I often wonder what other mothers find wonderful and challenging about motherhood. I particularly wonder how faith impacts other mothers in their parenting journeys. My faith is centered in the Orthodox Christian Church, so I reached out to other Orthodox women to see if they would share some thoughts about parenting and faith. I’ve been delighted with their responses and I hope–whether you are Orthodox or not–that you find their answers inspiring and encouraging!
This week are parenting insights from my friend, Zohreh. I’ve known Zohreh for over twelve years and she’s been extremely influential in my life–she introduced me to my husband and my first career! So grateful for her support and encouragement over the years. She also gave me the gift of godmothering her oldest daughter, which is super special! Zohreh is funny, insightful, and a wonderful mother. I hope you love reading her thoughts on Orthodox parenting!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family:
Hi, I am Zohreh Daly! I live in Austin, Texas with my husband, Fr. Raphael Daly, and my three children, Athena (8), Felicity (5), and Roman (4 months). I am 36 (gasp!) and I am currently a SAHM. In my spare time I love to illustrate, sew, and work with my hands. I’ve been Orthodox for 14 years and a priest’s wife for 12.
What is one of your favorite aspects of parenting?
The creativity, the levity, and the bliss of being with children. They are so funny and bring so much joy, it’s such a special experience. I also love seeing the growth. Not just the physical growth of my children but to see their minds and personalities form as well.
What is the thing you find most difficult about parenting?
That is there little support (unless you go out looking for it) and no true consensus about many things. Mommy shaming is prolific, research is contradictory, and postpartum mental health issues abound (PPD is no joke!). I think the whole parenting community needs to do a lot more to support each other.
What is your best practical tip for creating an Orthodox home?
Pray with your kids! I sit with my kids in bed at night and give thanks to God for each other and our health. We ask God to watch over the helpers (nurses, doctors, firemen, teachers, etc) and ask for special intercessions for friends and people who need prayers. I really want to normalize prayer and make it part of our routine. It’s just what we do.
How has your Orthodox faith impacted your parenting?
Coming from a home that wasn’t very religious to a clergy family, I can see how faith makes a big difference. The most notable difference is being part of a larger church family. That sense of community really wasn’t there as a child other than a few ethnic relationships. There’s support, there’s love, and there’s accountability to each other.
What is the hardest thing about raising your children in the faith at the stage of life your kids are in right now?
Lack of sleep. I can’t wait to sleep through the night again!
What advice do you have for other moms raising their kids in the Orthodox faith?
Make friends with other Orthodox parents! You already have something in common!
What’s your favorite Orthodox parenting book?
Heh, you assume I read. I am barely literate.
What’s your favorite Orthodox children’s book?
Thanks you, Zohr! So grateful for your mothering example! I love the way you wrote about praying with your kids. This was so thoughtful: “We ask God to watch over the helpers (nurses, doctors, firemen, teachers, etc) and ask for special intercessions for friends and people who need prayers. I really want to normalize prayer and make it part of our routine.” Thank you!
P.S. You can read the rest of the series here