Beep, beep, beep, as I open my eyes I realize it’s Sunday morning. Panic mode sets in. “Oh no, Sunday morning!” I scramble out of bed to get dressed and wake my children. Oh my, what to wear today? I hear my children already awake in their rooms. That’s great, one less thing for me to do. Maybe they’re already getting dressed. When I enter my daughter’s room I see that it’s not so great after all. My 4 year old is dressed alright, but you should see what she’s wearing! I hope she learns a thing or two about fashion and color coordination before she grows up. The war begins. How can I get her to change without a fight?
Now to check on the boys. No, this won’t work either. My six year old loves to layer his shirts but how many times do I have to remind him that stripes and plaid don’t mix. Please wear the blue shirt in your closet or at least just one of the two you have on.
By now I’m feeling quite frazzled. Why can’t they just put Sunday clothes on for Sunday? Why do I have to battle with them to wear what I want them to wear? Alright, now let’s see what I can wear today. Oh, I hear my husband calling me from the shower. He wants to know where his socks are. Where are his socks? Oh yes, they’re in the dryer. As I run down the stairs I remember I forgot to put the load in the dryer last night. That’s ok, I can do this, I’ll just put it in now and we’ll be fine. Now where was I? Oh yes, I was going to find something to wear. “Yes children, I know you’re hungry, but finish getting dressed first before breakfast, oh and let me fix your hair. The baby’s awake? Yes I’ll get her. Your socks are in the dryer Honey, they should be dry soon. You already told me you’re hungry, finish getting dressed and you can put cereal on the table while I dress the baby. No milk? Are you sure? Check again. We’ll just eat it dry this morning; we don’t have time for anything else. Here Honey, please take the baby while I find something to wear. Breakfast is on the table and the kids are already eating. What? Why didn’t you tell me we had to leave 15 minutes early this morning? I’m not even dressed yet!!!”   

Can you relate to this? Too often this is what my Sunday mornings were like, sometimes better, sometimes worse. I hated the thought of the kind of message I was passing on to my children about church. I would run around all Sunday morning like a chicken with my head cut off. During this process frustration would set in and before I knew it things would spiral downhill pretty fast. I would so often feel like a hypocrite walking into church with my pasted on smile; as though everything was great when we just exited a war zone.

Going to church to worship is a privilege we enjoy that many long for. Why is it then that so often I would dread Sunday mornings? I believe preparing for church is a battle; a spiritual battle. I also believe that a wife/mother can set the tone in the home. How clever of Satan to attack the wives/mothers on Sunday mornings. How often do our husbands run around frantic on a Sunday morning? It doesn’t happen often here. When it does it’s usually triggered by an overwhelmed frantic me. I think of the words David penned in Psalm 84:10 “For a day in Thy courts in better than a thousand”, and Psalm 84:2 “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God”. This is what I longed for. I wanted to be excited about going to church. I want my children to see their mother excited about going to church, to see their mother at peace during the preparation stage.

That is why I set on a mission to find “Sunday Morning Sanity”. I have been trying this for some time now to see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve added all the things that make a difference in our home. I have come to realize that it doesn’t take much time to take the steps toward “Sunday Moring Sanity”, but it does take planning. You have to be intentional for it to work. The majority of the preparation can and should be done on Saturday. I like to do it first thing Saturday morning just so I know nothing will interfere later in the day (I have a very spontaneous husband, which I love). Since I have started this routine there have been times that I either just didn’t feel like or didn’t have time to prepare on Saturday and boy, was I soon reminded again of the need for it. I would encourage you to get your children involved with the Sunday prep as much as possible. It helps them to see that a family works together and I believe they’ll notice the difference on Sunday mornings too. Pray and ask God to help you in this area and to show you which steps you as a family can take to gain “Sunday Morning Sanity”.

Beat the Kids Up
No I don’t mean to literally beat them up. I mean to get out of bed before they do. Not only should you get out of bed but get ready before they get up, especially if you have young children. There’s nothing quite like already having a bad hair day or wondering why your skirt won’t fit right while having a hungry toddler demanding your attention.
Sunday Clothes Saturday
You know those struggles you have Sunday mornings when time is already lacking and your children like to express their own sense of style, or they have a favourite outfit that they’ve worn a month straight and moms in church are beginning to offer you their children’s Sunday hand-me-downs? Yeah, those fights…not pleasant at all. I have found a way to fix it in our home!!! Now I have them lay out their clothes Saturday (preferably morning). Yes we still have our disagreements about what to wear but at least it’s not Sunday morning. If they throw a fit I have the proper time to deal with it well which means they won’t try it too soon again. This also gives me time to iron anything that the dryer didn’t take care of.  All in all, it’s a win.

Cleaning Sunday Shoes
Oh yes, we’ve all been there. You’re finally ready. All you need to do is put on your shoes and you’ve made it through the Sunday morning battle once again. Then, as you look at your shoes you have flash backs of last Sunday. It was rainy…with lots and lots of mud. You remember the mess your children made in the van with all the mud on their shoes. You franticly look for your children’s shoes but then you realize your husband already packed the family into the van and they’re all waiting for you, dirty shoes and all.

There’s nothing like already running out the door to church and then remembering the rainy day you had last Sunday because of the mud that is staring back at you as you look at your shoes. When you’re already running late this can be a BIG deal. This is another area where planning ahead can be so helpful. It doesn’t even need to be something you do yourself. I usually have my 10 year old wipe all the Sunday shoes on Saturday. He’s actually been doing it periodically for many years already, so you can even get a younger child to do the job.

Unfortunately I haven’t experimented much with this; however, I do have one thing that works great in our home. I don’t like spending much time in the kitchen on Sunday morning simply because I don’t have time. I like to plan ahead and make a quadruple batch of Baked Oatmeal and freeze it (unbaked). All I need to do then to have a delicious, quick and healthy breakfast on Sunday morning is take the baked oatmeal out of the freezer Saturday night and put it in the oven Sunday morning. It then bakes while I run around doing whatever else I need to do. Another helpful thing I like to do Saturday night as I take the baked oatmeal out of the freezer is set the table and prep the coffee. Sometimes I have my children help with this.

Book Bag
We allow our toddlers to take small, quiet toys or books to church and then the older ones take a note pad and pencil for drawing during the message until they can take notes. This became a real Sunday morning issue. We would be on our way out the door when they’d remember their note pad and pencil and then run to get it. Or we would be in church and they would argue over who gets to draw on the bulletin and I would rummage through my diaper bag in hopes of finding a pen for each of them.

We now have a book bag. It is a special bag with a special purpose. It holds a note pad and pencil for those who need it and also a toy or board book for my toddler. The bag stays on a hook in our entry and is only removed when we go to church and then is placed back on the hook when we get home. Because I feel like I already have enough to think about on Sunday mornings and because I think it’s great to teach children responsibility, I have assigned the book bag to one of the children. If they forget it, it’s not my fault. They then know it’s their fault if they can’t doodle during the service and they don’t complain to me. This bag can also be helpful to lug all the children’s Sunday school papers home so they don’t all end up in your purse or diaper bag; an added bonus.

Diaper Bag
Why is this important? Well, it’s great to have other moms at church willing to help out but you get a few funny looks when your pretty little girl with her cute pigtails and pink bows is wearing plaid shorts and a blue shirt with a dirt bike on it that says “I’m a big brother”. That’s when you wonder why you didn’t pack extra clothes.

When I don’t plan ahead, getting the diaper bag ready can be a pain. You’re right, it doesn’t take long, but when you have a 2 storey house and you’re running upstairs for the hundredth time that morning and your husband is already impatiently waiting in the van, it can become a big deal really fast.
I haven’t delegated this responsibility to my children yet but it’s something they could prep for you. You could even make up a checklist for them to use every week. I actually did ask my 8 year old to do it for me once while I was busy with something else on a Sunday morning and that didn’t work out the greatest. I had everything I needed but it was all kind of thrown into the diaper bag. I’d suggest that if you have your children help, do it with them the first time or two.     

Not much to say about this one. If you’re doing baths for your children Sunday morning, I would highly suggest switching it to Saturday; one less thing to worry about. Even if they’re old enough to bathe themselves, it helps to free up the bathroom. 

Potluck Sunday
Maybe potluck Sunday should be called “Everyone’s late Sunday”. For those of you who have potluck lunches at church, you know what I’m talking about. My husband REALLY doesn’t like to see me stressed and frazzled so he made the suggestion that if lunch for Sunday isn’t ready by Saturday night; we’re picking up pizza for potluck (our church is just down the road from Little Caesar’s). This sounds easy enough right? Just don’t bother preparing anything and pick up the pizza. That does happen at times but it’s also a great feeling to bring a delicious hot dish from home. I don’t have any magical advice or super easy potluck Sunday recipes that I’m posting, but I do hope to give some helpful advice. The most important thing I can say is PLAN AHEAD. There are so many meals that stay fresh in jars or freeze well. If you’re having Fettuccini Alfredo on Friday, make double the sauce and then all you do on Sunday morning is cook the noodles. What I also like to do is cook a huge pot of soup during the week and save some for Sunday. Just make twice as much and you’re ready to go.   

These ideas are only suggestions and I’m hoping more that they will spur you on to take action in your home and find what works for you then that you follow them to the “T”. Every home is different and we are all in different seasons of life. Take what applies to you and run with it. I hope this isn’t overwhelming. If these ideas are new to you and it seems like a lot to take in I would encourage you to take one idea per week and work on it. Perhaps you have overcome this area already and have other things that work for you, if so I’d like to give you a big high five. I’d also encourage you to share your ideas with others who seem tired and overwhelmed. we all need help at times seeing the bigger picture.

Here is the Baked Oatmeal recipe

Baked Oatmeal
½ c. butter (softened)
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 c. oatmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients. Pour into greased 9x13 baking pam. Bake for 20-20 minutes or until golden brown.
This is great for breakfast. Put baked oatmeal into a bowl and add milk. It’s that simple. This recipe feeds 4-6 people. When I make it for Sunday breakfast I quadruple the recipe and put it into freezer containers (unbaked), enough for one meal. Then, I take it out of the freezer Saturday night and it’s ready to bake Sunday morning.    

Sara Janzen       

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