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Having kids 24/7 when others don't expect you to. . .


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I rarely use child-care. For one thing, I don't feel like I usually need it. My kids are well-behaved and can handle adult settings as well as more child friendly ones. And Grandma and Grandpa live about a half hour in the opposite direction from any activity we would be going to so by the time we dropped off the kids and then drove back in the direction we would need to go it would add at least an hour to our drive time. And then we would need to reverse that after the activity. So unless it is an emergency situation, or dh and I specifically plan a date night close to Grandma and Grandpa's house, we don't do it. The only friends we trust to watch the kids live closer to an hour away (again in the "wrong" direction).

 

The problem is our new church. It is a very small church (about 40 people). Dh has been asked to help the pastor there as an assistant/possible replacement when the current pastor retires. I want to get to know the ladies there. But all the activities for ladies come without child-care or with child-care for infants only. That wouldn't bother me. My kids would be fine with book in the corner or else participating by listening etc. When I've asked if they could come, I've been told that kids would be bored and so to leave them home. Dh works over 40 hours per week. On a weekend, he can let them play or plug them into a video but on work days he can't watch them. So far I've just nodded and have opted out. But I'm wondering if I should push it a bit by suggesting that they come anyway (with a book or activity). My hesitation is not wanting to "rock the boat" in anyway when I'm just getting to know them. What do you think?

 

The other issue is that there are hardly any other families with children and I've noticed that none of those moms choose to come to ladies' activities. So I suppose I could suggest that I organize something for mom's with kids so that perhaps we could start including them too - but that would defeat my purpose of wanting to get to know the ladies. Or would serving a "higher purpose" trump getting to know the ladies?

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I rarely use child-care. So I suppose I could suggest that I organize something for mom's with kids so that perhaps we could start including them too -
We don't use it much either. I don't trust many people (including my MIL :o), and anyone that I would trust has a real job and no interest in baby sitting.

 

I would opt for what I quoted.

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This is just like us and several of the situations that I have been in (except my parents and in-laws are on the otherside of the country!) I have two different votes:

 

1.) Do as you suggested and start a babysitting group, preferably at the meeting location, so that other moms can bring their kids to play also. My friend and I were just talking about how a) many people don't take the initiative to do these things. They figure that if it isn't happening already, it is probably for a reason, when the real reason is because no one has done it yet! b) There are many girl scouts, homeschooled teens, or teens who are members of the church who would be happy to volunteer to provide babysitting services for church events such as this. My friend said that she and her sister did it once a week when they were homeschooled way back when.

 

2.) Take your kids with you, have them sit with their books to read, and enjoy your group. If all goes well, the skeptical women will see that there was no reason for them to worry and perhaps you will give someone else the courage to do the same with their children.

 

In the end, I think it is ridiculous that so many people expect moms to hire a baby sitter for them to go to women's groups. I certainly do not blame you for a second for not wanting to hire someone for you to attend this group. There is always another solution that will not rock anyone's boat.

 

Good luck!

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Bring the kids or if they are responsible and get along let them stay home for an hour or so if you are close by. I leave my 12, 11,& 9 year old at home a couple hours at a time when needed. They are fully trained & I'm just a phone call away. I don't do a lot of ladies things though. Right now I just don't have time for weekly meetings/groups. I may someday.

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Sometimes it's easier to apologize later than ask permission first. Try taking your kids to an activity that you think they could handle by quietly reading books or whatever activity you choose. If all goes well, your problem will be solved. If it doesn't work out, well then you can always leave early and apologize for any interruption.

JMO,

Joy

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Sometimes it's easier to apologize later than ask permission first. Try taking your kids to an activity that you think they could handle by quietly reading books or whatever activity you choose. If all goes well, your problem will be solved. If it doesn't work out, well then you can always leave early and apologize for any interruption.

JMO,

Joy

 

I take this approach often. :D What are they going to say when you show up, go home because you have kids. Probably not.

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I just want to chime in here because I'm not sure you are interpreting the ladies correctly. When someone says "don't bring your kids, they would be bored" what they really mean is - don't bring your kids, this is a moms only event. I think the issue here is that you don't see having your kids there as being a distraction but the other ladies might. Perhaps they won't feel free to openly chat knowing there are kids listening in (who knows).

 

I think your best bet is to see if there are other moms/kids that would like to participate and then figure out a child care solution for all the kids.

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I rarely use child-care. For one thing, I don't feel like I usually need it. My kids are well-behaved and can handle adult settings as well as more child friendly ones. And Grandma and Grandpa live about a half hour in the opposite direction from any activity we would be going to so by the time we dropped off the kids and then drove back in the direction we would need to go it would add at least an hour to our drive time. And then we would need to reverse that after the activity. So unless it is an emergency situation, or dh and I specifically plan a date night close to Grandma and Grandpa's house, we don't do it. The only friends we trust to watch the kids live closer to an hour away (again in the "wrong" direction).

 

The problem is our new church. It is a very small church (about 40 people). Dh has been asked to help the pastor there as an assistant/possible replacement when the current pastor retires. I want to get to know the ladies there. But all the activities for ladies come without child-care or with child-care for infants only. That wouldn't bother me. My kids would be fine with book in the corner or else participating by listening etc. When I've asked if they could come, I've been told that kids would be bored and so to leave them home. Dh works over 40 hours per week. On a weekend, he can let them play or plug them into a video but on work days he can't watch them. So far I've just nodded and have opted out. But I'm wondering if I should push it a bit by suggesting that they come anyway (with a book or activity). My hesitation is not wanting to "rock the boat" in anyway when I'm just getting to know them. What do you think?

 

The other issue is that there are hardly any other families with children and I've noticed that none of those moms choose to come to ladies' activities. So I suppose I could suggest that I organize something for mom's with kids so that perhaps we could start including them too - but that would defeat my purpose of wanting to get to know the ladies. Or would serving a "higher purpose" trump getting to know the ladies?

I totally understand. It seems like moms with children are not a very welcomed entity anymore. Because of this I really don't have close friends right now. The two gals that I used to be friends with when their children were little and my older 3 were teens don't have younger children anymore and it is like they give the impression that they have done their time and don't/are not going to be bothered.:confused:

I would take my dc with what ever activity they are used to doing at they types of things and if the ladies are cold or upset about it later I guess I would question if this is the right place for your family to be heading?

Hope it works out for you.

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I am going to have to agree with Emmy. It sounds like the other ladies either don't have young kids or have made other arrangements to have time away from their kids and may see this as a special opportunity to be with just adults. If they are telling you to leave the kids at home, I would assume they probably mean just that.

 

I am not able to participate much at my church right now because we have a church school, so if we show up at anything during daytime hours, it turns into a conversation about why my kids aren't in the school. And even if my kids are perfectly well-behaved, they are still kids at an adult event, and some people are just uncomfortable with that.

 

Hope you find a good compromise and find a way for you and the kids to make friends at your church.

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I just want to chime in here because I'm not sure you are interpreting the ladies correctly. When someone says "don't bring your kids, they would be bored" what they really mean is - don't bring your kids, this is a moms only event. I think the issue here is that you don't see having your kids there as being a distraction but the other ladies might. Perhaps they won't feel free to openly chat knowing there are kids listening in (who knows).

 

I think your best bet is to see if there are other moms/kids that would like to participate and then figure out a child care solution for all the kids.

 

My thoughts exactly. For some moms, it may be the only child-free weekly event they attend. They do not want ANY kids there, their own or those of anyone else.

Edited by JFSinIL
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Could you organize something for ALL the moms, and note that kids are welcome to play off the side or in the yard if anyone cares to bring them? That way the moms with kids feel welcome, and those who don't want to deal with their own don't have to.

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to someone's house.

 

If there is an event at the church and you know that certain rooms will be open and unused, I would consider taking them and setting them up with activities.

 

We had a ladies bible study with my church and I really appreciated that the lady who hosted it was very welcoming of my children and would let them take over part of the house and just read or play games. So I would ask. But I wouldn't bring them to a home uninvited.

 

I would also try to create opportunities to have events that include parents AND children. I always think that's really nice. But I do understand that sometimes women want to do things without children.

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I just want to chime in here because I'm not sure you are interpreting the ladies correctly. When someone says "don't bring your kids, they would be bored" what they really mean is - don't bring your kids, this is a moms only event. I think the issue here is that you don't see having your kids there as being a distraction but the other ladies might. Perhaps they won't feel free to openly chat knowing there are kids listening in (who knows).

 

I think your best bet is to see if there are other moms/kids that would like to participate and then figure out a child care solution for all the kids.

 

I agree. I would never just show up with my kids to a women's/moms' event without asking first. But one could word the question in a way that might cause the leaders or organizers to wonder if other moms either need help finding reliable care within the church family OR would like to have their kids along too: "Can you tell me if there are any events where my children would be welcome to tag along?" Then you'll have your answer. It just seems like forcing one's family mission or convictions by not considering how other's feel or want things to be run might be a mistake.

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I just want to chime in here because I'm not sure you are interpreting the ladies correctly. When someone says "don't bring your kids, they would be bored" what they really mean is - don't bring your kids, this is a moms only event. I think the issue here is that you don't see having your kids there as being a distraction but the other ladies might. Perhaps they won't feel free to openly chat knowing there are kids listening in (who knows).

 

I think your best bet is to see if there are other moms/kids that would like to participate and then figure out a child care solution for all the kids.

 

One problem, besides the fact that the moms want a place they can talk freely without worrying about little ears, is the precedent it sets. Your children may be very well-behaved. However, the next woman who wants to bring her children may have children that are not. How would that be handled? Tell one mom she can bring her kids, but another can't? That sets up all sorts of problems.

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I rarely use child-care. For one thing, I don't feel like I usually need it. My kids are well-behaved and can handle adult settings as well as more child friendly ones. And Grandma and Grandpa live about a half hour in the opposite direction from any activity we would be going to so by the time we dropped off the kids and then drove back in the direction we would need to go it would add at least an hour to our drive time. And then we would need to reverse that after the activity. So unless it is an emergency situation, or dh and I specifically plan a date night close to Grandma and Grandpa's house, we don't do it. The only friends we trust to watch the kids live closer to an hour away (again in the "wrong" direction).

 

The problem is our new church. It is a very small church (about 40 people). Dh has been asked to help the pastor there as an assistant/possible replacement when the current pastor retires. I want to get to know the ladies there. But all the activities for ladies come without child-care or with child-care for infants only. That wouldn't bother me. My kids would be fine with book in the corner or else participating by listening etc. When I've asked if they could come, I've been told that kids would be bored and so to leave them home. Dh works over 40 hours per week. On a weekend, he can let them play or plug them into a video but on work days he can't watch them. So far I've just nodded and have opted out. But I'm wondering if I should push it a bit by suggesting that they come anyway (with a book or activity). My hesitation is not wanting to "rock the boat" in anyway when I'm just getting to know them. What do you think?

 

The other issue is that there are hardly any other families with children and I've noticed that none of those moms choose to come to ladies' activities. So I suppose I could suggest that I organize something for mom's with kids so that perhaps we could start including them too - but that would defeat my purpose of wanting to get to know the ladies. Or would serving a "higher purpose" trump getting to know the ladies?

 

My $.02 on bringing them. Homeschooling means my kids are around me all the time. There have been Bible study groups that I have brought them but let them kick it alone in the next room and others I've attended and left them home alone (oldest was a mature 12). Some others have brought their children and let them sit in a corner with a book and I don't like it. Sometimes I go to a womans group to get away from kids and although I understand situations can come up, children attending shouldn't be the norm. It has nothing to do with how well behaved a child is. Some converstaions that come up in prayer request and Bible study question/accountability situations are not something I want my kids listening to sometimes. My 12 yr old doesn't need to know that a man at the church is struggling w/ an addiction. I missed the age of your children but I remember when mine were younger a wise mother reminded me this was just a season of my life.. now they are older and that is easier to understand.

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I agree with everyone else who says don't bring your children. All of their reasons were great, and I'm about to add another one that you probably haven't thought of. As someone who went through infertility, I cherished the few child-free places I could go to. If I was walking into an emotionally "safe" situation where I wasn't expecting to see kids and kids showed up for whatever reason, it would completely throw me. I would quickly excuse myself, and if I was lucky I would manage to escape the situation before the tears started so no one would see me cry. The few times that happened to me, it literally felt like someone was jabbing a knife into my gut and twisting it. You don't know what some of those ladies may be going through. Some may want kids and be unable to have them, some may hate kids, and some may be SAHMs who are looking forward to a little child-free time.

 

I'm part of a book club that is child-free, and quite honestly if someone brought their child, I'd be annoyed. It is my one chance/month to have some quiet time away from my children and to engage in intellectual conversations with grown-ups besides DH. If book club conflicts with DH's paintball, I skip it for that month. It wouldn't be fair to those other ladies to bring my kids.

 

If you want something that involves children, I completely agree with those who have suggested starting something, or looking into baby-sitting services if several of the moms want to attend this group and are currently unable. If the meetings are in a church, maybe the moms could take turns watching the kids in another room.

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You can always invite one or 2 ladies at a time to your home for a light lunch... then you get to know them better & it isn't a group thing.

 

I quit going to ladies events b/c they waste so much time. Just too much trouble going, sitting/chatting/studying, coming home... kids, nursery, schedules, school work, best times.... ECK! It just isn't worth the hassle. Even if you offered me child care, I would not come.

 

It is also possible that the ladies without children aren't interested in the ladies with children OR the other groups isn't very interested in meeting with ladies without kids (people often gather in peer groups based upon common ground)..... if you must meet as a group... then step up & ask someone to manage the older kids (take the lead on finding a sitter at the church - not away). You could even poll the Moms who do not attend & find out what limits them. It may not be the child care issue at all.

 

Another thing to remember is that our society thinks it is WEIRD to see kids out in public during the day. This used to be intimidating to many homeschoolers & they didn't go out during public school hours... this had changed but in small areas, I find it can still be an issue. You may have to TEACH those who aren't used ot children being with their families how to be more considerate & aware! Another reason to try to arrange activities or childcare for older children & find out what Moms need. But, if it fails, don't beat yourself up. Some people just don't mix well & don't do meetings.

 

I have found people mix the best when they are working.... a project like filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas child, packing food bags for poor, or making care packages for shut-ins..... they break the ice with each other as they work and aren't just sitting around discussing a Beth Moore chapter and feeling very awkward. Break the ice with service projects... might be a good way to go!

 

If you really enjoy fellowship, small home meetings are much more intimate & help decrease the stress level on the kids & Moms.

Edited by Dirtroad
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Before we moved, I went to a weekly ladies class at our church. A lot of us have kids. We took turns watching them in another room. It worked out that each would have to watch the kids about every 6 weeks. Talk to some of the other moms with kids and see if they will come if you work out something for childcare, it will be worth it!

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As there are very few people who can mind our special-needs ds10, I've showed up many places with him in tow. It's just the way it is. Generally, I don't hang out with people or attend events where he wouldn't be welcome - if people, after meeting him, can't understand why childcare options would be very limited for us, then they're likely not the kind of people I can be close with anyway. *shrug* :)

 

Suggestion for the OP - if you are not comfortable having your older mind the younger at home for a short period of time, why don't you set them up to help the adult(s) when the places provide that nursery care ~ that could be a great experience for them :D

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I have found that I rarely want my children around other adults in a situation where they are unwelcome. Many activities are bypassed due to the children being present issue.

 

 

I wouldn't take them if unwelcomed. But I would ask what activities are available to include them in when the opportunity presents itself.

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I would talk to whoever is the leader of the group, if there is one and tell her that you would really like to be involved, but you do not have any options for child care at the moment. Therefor, you were thinking about starting a related group for moms who need to bring their kids (with or without childcare available.)

 

 

Good luck.

Woolybear

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I just want to chime in here because I'm not sure you are interpreting the ladies correctly. When someone says "don't bring your kids, they would be bored" what they really mean is - don't bring your kids, this is a moms only event.

 

If the bolded part is what they *mean*, then that is what they should *say*.

 

Having to 'read between the lines' with people drives me nuts. ;)

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I rarely use child-care. For one thing, I don't feel like I usually need it. My kids are well-behaved and can handle adult settings as well as more child friendly ones. And Grandma and Grandpa live about a half hour in the opposite direction from any activity we would be going to so by the time we dropped off the kids and then drove back in the direction we would need to go it would add at least an hour to our drive time. And then we would need to reverse that after the activity. So unless it is an emergency situation, or dh and I specifically plan a date night close to Grandma and Grandpa's house, we don't do it. The only friends we trust to watch the kids live closer to an hour away (again in the "wrong" direction).

 

The problem is our new church. It is a very small church (about 40 people). Dh has been asked to help the pastor there as an assistant/possible replacement when the current pastor retires. I want to get to know the ladies there. But all the activities for ladies come without child-care or with child-care for infants only. That wouldn't bother me. My kids would be fine with book in the corner or else participating by listening etc. When I've asked if they could come, I've been told that kids would be bored and so to leave them home. Dh works over 40 hours per week. On a weekend, he can let them play or plug them into a video but on work days he can't watch them. So far I've just nodded and have opted out. But I'm wondering if I should push it a bit by suggesting that they come anyway (with a book or activity). My hesitation is not wanting to "rock the boat" in anyway when I'm just getting to know them. What do you think?

 

The other issue is that there are hardly any other families with children and I've noticed that none of those moms choose to come to ladies' activities. So I suppose I could suggest that I organize something for mom's with kids so that perhaps we could start including them too - but that would defeat my purpose of wanting to get to know the ladies. Or would serving a "higher purpose" trump getting to know the ladies?

 

We rarely use childcare either and when we do it is either family or my very dear friend. We have the same issues at our church. The women are encouraged to be in a weekly Bible study but there is never childcare! I used to bring my girls and their independent work to do but the other kids wouldn't leave them alone. My older girl, at one point, was getting kids dumped with her to watch so she couldn't do her work either. The church refuses to pay for childcare for any reason. They expect Titus 2 type women to step up but it has never happned.

We have tried paying one of the teens ourselves, but none of us can really afford to do that. In the end, after trying a number of times to make it work, it ended up being too stressful.

I decided, prayerfully, that this is my time to be a homeschooling Mom. My personal devotions, family devotions,Sunday sermons and Sunday School will have to do for now. There will be altogether too much time when the girls are grown on my hands to go to all the Bible studies I like.

Until or unless things change at our church, that is just the way it is.

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A lot of good input - thank you.

 

This Friday there is a Ladies lunch followed by a hike. It isn't even remotely "private" unless the women are discussing private information while they walk. I am meeting another mom (who has 3 kids) at a park near her house.

 

In a couple of weeks there is another ladies lunch with a hike. It is on a Saturday, so I will ask the pastor's wife (who appears to be in charge of all these things) if I can bring the kids. If she says no (or thinks they will be "bored") then I can leave them home that day.

 

I'm really trying to get a handle on this church. I don't say it lightly that it is a sick church. We've been asked to help make it healthy again. But I don't think we can do that until we can really get to know people. And this is one roadblock for me in doing that.

 

I do understand not wanting children around if you are discussing intimate stuff but as far as I can see, no one lets their guard down enough at this church to do that. I also can see not wanting to be around unruly children. It's funny though - I think I've gotten so used to this homeschooling life-style of doing most things as a family - that the idea of that not being encouraged at church is sort of weird to me!

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If the bolded part is what they *mean*, then that is what they should *say*.

 

Having to 'read between the lines' with people drives me nuts. ;)

 

That is a big assumption though. They do get bored, they get restless, and they begin to wiggle or stir. This is a HUGE distraction and can ruin a bible study or discussion. Even the best kids in the world can only handle adult chatter for so long.

 

Don't take the kids into the meeting. It is not right for them or the ladies. We think it is wrong for someone to NOT want children around... but it is wrong for us to assume our children should be allowed at every event.

 

Arrange childcare or activities.... have it at your home (with activities for kids)..... but don't include them in the meeting. These ladies may need a break & may have serious things to discuss... dont' assume your children wouldn't bother her... OR her conversation matter wouldn't bother your children.

 

Keep kids out of grownup meetings. But... not far away and easy to access if you are concerned or want to peek in. I am a homeschooler & my kids are with me almost everywhere.... but not in meetings. They distract me, they get bored (REALLY!!!) and they make some uncomfortable or distracted. IT is lose, lose.

 

I am in charge of our homeschool field trips and have started saying NO SIBLINGS on certain trips. Some moms seem unable to discern appropriate times for bringing siblings. There are places they do not need to be. Since the Moms didn't use good judgement or appropriate consideration, I was FORCED to begin saying NO. Kids can't go everywhere with you. It is more than people don't want them around (but that can be a factor, sadly). IT is much more complicated.

Edited by Dirtroad
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I tried having women's Bible study at my house. We even had paid babysitters. But between the lack of a/c and the presence of kids at my small house (kids walking through the hallway or through the LR, or my having to go in and out of the room to deal with something), it made for a very unattractive place to be. Too many disruptions. The ladies in charge decided that they didn't want to have the studies at my home anymore.

 

They moved it to a newlywed's apartment, but the parking there wasn't good, and I didn't feel comfortable going there at night when I had to park a block away. There was no child care, of course, so either I had to drop the kids at grandma's, or wait 'til dh got home and ate dinner. Then I'd be 30-60 mins. late. The morning study had no child care, and I couldn't justify having one more activity during school hours.

 

I stopped going altogether.

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I agree, don't take the kids. You are wanting to minister to these women. Right now you have to meet them on their terms to help earn their respect. I wouldn't always recommend that but they aren't asking you to do something terrible. By not taking your kids, taking the trouble to find a babysitter (maybe another hs family you know can keep them during that time?), and coming alone you are showing them that they are worth the effort to get to know. You are willing to work and get to know them, even if it is difficult or a sacrifice for you. Who knows what they are sacrificing to attend themselves.

 

I am another that would be offended if someone brought cihldren to a ladies event that had been listed as "no children". I have children and don't attend many activities because my childcare situation is much like yours. We are living on a tiny budget, grandparents live far enough away to be inconvenient, and dh is not able to take off work (or take the kids with him). If I was finally able to attend and get all that arranged, I would be hurt if someone else had kids there, especially if they came on a regular basis.

 

My grandmother attends a very small rural church of about the same size as yours. They usually hire men from the community or neighboring communities to be their part time preachers - meaning they are just responsible for church services and that they work jobs elsewhere as well. Some of those men's wives are never quite accepted. They come in from the beginning and want to change everything to suit their needs without considering those who have it set up that way, the reasons behind it, and so on. The women who have become long standing respected members and friends are those who first tried getting to know the women just like they were. If the study was no children, they didn't take children. Then they planned something for children and invited those moms. Or found a way to have all women and provide childcare, even if they had to provide the childcare while all the other women visited. They asked for recipes, took food, invited families to their own homes for meals, hugged and loved members, and did the best they could. They may not have attended all the Bible studies and ladies classes but they reached out in other ways.

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I was the leader of our very small church's women's ministry for about 5 years. The issue of kids and childcare was a huge one. It surprised me how strongly some women absolutely did not want children at any events. And then at the same time I knew there were women (including some single moms) who really couldn't come without the kids. It's a small church and paid childcare was also a problem...even if it's affordable it's difficult to find.

 

What I tried to do was mix it up. Have some events where kids were not allowed (our annual retreat) and some where it was fine. It was still always an issue. As the leader you quickly realize that someone is always going to not be happy. The current women's leader does something similar. We have nights where people go out to dinner, noone brings kids. We have a book study in the summer that kids are welcome at and childcare is provided. We have found success in using an older girl in the church for childcare. We paid them $10 for two hours (yes, very little but they are young and their Moms preferred it to be a small amount). We were in the house with them so even though they were young for babysitting (11 and 12) it was fine. They went in another room and played with the kids while the moms stayed upstairs. The church elders actually agreed to pay for the babysitting as they thought it was important but we had agreed that if they hadn't everyone would have been fine putting in $1-2 for the week.

 

What was most helpful to me was when someone voiced a need AND then also had a solution to the problem. So if you can do that in some way that might be helpful to the leaders and help them to come up with something that works for everyone.

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I agree, don't take the kids. You are wanting to minister to these women. Right now you have to meet them on their terms to help earn their respect. I wouldn't always recommend that but they aren't asking you to do something terrible. By not taking your kids, taking the trouble to find a babysitter (maybe another hs family you know can keep them during that time?), and coming alone you are showing them that they are worth the effort to get to know. You are willing to work and get to know them, even if it is difficult or a sacrifice for you. Who knows what they are sacrificing to attend themselves.

 

 

 

This was helpful to me, because I am wanting to minister to these women.

 

THIS IS A QUOTE TOO - BUT SOMEHOW I MESSED IT UP! "My grandmother attends a very small rural church of about the same size as yours. They usually hire men from the community or neighboring communities to be their part time preachers - meaning they are just responsible for church services and that they work jobs elsewhere as well. Some of those men's wives are never quite accepted. They come in from the beginning and want to change everything to suit their needs without considering those who have it set up that way, the reasons behind it, and so on. The women who have become long standing respected members and friends are those who first tried getting to know the women just like they were. If the study was no children, they didn't take children. Then they planned something for children and invited those moms. Or found a way to have all women and provide childcare, even if they had to provide the childcare while all the other women visited. They asked for recipes, took food, invited families to their own homes for meals, hugged and loved members, and did the best they could. They may not have attended all the Bible studies and ladies classes but they reached out in other ways."

 

This is very helpful too. I agree that I need to get to know them just like they are.

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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What I tried to do was mix it up. Have some events where kids were not allowed (our annual retreat) and some where it was fine.

 

What was most helpful to me was when someone voiced a need AND then also had a solution to the problem. So if you can do that in some way that might be helpful to the leaders and help them to come up with something that works for everyone.

 

Thank you, Alice. I think once I get to know them better I can offer them some better solutions to their needs.

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What's funny is that we are helping out two small groups that are almost exactly the same size (around 40 if everyone came at the same time).

 

One (the established church that we're helping out on Sunday mornings) is a "doctrinally correct" church that is precise of all their theology but has lost 90% of their children. They know that they need to reach out to other people and are friendly on the surface but not really accessible. They try to reach people with outreaches that target different people (like the women) but aren't flexible in really meeting the needs of the actual people they are trying to reach. They have problems but don't seem to be able to really admit it. There are weird things going on that I don't understand yet. They asked me to teach Sunday school but when I came prepared to teach, they said "never mind" (even though there is a need). They ask for help in the music but it has to be precisely the right kind of "doctrinally correct" music - I'm not sure what that is, so I'm staying away from that one even though I'm musically gifted. The upside is that my ds12 is in a wonderful Sunday school class taught by the pastor's wife. I appreciate the advice to go along with their wishes and to get to know them better. (Dh really feels that God wants us to help out this group even though it is really hard and will probably get harder due to some upheaval in the church. I struggle with really not liking this group but wanting to be faithful anyway.)

 

The other group we work with is our ministry to low income elderly on Wed. nights. This is a mish-mash of elderly, often psychologically borderline individuals along with a number of non-elderly people from a previous church who have followed us there. Everyone there (including us!) have problems but there is an open-ness and an acceptance there that is amazing. There are often disruptions to the meeting from drunks who wander in, some of the elderly who have poor impulse control, and on rare occasions from my children. They have folded in our children to the group. Some of that is the way my dh and I have set things up - we've included the kids on purpose in the ministry. Ds12 runs the sound-system/recording process. Dd7 runs the powerpoint for the music. After the service when there is talking - some of it serious issues - there is always someone interacting with our children and taking time to interact with them. To be fair though, our two children are the only children at the meeting on Wednesdays.

 

However, this group does have musical praise nights at someone's home where more children run around and play during the potluck time but then come and sing with us afterwards. There are lots of young adults who come to these praise nights. They've recently asked my dh to start providing Bible teaching at the praise nights because they really want to know more. Somehow I don't anticipate the high drop-out rate of children and young adults in this group of believers.

 

So I do come to this problem with a bias toward including children in our worship and study of God's Word. I guess I have a bias toward including everyone, even if they are a bit disruptive, in the worship and study of God's Word- especially when I think that the church is supposed to be a family. And non-disfunctional families are often loud and disruptive but full of love.

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I do understand not wanting children around if you are discussing intimate stuff but as far as I can see, no one lets their guard down enough at this church to do that. I also can see not wanting to be around unruly children. It's funny though - I think I've gotten so used to this homeschooling life-style of doing most things as a family - that the idea of that not being encouraged at church is sort of weird to me!

 

I totally would encourage things that include women and children.

 

However, I don't think men's groups should feel bad about wanting to get together and just be men. They get to know each other in a different way without the wives or children there. And I don't think women should be made to feel bad for wanting to do things without husbands or children. It doesn't mean they want to discuss intimate things. It just means that you bond in a different way.

 

Some of both ought to be acceptable.

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So I do come to this problem with a bias toward including children in our worship and study of God's Word. I guess I have a bias toward including everyone, even if they are a bit disruptive, in the worship and study of God's Word- especially when I think that the church is supposed to be a family. And non-disfunctional families are often loud and disruptive but full of love.

I completely understand this. I have been a foster parent before and I was amazed at how many people thought this was a good ministry - but that they didn't want them at their church or sitting by them. I don't get the exclusionary idea that only "certain people" can worship God or that you have to look/act/be a certain way to be acceptable at church.

 

Jesus ministered to all kinds of people. While I am sure they were mixed during those sermons on the mount or by the seaside, he also took time to reach each group individually. He spent time with the lepers and prostitutes but not concurrently with the children (that the Bible tells us). He had dinner with the publicans and sinners, but didn't have the children sitting in another room waiting on him IYKWIM. There is a time and a place for everyone to worship together. But I also believe that Juesus showed us that there is also a time and a place for the groups to worship/study separately and have their needs met.

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I totally would encourage things that include women and children.

 

However, I don't think men's groups should feel bad about wanting to get together and just be men. They get to know each other in a different way without the wives or children there. And I don't think women should be made to feel bad for wanting to do things without husbands or children. It doesn't mean they want to discuss intimate things. It just means that you bond in a different way.

 

Some of both ought to be acceptable.

 

I do see your point about different groups needing time alone.

 

I want to point out though that the second group of people we minister to (the one that sprang out of the elderly ministry) has a men's night once a month. It is a pot-luck / Bible study that dh leads. (Dh was told that it was 'not cool' of him to bring vegetables to the potluck! LOL!) Anyway last year when ds turned 11 the men went out of their way (without dh's input or urging) and invited our ds to join them. It goes late - they watch a movie after the Bible study and often don't get home until at least 11 pm. But what a way for ds to see how godly men interact. These men put their needs second to the weakest one in their group (ds) but by doing so I think they are so blessed. And ds won't be suddenly be trying to fit into the men's group when he is a late teen/college student.

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I do see your point about different groups needing time alone.

 

I want to point out though that the second group of people we minister to (the one that sprang out of the elderly ministry) has a men's night once a month. It is a pot-luck / Bible study that dh leads. (Dh was told that it was 'not cool' of him to bring vegetables to the potluck! LOL!) Anyway last year when ds turned 11 the men went out of their way (without dh's input or urging) and invited our ds to join them. It goes late - they watch a movie after the Bible study and often don't get home until at least 11 pm. But what a way for ds to see how godly men interact. These men put their needs second to the weakest one in their group (ds) but by doing so I think they are so blessed. And ds won't be suddenly be trying to fit into the men's group when he is a late teen/college student.

I love that the men do this! Our church has a men's breakfast once a week at 6 am. It is men only and the sons are expected to come as well. It has been such a positive experience for my son.

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I have tried several times to bring up the idea of taking teen girls on our annual church women's retreat. It's not been well received, and I do understand why, but I think what the men at your church have done is wonderful and is the way a healthy church can look (and I think it's very biblical too).

 

That's just so awesome and your son will always remember that.

 

I do think it's just a challenge to get the right balance. On one hand, women really do need a place to go and fellowship with adults. I don't necessarily feel that for myself, but I hear a lot of women say, especially women at home with young children, that what the really really want is adult conversation. So I can understand wanting to have a hike that is for adult women. But I also think that we need to support each other as mothers, raise up our children in community, and love each other's children. The fastest way into a woman's heart (if you are another woman) is to just adore her children, and how can you do that if you spend no time with them?

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I think there is an attitude shift though between these two groups.

 

The first group (the established church that does things in a more formal churchy way) seems to view children at best as perhaps their own demographic to be evangelized/taught off to the side. At worst, they perhaps view children as annoyances - cute annoyances but annoyances none the less.

 

The second group (the more "organic" church which coincidentally is struggling with having been hurt by more formal churches) seems to view my children even at age 7 and 12 as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to be included in all the body's activities as best as they can.

 

I do understand wanting adult time. I've been known to tell my kids to "go away" (as I throw them a cookie bribe) so I can talk privately with adult friends. So perhaps the posts that talk about having a good mix of both are best. But I don't just want side-by-side kid's activities that relegate kids off to the sidelines all the time. Somehow that seems just as bad as telling them that they aren't welcome. So, this is my struggle. . .

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