Written in 1934 by theologian Reihold Neibuhr, the serenity prayer has been used in sermons for generations and was later adopted in short form by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. It has provided comfort to generations of folks in a variety of settings (thanks Reihold!), but somehow up until this point has not been been adapted to the needs of those in dire need of serenity (now): moms, who may or may not be reading this on the toilet as their children rage outside with Tupperware and hard-tipped wands, and hide their lovies in the kitchen garbage can — a crime not to be deciphered until bedtime, when all hell breaks loose.
The next time you find yourself struggling to clip the crotch dongle of your child's carseat as they flail about in the parking lot outside Target, then drive off with your pumpkin spice latte on the roof of your Forrester, simply pull up this page, take a deep breath, remind yourself that THESE ARE THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE (lolol) and then recite...
A Mother’s Serenity Prayer
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Such as my child’s incredible stubborn streak
That renders them immovable in the middle of the toy aisle at Target screaming bloody murder
And my fear that someone will deem me a child trafficker as I struggle to drag them to my van.
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
Like their inability to realize that their father is also capable of filling their cup
Or getting them a snack
Or wiping their butt
Or basically doing any of the things that I can do
That they insist only MOMMY is capable of.
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
In my spit-up crusted tee shirt and yoga pants with a hole in the crotch,
Hoping that if I wear matching underwear it won’t be that obvious.
Living one day at a time,
Because looking ahead on my calendar causes me anxiety
To see every day filled with crap I need to drag my kids to.
Do they really need to go to the dentist every six months?
These are only baby teeth that will fall out, anyways.
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Because every old person feels the infuriating need to tell me that I WILL MISS THIS
In the midst of my hardest moments.
And I assure you, old lady in the parking lot smiling wistfully as I try to wrestle over-tired hungry kids Into car seats
That this I will not miss.
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace
Peace, that elusive word
What is peace for a mother?
The hour between their bedtime and mine when I try to Hulu all of my shows
And fall asleep before seeing the end of the episode, every week.
And spend the next day trying to avoid Facebook spoilers.
Taking, as moms before me have,
This hard and sometimes thankless journey as it is.
I haven’t slept through the night in ten years, but someday I’ve been told that I will.
This is just as I would have it, though
Given the chance to do it all again.
It only makes sense to other moms
That things can be soul crushingly hard
And also totally amazing
All at once.
That is the great mystery of motherhood.
Trusting that they will turn out alright in the end,
Maybe because of my parenting
But more likely in spite of it.
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy forever in the next.
Where I will get to sleep.