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Ink Slingers Lisa Canning Mom So Hard Series

How Do You Fit in Time For Prayer?

MOM SO HARD Finessing the Intricacies of Your Modern Catholic Family

Welcome to this installment in the series MOM SO HARD – FINESSING THE INTRICACIES OF YOUR MODERN CATHOLIC FAMILY, a series focused on taking a look at the Faith through the lens of being a Catholic mom. This series is going to–using a spiritual foundation as our starting point–walk with you and share candid and practical elements that make up our days. We will look at primary spiritual elements, recognizing that without God, nothing is possible. How do we start our day? How do we end our day? If God does not bookend our days (at a minimum), we can start to see how feeling overwhelmed or worse can creep into our day. Even the most mundane of chores and activities can be done to glorify God. So, grab some coffee, a notebook, and a pen, and let’s get started, shall we?


When I first became a mom, I wanted everything to be “perfect”. I wanted the perfect nursery, I wanted the perfect baby, I wanted this image of a perfect family I had pictured in my head!

And I wanted my prayer life to be perfect as well.

Before I had kids, I was a fairly scheduled person. I certainly struggled with maintaining good habits, but I managed to pray the rosary with daily regularity and enjoyed quiet, meditative prayer time by myself every morning.

And I thought that having a baby would not impact my prayer time in the least.

Instead, as a first-time, sleep deprived mom, my prayer life looked very different! I would fall asleep by the first mystery of the rosary. Waking up early for any kind of mental prayer would instead be met by me setting snooze on the alarm! Or on the mornings the baby did not have me up at every hour the night before, and I was able to get out of bed, I would again, fall asleep within one passage of my spiritual reading.

Peaceful prayer time seemed to be a distant memory, something unachievable in my new state of life.

And instead of changing my approach, or changing my schedule, I more often than not gave up on prayer completely.

But what I wish I could have told my younger self, now with seven kids later, is that prayer as a mom doesn’t have to be perfect. And while it might look different that it did when you were single, it doesn’t mean it’s less valuable, less essential, or less impactful on you and your relationship with God.

Here are the things I wish I could have told my younger mom self (and still need to remind myself of today in the midst of raising seven kids!) in regards to fitting a prayer life in the busy demands of mom life.

1. PRAYER GIVES MORE THAN IT TAKES

I know it can seem like an impossible task, and another thing to add to a list of things to do, but prayer really is something that gives more than the energy required to do so. Showing up for God, investing in a relationship with Him, and allowing Him to show His love for you is essential for a busy mom. I challenge you to see how much it can fill you up when you commit to it regularly.

2. PRAYER ANSWERS A NEED IN YOUR HEART

I don’t know about you, but sometimes motherhood makes me feel desperate- desperate for more peace, desperate for more quiet, desperate for more understanding. Prayer can provide these things and then some. When we tell our needs to God He always shows up (even if we don’t think He has).

3. PRAYER BENEFITS OUR KIDS

If we want our kids to know and love God, we need to know Him ourselves. I think prayer helps us not only to model the kind of behaviour we want to see in our kids, but it also allows us to speak the language of love and intimacy, and explain to our children they can have this with our Father in Heaven.

4. PRAYER ESTABLISHES OUR LEGACY

If you want to be remembered as someone who loved God and our Catholic Church, prayer is an important practice in this. I think it’s important to note too how much the saints talked about prayer in their writings.

5. PRAYER CAN HAPPEN ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

This is the biggest one. I used to think prayer had to be such a “perfect performance”. But I realized through the help of my spiritual director how flawed my thinking was. Prayer can happen while you change a diaper. Prayer can happen while you wash the dishes. Prayer can happen while you are on the floor wiping up spilled milk. There is a regular schedule to motherhood in a way, like when babies nap, or kids eat, or kids need to be picked up from school, where prayer can be woven into the course of a day. Can you pray your rosary on a walk after dropping off your kids at a program? Or can you read your Bible while you nurse your infant? The key here is to look for the natural opportunities of recollection that can exist within the flurry of motherhood, and to grasp them and use them to nurture our relationship with Christ.

6. PRAYER CAN BE PRIORITIZED

Just like any other important activity in life, prayer can be something you prioritize. The same way that you would show up for a child’s sporting game, or you would show up on time for a client appointment, you can show up for prayer.

In my own life, juggling a business and seven children, what this looks like for me is visiting my local Blessed Sacrament chapel everyday after dropping my school aged kids at school for a short visit before returning back home. I choose to use the time I have childcare for this activity so I can truly have a few moments of focused prayer.

The benefits have been immeasurable. I now cannot believe there was a time I lived without this habit. And while it requires modifications to my calendar and I have to fit other things around this commitment, it is a commitment I believe is worth prioritizing.


REFLECT

Let’s dig deeper. Did this post resonate with you? If so, please continue on below and consider starting a journal to jot down your answers. PRINT several copies of these questions to start your own journal based on different posts. 

  1. Do you recall a time in your life when you leaned in on rote prayer?
  2. How did that particular prayer help your life?
  3. What is one area of your life in which you feel you are managing with great success right now?
  4. What is one area of your life in which you feel you need to improve? (prayer life, domestic chores, parenting, marriage-if applicable, etc.)
  5. Where in the natural rhythm of raising children could you find natural times for prayer?
  6. What would need to be made possible in your life to get some independent time to pray?

RESOURCES

CATHOLIC PLANNERDAYBOOK – “It’s the best first step you’ll take towards organizing a better tomorrow.” Martina Kreitzer, foundress of Catholic Sistas

BOOK – THE POSSIBILITY MOM: HOW TO BE A GREAT MOM AND PURSUE YOUR DREAMS AT THE SAME TIME RIGHT NOW! by LISA CANNING

How Do You Fit in Time for Prayer?

 

Categories
Ink Slingers Lisa Canning Mom So Hard Series

What if it Didn’t Have to be so Hard?

Welcome to this installment in the series MOM SO HARD – FINESSING THE INTRICACIES OF YOUR MODERN CATHOLIC FAMILY, a series focused on taking a look at the Faith through the lens of being a Catholic mom. This series is going to–using a spiritual foundation as our starting point–walk with you and share candid and practical elements that make up our days. We will look at primary spiritual elements, recognizing that without God, nothing is possible. How do we start our day? How do we end our day? If God does not bookend our days (at a minimum), we can start to see how feeling overwhelmed or worse can creep into our day. Even the most mundane of chores and activities can be done to glorify God. So, grab some coffee, a notebook, and a pen, and let’s get started, shall we?


For the first five years of my motherhood journey, I felt like I did not belong. 

We were married young, with no savings, and I had just launched my interior design business when we had our first child. We had no available income for childcare, but more importantly I wanted my baby near me. I wanted to be his primary caregiver. I wanted to embrace the vocation of motherhood full on.

But at the same time, I also had a passion for my work. Just two years before having our son John, I hosted a show on HGTV that launched my interior design and television career. I saw before me enticing opportunities I could have never imagined for my life. And while no one said it this harshly, it was definitely implied that it would be more convenient for everyone else if I waited to start a family.

So I found myself, at the age of 25, with one foot firmly in the stay-at-home mom camp, and one foot firmly in the working mom camp. I had some friends telling me my place was at home, and at home is where I should stay. And then I had some friends saying I could have it all, and what was the harm in working. And I felt so much tension, feeling like I didn’t fully belong to either camp. 

So as a result, I worked hard to prove to both groups that I could do it. I wanted to show the stay-at-home moms that I was still a present wife, mom, and homemaker! Look how cute my son looks on my hip while I shop for fabric samples- he’s like my assistant! And to the working moms, I wanted to prove that I could still be successful, that I was crushing it at work, that I could juggle kids and work without missing a beat.

I was able to keep up the juggling charade for a few years, but it got more and more intense. As my career grew, so did my family size. By the time I was 30, I had 4 children ages 5 and under.

And I was exhausted.

It all came to a massive implosion on a snowy November day. A light dusting of snow had fallen in my hometown of Toronto, making everything look so peaceful and pristine outside. And it was in such stark contrast to how messy the inside of my minivan was. My passenger seat was full of interior design samples, the floor of my car was littered with goldfish crackers, empty water bottles, forgotten sippy cups. I had an overflowing bag of diapers, wipes and onesies, and way in the back I had my less than a week-old newborn daughter Rose, and I was bringing her into a messy construction site because I had put so much pressure on myself to show up for work. 

And it hit me that day as I stared at the mess and chaos around me, and realized that my priorities were as messy as my minivan.

That was the day I said no more. That was the day I said there had to be another way. That was the day I finally wholeheartedly invited God into my plans, and let Him show me how to use my gifts in appropriate ways, at the appropriate times. That was the day I became obsessed with figuring out a way that I could be a great wife and mom, but also pursue my dreams at the same time. 

I had become so reliant on what my achievements said about my identity and self worth, that I was blind to what this pursuit of success was doing to the people who mattered most to me, the souls I had been entrusted with to nurture, support, and bring closer to God.

It is so difficult to hear God when you are so consumed by achievement. He had been speaking to me throughout the chaos but I was reluctant to listen.

But slowly, things started to change. I changed my business drastically. I made sure my family knew they were a priority by ensuring I made space for them in my calendar. I showed up for my prayer life like I would show up for a client. I showed up for my marriage like I would show up for a live tv spot. It was a long and winding road of unlearning past habits and developing new ones, and trusting God even when it felt hard. But now ten years into my motherhood career, and seven gorgeous kids later, I am happy to report there truly is another way. What God revealed to me in the mess of my minivan and so many other messy motherhood moments, is that His plan is always so much better than my own.

Here is what I know to be true: God did not give us dreams so we could feel guilty for having them. This was the lie I believed for many years- that I was somehow wired wrong as a Catholic mom for having a desire to use my gifts outside of the home. What God revealed to me in my years post my “minivan meltdown”, was that with strategic time management, delegation and a clear sense of your priorities, you can be a great mom and pursue the dreams He has for you for you at the same.

But at the same time, this pursuit requires surrender and sacrifice. During certain seasons, it might be possible for a mom to dedicate time to a dream for several hours a day. During other seasons, dream chasing might only occur in short 15-minute sprints in between diaper changes. What’s also important to remember is that raising kids is one of the most important achievements of all. And while sometimes, it might not feel like you are “doing anything”, or no one sees the work you are doing, our Father in Heaven sees it, and the people who need it most, see it. God’s timing is perfect- and although we may have strong desires, His timing is the very best timing, and we need to have the docility to listen to His voice and go where He needs us. 

 
Lisa Canning is a parenting, lifestyle and interior design expert in Toronto, Canada where she lives with her husband Josh and her seven children. You can pre-order her first book, The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams at the Same Time right now!

REFLECT

Let’s dig deeper. Did this post resonate with you? If so, please continue on below and consider starting a journal to jot down your answers. PRINT several copies of these questions to start your own journal based on different posts. 

  1. What was my spiritual life like before getting married?
  2. What was my spiritual life like before children?
  3. What is my spiritual life like now?
  4. How would I like my spiritual life to be?

RESOURCES

CATHOLIC PLANNER – DAYBOOK – “It’s the best first step you’ll take towards organizing a better tomorrow.” Martina Kreitzer, foundress of Catholic Sistas

BOOK – The Possibility Mom: How to be a Great Mom and Pursue Your Dreams at the Same Time right now! by Lisa Canning