Dear Grandma: Stop Taking My Child to Church

As a wishy-washy Agnostic who was raised Catholic, I don't believe most of what I've read in the Bible. I think God could definitely exist, but I wouldn't bet money on it either way. Basically, I question it all but would never be presumptuous enough to argue against religion, either. I try to respect others' faiths, but as a mom, I find others don't always respect my beliefs -- or in this case, the beliefs I don't hold to be true.

The number one offender here is probably the last person you'd expect: my mom -- my children's otherwise amazing and loving grandmother. A religious person who just can't help herself and refuses to stop taking my toddler to church.

Religion is NOT a safe topic to discuss in my parents' home. On more than one occasion, my Atheist husband and I have been told that they are "scared" for my children because they aren't baptized. I try to see where they're coming from, but it gets difficult to practice diplomacy when you're more or less told your parenting will never be up to snuff -- no matter what you do -- because you're not involving the kids in church.

The first time my mom took my daughter to mass, when she was just a baby, I let it slide -- much to my husband's discontent (chalk it up to my wishy-washyness). The second time she did it, I politely reminded her we'd rather not raise her to practice an organized religion. Message heard loud and clear? Uh, no. Because there was a third church visit. And then a fourth. And then we simply realized it was easier to make sure we never asked my mom to babysit on Saturday evening or any time on Sunday than to mention it again.

But time went by and my daughter, who is now 3, recently visited my mom on a Sunday while my husband and I were house hunting. And, AGAIN, church happened. But this time, given her age, she came back and asked us why we don't go to church. I will have no problem being honest with her when she's older. I'm not ashamed of our choices. But at 3?! No.

Side note: I also caught her kissing the baby Jesus on my mom's absurdly ornate diamond cross necklace (because Jesus loves diamonds, I guess).

So yeah, I freaked.

My mother's excuse, when I confronted her yet again about this, was that her religion is a big part of her life and she has the right to talk about her faith and share it with her grandchild. The problem with this attitude, though, if it doesn't include a sentence or two about how it's HER faith and one that isn't shared by all and how that is just fine, is that my toddler is going to get the message that one thing is right and that her parents are wrong. And that is simply not okay with us.

As her parents, our decision regarding religion should override the choices her grandmother is making for us -- choices that are just going to cause confusion in our child.

Do you think a grandparent has the right to take your child to church or teach them about a religion that you don't practice?


Image via Michael D. Beckwith/Flickr



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Ashyb... Ashybaby13

Absolutely not. I am an athiest and if I could choose I would have my 14 month old son be one too but it's not my choice. Religion isn't going anywhere and he can decide when he is an adult. He is too young to understand the complicated realm of religion and I'm sure he will have many questions when he is older but I won't be indoctrinating him anytime soon.

nonmember avatar Lilah

You sound extremely ungrateful. If this was such a big deal to you, you'd stop asking her to babysit. I guess it doesn't bother you that much. Not enough to stop pawning your kid off. Lol stop complaining and be grateful.

tbruc... tbrucemom

Here's an idea, instead of getting free babysitting from your mom, hire a babysitter you ungrateful twit.

Craft... CraftyJenna

Actually yes. Your mother's faith is a large part of her life, and it's honestly selfish and rude of YOU to ask her to babysit when you know she goes to mass and expect her not to take your daughter.Do you expect your mother to hide her faith because you "question everything" and your husband is an aithiest? Going to church a few times will not destroy your daughter, it won't even make her a believer- and those sentances? They are on you, it's on YOU to talk to your child about different faiths because you are her mother. And the kissing Jesus thing? Kids are weird, kids like jewelry, get over it.

Lucki... Luckicharmz

Absolutely not, my husband is atheist and I am pagan. No religion is discussed in our home, our children are not baptised, and no one is allowed to bring them to a religious facility. 

I will however not tell people they can't have discussions about their religion because they as human beings have that right. If my children ask about the topic of conversation I very politely explain it is a discussion we can have when they are of an apropriate age to understand the conversation material and make their own well informed decisions.

Smoke... Smokeygirl

If you know she is a practicing Catholic who regularly attends Mass, then you are responsible for avoiding leaving your children with her on Mass days if you don't want your child going. End of story. Forcing someone to miss a service to do you a favor is not ok. You know she attends, find a different sitter if it is so important to you.

nonmember avatar Carolina

I know this isn't what anyone on this page wants to read, but as a Christian, I would like to speak. If you don't believe, then you don't believe. It's sounds to me like you do believe, but you are afraid of the authority God has over our lives. Being baptized does NOT get you into heaven so the grandmother should not be scared for the kids. The way to heaven and eternal life is through truly believing in Jesus. That's it. It's that simple. It's not through works or just being a good person. Although those are good things and you hope that Christians are this way because of their faith, it doesn't grant eternal life. That is only given by God's grace.

nonmember avatar Miss Ann Thrope

Is it that hard to sat "Not everone believes the same things. This is,what your grandma believes, I'm more skeptical." You can't teach kids to think for themselves if you avoid exposing them to different ideas. Teach them to take everything with a grain of salt. Are occasional, not regular, trips to church with grandma are going to irreversibly indoctrinate your children? Sounds more like you want them to be fully indocrinated athiests, not free thinkers.

nonmember avatar haileysmommy

Absolutely agree with you. My grandma has tried teaching my 3 year old about God and has even asked her if she wants to go to church. she knows that i do not believe, if i dont question her.beliefs she shouldn't question mine. She hamded my daughter a cross and said ´jesus died on this cross,his blood is eeverywhere' ... so my daughter threw down the cross and screamed ewwww. Too young.

nonmember avatar Tonya

I want to second what severalmhave already said. a) Pay for a babysitter. I find it ironic that you want to control everything your mother does as you're pawning your kid off on her. News flash: Kids can go house hunting. Mine did. b) If you're so confident in your non-belief, why is it such an issue that your child is exposed to something different. Particularly if, as you say, God may exist?? You're an adult, free to make your own decisions after being exposed to different thoughts. Why not expose your child to religion in case that mysterious
God is real? Is that really that big of a problem? My kids are being raised Catholic as I was. My oldest is 13 and already veering toward a church with less structure. That's fine. If they chose not to believe at all, I would be bothered by that, but it would be an adult decision they would be free to make.

The bottom line is that your "problem" is quite easily remedied by reaching into your pocket and paying a babysitter or by being inconvenienced by taking your princess with you house hunting.

1-10 of 198 comments 12345 Last