QUAERITUR: advice to a new Catholic mother?

From a new mother:

What advice is there for a new mother? I have no examples in my life,
I became Catholic on my own. But since I’ve had my baby, all of my
previous devotions I had adapted into my life have gone out the
window!

I use to be able to get up and say my prayers, or even meditate a
little, now my day begins with me immediately taking care of my baby,
feeding, changing etc. Before I would go to bed, I use to do an
examination of conscience and various night prayers, now I am lucky if
I can get a prayer out, If I try to examine myself, I forget half the
day and fall asleep in the middle of trying.

I was told there is no guide book for being a wife and mother, so I
just have to wing it. Religious have endless amounts of guide books to
help them, but mothers have no help of this means? How can I be left
with such advice? Families are failing in massive numbers, but as to
how to discipline, or even how to be submissive to your husband, these
questions are no where to be answered? I’ve never been so confused
since I’ve gotten married and had a baby. I like to have instruction
in a traditional form of raising a family and doing what is required
of me as a wife, but I have no idea how to find these things out.
Maybe this is just me, other mothers may have no problem at all, but I
know I do.

Wow.  I think i had better just back away quietly.

But first, I will say that there are the examples among the blesseds and saints of women who have been mothers.  It can be done.  Of course we know that it can be done even by those who were not, like our Blessed Mother, immaculately conceived, because motherhood is a state that God built into our human race.  It is a normal and natural condition and it must be possible to live it in holiness.  That said, in the sin of our First Parents, we lost the privilege of having this be smoother.  Now we toil and women bring forth children in pain.

Great saints have found it difficult to find space in their lives for prayer alongside fulfilling the duties of their state in life.  St. Augustine spoke of this eloquently and wrote about it at length.  There is always a tension between the active and contemplative lives.  This tension will only be resolved in heaven, I’m afraid.

I am sure that there are mothers who read this who can give you some practical advice, won through years of experience and struggling through the very issues you perhaps are worried about.

I am sure they will both advise and encourage you, even as we men back recede into the background for this round.

I pray also that the father of your child and the other men around you will do their part to shoulder the additional burdens with additional effort, since their lives have now changed as well.

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to QUAERITUR: advice to a new Catholic mother?

  1. I always look at the things I must do to care for my family (I am a single mother with three children at home, ages 13, 11 and 10, and have been divorced for 10 years) as part of my prayer life. One of the saints said “pray as you can, not as you can’t” and this is especially true for a new mother. Babies are a gift from God; caring for them is prayerful and meditative. (It’s also tiring and can be frustrating, but so is prayer if you work at it). My spiritual father says a person’s prayer rule should be compatible with one’s state in life – a retired widow who lives alone can of course spend more time in devotional prayer than a young mother with a newborn and a husband. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.

  2. Texas2Step says:

    “A married woman must often leave God at the altar to find Him in her household care.” ~ Saint Frances of Rome
    Or “Duty before everything, even something holy.” St Padre Pio
    Other Catholic mom friends can be an invaluable source of support and experience. I learned the best stuff from experienced moms.Enjoy
    your new baby and my prayers are with you.
    I’m blessed to be mom to 5, ages 19 – 7.

  3. AnnAsher says:

    Sometimes I just have to offer my prayers while I’m tending the kids- washing the dishes- etc. It may not be perfect but it keeps the lines of communication open. I’ve also recently set alarms on my phone to alert me three times a day to pray certain prayers – wherever I am and whatever I am doing. Some of my kids are older and when they are with me – they join in.
    Your baby will only be a newborn a short time – the first four months are the most demanding physically- so be patient with yourself.
    I recently read something about determining which balls will bounce and which balls will shatter if you let them go for now- focus on the necessary chores and let some that will bounce- bounce. Perhaps no garden this year or cleaning under the fridge- but do feed people, shower and clean items used daily. Take a deep breath and pray: Lord Jesus I trust in you.
    I have six children- it gets easier :)

  4. prairie says:

    A book that aims to help mothers develop their own system, based on the rules of various religious orders is “A Mother’s Rule of Life” by Holly Pierlot. She walks the reader through determining what activities are reasonable and making a loose schedule for them.

    Be aware that when there’s a new baby on the way, or just arrived, everything gets thrown off kilter. This is not the time to try to force a schedule on the family, much less on yourself. As much as you can remember to, offer everything you do – every diaper you change, every time you get up at night to feed the baby, every time you smile at unsolicited advice instead of throttling the person who is telling you to do something that goes against your parenting philosophy, every time you let someone else open the door or load groceries because you’re busy holding a baby – offer it to the Lord. This is the time to let your work be your prayer. You still need to make time to sit down and pray, of course, but the fact is that you will not have much time for it and your use of that time will be dictated by someone else. Work is prayer, if offered to God.

    I also strongly suggest you go to daily mass if at all possible. That is where I’ve met my best, most supportive friends – friends who support my faith and my vocation as a mother. Children are a pain to have at mass. They do embarrassing things, they have to be constantly corrected, they’re completely distracting. You’ll get grace from daily contact with Our Lord in the Eucharist whether you’re able to hear the homily or not, and you’ll need that grace to deal with even the best of children.

    In my experience, dealing with children gracefully, both in mass and in the rest of life, depends greatly on frequent reception of the sacraments. Go to mass and confession often.

  5. marija says:

    I’m really sorry for your heaviness of heart. I have six young children. I homeschool. I know of what you speak. Join this group online: http://www.cmomc.org/index.html. You must register to join. I have known these AMAZING mothers for ten years. They are strong in their faith. They will be of much solace and assistance to you. Don’t be shy! There are converts, reverts and cradle Catholics. Collectively the group has seen parents, spouses and their own children pass away. We celebrate every pregnancy and birth with vigour and joy! You will get lots of advice. Until you join Catholic Mom (can I emphasize it further – please come!), realize that you are praying in your work! Every time you show love to your baby, you show love to Our Lord. You pray through your vocation. I found myself praying most when I nursed my baby. It was quiet time. It was a good time to be focused. Your prayer will change, it will grow, it will include your family. It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. Be easy on yourself and try to get to confession if you can. May God bless you.

  6. bbmoe says:

    Raising3saints, that’s beautiful advice. I wonder how I would have done it, but I didn’t become serious about faith until my kids were late teenagers (and became Catholic when my youngest was a senior in high school.) For what it’s worth, New Mother, I admire you and I know that there are many others like me who love to see you bringing your baby to mass. One thing is for sure, though, even mothers who don’t have a prayer life miss being alone with their own thoughts when there’s a baby in the house.

    As you coax the little one into some regularity, incorporate a little quiet time just before lights out. I used to play a sweet CD of lullabies and just be still while the little one calms down. Your children will learn from you that this time is for God, they’ll have memories of Mommy’s prayers and soon enough, you’ll be listening to their prayers and saying your own with them and for them. Be patient with yourself- God is there, listening, always.

  7. Cathomommy says:

    Congratulations on your new baby! What a joy and a blessing! I am typing this one-handed as I burp our two-month old and the other 5 boys are romping around upstairs… so I am right there in the foxhole with you. You do have to make adjustments in you prayer life as the little ones come along. You may not be able to do it first thing in the morning or right before bed anymore (I have fallen asleep in the middle of enough rosaries to attest to that.) But the Lord gave you this sweet soul to love and nurture; He’s not going to mind if you need to adjust the times and ways in which you pray to accomodate. Those moments as you sit and feed the baby, or rock him, or walk him around are excellent prayer times, even in the depths of the night. It also helps if you can learn to view every act of service you do for your little one, or every task of work around the house, as a form of living prayer to God… and you can usually work a bit of brief mental prayer as you wash dishes, cook dinner, etc. Some books that I have foundto be extremely helpful are Holiness for Housewives by Hubert van Zeller, Your Vocation of Love by Agnes Penny, The Art of Catholic Mothering by Maura Koulik, and Motherhood and Family (a volume of articles from Integrity Magazine). I re-read these every couple of years for a refresher course. God bless you and your family! Enjoy the baby days, they pass by so quickly.

  8. JennVA says:

    There is a *wonderful* book called “A Mother’s Rule of Life” that addresses these very issues. I can’t recommend it enough. If she looks it up on Amazon, it will link to lots of other great books too, look for authors like Danielle Bean, Lisa Handey, Donna O’Boyle, maybe they aren’t “instruction books” but there is a lot of wisdom out there.

    There are also some beautiful blogs out there written by Catholic moms – look around and find them. Faith and Family is a terrific resource, and their blog is terrific: http://www.faithandfamilylive.com/blog/ I also really like http://catholicmom.com/ for guidance and help.

    Please let this new mom know that not every stage of her life as a mother will be so challenging! That first baby is a major, major adjustment. Some days you will do better than others. Some days it will be a struggle to find the time to brush your teeth, others you’ll feel like Supermom. Each is a gift, all you can do is offer it all up to God!

  9. Christina says:

    I wonder how old the baby is? It’s true those first weeks are a bit of a sleepless marathon. Personally, I found that it’s helpful to use the moments when you’re required to be with your baby to your advantage. Rosaries can be said on fingers while rocking a baby; feedings can be good times for intercessory prayer or other mental prayer. I’ve yet to master the art of holding a book during feedings, so that made praying many kinds of devotions difficult at those times, but they are excellent opportunities for having conversations with God, or asking Mary for help (please, please, ask for her help, even for a second, especially when you feel at the end of your rope!). It’s hard, because so many of the quiet times that seem perfect for prayer might be the times when you need (I mean NEED) rest. Give yourself some grace; I promise that in a few months, you’ll have a rhythm more conducive to (somewhat) more scheduled prayer.

    For a fresh perspective, this (short) article was very inspiring for me in this area: http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/ron/ron_14domesticmonastery.html

    Congratulations! I will say a prayer for you!

  10. benedetta says:

    Great question, Fr. Z, thanks for posting this! I am sure there are many moms out there who have been down this road. It can be a lonely place especially at the beginning, so different from when our mothers and grandmothers had new babies and young children in the midst of faith community and local neighborhood. For the first year it is difficult to maintain much in the way of old routines. Sleeping habits of newborns change rather rapidly through that first year so once one gets settled into it a bit pretty soon it all changes again. I am sure many will have some good suggestions for reaching out and finding community, whether through groups like LaLeche or parish new moms’ with babies/toddlers groups, but in my case I really appreciated getting out from time to time with the stroller, diaper bag and gear to a museum with a retired friend for a couple hours. Friendships with women at different stages of life helped immensely as did Catholic online groups. Faith and Family comes to mind. For the first year especially when one is home so much with the baby, Catholic tv and radio can help provide a little bit of structure for prayer and following the readings through the year when it is hard to maintain this independently due to the demands of time and energy with looking after a new little one.
    With all of life’s important experiences, faith changes at this time and can grow immensely though the routines can be very different. It’s possible to look at the time as one of growth and listening, since one spends so much time being responsive to the needs of another, and less about an orderly structure that one follows along. It won’t always be exactly this way. But this is an organic time. In observing the changes and new milestones and expressions of a little one, in a small way I felt I was in such a privileged way a co-operator with God’s hope and plan for us. It is physically and mentally demanding, to be a new mother. One can make those small treasures or glimpses one notices be the prayer, the emerging personality, the innocence of new life, whatever one notices, no matter how small, can be offered in solidarity with our Blessed Mother and with gratitude to God.
    It’s also a great time to look ahead a little bit. With your husband you can think through what you want for this child, for your family, what you hope for. What resources will you need — spiritually, socially, to make this happen? You have an opportunity to think through the values you hope to instill and how you will do this. It is important to be proactive in this, to plan and discern what is good and useful and be prepared to reject what is not. This will strengthen things down the road.
    I also liked, and still do like, to read about Catholic approaches to child development. One can think of St. Don Bosco, Maria Montessori, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the earliest Jesuit schools. The Daughters of St. Paul offer books, daybooks and prayer books as well, geared toward Catholic moms.
    I will remember this new mom, and her young family, in my prayers.

  11. jilly4ski says:

    Motherhood is often a ‘fly by the seat of ones pants adventure,’ because our children are precious individuals of their own, so they have their own personalities that may defy all the techniques we use to help form them.

    I found a deeper devotion to the Blessed mother in becoming a mother. Especially with my second child, as I was pregnant during advent. But instead of using formal prayers, I would use trials and happiness throughout my day to mediate on Mary’s in becoming the Mother of God. The joyful Mysteries of the Rosary were a great comfort to me.

    Another tip I learned from another mother was the Mary Martha dilemma. We as mothers need to learn to make our work a prayer. Our work for our children and families is our gift and sacrifice for them, part of our total self giving. Being a mother will give us plenty of opportunities to fix our faults and bad habits. Patience, fortitude, gentleness, charity, and many other virtues are needed, and dealing with children really puts our faults in sharp relief. (At least for me).

    I am still a fairly new mother (2008), so have not really incorporated formal prayer into my daily routine, (especially since the newest addition), but there is a little offering it up, asking for help, and lots of prayers of thanksgiving every day. My littlest just started smiling and every time I offer a prayer of thanksgiving for this precious little one God has entrusted to me. It will take an adjustment before you find what works for you, It was very difficult for me to go from no children to one, my husband and I were far away from all our family and friends, but what really helped me was to converse with other Catholic mothers who had fully embraced their vocation and saw the joy even in the trials. Luckily for me by the time I had number 2, I had come to fully embrace my vocation as well.

  12. buffaloknit says:

    I, too, have wondered several of these same things and look forward to what others might have to add! Just about all of my Catholics friends don’t have children (yet). I also don’t (yet!) have children myself, but would like to share a book I heard about in a Church bulletin blurb years ago: The Contemplative Life of Mary (?) which consisted of devotions and habits for a new parent and household manager. The idea being, Mary was a very “active” person who, like you, didn’t have much time for quiet reflection. I don’t know if this is the ( actual) title of the book-or a good one at that!

    I have two more thoughts to share: pregnant women and new parents are the *only* demographic group for whom it is socially acceptable for complete strangers (or close family members) to publicly say utterly repulsive and hurtful things (on second thought, this is probably also true for families with more than 2.5 children!) Please don’t let the nasty things people may say, get you down!

    One more thought: I recently moved and haven’t yet found a like-minded group of Catholic women to knit with (like I used to have in my old town!) and talk about these ‘grown-up’ issues. A knitting group can be very supportive and helpful for these questions, if you have the time and babysitter!

  13. JennyZ says:

    Oh momma. I was asking myself the same thing a year ago.

    The best advice I can give is that it gets better as time goes by. The first few months are so hectic, the only thing you can do is hold on for dear life. Offer up little prayers during the day, when you can. Know that just like teething, colds, and night-time waking, this too shall pass.

    God knows your heart, and knows you’re trying your best. If you can’t get in a full rosary during the day, say a few Hail Mary’s. Once the babe starts napping more regularly (and you start getting more sleep), you’ll have a little more time to yourself, and things will start to get back to “normal”.

  14. priests wife says:

    New Mom- in terms of prayers- you might try the “Jesus Prayer’ or “prayer of the heart’- Byzantine Catholics (and Orthodox) pray it on a rope with simple knots, but you can just do it as an easy meditation- it is easier than the rosary because you don’t need to keep track of how many you say (you do it unceasingly or try to do about 100 or so)- you pray : “Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner…” I try to breath in while I pray the first part and breath out while I say the second part.

    I’m sure you will get lots of recommendations for your new state in life- since you have a computer- start reading the archives at ourmothersdaughters dot blogspot dot com —it’s my favorite Catholic mom blog- she has 7 kids- only 1 at home now, so she has lots of experience!

  15. Ringmistress says:

    Like some of the other mothers responding, I’m typing this while in the trenches. The rest are asleep but my littlest is having her last feeding for the night.

    Another book recommendation that may help immensely is Holiness for Housewives. It gives practical helps for how to see the daily life of a mom as an invitation to prayer, and how to make it fit in.

    For raising kids Catholic, I strongly recommend How to Raise Good Catholic Children by Mary Reed Newland. There are things that you can do even as your first is in his babyhood that will lay a good foundation.

    Also, a practical help. Sleep when your baby sleeps. Perhaps keep him in a bassinet or co-sleeper by your bed at night so that you don’t have to wake fully for late feedings, and make a point of napping with baby during the day. Once you’re past the 6 week mark, nights and days aren’t quite so mixed up, and if you get sleep when you can, you’ll return to balance fairly soon. And in the meantime, squeeze in a rosary when you’re doing a feeding, or keep on hand a few pious ejaculations to pray as you move from one task to another.

  16. Mom2301 says:

    I don’t know how many Hail Mary’s I said as I rocked my infants to sleep, or how many masses I watched on EWTN as I sat through 2:00 a.m. feedings. The early days are particularly trying but, as others have noted, these difficulties do pass. Find little ways to offer thanks during the day. Remember, even the smallest things, when done with love, are great acts of charity. It is important to find other women who are dealing with or have dealt with the same issues. There is great comfort in that. Remember that God knows your heart and your efforts to pray and stay close to Him in these stressful days are recognized.
    God bless you and your family.

  17. I am not a mother, but a dad. My wife and I have three young children and I understand very well how absorbed by children that life can become. However, I would offer a few practical points in the struggles that you and every faithful parent faces. First, this will pass. The first six months of an infant’s life are wonderful, hard, frustrating, exhausting, and rewarding. Do not try to force your prayer life. But, rather offer everything you do as a prayer to God. (Prayer does not have to be formulaic.) Changing diapers or nursing a child can be done prayerfully if its done out of love for Christ. Second, pray every chance you get, but don’t worry about necessary parental interruptions. God knows the demands of parenthood. Remember that Christ was true God and true man. If there is a necessary interruption because the baby is crying, stop your prayer or spiritual reading and attend to the child. The, come back to prayer later. There are days that it takes nearly 24 hours for me to complete a rosary. Third, do your best, but do not dwell on your shortcomings. I have fallen asleep during night prayer on numerous occasions. Fourth, pray with your child. I have integrated the basic prayers (the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Guardian Angel prayer) into bedtime or naptime lullabies. Finally, do your best. But, doing your best does not mean using all your effort to improve or perfect your prayer life. Doing your best means surrendering, totally and completely to Christ; ask that you not live, but Christ live in you. Ask that you not act, but that the Divine Will act in you. Ask that you not be a mother to your child, but that God provide completely for the Child in you.

    Children are a true blessing. I will pray for you, your child, and your spouse. May your family live in the Divine Will as it truly reigned in the home of the Holy Family in Nazareth.

  18. I always say that there ARE guides. The catechism..natural law…. Have you read Greg Popcack’s “Parenting with Grace”? There is great advice in there. If you work on living up to your marriage vows everything else will fall into place. I’m happy to send you a copy of the book you can message me on FB or here or lori @ lorielizabethphotography dot com.
    I also suggest hanging out in a mother’s group and finding mentors in other mums =)

  19. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    I found comfort in meditating on the Blessed Mother, her mother Saint Anne, and St. Elizabeth. There are resources, just not often in places where they are in easy access.

    With the blessings of the internet, there are a couple sites, Catholic mom is one, and Faith and Family is another. Both are like magazines with a mix of helpful and practical, and faith formation.

    Remember that many, many people are praying for you, you are not alone.

  20. pfreddys says:

    One thing I can recommend is brief indulged prayers throughout the day. Such as: My Jesus mercy!, Jesus Mary and Joseph, one of the most effective of these prayers is the one given by our Mother Mary when she started her public ministry of us: “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!”
    The other thing I can recommend is sacramentals. The first, of course, tied to the above is to wear the Miraculous Medal, and of course, for the sake of your own soul wear the Brown Scapular. Put a Holy Water font at your door entrance and keep it filled—I have a very nice one from Goebbels pottery.
    All these “small” things I think Holy Mother Church set up because She saw her children in such a rush, all the time.

  21. Cam says:

    I was raised Southern Baptist and didn’t really have an example of a Catholic home to go by, so I read a lot and there are books out there that can help! Here’s what popped into my mind after reading your question and glancing at my bookshelf:

    I’d second the suggestion of Holly Pierlot’s “A Mother’s Rule of Life” and would also suggest Kimberely Hahn’s series of books on being a Catholic wife and mother. There’s Chosen and Cherished, Graced and Gifted and Beloved and Blessed.

    Since there’s virtually no quiet time in my day when something doesn’t need to be done, I take advantage of the times when I’m feeding the baby or pushing a stroller to pray a rosary. Sometimes I use a rosary or a rosary bracelet, but most of the time I count on my fingers.

    My husband would tell you that his favorite part of the day is our family rosary. Every night when the girls go to sleep I nurse our seven month old, or sit next to her crib and hold her hand, while our two and a half year old lays in her bed and we say a rosary together.

    Another book I plan on using more often when my family is a little older is Meredith Gould’s The Catholic Home. It has ideas for celebration in the home throughout the liturgical year. Two other books that come to mind are Keeping Your Kids Catholic and by Burt Ghezzi (I think I had to buy it used because I couldn’t find it in print when I bought it) and the Catholic Family Handbook by Lawrence G. Lovasik.

    And if you want to laugh try Susie Lloyd’s books, Bless Me Father for I Have Kids and Don’t Drink the Holy Water. I could read those two books over and over again and they always bring a smile to my face.

    Prayers! It’s not easy being a new mom! But in my experience as I learned more and got used to it it did get significantly easier once I started to get the hang of it!

    Prayers for you!

  22. r7blue1pink says:

    I second a”Mothers rule of Life” . It has helped me in tremendous ways as have the writings of St Josemaria.. Also attending a monthly recollection via Opus Dei and getting EXEMPLARY spiritual direction, Daily Mass & Weekly Adoration has helped me to stay on the path of holiness amid all the chaos that can infiltrate into my life daily being a homeschooling mother of 8 children. =)
    Somedays my work is my prayer and everything I do, whether big or small is offered up…

    Hang in there, you’ll do just fine ;-)

  23. MissOH says:

    Getting used to being a new mother with a baby does really change your prayer life, and all other aspects of your life. Some of the other women have already given very good advice, but I will also recommend you go to daily mass if at all possible. I actually found it easier with a baby since they are so portable and less wiggly. Also recognize that sometime your prayer now, will be your work as a wife and mother. You might try getting one of the excellent cd’s of the rosary (if you can’t pray along with Fr. Z’s streaming version) and you can pray the rosary while taking care of your little one or cooking etc. I like Pro Multis Media which has two English versions and one Latin version of the rosary http://shop.promultismedia.net/category.sc?categoryId=

    For books, Art of Catholic Mothering by Maura Koulik . As an aside, I love Tan books Treasure box series of books for children.

  24. doozer125 says:

    It is very beautiful that you put your self out there, stood on the edge, and was brave to ask that question. Just the fact that you asked that question shows you are going to be a GREAT Catholic mother. You should be an inspiration to good Catholic women everywhere. I will pray for you and wish you the very best of God’s Graces. God Bless You!

  25. Mrs. Lee says:

    I have 6 kids and homeschool too. I would say the “Jesus Prayer” is the easiest. I say it all day long. Some days that’s the only prayer I get to. Some times I feel like I must be say it a 1000 times. Say it non stop in every thing you do. The rest will come with time…don’t sweat it. I have to say I gotten some of the most life saving advice from home school Moms! They were a life saver for me.

  26. erinalicia says:

    What wonderful advice!

    I would add: Get your husband and pray the Rosary together, along with baby, at least once a week. You’ll be amazed at the many graces you will receive!

    And God bless you! You are not alone! Cherish these days, as trying as they can be. You are doing great work, important work – and we will pray for you.

    (This is a neat, little video – The Invisible Woman – that I like to watch every now and then to remind me of the work we as moms are all doing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YU0aNAHXP0 )

  27. americangirl says:

    Raising children and maintaining a prayer life may be difficult but not impossible. May I suggest when you awake in the morning offer up your day in union with the Masses throughout the world and unite all your actions to the Passion of Our Lord. This makes your day and with all its joys, sorrows, fears and tears a prayer to the Lord. He will utilize that offering and bring much good out of it both in your own life and the life of the Church. Also don’t let those little opportunities slip by when you can say a prayer. The Lord will give you multiple opportunities to whisper a prayer. Sometimes it will be while changing or feeding the baby. It times like this when we can say a prayer for your little one in whose care is entrusted to you by the Lord. Prayer is the raising of your heart and mind to God if you think about it we can do that anytime, any where, while involved in any task. Don’t lose heart because you cannot pray as you once did. Your responsibilities are greater now, I often would examine my conscious while brushing my teeth, maybe not the ideal way to examine my conscious but it was the only time I could find to achieve it. The Lord is pleased when we try to please him., he will sustain you. Ask Our Lady to help you, she too raised a child and she too understands the role of being a mother. Ask her to show you the way. Have faith she will reveal to you ways to deepen your spiritual life , she will bring you closer to Jesus then you can ever imagine.
    On those days you venture out, don’t forget to stop in with the baby and see Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament even if you stay a minute or so, the graces you will receive will be innumerable and you will please him immensely. Please know you are not alone, you have the communion of the Saints praying for you, all you need to do is ask for assistance!
    Gos Bless You

  28. LittleShepherds says:

    I have 5 children ages 16 to 9 and homeschool. When my children were newborns I would rock them in the nursery where it was quiet and dimly lit and sing the Our Father like a lullaby. It was that is sometimes sung at Mass but I adapted it to a lullaby by singing it slowly and as a whisper almost. I also kept rosaries on me so that when I nursed the baby I could grab it and pray for however long I had. I also bought CDs of sacred music and began learning the latin prayers, like the Salve Regina and would sing those too as I rocked the baby to sleep. I started the family rosary very early on, giving the children charge over leading a decade, which they enjoyed. The best parenting book I have ever known is The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Garigou Lagrange. It is not a parenting book, it is a sort of map of the human soul. What better information do we need to raise our children and lead them to heaven? Other than the Catechism and the
    Bible there is nothing better out there in my opinion. Make sure you play a lot of catholic tv and audio, like EWTN and anything else that may be available. You can grow in your faith and learn a lot if you have media ( computer streaming media, CDs, DVDs, catholic radio, whatever) playing while you fold or do dishes is extremely edifying.

  29. FXR2 says:

    New Catholic Mother,
    I am not a mother, but a father, of 6 children. I would refer this to my wife, but of course she is sleeping. The Confraternity of Christian Mothers seems to have been of some help to her. Have faith, sleep will come easier and life more normal as the children get a little older. It has been 12 years since our first and I still have faith. Remember the married life and motherhood are your vocation, and not necessarily easy. I will keep you in my prayers.

    FXR2

  30. shin says:

    There’s a devotional book called ‘Mothers’ Manual’ by Fr. A. Francis Coomes, S.J. that is purchasable if you search for it online.

    For traditional instruction on motherhood, there are sermons for mothers here. And also the Memphis and Omaha conferences here have a good deal of food for thought and help.

    Keep the words of the saints in your heart! Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God have mercy on us sinners.

    Don’t let the children watch TV, period, toss the thing out, and be careful who they associate with! The first responsibility of a parent is the child’s salvation and holiness! So parents have to pray for their children’s and family’s spiritual protection as a daily duty, and be careful about all that enters their lives, keeping them safe from the evils of this world.

    ‘If I had to advise parents, I should tell them to take great care about the people with whom their children associate . . . Much harm may result from bad company, and we are inclined by nature to follow what is worse than what is better.’

    St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

  31. Gaz says:

    LittleShepherds has it. I used to try to sing my children to sleep with a Salve Regina.

  32. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    Mothers of large families can forget about mental prayer and deep union with our Lord. It’s all vocal prayer until menapause or beyond. It would prove helpful if clergy and others involved with marriage prepartion were more straightforward about the sacrifices mothers must give up in the practice of their faith.

    New mother it will be okay. We must trust that Our Lord and Lady loves us even as they ask us to give up everything. This stretching is supposed to make us holy apparently.

  33. Lillian says:

    Dear New Catholic Mother,

    I recommend this little book on line:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/27521964/Little-Book-of-Instructions-for-Christian-Mothers-by-Rev-Pius-Franciscus-O-M-Cap-1926
    The Confraternity of Christian Mothers is also a wonderful group to join if you live in an area with a local group, as FXR2 stated.

    I am the mother of six children. Although it can be difficult to set a schedule for prayers or devotions, you will find that there are many, many opportunities to offer 3 Aves or other short prayers throughout the day. Eventually, all begins to solidify and most days you are able to maintain some type of schedule/routine. As someone else mentioned, playing Chant or Sacred music CDs while nursing, feeding or rocking the baby to sleep can be helpful if you are having difficulties with prayer. You can also listen to a sermon on the web. Here are a couple of good sites:
    http://www.sensustraditionis.org/
    http://www.audiosancto.org/
    Audiobooks and CDs with the rosary or chaplet of divine mercy are great for the car.

    Weekly confession is a very good devotion and will help you so much, I cannot recommend it enough. It will truly help you to grow spiritually and help to practice the necessary virtues so that you can do as God has intended. If your husband cannot keep the baby during regularly scheduled times, see if you can find a priest could set a time to meet you each week. Even stopping by the church if you drive by, just to keep Him company for 5 min. with baby in tow is another good practice. You would be surprised how much good it does for the children as well…

  34. ckdexterhaven says:

    Hi New Mom,
    Sometimes when I read about the saints or think about nuns and priests, I think to myself “if they’re worried about going to heaven, what chance do I have?” I wish I could pray as much as nuns do, but I pray when I’m doing the dishes, folding laundry etc. I sing Ave Maria and Immaculate Mary to my kids, so I look at that as prayer to the Blessed Mother while I’m soothing my child. Now I’m comforted by the fact that the nuns are praying FOR me (all of us) when I can’t.

    I agree with others about going to Daily Mass. Start going now (if you can) while your little one is easy to handle. There are a lot of older people at Mass who will learn to love your little one, and will enjoy seeing him grow up. You might meet another mom or two there. Right now, my youngest is an active todddler, and is horrible!!! during Daily (and Sunday) Mass, so we’re only going once a week. It’s frustrating sometimes, b/c I would love to be quiet and pray during Mass, but I just ask my guardian angel to take care of that. :)

    We say the Rosary as a family, and my little one runs around while we’re trying to pray, and I think, “the Blessed Mother had to teach little Jesus his prayers, and if Jesus was really like us then maybe he was a curious toddler, too.” Don’t beat yourself up, God knows you’re new vocation in life is getting this little one to heaven.

  35. Liz says:

    Fr. Z recently had a post about whether it was a sin not to pray every day. I couldn’t imagine that because as a mother it seems I am in constant prayer with God and the saints. Seriously, with colicky newborns and later teenagers (and for us nightmarish, bureacratic, adoption paperwork) I can’t imagine NOT praying. (“Where’s my document? Argh! Kids, please help me pray to St. Anthony!” Actually the kids, God bless them, have taken to start praying for mommy at the first sign of stress. ) On the other hand, it may not be the way one prays before having children. Sure we try to have formal prayers with the kiddies and we try to participate in the wealth of the liturgy as much as we can, but often I find that I just have to “offer up” not getting to daily mass or not being able to say the prayers I want. I remember a priest once telling my son not to rush into confession at the last moment without time to contemplate his sins beforehand. Gulp. You mean you are not supposed to bring the big van to a lurch in the church parking lot, saying, “Everybody out! Let’s get as many of you to confession as we can squeeze in before mass!”? Even when we do get in a nice pattern of going to daily mass somebody is sure to get sick and then it runs through the ranks. Fun times! Even sometimes at Sunday or Holy Day masses I have spent the whole time out of the church with a crying, unhappy baby. I remember asking a priest friend once if this counted. He was very emphatic that it did. Often when I go to confession I can’t remember my sins. The priest reminds me to do a daily examination of conscience and I do try, but freqently at night I begin and I’m so tired that my mind wanders and then even if I do there is no way I can remember it all the next day let alone when I next get to confession. So we just do our best and offer it up. It’s got to count for something, perhaps more than the prayers we’d like to say. Please don’t forget St. Gerard. I have only recently grown close to him even though I’ve been a mother for awhile now. Also, I like the Act of Consecration by St. Ignatius Loyola because that sort of happens anyway with motherhood…liberty-gone, memory-left years ago, understanding-forget it! I will say some prayers for you as well. Carry on. Motherhood is tough, but it’s also quite wonderful.

  36. Joe in Canada says:

    at the start of changing diapers: “Mary, you did the same thing I am doing, for the Son of God. Let me share in your maternal care of this child. ” During the changing of diapers, “Jesus, may my love for my baby be unwavering and true, may I see in him/her a soul for whom you died, may I grow to love you more deeply in loving my child.” After the changing of diapers, “St Joseph, bless my husband so he too will receive many graces from changing diapers.”

  37. Melissa says:

    I know of this little web site that has great topics for meditation through out the day.
    http://catholicspiritualmotherhood.com/ It might help :-)

    God bless
    Melissa

  38. Genevieve says:

    I’m so glad you’ve gotten so many responses on the raising Catholic kids and how to keep a daily devotion part of your question because my first turns twelve weeks today and I’m definitely still figuring that part out! I’m still having some (some! Didn’t I just tell you we were at the three month mark??) pain breastfeeding and I offer that up with the first prayer that pops into my head: ‘O My Jesus, forgive us our sins…’

    Anyway, no one has yet give you advice on how to submit to your husband and I am happy to offer some. I read a book that’s not Catholic and not even explicitly Christian, but found it to be a very biblical model for marriage. It’s “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle. ‘Surrender’ is a word I’ve tried to adopt for myself, especially with regards to the birth. I fail at it every day, but a devotion to Mary and her Immaculate Heart help. And I second the daily Mass tips, though I’m not there myself, yet.

  39. TMA says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to think that having to leave mass to change a dirty diaper can give glory to God?

    When our first baby arrived, I remember thinking at a 2 a.m. feeding, “How am I doing this? Motherhood is way beyond me.” That’s when I realized that it had to be the graces from the sacrament of marriage.

    I found that starting the day with a good morning offering was essential so nothing that happened went to waste. We put a crucifix between our bedroom and the nursery. I would kiss that cross every time on my way to care for the baby; then the task was always pleasant, no matter how tired I was. Also, someone taught me to use the baby’s toes as rosary beads during feedings, so the baby was my partner in prayer. We had no family nearby, but I was able to have student babysitters in several times a week so I could shower, nap and pray. That helped a lot. As my husband’s job changed, he was able to give me that time I needed.

    I am thankful for the people who helped me when I took my babies to mass. My kids are old enough now to help mothers with little ones because, as they tell me, “Moms need to pray!”

  40. Shadow says:

    This is going to sound totally simplistic but: just talk to Him from the depths of your heart as you’re going about your duties. Just share everything with Him like you would with your best friend on earth. You will find that, rapidly, it will become the most effective prayer of all.

  41. TMKent says:

    God bless you!
    As a mother whose children have just grown and gone, I am now free to pray as I choose and read and explore my faith. You will never believe me when I tell you that I envy you and miss the trials you are now experiencing. Nothing in my life has taught me more of God’s power or made clearer his blessings than the hours and I spent watching my children. It mattered not if they were and infants at my breast or an 18 year old boy running with God given grace on the soccer field. Gratitude for the gift of life and marveling God’s creation is a Mother’s most powerful prayer.
    Do you sing? Sing to your children as you work and play. Sing chants and hymns! They will sooth the young child and ground the older child and your soul will rejoice while they absorb! When my son’s were young, I sang everything I could think of and played tapes and CD’s. When my younger son was a typical belligerent teenager he was serving 2 of the three days of the Triduum and I forced him – against his will – to come with me on Holy Thursday too. I sang with the choir at our typical suburban, reverent, but not too traditional parish. As I processed out singing behind the Blessed Sacrament and struggled to kneel on the floor with my music and purse, my son appeared at my elbow and took my things. I looked over to mouth “thank you” and realized he was singing Tantum Ergo – in Latin – with no sheet music! He knew all the words! Our parish only sang it in Latin on Holy Thursday and I later asked him how he knew it. He said he didn’t know – he’d always known it and remembered it from when he was little.
    Take my word for it – every mother prays – you are doing it even as you love and care for your child.

  42. gloriainexcelsis says:

    Now that I am almost 80 years old, I have the luxury of taking an hour or so in the early a.m. to pray the Little Office and all the invocations, requests and thanksgivings to my heart’s content. But, while I was expecting my ninth child, to be born when the oldest just turned 12, tired to the bone most of the time and with little help from a husband who believed that women’s work was just that (he left the family in a couple of years because he was tired of sacrificing!), my prayer life was in doing, offering it up, and receiving the sacraments. I wrote the following in 1965 while expecting number 9.

    My flights into the gray-deep gulf of non-geographic somewhere Are frequent in the ever present tumult of my life.
    The tranquil peace, the silent corner which offered haven long ago
    Have disappeared in time beyond my reach; and oh – I want
    A heartbeat free from shrill and constant questioning and answering and busyness of – what?
    My brain craves food and finds no sate while other hungers must be met.
    My soul begs quiet in its thirst for prayer, rock-dry and bitter-brief.
    Love chose my present place and keeps me freely bound to persons and to things.
    But, Dear God, clear the clutter from my mind that it might dwell on Thee awhile.
    Then I would serve love’s charge content and savor ordinary things.
    The I of Me somehow must be again my own, renewed.
    Mind-mist dreams will rise and clear as, slowly, blindness healed,
    The eye sees light and color and meaning revealed.
    Renew. Reveal.
    Let my mind ache with sudden light.
    The piercing pain of thought is welcome.
    Then blessed pain, give way to beauty,
    And beauty fuse my mind and soul to God.
    Light. Thought.

    Say the Morning Offering and let the rest of your day, in all that you do, be your prayer. Your state in life, offered to God, will please Him and console you.

  43. KristenB says:

    Join the Traditional Catholic Mama’s thread on http://www.mothering.com/discussions
    We are not perfect, and we all have our struggles- but we love and support one another.
    In fact, we have a small Lenten book study coming up, and would be glad for you to join us- if you are able!

  44. KristenB says:

    ETA: The Catholic Mama thread can be found in the Spirituality sub-forum

  45. zasj says:

    As mothers, we are to offer our daily work as a form of prayer. Our Lord has blessed us with this beautiful vocation. Offer your every little chore, work, activity united to Mother Mary to our Father in heaven for the salvation of souls.

    Some Mothers who have helped me: Mother Mary, Venerable Concepcion (Conchita) Cabrera de Armida, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Saint Monica (mother of St. Augustine), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Rita of Cascia, St. Gianna Molla, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Anne mother of Blessed Virgin Mary.

    All of Pope John Paul II writtings on women have been of great help in appreciating our vocation as mothers, wives, women.

    I’d like to suggest two books: 1) Apostolate of Holy Motherhood and 2)
    Mothers of the Saints: Portraits of Ten Mothers of the Saints and Three Saints Who Were Mothers by Wendy Leifeld

  46. Zoë says:

    Dear new Mom,
    You are wise to ask for direction. Here’s what has worked for my family: Receive the Blessed Sacrament as often as you can (Jesus’ Body and Blood feeds, heals, and saves). Each day, ask the saints to pray for you, especially our Blessed Mother and those saints whose feast day is celebrated on that particular day. Know that when you can’t pray as you would like, the angels and saints are praying for you. Surround yourself with Holy, authentic Catholics. Read the Catholic Mothers Resource Guide ($7.95). Nap when baby naps, even if you don’t want to nap. Take care of your nutritional needs.

    Time will fly — Ask the Blessed Mother to intercede for you… she will show you the way. You will not fail.

    You are in my prayers — God bless you and your family.
    Zoë
    (Mom of 2 happy teenage sons)

  47. Jenny bag of donuts says:

    I would be careful about the “submitting to the husband” philosophy. If a wife is very insecure, she actually needs to learn to assert herself before she has a more balanced understanding of “surrendering” to her husband.

  48. AGA says:

    I’ve found the following prayer to be very helpful:

    Saint Claude De La Colombiere: An Act of Hope and Confidence in God

    My God, I believe most firmly that Thou watchest over all who hope in Thee, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon Thee in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon Thee.

    People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving Thee; I may even lose Thy grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.

    Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. “For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.” This confidence can never be in vain. “No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.”

    I am assured, therefore, of my eternal happiness, for I firmly hope for it, and all my hope is in Thee. “In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped; let me never be confounded.”

    I know, alas! I know but too well that I am frail and changable; I know the power of temptation against the strongest virtue. I have seen stars fall from heaven, and pillars of firmament totter; but these things alarm me not. While I hope in Thee I am sheltered from all misfortune, and I am sure that my trust shall endure, for I rely upon Thee to sustain this unfailing hope.

    Finally, I know that my confidence cannot exceed Thy bounty, and that I shall never receive less than I have hoped for from Thee. Therefore I hope that Thou wilt sustain me against my evil inclinations; that Thou wilt protect me against the most furious assults of the evil one, and that Thou wilt cause my weakness to triumph over my most powerful enemies. I hope that Thou wilt never cease to love me, and that I shall love Thee unceasingly. “In Thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be confounded.”

  49. lucy says:

    Perhaps there’s already enough advice here, but here goes.

    Make a morning offering whilst you change that first diaper. It’s quick and easy. From that moment on, everything you do is a prayer.

    Find a good women’s Bible study once you and baby are settled into a routine and you can think straight. I have been a member of our study for 10 years this year, and I have five young children ages 6, 8, 10, 12, 14. I have been pregnant while there, brought my new baby there, nursed them there, cried there, been happy there. With other mothers, you find out that whatever you’re going through – it’s NORMAL. You are NORMAL. Your baby is NORMAL. It’s all good.

    I have also found solice with our traditional Mass. Most every family there has a large family and nobody minds the occasional blurb from your child. The quiet at this Mass encourages children to be quiet. I’ve had a hard time off and on with our children at Mass – EVERYONE does. But, I would rather be where I am in quiet than at a noisy regular Mass (not that they all are, but around here, most are full of noise).

    Place your heart in Mary’s capable hands. She will guide you and soothe you. Pray while rocking baby to sleep.

    Loving your family is prayer.

  50. The Egyptian says:

    As a lowly male, My mother told me while driving to my maternal grandmothers, You see these “Mary in the bathtubs” setting in peoples yards. they are supposed to face a the kitchen window that is over the sink or a bedroom window for the meditation of mothers, not the road for public display. She claimed that dishwashers ruined one of the best prayer times in a mothers life. Her mother had a Blessed Mother shrine built by my grandfather out of local stone they picked out of the fields and mortared together (sort of a Lourdes look) outside her bedroom window where she nursed her children and later installed a “footstool” kneeler under the window when the kids were older. Remember my paternal grandmother who lived with us always told me that if you pray the Rosary and fall asleep your guardian angel finishes it for you. God bless mothers. I retreat in humble admiration

  51. I did not have a chance to read any of these comments, so I might be repeating–sorry! Someone (I’m pretty sure it was a saint) said, “God moves among the pots and the pans.” Your daily duties to your baby can be a prayer to God if you do them with joy and do your best. Also, if there are any prayers that you know by heart, you can pray them as you take care of your baby. I couldn’t hold a book with my wiggly newborns! You could pray the “Our Father” or “Hail Mary” or Act of Contrition while changing a diaper or nursing. And all the time you can say “Lord Jesus Christ, only son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” It can be a lonely time, but the Lord will help you! God Bless!

  52. Mommyof3 says:

    I have three little girls ages 3,4 and 11. They are the greatest blessings God could have given me and I am grateful and humbled that he chose my husband and I for this joyous and awesome task. They have brought so much meaning, purpose and joy to our family. They are essentially God’s children, on loan to us and it is our duty to prepare, instruct and with God’s grace return them faithfully back to him some day. That being said, the task can at times feel overwhelming and daunting…but God makes up for those things in which we lack…they are his children after all. Don’t be too hard on yourself in regards to prayer, for God is all powerful and knows our wishes, desires and heart intimately. Some of the best prayers I pray are during the most difficult, hectic or tedious parts of the day, they are short and to the point…Lord, I need your help…JESUS I TRUST IN YOU. Blessed Mother help me and then proceed to say the Hail Mary or Memorare prayer over and over again. I also start my day with the Morning offering so that all that I do for love of my family is to be offered back to Our Precious Lord who has given me so much. My little girls say the prayer with me…they not only are learning the beautiful prayer, but that the offerings they make are important and precious to Our Lord. =) Some books that I have found especially helpful include: LIFELINE-The Religious Upbringing of Your Children, UPBRINGING, Anchor-God’s Promises of Hope to Parents all by the author James Stenson they were given as a gift when my first child was born and have a wealth of information in them.
    Holiness for Housewives by Hubert van Zeller, Light and Peace by R.P. Quadrupani, Barnabite…I love this book in that you don’t read it as a storybook, but rather according to need and at random. =)
    Parenting with Prayer, Raising Catholic Children and Building a Legacy of Love all by author Mary Ann Kuharski. I loved these books in that they were informative, but were really humorous and filled with wonderful stories and situations of family life that a person can relate to.
    I hope you find this helpful…I believe the best advice is the ones you personally experience through trial and error and finding what works best for you, your baby and family. =) You sound like a great MOMMY and your precious baby is blessed to have you. Congratulations and Enjoy!! May God Abundantly Bless You!! =)

  53. In the olden olden days, it was pretty common for mothers to make up little prayers and rhymes to say along with tasks. For example, here’s a translation of an old bathing prayer for babies from the old Gaelic parts of Scotland:

    Three handfuls of water
    For the dear Three,
    From every harm
    May they save thee:
    One for the Father’s life,
    One for Christ’s love,
    One for the Holy Spirit’s peace:
    The Trinity’s Grace.

    The Scots liked to get elaborate in these things, but you don’t have to (unless it’s a really long involved bath!).

  54. Philangelus says:

    Ask your guardian angel to help you find the time to pray. I did that five years ago, and I haven’t missed a day of the rosary since then.

    Your devotions may need to change to things that are more suited to activity, short bursts, and noise. God gave you this baby and would never be angry with you for taking care of your child.

  55. benedetta says:

    I find it fascinating that so many moms here suggested singing hymns to newborns. I also discovered this in the early days. And along those lines I would also say that it is important for mothers to realize that even newborns are constantly observing, constantly learning. For example, newborns are learning that they may trust and depend on their parents. They are learning security and form a foundation for all their learning in the world. As children grow they continue to actively observe.
    But for all the latest parenting books, blogs and resources have to offer, it is obvious that the vast majority today have overlooked a few extremely important notions…the development of virtue and character, and, the roles of the beautiful and the sacred in our children’s lives. In the area of the development of virtue and character, most parents start, and then stop, with the lessons of discipline imparted in the preschool days. More or less the same directives are repeated through adolescence without requisite maturity or growth commensurate with complexity of experiences. In the area of the beautiful, tv and popular music serve to supply a poor substitute for the ideal of beauty, hooked as they are always to sales, and to marketed, loveless sex, and, increasingly, the constant sarcasm at another’s expense. It is often hard to encounter the sacred in parishes where one rightly expects to, unfortunately.
    Parents commonly entrust the entirety of education up to the school, yet these values are not easily or satisfactorily addressed in the classroom. Ideally the “domestic church” partners with the Church to complete a holistic picture. Then not only does one learn certain classroom rules as a kindergartner, but, as one gets older, one can also look to different places for role models, for stories and examples of heroism and virtue, that lessons of discipline as one ages and the situations become more complex carry with them consideration of ethics, moral code, dignity. On the whole thus prepared one is better prepared for life’s challenges and experiences.
    In our culture if school and parish does not or cannot step in to connect the dots in the lives of children then it falls completely to parents to provide. It is not just a matter of finding necessary material and feeding it, not so easy as switching on this or that, and it is not one size fits all. Singing a beautiful hymn as a lullaby, having a few beautiful cd’s is an excellent way to begin. How the rest of the road will unfold will depend on each family and will require planning and time.

  56. Alice says:

    Since I’m a mother of two, ages 2.5 and 8 weeks and I’ve found myself praying a lot more since I had children, I shall try not to write an essay. I try to make a habit of praying some prayers at certain times of the day. For instance, the Grace Before Meals and an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be along with an Act of Contrition before I go to bed or even in bed if I forget to do it first. If I happen to look at the clock and it’s near 3, I’ll pray some of the Divine Mercy prayers. I pray when I’m in the car “Hail, Mary, full of grace, help me find a parking place.” St. Anthony and I have become best buddies, “Tony, Tony, come around. Something’s lost and can’t be found.” I’ve gotten more comfortable asking God to give me things, like a 6 hour stretch of sleep. Since I’m a church organist and my husband is a schola director, the first thing that comes to mind when we need to sing to our children is often religious in nature. (And don’t be ashamed to sing Sunday School songs or P&W. It doesn’t have to be liturgically correct.) And, don’t forget to pray for vocations when you have your cup of Mystic Monk Coffee in the morning to help you cope with your sleep deprived state. ;)

    I don’t claim to know how to be submissive and I try to avoid that language because the women I’ve met who talk constantly about submission seem either to dominate their husbands while pretending the husband is in control or be dominated in a sinful way by their husbands. I do try to respect my husband and his authority as husband and father in the home by letting him lead in family prayer and remembering that he doesn’t need me to tell him how to be a father and things like that.

    I’m convinced that there is no “Rule for Catholic Families” because each Catholic family has its own charism. A Franciscan does not follow the Rule of St. Dominic anymore than the Joneses and the Smiths would be able to follow the same rule.

  57. apagano says:

    A good book that no one has mentioned yet is “Dear Newlyweds” it is a book of addresses given to newlyweds by Pope Pius XII. It is great in regards to family life for both husband and wife. Maybe you and your husband can read it together.

    I too would recommend “A Mother’s Rule of Life”, a very good book. Also the Integrity series “Motherhood and family” is an excellent book. Also: “The Christian Mother” By. Fr W. Cramer.

    I’ll pray for you, please pray for me.

  58. divinechildhomeschool says:

    I also recommend reading The Apostolate of Holy Motherhood and The Story of a Soul. The first is private revelation but it helped me early on in my marriage and is really beautiful and the second is St. Therese of Lisiuex’s Little Way of sanctification. She is sublime. God bless you and your family!

  59. dh233 says:

    A lot of these things have already been mentioned but here are the things that I find/found helpful!It’s a long one…

    I would also highly recommend the book “Mother Rule of Life.” For me, to have this structure and order and basically a plan was good for my sanity. I may not have always achieved it but it helped to have that daily direction and goal. As your child gets older you will see how a routine will be important for you both.
    http://www.mothersruleoflife.com/

    Ora et labora (pray & work). Besides St Benedict’s Rule. I also find our modern day saint St. Jose Maria Escriva (Opus Dei) and his readings very helpful. We are called to live in this world and to be saints.Throught my day I am constantly in prayer, just small ejaculations like, “Lord how you must love me” when I look at my children’s faces or seeing them playing together and laughing. Or when I’m doing laundry and I say “All for you Lord!” sometimes I might refold a towel that I did sloppily or force myself to finish a task that I dislike because I want to do it well and finish it for Our Lord. Or if I have short patience with my children or husband I will say “Lord I am sorry, Please help me” Just praying my way throughout the day and being faithful in the little things!

    Be Patient with yourself. I remember thinking how hard it was when I had my first. You are totally unprepared for the immense change in your life. You are not your own anymore. It really is a great self-sacrifice. I remember just trying to get a shower in and having to bring my baby in the bathroom in her car seat and putting her on the floor and she would cry the whole time as I rushed to get done!

    Be Connected. Find or start a prayer group with other mothers. I meet on Sunday evenings after everyone is settled down with 3 or 4 other moms some with younger children some with older and this is a great Grace in my life.

    Take time for yourself. It is important to take time for yourself so that you don’t become resentful and burnt out. Schedule specific time for yourself every week (Maybe on a Saturday morning).Getting out for a few hours by yourself is very important.Saturday morning Confession and Mass, by yourself, can be really nice!

    This is our life’s work and our vocation as wife and mother. Everything you need to achieve sainthood is there in your daily work!And we are raising saints for His kingdom what better life’s work could there be! Blessings : )