I wanted to do a quick post as an update on my possible attendance at a Unitarian Universalist church.
To do a quick summary, my wife & I wanted to ensure our daughter had more interaction with other children, especially in leisure time. My wife also did somewhat miss the church community, especially since she was also a stay-at-home parent for about 2 years at the time.
This led me to investigate attending a Unitarian Universalist church. There was one practically around the corner from our house, but my only hang up was related to what exactly they'd be teaching our daughter.
So I sent an email to the church's contact address and laid out what we believed (atheists, but humanists) and what my concerns were (what was taught about supernatural beings in their kids classes).
To my surprise I got...absolutely no response.
My guess is that they don't really have someone checking the contact email account at the church, which is really odd given what I know about how even small churches operate. I used to be a very active volunteer when I was a believer, even when most of the volunteers were quite old, we had something setup where the email would go to someone who would respond.
Life went on, and then I only recently remembered how odd it was to have never heard back from the church. This caused some reflection in me, and I realized we as a family have nearly zero desire to go to the church anymore and I wanted to elucidate why.
Good Friends Supplants Church Community
Our social circle for much of my daughters life was a lot like it was before she was born - nearly all of our friends that we hung out with regularly didn't have kids, and quite a few didn't ever want them.
Over the past year things have changed, we've made much stronger friendships with people we hadn't seen as often that do have kids, and have made some new friends we've grown quite close to. As it is, nearly every weekend now we have something going on with good friends, and it involves their kids as well. We still see our other friends too, though in some cases not quite as much - perhaps once a week instead of twice, etc.
A good example is our Pathfinder (read: Dungeons & Dragons) game. A new friend of ours is now playing with us every week, and his wife comes over with their kids and while she doesn't play, she's with us and can make color commentary and watches the kids with us pitching in to help as necessary.
Overall, it's lots of fun for everyone, even though most of our friends there don't have kids.
Work Changes Things
Another change was that my wife went back to work full time earlier this year. My daughter was doing well part-time at daycare, and my wife was able to find a job that would not only cover the day-care costs full time, but would still bring in additional money to help us out.
Having gone back to work has helped both my wife, at least in terms of adult interaction during the day, and my daughter since she really loves going to daycare/pre-school. Some of our friends kids go there and she's made plenty of other friends as well, she's always happen to go in each morning.
Overall, every weekend ends with us being tired, but pretty happy because we're making sure that our daughter is having fun doing some kind of activity with other kids and we're also spending lots of time with some really great people we've grown to care for quite a bit.
This has effectively satisfied the things we did miss that we got out of church, but we don't have to all get up early on a Sunday or stomach some quasi-spiritual bullshit to get it.