In modern American society, it often seems that moms are supposed to “do it all” – as long as “all” is all about our family’s needs. We feed the kids, clean the house, either work out of the home or work from home, take kids to school (or teach them ourselves), decorate the house, make cute birthday treats for the kids, and the list goes on and on.
One thing I hear from many many moms, though, is that they have a hard time keeping up with spiritual practices they held before they became parents. Finding time for ritual is tough when you’re up frequently at night with an infant, and it’s tough in different ways as the kids get older and have their own interests and activities too.
I don’t know if you’ve had people tell you that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others, but I certainly hear it a lot. Parents of children with special needs often hear this sort of thing, usually from people who mean well but don’t grasp the reality of the load those parents are carrying. But somehow, no one ever really has a good plan for how to make it happen (though, I will say, 6 years into my parenting journey, I now understand this statement fare better than I did back at the beginning).
Your spiritual life is the same way – if you don’t tend to your own spark of divine connection, it’s going to be hard to do anything spiritual with your children.
So, how do you find back that spark that you used to have? Here are3 things you can do to improve your spiritual life:
One of the first things I did was to simplify. Before Kids (BK) I often went to a monthly full moon rite with friends, which often lasted 4 hours from socializing to ritual to our after ritual feast. Now, After Kids (AK), a 4 hour block of time is super hard. And even if I did get it scheduled and agreed to, if someone gets sick or has something come up at school, that usually takes precedence, and then I’ve done nothing for the full moon.
My “big” rituals now are mostly solitary, and mostly 30 minutes or less. I pick what’s important, and focus on that. I go to festivals for a day, not for the whole weekend (though I hope as the kids get a little older, we can manage weekends away again).
It’s funny that I’m talking about finding time, and at the same time suggesting you do more. But I’ve found that building smaller rites into my daily life makes my connection to various deities stronger. I have a family-centered altar in the kitchen where I can burn a little incense or light a candle while I’m working, or where I can cleanse with salt & water or sage when I come home from work. I have started to develop a sort of running list in my head of prayers to be said or offerings to be made during various daily activities. Instead of confining my spiritual practice to big rituals, it’s now infusing all parts of my life.
3. Involve Your Family
You know little Sage isn’t going to be able to handle the big ritual at a local event. Consider offering a more age appropriate ritual for the youngsters you know, or have a smaller ritual at home. Also, practice is key. Practice the parts of the ritual with your child before they go to their first public events. Make sure they know what to expect, and what order things generally go in. And work your way up to paying attention that long at home.
In the end, the most important thing is to be gentle with yourself, your children, and your family while you work towards finding your spark and keeping it alive. This is not something to beat yourself up over – having children changes everything, as you quickly learn. This is no exception. But, as with basically everything else about being a parent, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you and your family.