I used to give a talk with that title at marriage prep. And most days now I struggle so hard with it, well, at least by my own standards. If I'm 100% honest with myself, what I do is what I would tell others they were doing a great job by doing, and I would mean it. But that's because usually I was trying to get engaged couples to just do one small thing to connect their hour at Mass on Sundays into their daily life.
I used to go to Daily Mass every day.
And I had most of the mysteries (and their fruits!) of the rosary memorized, not from trying to memorize them, but from familiarity of praying them so often.
I read Church documents and the writings of saints daily.
And...and....and...I feel like I could make a list as long as I am tall of all the things I used to do, in addition to what I'm doing now.
I have to remind myself. I worked for the Church. My office was right next door to the Cathedral and Daily Mass was at Noon. Traveling? No problem, I was going to be at a parish and could schedule most meetings for just before or after their Daily Mass.
And working for the Church means a freedom and responsibility to read Church documents and faith based books during the day.
I also remind myself I had a 90 minute one-way commute and prayed a lot of my rosaries at 70 mph. Or, I was traveling and away from home and had the time completely to myself to do with as I pleased.
I now live 45 minutes from our parish with an 8:00 am Mass and a toddler who is not an early riser, not even close. (For things other than Mass, this is great, not denying that.)
Praying a rosary during any other time than nap or sleep time means negotiating to get my rosary guide back, and explaining repeatedly "that's your rosary, this one is mine".
And so, 18 months into being a SAHM I'm still struggling to find the balance of a healthy prayer life and parenting and keeping the house clean and making meals and grocery shopping and everything else.
I'm grateful for the push of Lent to help continue to work on this balance (that I'm starting to realize will never really be achieved). I am figuring out which of the above are excuses and which are legitimate obstacles. For the excuses, I need to exhibit self-control and not accept them. For the legitimate obstacles, I need to discern whether I need to work to remove the obstacle or adjust my goal temporarily.
I've been getting the Magnificat magazine again and it's helping with the rhythm of daily mass, and so I'm going to continue with that. It's not the same as going to Mass, but they rhythm of the lectionary has been and continues to be a great source of comfort and support to me. When I think about what I'm missing the most, it is my daily conversations with Mary through the rosary. I still talk to her always and I probably pray 50 Hail Mary's per day at different times, but I miss the 1:1 times of a rosary.
I also need to keep working to find the balance between down time and getting household things done during nap time and after bed time. I'm on point with this some weeks and other weeks - hahahahaha.
And so for Lent, my prayer, fasting, and almsgiving will be taking the form of doing better at living the vocation of the domestic church, as I expect for myself, not the standards I would accept for another.
One individual rosary per day (in addition to our family rosary times).
Keep up with the Daily Mass readings using the Magnificat. Attend Daily Mass once a week.
I'm taking a 'self-denial' in general approach to fasting versus a strict food approach to fasting. Before I use social media, play candy crush, blog, watch TV, etc. etc. etc. during naptime, I must complete my daily 'household' chore.
Part of my feeling overwhelmed with household chores and tasks is the amount of stuff that needs to be worked around when something needs done. So, each week I will make one trip to drop off donations from cleaning out and getting rid of things that are not being used.
I am hopeful that these are goals that I will be able to continue after the season of Lent is over, having established a healthy pattern and better balance during the season of Lent.