Monday, November 09, 2009

Sabbath rest

I have a question that's been bothering me.

The question is this: How do you define "work" on Sunday?

I try to make Sunday a day set apart -- you know, lots of God, lots of family, lots of rest. At least, that's the goal. However, I also want to make Sunday dinner extra special (since it's the most important day of the week!), so that requires lots of time in the kitchen. Does that count as work? I have a friend who, in her celebration of Sunday, goes rather low-key for Sunday dinner to make it a more restful day.

Each of us is trying to make Sunday special... so where do I go with this?

Also, Sunday is most definitely NOT a day of rest for me, since my house seems to EXPLODE on Sunday. It's unreal -- the toys, the clothes, the general "dirtiness" of day-to-day life seems to pile up on Sunday, and I spend my day gritting my teeth and bemoaning the fact that I'm going to be waaaaaaay behind come Monday morning, when I have to tackle the huge weekend mess PLUS start homeschooling again bright and early.

Am I the only one who's struggling here?

I'm looking for any and all suggestions -- how to you make Sunday special? What do you do with the mess, or the odd jobs that pop up unexpectedly?


Rebekka said...

The question is, do you like to cook? If making a special Sunday dinner is making you sweat over the stove swearing and chasing your family out of the kitchen, maybe you need to scale back. If you love to cook, and Sunday is your opportunity to unfold your wings, so to speak, go for it.

As far as cleaning is concerned, I think there's a difference between *cleaning* the bathroom or kitchen, for example, and the sort of low-level picking up of things that most families have to do sort of automatically to keep the lid on. The latter, IMO, is sort of like brushing your teeth, it's general daily hygiene, which we still do on Sundays, right? :-) Anyway, that's my two cents.

Ouiz said...

Thank you, Rebekka, for answering my question!

I *do* like to cook, so in a way it's a recreational activity for me... provided, of course, that I don't have little ones clinging to my ankles the entire time! *grin*

I struggle with the rest of the stuff, however.

Today, for example, I had to start laundry (someone wet the bed last night), so that falls under the "ox-in-the-ditch" category; the rest of the house was just "blech" (little things here and there that add up to one big headache for me). If I had my way, I'd use this "free day" to get it all done (while my husband could keep the little ones away) and coast into Monday morning AHEAD of the game.

That's what kills me about resting on Sunday.

Rebekka said...

Your description of the issue makes me think of two (2!) separate blog posts over on Conversion Diary. Wow. The first one is this one: where she points out that your priorities are the things you plan for and that planning gives you peace. (I suck at this personally, but I know she's right.)

If the house is blech on Sunday and that drives you bonkers until you can do something about it Monday, then you've got to plan ahead so that the house is ready by Saturday evening. Maybe pretend you're having guests? Either Sunday is a day of rest, or it's a "free day" you can use to get the mess out of the world, but it's not going to be both, you know?

The other thing on Jennifer's blog was I think from the post about the imperfect fiat. God is not going to ask you to show love to the world (ie, being a perfect Christian model of piety, as tempting as it sounds) in a way that contradicts showing love to the people you have right in front of you (your family). More precisely: God does not expect of you (mom to little kids!) to have a Martha Stewart Sunday where everyone is clean and tidy, and the folks from Elle Interiors swing by around 3 pm to take pictures of the house (and the fantastic meal you prepared in your spotless kitchen!). Rest is relative and your family life with small children will involve "resting" in other ways than someone without kids, or with teens, or a retired couple.

It's the nature of your vocation that your resting periods will be interrupted by little people who are hungry or leaking bodily fluids (ox-in-the-ditch). But you can plan ahead to make your day of rest as restful as possible. Maybe you can start homeschooling on Monday and end on Friday with a Household Management hour and enlist the bigger kids' help with planning and getting things under control so you can buffer the weekend that way?

Then on Sunday you can use your husband's child-minding capabilities to ensure you time in the kitchen where you can do something grown-up that you love AND which blesses your family? That sounds refreshing to me.

Sorry this got so long!

Ouiz said...

You make some good points. I have prayed about shifting our workload around so that we WILL be able to get the house in decent order on Saturday night. That would be the best solution... then, I wouldn't be quite so on edge all day long.

Only sorta. *grin*

I've been trying to get myself scheduled better (The Mothers' Rule of Life) so that everyone has their "assignments" throughout the day (and week) and more can be done in less time.

I'm really bad about that -- assigning tasks to others, that is.

I believe it was Danielle Bean who wrote that we have to "inspect what we expect." THAT'S what gets me. Having to go back and make sure that something has been done right, and then walking them through it again and again until it IS done right, is sometimes more than my little heart can take. I know it will pay off in the end, but for now it's the most draining thing in the world.

Thank you so much for your great ideas! Hopefully I'll have more success to report on next week!

Betty Beguiles said...

I don't have any answers as I'm struggling with the same thing but I had to thank you for posting this! Oh, and thank you wise combox contributors! ;)

Erin said...

I struggle with this regularly. For Example, We have periods where we don't wash clothes on a Sunday, but as you say then Monday is very stressful.
We do have a baked dinner on Sundays, its a tradition and special but personally I find it an easy meal to do and everyone pitches in.

I think what I've come done to is to try to find a different rhythm for a Sunday, and that can look different for each family. And not only are there all the spiritual implications for keeping Sunday, but I think keeping the rhythm has an added benfit, if I have one 'different' day, I feel recharged.

Barbara said...

I've wondered about/struggled with this for a long time, too. For example, I don't shop on Sundays, since that is forcing others to work. BUT we will go buy doughnuts or (once in a great while) go out to eat. Is that cheating?

I don't do laundry, and the children's weekend chores are done on Saturday, but sometimes someone is catching up on Sunday.

I usually cook a nice dinner. Sometimes it is quite time consuming, but I like to cook, and I'm planning the meals, so that's all up to me anyway. What is refreshing (when I am on the ball) is to have an early Sunday dinner. We eat a big breakfast after 9:00 mass, so no one is hungry at lunch time. If I can have dinner ready around 4:30 (up to me and my organization!), before everyone is starving, we have a nice meal, clean it up, and then have hours of evening stretching ahead. I love that!

My biggest quandary is schooling. The week starts and continues so much better when we wake up Monday morning with a detailed written plan, but I don't get to it on Saturday (activities, chores, still unwinding from the week, [laziness?]), so I either do it Sunday or not at all. Is that too much work for the Sabbath? (And if I don't do it Sunday, it's because I don't get to it or I'm being lazy, not because I'm keeping the Sabbath.)

And my high schooler sometimes works on Sunday. It used to be every week, but I got him to ask to switch, and now it is mostly Saturdays instead. I know some families that absolutely will not allow Sunday employment. Am I being too soft?

Sarah Reinhard said...

It looks like you have great comments, Ouiz, so maybe I'm repeating someone else. (Sorry, no time to read through them!)

Sometimes, I do make a big dinner on Sunday. Sometimes, I don't. The important thing, for me, on Sundays, is to enjoy family, have my priorities toward God. (Easier said than defined, I've found) One thing I try to do is keep my computer off, period. Sometimes, it turns into a football fest (Bob just loves football, what can I say?), and other times we do things with other family members.

When I do cook a big meal, I make it something easy...because though there's "time" on a Sunday, there's not, because of the mess you mention. I also try to let go of my need to keep things cleaned up, because it's a time for the kids to rest too.

I don't know that I'm being helpful here, just tossing out some of the things I've discerned in my own life. :) Good luck!

SuzanneG said...

I;ve been thinking about this lately too. I go in fits and spurts and have handled it differently at different times. Right now? Basically, not handling it. LOL! Interesting reading about your process and "results".

Ouiz said...

I love all the ideas you guys are writing in! Thank you!

What I like about Sundays... and Fridays, too, for that matter (with abstaining from meat) is that they serve almost like "speed bumps" in my week. It's easy for me to just cruise through the days without giving much thought, but when those days come, it's like I kinda stumble a bit, remember "oh yeah... life with Jesus is SUPPOSED to be different!" and then I rethink and prioritize things differently.

I'm not expressing this well, so perhaps I should have just left it at the "speed bump" analogy! *grin*