A Blessing for Emotional Labor

a prayer for the unseen and often emotional labor mothers do for their children

If they only knew
that your love for them
hums along in quiet work
they cannot see,

in love that is relentless,
monotonous and nocturnal,
hidden in acts of service
that guard and keep.

Perhaps they do not care
how fully you care until
the good order they take
for granted is missing in action.

Blessed are they
who fill out forms and organize,
who wash uniforms and favorite blankets,
who remember what no one else will;

for they are humans doing their best,
who are allowed to forget
and tire and keep on trying
just like everyone else.

Copyright © 2022 Meta Herrick Carlson from Ordinary Blessings for Parents: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations for Family Life (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2022).


Meta Herrick Carlson (she/her/hers) is a pastor and poet. Her ministry is rooted in a love for meaningful ritual, accessible language, and healthy communities. Meta laughs at her own jokes and packs extra snacks just in case. She and her husband Matt have three kids who are loud, sticky, and fiercely loved. For information about her books, visit www.metaherrickcarlson.com.

Meta Herrick Carlson (she/her/hers) is a pastor and poet. Her ministry is rooted in a love for meaningful ritual, accessible language, and healthy communities. Meta laughs at her own jokes and packs extra snacks just in case. She and her husband Matt have three kids who are loud, sticky, and fiercely loved. For information about her books, visit www.metaherrickcarlson.com.

1 Comment

  1. Wendy Caduff on 17 February 2023 at 1:28 am

    It’s 1:25 am. I’m crying–this hit me just right after moving laundry to the dryer, packing a cold lunch and backpacks, filling out a field trip slip and signing up for drama lab through community ed, something my son is so excited to try again. My work is endless, unseen, and yes, nocturnal. Thank you for these words.

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