God, help me remember the great honor it is to have these children in my life.

When I’m full of frustration because the kids don’t listen or they talk back or they fight with each other or fight with me, help me to pause, to breathe, to forgive, to gently guide, and always, to love.

Help me to parent as you parent—not forcing your way, never leaving even when I behave badly, being steady enough to handle anything that might come, staying present in spite of being pulled in a bazillion different directions, not demanding gratefulness or piling on guilt even when 99.9998% of the job is completely thankless, loving no matter what.

I will never be you but help me to try and try some more all the same.

Give me the energy and relentlessness to keep going, to get up each day with a prayer and a fresh start.

Thank you for seeing in me the mother I don’t always see in myself. Thank you for your faith in me—always—even when I’m absolutely certain I’m totally screwing it all up.

Thank you for surrounding me with a community of support. Help me to recognize and use the wide net of caring adults you’ve brought into our lives—family, teachers, pastors, coaches, neighbors, aunties, other parents, dear friends. They keep me sane and expand on what I can give when they share their unique perspectives, gifts, and love with my children. Help me discern when to pull others in, when to step out of their way, and also to know when it’s a job that’s meant exclusively for me.

Help keep my words from hurling and hurting. When they do, help me take ownership of my frustration and immaturity, remembering to apologize and to remind the kids that our relationship is stronger than any angry words I might spew.
I do not know the hair-count on my kids’ heads. Still, help me yearn to know my children as deeply as you know them. May I help them know themselves that deeply, too, so they don’t look to their peers to decide who they are or should be.

Help me remember not to take myself too seriously—to make lots of room for play and laughter and silliness and joy.

Thank you for entrusting these children to me. Help me remember that they don’t belong to me. They are their own unique individuals. You have a plan for them. May I do right by them, and by you, raising them into precisely the people you wish them to be.

Thank you for mothers everywhere. Please spread your love especially over mothers suffering from anxiety, depression, doubts, exhaustion, grief, loneliness, strained relationships, overload, or separation of any kind from their children. Bless us all so that we may bless each other and in turn, bless this hurting world.

Thank you that motherhood lasts forever. On days when this feels like a cruel trap, help me see the incredible blessing in this—that I have not only my lifetime but also the rest of eternity to honor and love these children according to your thoughtful design.

Amen.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Sara Easterly

Sara Easterly’s essays and articles on the topics of motherhood, spirituality, and women’s issues have been published by Feminine Collective, Godspacelight, and the Neufeld Institute, among others. Visit her at www.saraeasterly.com.