We pray together as a family at least once a day, if not several times. I taught my children to pray when they were very young, but for years, in almost every prayer, every one of my kids has said the same phrase, "Bless Mom that she can get all of her work done today."
Lately, I have been cringing every time I hear them pray for me in this way. Why? Because I am a mom and my work for the day never gets totally finished. There is always more to do and many of the things I do as a mom are not just tasks to be checked off of a list.
As a mom, I want to be a nurturer and a spiritual adviser and a rock my children can depend on, and none of that work will ever be done. I can check off a list that the floors were mopped, the laundry was folded and the lunches were packed, but is that really what I want my kids to remember about me and about motherhood?
I don't think this phrase is something I taught them to say, but it is probably something I made them feel by my attitude, my never-ending to-do lists and my frustration at the end of the day when I didn't get everything done. I am aware of this, and I am trying to change, to be more deliberate in my mothering so they will remember a mother who loved them and nurtured them and not a mother who put her children second over a to-do list that was a mile long.
The other night during our weekly family meeting, we talked about the coming week and what everyone had going on. We talked about our plans, and we prepared for a spiritual lesson from my daughter. But before the lesson I told my kids I wanted to talk to them about something unrelated to our family schedule and unrelated to the lesson we were about to have.
I told them my feelings about the phrase they say in their prayers. I told them I am their mom and there will never be a day when I will go to bed at night and declare, "I got all of my mothering work done today," because as a mom to them my work is never done. I told them I hope when they grow up they will remember me as a mom that supported them, nurtured them, helped them and loved them unconditionally.
I also told them I was sorry for all of the years when I gave them the impression my to-do list and "getting work done" were the most important parts of my day. I asked for their forgiveness. I told them I wanted to change. I told them I wanted my mothering of them and what they needed to be the most important parts of my day.
My sweet husband then asked me how they could pray for me. I told them they could pray that I could be patient with them, that I could put them before mundane tasks and that I could love them the way they needed to be loved that day.
I hope I will never hear the phrase, "Bless Mom that she can get all of her work done," again. More importantly, I hope my children will know through my actions and my attitude that I feel blessed to be their mother and the work I do as their mother is the greatest job I will never be done with.
This article was originally published on Imperfectly Creative. It has been republished here with permission.