Parenthood can be exhausting in normal times—let alone the past year and a half.
We’re spinning a thousand plates and our arms are tired. We’re scheduling dentist appointments and balancing soccer practice. We’re changing diapers and meeting deadlines, planning birthday parties, and figuring out how in the world we’re going to survive teaching our teens to drive.
All in the swirl of a pandemic and political turmoil.
It’s a lot.
Permission to Slow Down
As moms, we so often are told that we must take care of others before we take care of ourselves. But caring for our own souls really does matter. When I feel like I can’t muster another word or manage one more demand to cut the crusts off my son’s sandwich, I find comfort in slowing down and paying attention to my breath.
Simply slowing down and breathing has become a spiritual practice for me. It is way of reorienting my brain and body to a belief that no matter what motherhood is throwing my way, I am held and known by a God who cares.
In January 2020, before terms like masks and social distancing became part of our commonly used language, I started sharing simple breath prayers on Instagram. It turns out a lot of moms (and a few dads!) in the trenches have really resonated with simple prayers to pray when life feels overwhelming.
5 Quick Breath Prayers For Moms
I’ve found these short meditations helpful to me as I move through the day. Whether I’m scrolling Twitter, loading the dishwasher, tackling a work project, or playing LEGOs with my kids, these are simple prayers to memorize and call to mind at any given moment.
Simply pray the inhale words as you breathe in and pray the exhale as you let your breath go.
These simple meditations help root us in our bodies and souls, hearts and minds. I personally pray out of a Christian tradition, but these simple prayers can be inclusive of anyone.
For when you’re exhausted
Inhale: I’m hitting my limit.
Exhale: Help me rest.
For when you’re grateful
Inhale: Help me name
Exhale: The good gifts in my life.
For when you’re frustrated
Inhale: Things are hard.
Exhale: This won’t last forever.
For when you’re hopeful
Inhale: Hope is
Exhale: Worth fighting for.
For when you’re doubtful
Inhale: Help me be brave
Exhale: When I am afraid.
These breath prayers are simple, easy to remember (or jot down), and they can be helpful to pray with our kids, too.
As I raise my four young kids to be kind to themselves, I know that part of motherhood is remembering to be compassionate to myself, too. I wrote my new book, To Light Their Way: A Collection of Prayers & Liturgies for Parents, to be a warm and welcoming resource for all sorts of moms and dads in the many ordinary and extraordinary moments of our parenting journeys. (And there’s a whole section of breath prayers too!)
As a thank you to anyone who preorders To Light Their Way: A Collection of Prayers & Liturgies for Parents before October 5, when you share your preorder information here, you’ll have immediate access to
- a printable collection of 12 breath-prayer cards (I printed mine on cardstock and put them on a keyring!),
- a 5-day guided devotional for overwhelmed parents (use the exclusive 26-page PDF digitally or print it to take advantage of the journal pages!), and
- a downloadable art print for your home or office.
Kayla Craig is the author of To Light Their Way: A Collection of Prayers & Liturgies for Parents. She is a mom to four curious and wild children and lives in a 110-year-old former convent in her Iowa hometown. Kayla is stubborn in hope and has a penchant for deep mugs of coffee, deeper laughs, and even deeper questions. Sign up for her Liturgies for Parents newsletter and connect on Instagram.