, & often the last to leave. And the davening (praying) was so often so intense, when we were done it was almost like waking up, or coming out of particularly successful meditation, is more accurately describing it.

Since babies, I am in the back, if I'm there at all. Often I'm on the steps in the front of the shul, while the kids play on the sidewalk. Sometimes I bring a siddur out on the steps with me, but it usually ends up unused, so ...

And those times that I'm free to daven at shul, often it's hard to concentrate, because I'm distracted by where the children are/might be.

Which is, of course, the main reason why women aren't obligated to daven three times a day. But that doesn't make it any easier, missing it.

Anticipating a return to davening with kavana (intent, and intense concentration) when the kids hit bar/t mitzva age.

:sigh
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Old 06-02-2003, 09:24 AM
 
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Sorry, CO. No reassuring words for you. I haven't gone to shul on a regular basis since before I got married. (I was pg after one month of marriage)
At least where I live now (and hopefully will stay) Many minyanim walk through the streets singing after shul on fri. night. Shul ends very early here (10ish) on shabbos day anyway. So it is hard to get everyone out of the house in time. But wheever we go to a bar mitzva or kiddush and get there early I tell myself I gotta do it more. But there will be time later, G-d willing. Right now my job is to be with the little ones. Anyway the main focus of shabbos. for us is not shul but the three meals. Third meal is a big affair with lots of lively singing. The other two meals aren't too bad either. We just have more drop in guests for the third.

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Old 06-02-2003, 04:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by BelovedBird
Sorry, CO. No reassuring words for you. I haven't gone to shul on a regular basis since before I got married. (I was pg after one month of marriage)
At least where I live now (and hopefully will stay) Many minyanim walk through the streets singing after shul on fri. night. Shul ends very early here (10ish) on shabbos day anyway. So it is hard to get everyone out of the house in time. But wheever we go to a bar mitzva or kiddush and get there early I tell myself I gotta do it more. But there will be time later, G-d willing. Right now my job is to be with the little ones. Anyway the main focus of shabbos. for us is not shul but the three meals. Third meal is a big affair with lots of lively singing. The other two meals aren't too bad either. We just have more drop in guests for the third.

-BelovedBird
That would be me. Ds#1 was born 9 1/2 mos. after I got married. Shul in Israel starts very early even on Shabbos, so I spent most of that first year in bed while dh was davening. I only make it to shul now when there is childcare. I daven at home and really like it when I do manage to make it to shul, but for the next few years my focus is on the meals and the kids (the songs, making a nice "avira" for them, focusing on their parsha sheets, etc). While the kids were smaller the focus was on guests, but as the kids have gotten older we have had to make a conscious effort to have less guests most of the time and use the meal to focus on the children. I'm sure this isn't what you want to hear (I know I sure didn't!), but unless you can find a shul with childcare, then it is hard to be able to daven in shul.
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Old 06-02-2003, 04:44 PM
 
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I understand what you mean Capt. Nothing else in life is so mentally, emotionally absorbing as your own child. I think it is an individual matter. While Bonnie is in the sanctuary with me I have trouble focusing even when she is not doing anything at all to draw my attention. She sometimes prefers to go play in the nursery and when she is out of my presence I can focus better, but not at my pre-pregnancy level. But it gets better by tiny increments all the time. (She will be 3 in Aug.) You are not alone and it is not utterly hopeless!
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Old 06-02-2003, 05:44 PM
 
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I so understand what all you ladies are saying.

When Maverick was born in '99, he was the first baby born in the church after a five year drought. Everyone wanted to hold him and pass him around and he only wanted to be with me, and I only wanted to be with him. But he couldn't be in the sanctuary with me, because he was too noisy.

I just gave up. I haven't been inside the sanctuary for four years, except for about five different times. It is so hard for me to send my two away from me, even to the nursery. I only go to church once a week, even though there are three services.

I have hope that it's going to get better. Maverick is happy to be with the other kids now, and Charis just wants to be wherever he is, so I'm looking forward to maybe getting back in there this summer. But I know I'll spend a lot of time thinking about them, wondering if they're having fun or crying, or whatever.

For this reason alone, I am looking forward to their pre-teen/teenage years.
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Old 06-02-2003, 05:58 PM
 
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double post.
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Old 06-02-2003, 05:58 PM
 
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triple post?!
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Old 06-02-2003, 09:22 PM
 
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I was just talking with a Muslim friend about "taking a break" from our regular Friday attendance. Not only am I distracted, but I am starting to feel guilty about distracting others!

Ds just turned 2, and he is soooo 2. He has a good little friend who goes on Fridays too. Frankly, I and the other mother do better when only one of us is there. When she has her period and she and kids stay home, ds is so well-behaved! And I am sure her bunch is better when we aren't there. Thing is, I am pg, so I am looking at another 7 months of being able to attend weekly.

For those who are bothered by others' kids--at what point is it not OK? For me, if I see kids trying to hurt one another/make one another cry, or hear them talking insolently to adults or each other, or trying to damage property, THAT is crossing the line. I am pretty tolerant until someone kicks me in the head. Which has happened, btw.

Then I ask, when will it be a good time to re-introduce him to the congregational prayer and expect him to do a little better through it?
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Old 06-02-2003, 09:29 PM
 
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Ummnuh-

IMO it is not okay to bring kids who are disturbing/ disracting anyone's prayer. Or if it is a listening part of the service- disracting others from hearing the reading or whatever.

My 6 year old can sit quietly when he wants to but my 3 1/2 year old is better at it. They sit with their father though, when they go. I think it totally depends on the individual kid. There is no way my baby (year and a half) will sit quiet/ not disturb. Even enough for *me* to pray. So what is my purpose there if that is the case? (That is why I usually don't go)

-BelovedBird

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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Old 06-03-2003, 04:33 PM
 
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Exactly my point--why come if it has little benefit for me, and I feel as though I am taking away from others' benefit by bringing my young son?

Some people point to the example of our prophet (peace be upon him), as he would pray with children on his shoulders. That's great, but hard to do.

And for me, since dh does not come on Fridays because of his work schedule, he does not see it the way I do. My ds is certainly very well behaves as 2-year-olds go...but when there is a 4- or 5-year-old instigator starting trouble, I question what good HE gets out of the whole thing too. Our community is pretty easygoing about kids' behavior--for better or worse. For me, I think we should take a break until he is in a more compliant stage. In the meantime, I can pray at home.
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Old 06-03-2003, 06:29 PM
 
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I want to share one solution to keeping up with some aspect of my spiritual developement that is working pretty well for me. With the help of my pastor I formed what we jokingly call a "Mommy and Me Bible Study". It meets at my house one morning a week and we all bring our kids. It's sort of like a La Leche meeting in some ways. Barely controlled chaos, but we are able to read and discuss scripture and pray. We also know our kids aren't bugging anyone who didn't specificly let themselves in for it by showing up. Another idea might be to plan a small prayer or meditation group during a time that your DH's could be with your child/ren.
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Old 06-03-2003, 11:51 PM
 
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when we go to the family service it is fine obviously but we haven't been able to go to a regular service in 3 years. we've gone to a few but the dirty looks make us stay away for months

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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Old 06-04-2003, 01:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't mind a little childish chaos in an adult service, as long as it isn't so loud you can't hear the service! I like the intellectual ferment.

In Cleveland where I grew up I used to lurk (in the net sense!) at some Ortho. synagogues where children were a lot more rambunctious than at my Reform Temple. (I guess because the Reform movement was founded in part to get the kids under some kind of control! Hah!) I really like it when children are invited up to do something special with the congregation. It can be very spiritual.

What I don't like is praying near children who are bored, crying, whining or hitting each other. That's not fun to see anywhere, because it looks like suffering to me. (But I also don't like whiny adults, you know?)

I'm really looking forward to teaching my son to sing and pray. If I haven't forgotten everything by the time he's ready...

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 06-04-2003, 02:47 AM
 
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I found the baby years to be relatively easy - now with my dd 2 yo, and my 2nd ds just 4, it sometimes is quite a challenge. My almost 7 yo is great for the most part, though. We have been bringing them to services every Shabbat for a few years (before my dd was born), and sometimes it's not comfy, but mostly it's okay.

It's a Conservative synagogue, and mostly okay with kids - and between 11 and 12 p.m. they have a ton of kid programming. Sometimes, we have to take them out if they have a real melt down, but not always. Usually, my dh takes care of it. Actually, he's usually the one in charge of the kids ( ) on Shabbat. I know that wouldn't work for a lot of you, though.
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Old 06-04-2003, 05:27 AM
 
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DH gets a little crazy about this topic. He's got the idea in his head (men : ) that if the kids aren't in shul every Shabbos, at the very least, then they won't appreciate shul, or some such.

Kind of like when DS#1 was about 6mo DH got it in his head that I had to get up & out of bed by six, no matter how long DS would sleep otherwise, because we had to get the baby ready for when he'd have to wake up early for school. This is a 6mo we're talkin' 'bout, here. :

Anyway, our community used to be very open about it ... my rebbe z'l used to say the sounds of children open up the Gates for the rest of us ... but since he left the world, well, the "powers that be" are not nearly so open. Downright grouchy. Well, our new rabbi has young children, so maybe it's going to change ...

Doesn't matter much to me. I don't get any praying done when they're there.

Shabbos night (Friday) DH doesn't go to shul at all, does Kabbalat Shabbat at home (Psalms welcoming Shabbos), singing the whole thing with our rebbe's z'l nusakh (style of praying). The kids often dance with him, they have a great time ... and it doesn't bother anybody else (well, we try not to upset the downstairs neighbor, but that's another subject entirely).

T

me&3, nice to see you again, have noticed you popping up around here lately ...
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Old 06-04-2003, 09:31 AM
 
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Amy - I agree with your dh (not on the waking up for school thing though LOL) I think that if you start bringing them to shul from day one that it won't be a "why do we HAVE to??" thing (as much LOL) when they get older... kind of like a bicycle helmet when they start riding tricycles.

I'm Andrea - I have three boys - 12 year old twins & an 11 year old

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Old 06-04-2003, 10:25 AM
 
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Amy, alittle T, but

I used to get my dear children up early at 7:00 am every morning all of the time from the time they were 6 months old too!



And for all of my persistent efforts to train them correctly, it did not work. My DD is a night owl. My DS's are larks however, but I think they would have been that way by themselves. Tell your DH to cool it and sleep in while they are little.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."
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Old 06-04-2003, 11:10 AM
 
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Amy, thanks for the greeting! It's been hard lately to get online... but that's a whole 'nuther subject!

My dh and I agree with your dh, Amy. We think it's important for the children to feel totally at home at shul, and coming every week fosters their sense of community (as well as ours, of course). They love to go to shul - they're still pretty young, so that could change...

Okay, my lovely dd is asking for ya-ya's. Again. Off to the couch we go.
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