I’m a very spiritual person. I don’t like to say I’m religious because my spiritual journey is very personal to me. As a young adult, I had abundant time to meditate and pray, to read inspirational books and scripture verses that encouraged and challenged me. I even took a year to study theology. Oh, the days of freedom. I appreciate that time in my life because it gave me a good, solid foundation to build my beliefs on. My viewpoints have certainly changed and grown since then, and I know being a mom has inspired those changes.
I learned very early on, however, that my spiritual life would never look the same once I had kids.
Those days of quiet time with a book and soft music playing didn’t last forever. In my early pregnant days I imagined what it would be like to invite my children into my spiritual life. I imagined nursing sessions in the wee hours to be filled with quiet meditation and prayer. Oh how lovely it would to hold my dear one to my breast while singing songs of praise and gratitude.
I know. Stop laughing.
Once motherhood came bursting on the scene, fists swinging (I paint a serene picture, right?), a blow to the “everything is going to be rainbows and sunshine and Jesus” part of my life left me straight up KO. Sure there were nights of blissful feedings and happy moments, of course there were. The majority, however, were more like “God why did you create newborns like this, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING – WHAT WAS I THINKING – PLEASE MAKE HIM SLEEP – IF YOU ARE REAL I WILL SERVE YOU FOREVER IF HE WOULD JUST PLEASE SLEEP – OH DEAR GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME.”
Three boys and a bustling life later, the serenity had vanished and I was a spiritually dead mom walking. Now, I am not going to go into detail about how old I am, but dear young moms, please be grateful for the age of the internet. There were no mom blogs to read, laugh at, glean from, and say “YES ME TOO!” with. I was alone. I was tired. I was empty.
Oh, the days of freedom. I appreciate that time in my life because it gave me a good, solid foundation to build my beliefs on. My viewpoints have certainly changed and grown since then, and I know being a mom has inspired those changes.
Tips to Maintaining Your Peace
If you are reading this now and you also feel like your spiritual journey was put on halt when you had kids, I hope the tips below help you find your Zen once again.
- Accept the changes.
I imagined that my spiritual life had to look the same as it did before in order for it to keep going. Motherhood brings so many amazing spiritual moments that I never would have experienced before. Learn to embrace the new spiritual journey that motherhood allows. It may look different, but that’s not always a bad thing.
- Every stage in life is different, embrace this one.
Pretty much an expansion on the thought above, but listen, moms…it’s just a stage. Let this encourage you. These weary days with no time to think much less meditate won’t last forever. Hold onto that, you’ll need it when the going gets rough. It’s just a stage, it won’t last forever. Hold tight and breathe.
- Find new ways to express your spirituality
What once looked like a quiet evening with a book and soft music turned into dancing to Veggie Tales songs about God’s love. It looked different. It wasn’t as serene. But it was my way of experiencing God with my children. An expression of gratitude for a beautiful sunset, a hug and a prayer after a bad dream, a prayer at dinner together (nothing is cuter than watching little ones pray) – these moments connected me to my faith. It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t always everything I needed. But it was something.
- Use the moments you do have wisely.
I started praying while folding laundry. I turned off the tv, turned on my inspirational music, and prayed while folding laundry. It sounds so simple, but that one act of intentionality really changed my life. Tune into those times when you can find a moment, and squeeze every ounce of solitude that you can out of them.
- Be realistic
Praying while doing laundry might sound like torture to you. Find what works for you, but be realistic about it. What was once an hour of quiet meditation was now spurts of prayer while folding batman underwear and deep breaths while locked in the bathroom. It ain’t gonna always be pretty.
- Invite your family into your journey.
I encourage my kids to explore the idea of faith on their own, I want them to choose what they will believe. At the same time, I aspire to be an example to them of what a healthy spiritual life looks like. We invite them to pray with us, to read scriptures or other inspirational readings with us, we attend church together and have discussions about what we learned. Just doing those things brings me back to the core of who I want to be spiritually – a light, a burst of hope in a hard world, an encouraging word, a faithful friend, love in the midst of pain. Being mindful about my faith in front of my kids, becoming the woman I want to be right before their eyes – there’s something very spiritual about that.
- Shed the guilt.
I used to believe that because I was no longer spending as much time pursuing spiritual growth that it meant I had become apathetic about my faith. Sure there were times of that, life is a roller coaster and my faith has succumbed to the lows and highs, but as I said in #2, it doesn’t last forever.