My daughter is nine years old and we are preparing for her First Holy Communion. As a result, we have become more regular churchgoers than I have been for many years. We leave my husband and four-year-old son at home and go together. What started as a duty and a chore has become a great joy to me. It is a moment of the week that I feel belongs to us alone.

I am a conflicted mother. I work quite hard, and I am often away from home. I lack time and resent it. I am tired and grumpy. I lack gratitude for the many blessings that surround us as a family. I can be bad-tempered and lack patience, especially when it comes to my daughter’s homework on the weekend. I am quick to anger and unfairly demanding.

Every Sunday I ask for forgiveness from Christ for my many, many faults. Every week during Mass I ask for His help to become a better parent.

Most weeks I have to acknowledge my continued failures, but at least for a while I feel hopeful that the following week I will be the parent I would rather be. I feel as if the slate has been wiped clean and I have the opportunity to start afresh and better. The moment when I kiss my beautiful daughter to exchange the sign of peace is a moment of true peace for me. I think it is important for both of us to acknowledge my failures as a mother and my struggle to become a better one.

As an adolescent, I often resented the rhythm of our Sundays. Throughout my childhood I had taken for granted the lunch with my grandparents, the Fortes, and the extended family, followed by Mass at Farm Street, taking up two pews at least. It was so routine that I never thought to question it.

As I grew older there were many things I would have preferred to do with my precious time out of school, but any alternative was unthinkable.

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