Every Catholic mom I meet I ask the same question: What is your biggest struggle as a mom?
Answers range from patience to teaching the faith, but more than anything else I hear answers like this one from a mom named Ashley:
“My biggest struggle as a mom is finding a way to pray. I am always starting new prayer plans, but then I get distracted or the kids’ schedule changes and I drop the ball on prayer again. It is so frustrating and I feel like a failure. Before kids, I was so good about praying each day and had a great schedule. But since the kids were born I have lost that and just can’t seem to figure out how to get back into a good prayer routine.”
Can you relate? I sure can.
It can be really hard to foster a prayer life through the years of having and raising babies.
In fact, I really struggled to know how to help each and every mom that wrote to me about their struggles to pray because I also struggled with this.
So, I turned to this community for help, and you guys can through BIG TIME.
And guess what? Over 60 wonderful Catholic Mothers chimed in with ideas and wisdom.
The ideas shared on that thread have GREATLY impacted my own prayer life. And I just couldn’t let all that was shared on that Facebook thread slip into the internet wasteland.
Also, as I went back through the suggestions and really thought about them I discovered something that has radically changed the way I approach prayer in my own life.
It is the absolute KEY to having a prayer life as an at-home mom.
Here it is:
Build your prayer life around ACTIVITIES, not a SCHEDULE.
This little idea is so huge and gets at the real heart of why many of us struggle to pray. We want to schedule in our prayer, put it on the calendar and keep that appointment every day. But, kids don’t always let that happen.
For example, for a few months, I was trying to get up early to pray before the kids woke up. But, more often than not, when I got up early the kids just got up early as well…and instead of having a chance to pray, I was just extending my workday with the kids. And I got pretty crabby about it. So, I gave up and went back to letting the kids pull me out of bed in the morning.
Also, I’ve tried to sit down and pray right at the start of nap time…but nap time isn’t what it used to be around here. I have a few kids that are too old to nap and even though we do “quiet time” it’s just not the same.
So, scheduling prayer really didn’t work for me in my life as an at-home parent…and I responded by the sort of throwing my hands up in defeat.
What does work, however, is attaching prayer to certain activities you are bound to do each and every day. Activities like changing diapers, nursing, dishes, eating lunch, laundry and driving.
Attaching prayer to an activity guarantees that it will get done and it also makes the work of motherhood holy.
This idea is echoed in many of the ideas below. Find below many of the ideas shared on Facebook as well as a few others I have come across. Enjoy! And I hope at least one of these ideas you find helpful and fruitful.
Praying the Rosary
One of my favorite ideas comes from Shannon of Chewslife.com. She sells a rosary bracelet with a movable crucifix charm so that you can slowly pray an entire rosary each day, one or two Hail Mary’s at a time.
Other ideas for praying the rosary include praying it in the car, either silently as you drive or aloud with the rest of the family.
Use a Rosary App to play the rosary out loud. Pray along or listen.
Leave your phone in the other room while nursing the baby and instead use that time to pray the rosary.
Start a mom’s Rosary group that gets together during the day. As the kids play, pray the rosary aloud with the other moms. Then enjoy the company of each other.
The AMEN App is an incredible resource. I use it daily to listen to the daily readings (which I find easier to do than reading them). They also offer several other great podcasts and prayers. And it’s free!
Listen to The Divine Mercy Chaplet in Song. This is a sanity saver for me. On days when I am just strung out, I turn on the Divine Mercy Chaplet (I like this one on Youtube) and it brings me back, even if I have to blare it over screaming children. So beautiful. Such a gift.
Turn on some Christian music while you do housework or run errands.
Use the Novena reminder service at Pray More Novenas.
Use Blessed Is She to get your daily readings and a beautiful reflection each day in your inbox
Set a reminder on your phone at noon for the Angelus and 3 pm for the Diving Mercy.
Using the Rhythm of the Day–Attach Prayer to HABITS and ACTIVITIES, not a SCHEDULE
Get up early and find time to pray before the kids wake up.
Pray a Hail Mary every time you change a diaper.
Pray the Morning Offering Each Morning. One mom wrote, “Morning offering: “I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day…”, then work as if you are working and caring for Jesus all day long.”
Make your time in the shower your time to talk to God.
Pray the Angelus as you eat lunch.
Pray as you wash the dishes. One of my followers shared a picture on the Facebook Thread of a beautiful print that she has setting beside her sink. It is a beautiful call to pray as you work. Here is something similar on Etsy:
Pray while doing laundry. A few women talked about deliberately praying for each member of their family as they folded that person’s clothes. Other women shared that they have the image below hanging in their laundry room to remind them of the holy work of cleaning clothes.
Sing the Divine Mercy Chaplet to help your children fall asleep at nap time.
Pray the Night Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours together as a family each night.
Repeat “Jesus I trust in you” all day long.
This video from Fr. Mike over at Ascension Presents opens up unceasing prayer in an incredible way. I think this type of prayer is PERFECT for mothers.
Many women also wrote about training themselves to lift their thoughts to God as they did the smallest, most menial tasks of their day and to really focus on praying for those they were serving as they worked.
Light a candle for a special intention and keep it burning throughout the day so that every time you see it you are reminded to pray.
Read a Great Book
Reading a Great Catholic Book can also do wonders. I make a point of ALWAYS having a spiritual book on hand that I am reading. I might go weeks without making it all the way through a chapter, but it is a nice consolation to know that holy, enlightened, and even academic ideas are waiting for me at the end of a challenging day with toddlers.
Here is a list of books recommended by the Facebook Community of Catholic Mothers on my page. I have not read them all, but I have read many of them and they are the types of books that have the ability to totally change you. Some are a bit academic, others are light. I hope you find a book on the list that is right for you! I just finished 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Micheal Gaitley and it transformed me completely! So, at the moment that is my #1 recommendation.
- Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre
- The World’s First Love by Fulton Sheen
- Holiness for Housewives and other Working Women
- 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Micheal Gaitley
- 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Micheal Gaitley
- Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Micheal Gaitley
- My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell
- Biblical Walk through the Mass by Edward Sri
- He and I by Evelyn M Brown
- Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure
- Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West
- Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelley
- Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn
- Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn
- Genesis to Jesus by Scott Hahn
- On Becoming Beloved: Heroic Sanctity in Marriage by Patricia O’Malley Ashker
- Mother’s Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot
- I Believe in Love by Jean C. J. d’Elbee
And there you have it! Tons of simple, easy ideas to make your day more holy more united with God. If you are frustrated and have completely let your prayer life slide, please believe that God is waiting, patiently for you. He is not angry about what you have and have not done. He is simply there, waiting, eager to spend time with you.
Start small, but start, sisters.
We can be at home and prayerful. We really can.
And, please know that each and every day you are in my prayers.