Monday, March 23, 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning?


I just want to begin by saying that Lionel Richie has never spent Sunday morning at my house.  That "Easy like Sunday Morning" deal is a joke.  Not only is the routine entirely different from the normal Mon-Fri, but often Saturday's soccer game or late night Netflix binge bleeds over to leave everyone tired and cranky. 

Getting everyone up, out the door, and to church in one piece is its own challenge. If you're one of the legions of women who have morning sickness, toddlers or new babies, an invisible illness (fibromyalgia, depression, MS or a myriad of others), neighbor kids who come with you, a Sunday School class to prep for, or aging sisters that you pick up for church, the challenge takes on new dimensions.

This morning as I faced my own Sunday challenges (of the Sunday school, neighbor kid, potluck, and pick-ups varieties), I thought a list of suggestions for having a smoother Sunday morning might be as appropriate as it was ironic.
  • No electronics: We have a Sunday morning routine of leaving the TV off, and even the adults typically limit their screen time to the few minutes before the kids are up. For one thing there's too much to do, and for another it gives the morning a better feel. 

  • Sunday Music: On Sunday mornings, once my husband has left for the office (he's the minister and needs to prep for class) the girls and I turn on some religious music.  Since our congregation tends towards older more traditional hymns we often play the more modern praise and worship music we sang before we came here.  Belting them out gets us geared up for worship and also helps to soothe any grumpy spirits.  Put together a playlist of songs you and your kids both love and set them on repeat, or if you don't have a lot of sacred music let me suggest one of our favorite youtube lists:

  • The Bag:  I have a 31 bag that is for church.  When I need to take something for Sunday School, I put it in there before I forget. So on Sunday morning (hopefully) it's all in the same place.  I also keep a similar bag of quiet things for my younger daughter and the neighbor kid who comes with us.  I try to be sure these bags are packed and ready to go.

  • Saturday night:  Saturday night is huge. I know that it is simply not always possible to get everyone in bed at 8:00 with all their clothes pressed and hanging by their beds.  Lots of times we've been up until midnight with some kind of hospitality, finally cleaning up and falling into bed long after any reasonable person's bedtime.  Yet when I can, we go to bed on time, pack bags the night before, make a breakfast and lunch plan, and maybe even know what we intend to wear.

  • Don't let 10:00 fool you!  We have a routine just for Sunday mornings because for a while that late sounding 10:00 am fooled us into thinking that we had more time than we did.  Then I began to insist that kids finish getting ready after breakfast before they did anything else.  (Unfortunately, I am often finishing some cooking or cleaning up until 9:30, then throwing on my clothes before I make a mad dash out the door.  However at least I am not trying to help the kids find their shoes at the same time!) In other households (especially with younger children) it may be helpful to reverse the order, finishing everything except helping the children dress so that nothing nasty finds its way on to their clothes.

  • Think simple but nice: I have mixed up homemade muffin batter the night before and then just put them in the tins, or I've left groats and apples in the crockpot overnight, but if your family isn't weird like mine, something like a casserole that can be left in the fridge to be baked the next morning or some croissants from the grocery store bakery with fruit and cheese could be a good choice.  Trust me.  You do not want grumpy, hungry children just as Sunday School ends!  A solid but not complicated breakfast can help. You can also simplify your clothing choices, for example, adding more Sunday clothes that don't need ironed to the rotation.  Honestly most of us would choose a comfortable and contented child in a braid and a jumper to an itchy and whiny one with lace, ruffles and curls.  Finally lunch in the crockpot is another way to simplify your Sunday.  The family gets a home cooked Sunday dinner and you are done cooking before 9:00 am.  Win-win all around. 

  • Prayer:  If Sunday morning is an ongoing problem for you, let me suggest not as a last resort but as a preemptive strike, pray.  Take time each Saturday night and even just 5 minutes before the kids are up to pray that God will protect your family from temptation.  Ask for aid with your patience, kindness and peace.  Beg for grateful hearts and be ready to receive the blessing of God on your Sunday. 
These are just things we try to incorporate into our routine not rules we live and die by.  The only rule is to try and make it to church without having to repent for something we muttered resentfully under our breath!  We're making it more often than not these days.  Although I have to admit between potluck, pick-ups and our sweet neighbor kid this week was an epic fail.  What's to do but repent and begin again?!  Leave me a comment and tell me what's working or not working for your family as you head for church!

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