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.
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.
- Do you recall a time in your life when you leaned in on rote prayer?
- How did that particular prayer help your life?
- What is one area of your life in which you feel you are managing with great success right now?
- What is one area of your life in which you feel you need to improve? (prayer life, domestic chores, parenting, marriage-if applicable, etc.)
- Where in the natural rhythm of raising children could you find natural times for prayer?
- What would need to be made possible in your life to get some independent time to pray?
CATHOLIC PLANNER – DAYBOOK – “It’s the best first step you’ll take towards organizing a better tomorrow.” Martina Kreitzer, foundress of Catholic Sistas