We’ve been talking about Sunday mornings as part of the series Putting Sunday First. I love Sundays. I love my family time, my worship time, and my restful Sunday.
Next week, I’ll share a recipe roundup with plenty of dishes that are perfect for after church meals.
To make it to church regularly and happily requires a lot of planning, but we’ve already said it’s totally worth it. But after church? More than anything, my family likes to capitalize on the heart behind Sundays–a day of rest.
I’ve had times in my life as a mom when I felt like I lived in the kitchen all day long on a Sunday. Between Sunday lunch and dinner, there was a huge pile of dishes and maybe some laundry in between. I had to make some changes to keep me from resenting my family and to prevent burnout.
In our effort to have restful Sundays, one change we did not make was to start eating out. We don’t eat out on Sundays, for several reasons.
- It’s too long of a day for young kids. They’re tired and in need of naps, so eating a nice big family lunch at home and then heading to bed is ideal. Standing around waiting at a restaurant is not.
- Restaurants are packed, making the wait times absurdly long. See above.
- It’s too expensive to do every week.
- I don’t like making other people work on Sundays. I used to wait tables and I was so glad that our restaurant was closed on Sundays, specifically so that we could go to church.
So what do we do to keep Sundays restful?
There’s something so wonderful and traditional about eating a big Sunday lunch as a family. To keep things simple, we typically have planned leftovers for lunch. Even if we go out to dinner on Saturday, attend a party with food, or pick up pizza, you can usually find me prepping a dinner of some sort on Saturday, with the express purpose of having wonderful leftovers on Sunday.
My kids are ready to eat as soon as we get home, with naps to follow, so there’s not much time to waste. Slow cooker meals or a casserole that you can pop in the oven and come home to are perfect for Sundays, especially if you have a “timed bake” feature on your oven (my new one has this!).
We keep things super simple on Sunday evenings. I might make a pot of oatmeal or we’ll cook eggs, waffles, or muffins to serve with fruit for a nice breakfast for dinner. My husband has even been known to make crepes! But we usually don’t like to eat a large meal, since we’ve already had one big meal that day. Breakfast for dinner fits the bill perfectly for a lazy Sunday night meal.
Family Nap Time
After lunch, everyone naps or rests. Everyone.
Sometimes, this is one of the best times that my husband and I have to chat and connect all week long. He might read the newspaper while I read a book or play catch up in my Bible in a Year reading plan. Sometimes we even fall asleep together. Either way, we veg together while the kiddos nap or have a mandatory rest time in their rooms.
Of course there’s no guarantee that your kids will actually nap, but you can teach them to stay in their rooms for family rest time. My three year old is busy having a picnic for his stuffed animals.
To keep me from spending the entire day in the kitchen, we’ve had to resort to disposable dishes. I didn’t want to do this. Everything green in me fought this idea, but back-to-back pregnancies and young children won out, and now we always use disposable plates on Sundays.
If your children are older, then perhaps they are able to help in the kitchen and it doesn’t all fall on you. In that case, then you can easily train your kids to put their dishes in the dishwasher or help you in the kitchen (we’re working on this now!). But for now, we find that disposable dishes helps us to really enjoy our day of rest.
Social Media Sabbath
Those of us with blogs would agree that it’s easy to let social media suck your time. Put those boundaries in place! My friend, Jessica at Smartter Each Day boycotts all internet every single Sunday. I love that idea and have implemented it at times.
I often take Sundays “off” of all social media, particularly if it’s a Sunday when I don’t have MOPS the next day. The day before MOPS, I have to be available to respond to emails and posts in our Facebook group, but I generally like to stay away from the computer and my smart phone on Sundays. It’s a good reminder to me that every email, every message is not essential. It can all wait while I rest and take time out with my family and with the Lord. These are boundaries designed not to be legalistic, but to help me maintain the heart of Sundays.
Establish Guidelines for Your Family
No friends over/ no shopping/ no errands/no housework. Just downtime. Sundays really are a day of rest for us. #mamadiscipline
— Jillian DiCosimo (@oliveplants13) February 12, 2014
She clarified that “no friends” means the neighborhood kids (who love her 8 children!) who often congregate at her house. I love that she knows what she wants for her family and she makes those expectations clear.
And you know what? It’s really for their good. Kids don’t know that they need margin, space, and rest. It’s part of our job to teach them what this looks like and to model it for them. And hey, if that means I get a Sunday nap, then it sounds good to me.