Lord Jesus, Help Me
Before having babies, I was able to pray whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted. I could read spiritual books, do a rosary, go to Adoration, or read my Bible, (or all of the above) at any time of day or night. I have always struggled with making prayer a priority, usually sending a little urgent prayer to God when I got annoyed with a co-worker, or when I was looking for a parking space. However, prayer time was still totally in my control. I knew that having children would change that, but after our first baby was born, I was able to experience more opportunities for prayer than I anticipated. I was able to pray as Oliver nursed, or took a bottle (I did both), as he slept, or on my drive to and from work. Usually these prayers were full of gratitude for allowing me to be a mom. There is nothing like that feeling of being a mommy for the first time.
However, everything changed drastically when our second came along. Now, prayer was a random thing that I thought about and longed for. I was too tired to get up early, or stay up late to pray. When Emilio was nursing, I had Oliver trying to climb on me, watching tv, or screaming because he did not have my full attention. I remember one day, being exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before, and feeling completely touched out as I nursed Emilio and Oliver screamed. I was ready to burst into tears and just yelled, yes YELLED, "LORD JESUS, HELP ME!"
Yeah. That was the extent of my prayer on that day.
Now that the boys are a little older, and Emilio is exclusively bottle fed, and transitioning into regular food, I have found my prayer time is much better. Both boys nap at the same time every day (that took 10 months, tears from both them and me, and a TON of patience) I am able to use that time to pray. I can read my Bible, pray a rosary while I fold laundry, or just sit in silence. Oh how I have grown to love silence.
My husband and I also have a weekly Holy Hour on Wednesday evenings, that we alternate and that time away has been so lovely for me. Truth be told, I often fall asleep in the chapel. I know. I am like a child sometimes. It's just that the chapel is beautiful and small, always cool and soothing, and literally the perfect place to nap. I am working on going and actually praying at the feet of the Lord.
Walther and I decided that we wanted to incorporate prayer as a family, so that we started praying a morning offering together before he leaves for work. It is one I wrote on construction paper with a permanent marker and is tacked onto the wall. We have a mid-day offering I do with the boys as well, with a holy card of the Sacred Heart of Jesus above both prayers. It is nothing fancy, but it helps us to keep Christ at the forefront of our mind. I recently purchased a little book with prayers for every day for kids at my local Catholic store, and we use that as well, just to change it up.
None of these things are particularly amazing, or ground breaking ideas. We just knew that prayer needs to be a cornerstone in this family in order for Christ to be the King of our home. We have a lot of Icons and statues all over our home, to further solidify the idea that we are a domestic church. We try to pray the rosary together every night, some nights it happens, and some nights it doesn't, but our goal is to do it every night. Emilio usually falls asleep before we finish, and Oliver is normally climbing on us or wanting to play with his toys the whole time. Prayer in this house is far from perfect.
Prayer is vital to the Christian soul, and as moms, we can really let it fall by the wayside. I know that I struggle with this daily. I often forget, or am too tired to actually give God the time He so deserves. But I am trying. This family is trying. Every day, we try a little bit more, to be a holy and prayerful family. I know that when I pray, I am a better mother. I am more gentle, more kind, and less likely to yell at Jesus or my children.
I told a priest about my struggles with prayer and he was so gentle and said, "Sometimes we think we need a lofty prayer, or hours of time to commit to Christ. Just pray something simple, like, Lord Jesus, help me. Invite him into your messy life."
I think about that all the time. I try to invite Jesus in, especially when I feel the pot of crazy about to boil over. He is with you, dear mother. He will never leave you. Much like your children when you have to go to the bathroom. He is always just right there.