Mothers Who Fear They Are Failures

Motherhood with all its unending joy is a vocation filled with a myriad of challenges. In addition to the arduous continual work in raising children today amidst the chaotic demeaning culture, there are other difficulties mothers face too. Immersed in a sometimes thankless role, mothers can feel isolated or invisible, they can doubt themselves or feel tempted to strive for other pursuits in an effort to feel affirmed or appreciated.

After all, when was the last time a mother was sincerely (and I mean, “sincerely”) thanked for her selfless and continual loving work and efforts in her family and home? Yes, it happens occasionally. However, our society does not value a mother’s work. Unfortunately, we mothers are valued by the size of a pay check and not the fact that we are actually raising little saints to heaven. We are, in fact, helping to form the consciences of little ones who are on loan to us and who have been entrusted to our care.

Because I am a mother of five (and three in heaven) and a grandmother, I value every aspect of the amazing role of motherhood—a vocation of love! During some of the time that I raised my children, I was a single mother. I have lived through thick and thin, and a lot of times it was very thin. So, I certainly know that mothers need encouragement and affirmation in their amazing yet arduous role. I feel very passionate about encouraging mothers everywhere and that’s why I do what I do. That’s why I write so many books and do a good deal of television shows to uplift and affirm the family—the vital cell of society, which, as we know is under attack by the evil one. I won’t dwell on “you-know-who” (I don’t like to give him credit because he thrives on that). But, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that we are engaged in spiritual battle so that we can be alert, continue praying, nourish our souls with solid Church teaching, and put one foot in front of the other to walk in faith every day in raising our families.

Recently, a faithful mother of many children came to me because she was feeling like a failure. I’ll call her Cindy. She said, “Do you have any tips you can share with me about how to get more done in a day? I am not as productive as I have been in the past in our schooling and it is making me feel like a failure. You are so productive so I thought I’d ask if you could give me some advice.”

I asked “Cindy” not to feel like a failure because she certainly wasn’t a failure. I told her that she should try to keep her chin up because God was smiling at her and that I hoped she could try not to be discouraged. I told her that “you-know-who” would like her and other mothers to feel that they are failures when, in fact, they are doing an amazing job in raising their children. I went on to give her a few tips that I thought might help her to feel more productive (since she asked for that), but certainly knew that many times a mother’s very important tasks are the ones that are quiet and may go unseen as she helps take care of her children’s zillion needs.

Give God the reins

“What comes to my mind right now,” I said, “is to get important things done first thing in the morning if you can. For instance, certain prayers you want to get going in the morning so that you don’t lament at the end of the day that you didn’t carve out that time for prayer. It’s challenging in a busy household. I do know that,” I reminded her. “But start your day with that Morning Offering prayer before you even get out of your bed, or right when you get out of your bed, on your knees by the side of your bed. Then you’ve given the reins to our Lord so to speak. You’ve given him the day ahead of you. Then you could be at peace knowing that He’s in control.”

O Jesus,
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions
of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular
for the intentions of the Holy Father.


“And perhaps,” I continued, “the night before, you can possibly think about a project you’d like to get done in the house the next day. A certain corner of the house, a messy countertop you need to declutter, a pile of laundry that needs to get washed, whatever it is, try to tackle that first thing in the morning.”

Adding a bit more, I said, “Sometimes, and I know this might sound crazy, but sometimes I clean a bathroom before I even come downstairs to eat breakfast. I know we need to eat in the morning to nourish ourselves, but sometimes I see a mess and think that I should probably tackle it quickly so I don’t have to face it later in the day and also, in case I run out of time later in the day. Granted, you have little ones waiting for you, and maybe this won’t work for you, but I think that lots of tasks can be done quickly.”

I went on to tell “Cindy” how I’ve tried to make a game out of cleaning up to get the kids’ help, and more. “I have always tried to teach the kids that certain things needed to be done and then we can do the fun stuff.”

I didn’t want her to feel defeated. “It’s important not to beat yourself up if you can’t get things done,” I said. “You are busy enough taking care of the physical and emotional needs of your children. That in itself is a full-time job. Add to that, all of the cleaning and all of the schooling and your own hygiene in care of yourself, there’s just always so much to do.”

I wanted to also mention a tip on family prayer. “Then, of course, you want to carve out times for family prayer. That’s why I always say to do it at the dinner table. At least that’s one time for your family prayer because everyone’s all together, hopefully, and you have a captive audience.”

I told this beautiful Mom that I would recommend that she watch a You Tube video of my visit with Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR. in which we discuss my book Feeding Your Family’s Soul: Dinner Table Spirituality because she had watched it a couple of months earlier and told me that it helped her in her resolve to homeschool her family. There had been some temptations to throw in the towel, but she felt in her heart that Our Lord wanted her to keep it up despite the lack of encouragement around her. I thought that if she watched the show again it might give her a good “shot in the arm.”

All those “little” things

She thanked me and said she’d watch the video soon. Then she responded to my little “tips.” She said, “That helps me SO much! You always have the right words. In fact, I did that this morning. Before breakfast, I mopped and swept and cleaned bathrooms and put on laundry.” She continued giving me a blow by blow description.

“Then I schooled while nursing, but I just can’t help but feel like I should do more and better. But I think that might be a trap. A temptation. I have been forgetting my daily offering. I will try to do that. But, I have been working in the rosary.  I am potty training my toddler, keeping my preschooler engaged, holding the nursing new one, dealing with high emotions of our teenager and helping school the other two. So, I guess even when it doesn’t feel like I’m doing a lot, I am. I just want them to be able to have a quality education and I doubt how effective I am.” Then she sighed.

Wow! This is what I’m talking about. Moms do SO much! And because Moms are often tired and overworked, they can easily lose sight of all that they actually do and also the fact that all that they do is SO important!

“Cindy” went on to tell me that she would re-watch the video. Her baby was sleeping in her arms and she had an opportunity to watch it, or at least in bits and pieces.

“Now that you reminded me,” she said, “it [watching the video] did recommit my determination for homeschooling. I remember now. It made me feel like I am making a good decision. Two of my closest friends that have been stay at home, homeschooling mothers are throwing in the towel and going to work. It just placed doubt in my mind….So I started to doubt my ability. I’m not teaching Latin or Spanish. But, I keep telling myself that if they need that, the Good Lord will provide. I also have to take lots of breaks because I wear out quickly since I’m not sleeping well at night.”

This sweet Mom is doing so much to please the Lord and raise her little saints to heaven. She, like so many others need our encouragement.

“Thank you for talking with me…Thank you for encouraging me, again!” She said.

I reiterated how much good that “Cindy” was doing for her family. “It’s quite amazing what you are doing…You don’t give yourself enough credit. And I did forget to mention too, that a lot of the work that we mothers do in the home can’t be measured because it’s all those little things which are so important to our children’s well-being.”

We don’t need esteem, honors, or even a paycheck

I wanted to encourage her more… “I would like to tell you to please keep doing what you’re doing. It’s very admirable even though you don’t realize it. You are doing exactly what our good Lord wants you to do. You are there for your family in so many ways…Please hang in there and please realize if you can, that you are doing an amazing job helping to form little consciences and raise up little saints to heaven!”

She told me, “You always make me feel so much better! You are a voice of truth dispelling the lies that come at me…It strengthens me to read your words and speak to you and know that you see value in my walk. That is your gift, encouraging mothers who I believe can get so easily discouraged because there isn’t a paycheck this side of heaven.”

I wholeheartedly agree with ”Cindy.” There isn’t a “paycheck” for our work this side of heaven. But, we don’t need that. We do need to strive to hold our heads up high and continue mothering our children, being a bright example to all in our midst, some who are struggling to find peace in their hearts. I’m so proud of this Mom. She is an amazing and faithful example to her family and all those that know her and see her example.

We can look to the Blessed Mother for guidance and intercession in our tiring yet profound vocation. We can also look to the inspiration of the saints.

Right after our conversation, this faithful Mom came across a quote from St. Alphonsus Liguori that really spoke to her heart:

A hidden and obscure life affords great security to those who sincerely desire to love God. Our Divine Master Himself deigned to teach us this by His own example, for He spent thirty years in the obscurity of Nazareth and the workshop of a humble carpenter. In imitation of their Divine Model, many saints withdrew into the desert and lived in remote caves to escape the esteem of men. The desire to put ourselves forward and merit the plaudits of men, to be regarded as very successful in our undertakings, is, according to St. Vincent de Paul, and evil that causes us to forget our God; it vitiates our holiest actions and more than anything else impedes our progress in the spiritual life. To be pleasing and acceptable in the sight of God, we must therefore banish from our hearts the desire to appear before men to win their approval and applause and especially the desire to rule over others.

Many times mothers are a bit isolated in the care of their families and other times they are out and about in the community with their brood. While we mothers might not be choosing to hide out from the community in our “domestic churches” to “escape the esteem of men,” we certainly can come to discover within our sometimes hidden role, that with the exception of Our Lord, we do not need the esteem of anyone in order to be committed in living out our beautiful vocation of motherhood.

St. Teresa of Calcutta, someone I still call Mother Teresa because I was blessed to know her personally and felt that she was a special mother to me, spoke about the hidden life in the family too. She once told me:

Fidelity to growing into a soul of prayer is the beginning of great holiness. If we remember ‘what we do to Jesus—that we do to each other,’ we would be real contemplatives in the heart of the world. Let us learn to pray and work as Jesus did for 30 years in Nazareth. The life and work; the prayer and sacrifice at Nazareth are so much like what our life should be. That peace, joy and unity that joined the Holy Family together in prayer and work is such a wonderful living example to us. They grew in holiness together. Let us learn from Mary to pray and ask Her to pray that your home will be another Nazareth.

This might sound funny, but after coming out of a convent bathroom one time, Mother Teresa told her Sisters, “Someone here really loves Our Lord. That bathroom is sparkling clean!” She was implying that the Sister who cleaned it did it for the love of God. It’s the same for all of us in life. We should do everything to the best of our ability to honor and please God. She also reminded us that we shouldn’t shy away from the humble work. Her sentiments and teachings give us much to think about.

We mothers come to discover that it is not about how much we can get done in a day that matters. A mother’s love and care can never be accurately measured. There will be plenty of times when we need to overlook the messy kitchen counters and overflowing laundry hampers because we are needed to console a child, to discipline another, to nurse the baby, to break up a squabble, to teach the others, and so much more.

I can’t help but think of some very wise words from Archbishop Fulton Sheen who said, “We always make the fatal mistake of thinking that it is what we do that matters when really what matters is what we let God do to us.” Let us not shy away from the humble work or the feelings of being “invisible” at times to bring about amazing transformations of hearts and souls because of God’s abiding grace, and through our selfless, yet powerful vocation of love.

“The Domestic Church” will inspire, energize, and change your perspective on the mundanity of domestic tasks.

The Domestic Church: Room By Room: A Mother's Study Guide

Study your Faith-Room By Room! Designed for group study $18.95

For all of the Moms in the trenches out there…this just found on Amazon:

Exhausted? Discouraged? Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s book, The Domestic Church, will inspire, energize, and change your perspective on the mundanity of domestic tasks.

It’s so easy for stay-at-home mothers of young children to get disheartened. Day after day, we have an endless stream of wearisome tasks. Our work is seemingly invisible and goes largely unnoticed. However, Donna-Marie helps us to see that it is precisely these quiet, unnoticed tasks that put us on the path to Heaven. True, it would be easier to sweep the aisles of your church or volunteer for a charity than it would be to sweep your own dirty kitchen floor or serve your own children. But, God’s call to holiness for mothers is in the home, as Blessed Mother Teresa said, “Charity begins in the home.”

It is my prayer that mothers everywhere will be uplifted and find solace in Donna-Marie’s works. Let the truths explicated by her writings seep into your spirit and serve as the hug, the reward, and the recognition that every mother deserves but might not receive this side of Heaven. Let her words motivate you to transform your home from an ordinary house to a domestic church, a place of prayer where the virtues necessary for holiness are practiced. Sweeping floors and scrubbing toilets never became so holy! God bless you, Donna-Marie! 5 stars!!!

Are you facing a “domestic church dilemma”? Do you need a good shot in the arm with regard to your mothering? Could you benefit by gathering together either cyberly or in the flesh with like-minded Catholic mothers to nurture and share your faith? I suspect you can. 🙂

You can purchase your autographed copy here. You can inquire about study group discounts by emailing me: I hope to hear from you!

God bless you!


NEW! For a mother and daughter or grandmother and granddaughter!


[Every bracelet purchased benefits an unwed or struggling mother because I donate copies of my mothering books, as well as monetary donations to a wonderful pregnancy center]

I am happy to report that I have created BRAND new NOVENA bracelets. These very special bracelets are actually a SET that is suitable for a Mother and Daughter or a Grandmother and Granddaughter. It is also quite fitting for a Godmother and Goddaughter. The adult bracelet measures approximately 7 and a half to three quarters inches in size and the other bracelet measures about 7 inches. You can learn more about these special bracelets here. Scroll down the page to see these and to have a purchasing opportunity.

The heroic role of the mother

“You lifted my spirits, pointing out how motherhood is a ‘sublime calling,'” she told me.

A very beautiful part of my ministry to mothers, families, and women is that I often feel blessed when hearing from someone who expresses her heartfelt thanks for my work. It causes me to stop right then to give glory to God, thanking Him for using His little servant and working in that person’s heart.

I recently received a beautiful email from a young expectant homeschooling mother of five children. I asked her permission to share part of it.

Here it is:

I must tell you how much your books and talks have affected my life.  I am not even sure how I discovered you. I think it was an Amazon search years ago for Catholic motherhood.  The first book that I’ve read by you was Embracing Motherhood, which made me feel elevated in my status as a mom.  You lifted my spirits, pointing out how motherhood is a “sublime” calling. For years, I just wanted my mom and mother-in-law to come beside me and lift me up and praise the work I was doing, but the reality is that they grew-up in a very feminist generation and seem to be blind to the validity of this work.  So, your writings filled that need for validation for me.

Next, I started listening to Everyday Blessings For Catholic Moms on my Kindle as I went around cooking, cleaning and doing laundry. The kids always knew when I was folding clothes bc the theme music would blare out 🙂  Then, I read The Domestic Church, and one of my favorite passages in that book (which I double highlighted) was when you said that “Blessed (soon to be saint 🙂 Teresa’s advice was to not be ashamed of humble work which is a huge part of mothering: an extraordinary vocation in which little saints are raised inside the hidden confines of the homelife amid the nitty-gritty, humble work of the mother in the home.”   That one statement helps to bring me back to a place of peace when I am tempted to grumble and get discouraged with the nitty-gritty of it all.


She continued…

I cannot express to you what a miracle it is that a girl like me (raised in a non-church going home with a mom who thinks I have lost my mind to be open to this many children…and consequently, she has not offered any support or help) is on the path that I am on. I owe it to the great influences of women like you!  You have come into my home and spoken words of faith and encouragement. Your words have given me strength when I’ve been tempted to agree with my naysayers that I am nuts for doing this.  Your work renews my sense of purpose and inspires me to go on when every bone in my exhausted body says,  “Just quit; put them in public school; and, put your feet up with a latte.”  ?
Next, my goals are to order the Miraculous Medal book, the Mother Teresa Friendship book and the Children’s book on Angels. I will read them all.  Please don’t ever stop writing!!!!!  Keep the nourishment coming!  Your books are my spiritual direction.  They are my friends.
My dear Reader, I want you to know that your loving words and actions mean more than you might ever know. The culture does not make it easy for the heroic mothers who are trying their best to raise Christian children. They are constantly bombarded by the crazy mixed messages of the culture and are not often encouraged in their beautiful sacrificial role of serving their family. Protecting their family from the influences of the evil in society and working hard to teach, care, and most of all, love their children can be tiring.
That mother you see who seems to have it all together, might actually be deeply hurting inside because she craves some motherly affirmation–some kind of shot in the arm to keep her going. You can be the one to help her to know that she is so treasured by God and extremely important to her family in a sometimes thankless job, humbly working through the nitty gritty details of life in the family.
Please go out of your way, and perhaps even push a bit beyond your comfort zone to encourage the many mothers in the trenches raising their little saints to heaven. They need our kind and loving words of encouragement and affirmation. Please help that frazzled or worn out Mom in the grocery store or on the plane–wherever the encounter unfolds and the need arrises. Let her know that her work and sacrifice are SO very important. After all, God has entrusted her with the human being!
I am absolutely sure that you will find countless opportunities–even just in your daily life as you encounter mothers and grandmothers–to help uplift them in their sublime vocation of motherhood – that beautiful vocation of LOVE.

Catching up!

I returned recently from a whirlwind trip to Lafayette, Louisiana. I spoke at a beautiful women’s retreat alongside Johnnette Benkovic. Graces were flowing indeed. It was wonderful meeting all of the lovely “thirsty” women. They were there to nourish their faith and to share with one another. I told them that I firmly believe that when women gather together at times like this–WATCH OUT!–because with God’s grace we have the power to change the world!


Just prior to that my visits on Women of Grace were aired on EWTN TV. You can see all five of them here for a limited time.

12540641_1028367327184238_8267295219891598835_nHere is a recent article in a Canadian newspaper with an interview of me expressing the importance of a mother’s mission. I will be speaking about a mother’s vocation in Toronto this week end. Please keep me in your prayers.

A recent article in the National Catholic Register highlighting my Lenten book is here.

Did you know that I make these Novena bracelets exclusively for the EWTN Religious Catalogue?

Have you seen my special bracelets fitting for any woman? They are a prayer aid and help to celebrate human life. Check out the various styles here.

I need to finish a few writing projects and prepare for my trip to Toronto. Please keep me in your prayers and now that you are in my prayers!

Talking about Mother Mary, Mother Teresa, and Moms


I recently spoke with radio host Matt Swaim on the Son Rise Morning Show. Since we are in the month of May which is dedicated to Mary, and with Mother’s Day fast approaching, we talked about Mother Teresa, Mother Mary, and Motherhood. You can listen to the short ten minute segment here.

Enjoy and God bless!


Mother’s Day Book Sale!

Special Sale for Mother’s Day!

For a limited time:

Catholic Mom’s Cafe: 5-Minute Retreats for Every Day of the Year

(one copy for $12.95, a $2.00 savings!)


Embracing Motherhood


(one copy for $11.95, a $2.00 savings!)


Grace Cafe: Serving Up Recipes for Faithful Mothering

Grace Cafe; Serving Up Recipes for faithful Mothering

(one copy for $12.95, a $2.00 savings!)


Grace Cafe
(Two copies for $20.95, a $9.00 savings!)


Grace Cafe
(Three copies for $28.95, a $16.00 savings!)