How We Reconcile Our Religious Differences in Parenting & Marriage

Seder Plate by  Denebeim Studios

Seder Plate by Denebeim Studios

I grew up celebrating Christmas never having gone to a church except for sightseeing.  My parents just wanted me to feel like part of the community I grew up in in Massachusetts and to have an excuse to make the house pretty and festive.  My father would classify himself as an atheist, my mother a Hindu, at least in the secular sense.  And I grew up somewhat open to anything but thinking religion was passé.

My husband grew up in a traditional Jewish home full of deep family history, and when we decided to marry, I converted to commit that Bodie would grow up with a Jewish identity.  Yes, like Ivanka.  I wish I could say I embraced it elegantly but honestly it was a source of tension for our first couple years of marriage.  As someone who had close to zero religious upbringing, to come into religion later in life I found it challenging to keep my mouth shut and cynicism in check.

Tonight is Passover for the Jewish community and in a way holidays are an intimidating reminder of my commitment.  Now that Bodie is with us, cynicism has somewhat faded into the background of a sense of responsibility to make sure he feels like a seamless part of our family.

Whether you identify with religion, non-religion, nationality or community, most mothers will say we have more of an appreciation for the magic for kids in celebrations, parades, stories and decorations.  I can now buy that holidays give them something to look forward to and a way to connect with their siblings, cousins and friends.  I find myself, as a mother, unlike as a newlywed, much more open to embracing anything that passes through the filter of - does this help Bodie to feel connected without being closed off to others? 

Coming up with that singular question helps Dan and I come together and focuses us on what matters in a big way.  We've gone from talking in the abstract and philosophical sense to assessing what feels right for us as parents.  

Dan and I certainly aren't the first ones to bring together two different sets of traditions and beliefs into one home. Do you and your husband have different traditions?  How has unifying your house changed from marriage into parenting?