... as mothers go. I make my kids come to mass with me, but I think I have a fairly decent balance of control and tolerance. I do not think that I am either overly strict nor overly lenient.
I do not have unreasonable expectations. My kids must stay in the pew that we are in, but the younger ones are allowed to move freely one end of it to the other. They are not allowed to freely roam the church. They are allowed to get up a couple of times to go to the bathroom or blow their nose (and stretch their legs while they are at it), as long as they are not going every 5 minutes. I ask that they do not talk or yell, but they are allowed to whisper to each other. They bring Catholic books and colouring books, and sometimes a toy or two. I know that mass is long and incomprehensible at that age, but I do not believe that what I ask of them is a herculean task by any means.
I reward good behaviour, (well, tolerable behaviour anyway) by going to Tim Horton's afterwards. I think I am pretty tolerant, as I constantly have kids squeezing me, climbing over me, grabbing my face to make me look at them because what they have to say to me is obviously so much more important than whatever the priest's homily is about.
So I really hate to punish a child by not getting them something at Tim Horton's. But sometimes I do. I don't do it often, but usually, only a couple of times is enough. They remember afterwards that I really am capable of going there and buying something for everyone else except themselves.
Had to do it today, and I feel bad, but I know from experience that the next few masses should be better... for all of us.