Posted by: littlebitofparadise | October 22, 2012

What I Don’t Like About Sundays

What I Don’t Like About Sundays

We walked into church for the 8:30 service at exactly 8:32 a.m. yesterday, hurriedly finding our seats during the third and final verse of Holy, Holy, Holy.

I hate being late for church. It completely raises my stress level and makes me feel tardy, sloppy, and inconsiderate of others. What makes matters worse is the Hubs hates being late even more than I do.

No matter how early we get up, it feels like we are always rushed, scattered, and stressed on Sunday mornings. And as far as I can tell, it doesn’t matter if we go to the 8:30, the 10:30 or the 12:30 liturgy – we’re running behind and leaving a hurricane in our wake regardless.

As we sped (within reason, promise!) to church yesterday, I realized (as I do every time this happens) that whatever we’re doing or not doing on Sunday mornings is not contributing to the health and holiness of our family as we prepare to worship our Savior. Trying to keep a baby and a toddler happy, quiet, and well-behaved during mass with hopefully a few minutes of actual prayer and worship time for parents is a big enough struggle without heaping the “getting ready and out the door” stress on top of it all.

I hate when I have to whisper pleas for forgiveness in the Hubs’ ear before we approach the Lord’s altar because of careless words, hurtful comments, or stressed-out growling noises (yes, I’m sure I make them) that come out of my mouth while I’m applying mascara with one hand and brushing kids’ hair with the other in our mad dash to Sunday best.

The scary part of my problem is: I only have two kids. I see parents with four, seven, even NINE kids at our church and they seem to get there before we do and look much calmer than we are.

When we leave the house Sunday morning, makeup and hair products are strewn across our entire bathroom counter. My pajamas (along with any outfits I decided not to wear) are in a heap on the bathroom floor. The kids pajamas are on the couch and floor and who knows where else in our family room. The remnants of breakfast prep are all over the kitchen. Sometimes the table gets cleared after our meal and the dishes make it to the sink. Sometimes they’re still on the dining table exactly where we all left them in our dash to go get changed. It takes us at least half an hour after returning home from church to put the house back together again. And then it’s time to change clothes again and start preparing lunch.

I wonder – do the homes of families with four or six or sixteen kids look like this on Sunday mornings? Are we the only ones who can’t seem to calmly get ready for church in an orderly manner?

And what are the secrets to a happy, calm, low-stress Sunday morning for those families who honor the Sabbath and keep it holy (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)?

I’m on a mission to find out.

In my desperation yesterday, I tried to remember some of the ways my mom made it possible for all ten of us (she, my dad, and all 8 of us kids) to get well fed, well dressed, and out the door in plenty of time for mass. Sure, some Sundays my parents were stressed during church prep, but I don’t remember it being as rough as it is in my home with only two kids!

Here are some of the things I remember from growing up:

  • Saturday was the “Day of Preparation” for my parents. This included cleaning, grocery shopping, getting all the errands done, setting up the coffee pot the night before, etc so that they didn’t have to do any of this on Sunday.
  • My mom often made breakfast preparations the night before – something she could throw in the oven to bake while she got ready for church. This was often her famously delicious egg and bacon casserole, with perhaps muffins or a coffee bread that she baked the day before. The meal was special but it was planned-ahead for. (This is an area I know I can save time in – I make a special Sunday breakfast, but I do it all on Sunday morning and it often takes too long).
  • Laying out kid’s church clothes on the family room couch on Saturday night, so everything is ready for a quick change after breakfast.
  • Have the diaper bag and any “church books for kids” prepped the night before.
  • Dad and mom shared the “get the kids dressed” tasks so it didn’t fall entirely on one parent.
  • I think my mom showered the night before. I need to start doing this!
  • My mom got up early on Sundays. I don’t think she ever got to sleep in on the Lord’s Day. But later in the day, my parents almost always enjoy a Sunday afternoon nap. I need to start setting my alarm so I can make sure our Sabbath gets off to a smooth start.
  • Dad helped with comic relief so the family didn’t get too stressed during getting ready time. He and the boys watched an episode of “The Three Stooges” or “Laurel and Hardy” on the TVLand channel almost every Sunday morning while everyone was getting ready. As kids finished getting ready, they were allowed to come sit on the bed with dad and join in his guffawing. I noticed a similar trick from my husband yesterday morning. He started singing goofy songs to the boys while he was wrestling them into their church outfits. I noticed my own mood lightening as I listened.

I hope to begin implementing some of these strategies in our home and see if our weekly Hurricane Weinert can subside a bit on Sunday mornings.

I would absolutely love to hear from other young families with tips and advice for how your families make it to church on time and without needing absolution for trying to kill your spouse or children during the getting-ready process. This is certainly an area where we need good ideas for improvement.

On a lighter note, I leave you with the words to one of my favorite country music songs…a song that highlights some of my absolutely favorite things about the Lord’s Day.

There is truly much to love about this first day of the week. I’m excited to learn how my family can appreciate them in the wee hours as we start this highest of feast days for those who follow Jesus Christ.

That’s What I Love About Sundays

by Craig Morgan

Raymond’s in his Sunday best,
He’s usually up to his chest in oil an’ grease.
There’s the Martin’s walkin’ in,
With that mean little freckle-faced kid,
Who broke a window last week.
Sweet Miss Betty likes to sing off key in the pew behind me.

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Sing along as the choir sways;
Every verse of Amazin’ Grace,
An’ then we shake the Preacher’s hand.
Go home, into your blue jeans;
Have some chicken an’ some baked beans.
Pick a back yard football team,
Not do much of anything:
That’s what I love about Sunday.

I stroll to the end of the drive,
Pick up the Sunday Times, grab my coffee cup.
It looks like Sally an’ Ron, finally tied the knot,
Well, it’s about time.
It’s 35 cents off a ground round,
Baby, cut that coupon out!

That’s what I love about Sunday:
Cat-napping on the porch swing;
You curled up next to me,
The smell of jasmine wakes us up.
Take a walk down a back road,
Tackle box and a cane pole;
Carve our names in that white oak,
Steal a kiss as the sun fades,
That’s what I love about Sunday.

Ooh, new believers gettin’ baptized,
Momma’s hands raised up high,
Havin’ a Hallelujah good time
A smile on everybody’s face.
That’s what I love about Sunday,
Oh, yeah.

That’s what I love about Sunday.

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Responses

  1. Awesome post!…can’t say Sunday’s my favorite day of the week 🙂 Somehow i always end up feeling a little less holy.

  2. Our biggest “trick” to getting our family of 7 out the door (2 parents, 5 kids) is that we plan to leave 1/2 an hour before Church starts. We never say we are going to 10:30 Mass, we say, “we MUST leave by 10:00”. And then we back up our prep from there. For some reason, thinking about it this way makes a difference in our peaceful ability to get out the door on time and seated before Father walks down the aisle. (I think is has something to do with feeling late if it’s after 10:00 and not looking at 10:30 as our “deadline”.) I also find arriving a little early, allows the kids to settle in and quiet down; if we’re running late, I find the little ones sense it and have a harder time sitting quietly in the pew.

    Like your mom, I also set my alarm for Sunday mornings. Early in my mothering career, I heard someone say: “If Mom is running on time, then the household runs on time.” I find this to be so true (but truth be told, I wish the burden didn’t fall on me!) 🙂

  3. My husband and I have 6 children, ranging in age from 6 weeks to 9 years old. We usually attend the 8:30am mass. My husband wakes all of the kids (with the exception of the newborn) up at 6:30am. Everyone comes downstairs and we have a SIMPLE breakfast–a donut, dried cereal or a coffee cake that my husband made earlier that morning or the night before. We save our nice breakfast (or brunch as it usually turns out to be) for after mass. Maybe you are doing too much before mass? After everyone has eaten, the older 3 (the 9,7 and 5 year old) go and get dressed and either myself or my husband will dress the 21 month old and the 3 year old. I take care of the newborn. Inevitably, there are Sundays where we end up rushing a little bit…trying to find a shoe, etc. but it usually doesn’t make us late for Mass because we have 2 hours to get ready. So, my advice would be to simplify your routine before Mass.

  4. One more thing we do that seems to help: instead of fasting for 1 hour before communion, we fast for 1 hour before the start of mass. So, if we are attending the 8:30am mass we aim to be finished with breakfast no later than 7:30am. Usually, we are finished by 7am. That gives us an hour/ hour and 10 minutes to get ready for mass.

  5. I certainly don’t have any advice to give but love reading your mom’s tricks and your readers as well. John and I can hardly get the TWO of US out the door on time – how on earth we’ll get little ones ready in adition to us is beyond me. We’re doomed! 😛


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