The past few days I've found myself being harsher with the children at Mass, trying to be more forceful about keeping the kids extremely quiet (no small feat with Charlotte), only to feel horrible about it the entire time. Normally, I take a more laissez-faire approach to parenting, and yet also have very high expectations of my children. While those positions may seem contradictory, they aren't really, at least not in my mind. My high expectations refer to things that I know they can do, and then I just relax about all the age-appropriate behaviour. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that trying to force myself to parent a different way has just stressed me and upset them needlessly.
I know my take on it doesn't conform to the ideas that many have that children shouldn't be heard at all at Mass, but I needn't worry about others' opinions, just God's. I must continually remind myself of this, as I'm all too aware of the negative opinions of others when Charlotte is louder. Since she's only two, this is quite often, though most of her exclamations are quite Catholic, actually. This actually reminds me of a post I read a few days ago, and I recommend you read it, too.
I have to remind myself, too, because sometimes I can get caught up in the attitude of believing I'm not getting anything out of Mass because I must police the children, but, really, if I'm not getting anything out of being in the very Presence of my Lord, then that's my problem, not theirs. Yes, others matter too, of course, but at the same time, children are learning what to do, while adults can control their attitudes and reactions to distraction.
In the meantime, I'll continue with parenting in the way that works for us, for the good of my children and myself, and trust that they will learn from observing. I will also remind myself of the graces we all receive from being with Jesus in the Eucharist when I start forgetting what I'm doing and why.