Habit: Prioritizing Sundays
In our family, Sundays are sacred. You will very rarely see us posting on Instagram with #sundayfunday. In our world, Sundays are for being at home.
We are a family of two full time working parents and small children in full time school and childcare. We have found the rhythm of the week works best when we have one day where we are home. For mom and dad, it’s filled with laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping and meal prepping. For the kids, it’s time to play with their toys and time to be bored.
That last one is actually really important to me. My five year old is allowed to play on her tablet using the approved apps before we wake up (this is how we sleep in) and then it has to be put away for breakfast. That’s it for screen time for the day. We want her to have time to be bored and be forced to get creative. Her defaults are swinging on her swing set, playing in her art station and dressing up to put performances on for us.
Most weeks my husband does the grocery pickup right after breakfast and then cooks two or three large meals that we eat off the rest of the week. On the week days, we pull in the driveway around 5:30, which is also the same time we have to eat dinner to keep the kids on the schedule that works best for their sleep cycles. So for us, dinner is a quick reheating of leftovers.
If we do not prioritize these sacred Sundays, then the rest of the week is chaos. That 5:30 arrival means we are just beginning dinner or possibly having to swing by the grocery store in between work and home. It means we may not have the clean clothes we need for work or school when we go to get ready.
We used to live that way and it was constant stress. Everyday at 4pm the discussion was:
“what are we going to eat for dinner tonight?”
“I don’t know. What do you want?”
“I don’t know. I just want food and a plan.”
“How about ______?”
“No….I was hoping for something healthy. How about _____?”
“We don’t have [insert ingredients] so we can’t make that”
And so on. You get the point. Every. Single. Day. We had this same conversation leaving both of us frustrated.
Fast forward to now, we have that conversation one time. On Saturday evenings. We put in the grocery pick up order and all the meals are set for the week. And because I know someone will ask, no, we can’t find all our ingredients on Wal-Mart pick up so there’s usually another store he has to pop into. When Brandon is gone, I’m not a Wal-Mart fan so I just load the kids into the car and spend a couple hours at Target. It’s more expensive but it’s usually the only place where I can one-stop shop for everything on my list. Ours is next door to a Bulk Nation, which also has a lot of great options.
For years I would fill Sundays with plans and commitments. I saw a blank spot on my calendar and I would say yes and fill it.
Now when I get an invite for something on a Sunday, I get a pit in my stomach, and I try to figure out the best way to politely say no. It’s not that I don’t deeply love the opportunities in front of me, it’s that I know my entire family will pay for it the rest of the week if I say yes.
Are there exceptions? Of course. Just last weekend my husband and I said yes to an invitation that involved us both being gone four hours on a Sunday afternoon. But the yes was very calculated and only chosen because he happened to have a work schedule that would allow him on Monday to do all the things while we were gone. We just had to have enough food and laundry to make it through Sunday night and Monday morning and then we would be reset.
I’m writing this post on a Sunday and he had to work today. I had to navigate through four no’s. It’s the holiday season. There were two Christmas parties, a dear friends birthday celebration, a special event at church, a friend had a baby I want to visit and another friend is in from out of town. I want so badly to say yes to it all. But with Brandon working, I’m the only hope for the family to have food and clothes tomorrow. So here I am, typing up my blog on the couch in my pajamas while the baby naps, and I listen to the background noise of my daughter singing karaoke, the washer refilling, the dryer spinning and the dishwasher rinsing. After my short break on this comfy couch it will be right back to cleaning up the lunch mess and solving small child crises.