Thursday, April 01, 2010

True Confessions, Part Six-Hundred-And-Two

Pin It You know what?

I really don't like Sundays. I'm probably going to be taken off to mormon blogging jail for admitting that, but it's true.

Our family tries to do the whole "Keep the Sabbath day holy" thing and most days what it ends up meaning is that we all get stir-crazy and irritable with each other.

So that you can understand where I'm coming from, here are the rules we try to live by on Sunday:

Thou Shalt Not Work
Rest from your labors and all that.

How we do on this one:  Not bad. But by the time the kids are in bed, I usually figure the Sabbath is over and I pull out the laptop and get back to work. (Although I guess I'm probably o.k. on this one regardless - since I'm usually just pretending to work. I mean come on, I have blogs to read.) (I have to be careful with this though, sometimes I forget to keep my scowl of concentration on my face, and I'll start smiling and my husband will say, "YOU ARE SO NOT WORKING," but then I just say, "It's the SABBATH. Of COURSE I'm not working. GO READ YOUR BIBLE, SINNER.")

Thou Shalt Not Go To The Store
I guess under the premise that your patronage requires someone else to work on Sunday?

(Although really, if we're going to carry that whole idea through to it's logical conclusion, shouldn't we all then stop taking the Sunday paper, because that means someone is having to deliver it? Stop using electricity because someone probably has to monitor those power plants? Stop flushing because someone has to monitor the sewage treatment plant? WHERE DOES IT END? I ASK YOU.)

We do allow ourselves to go to the gas station - because I can swipe my debit card and I'm not requiring someone else to work.  (So basically, any business staffed entirely by robots - OK TO PATRONIZE.) 

How we do on this one: Pretty good. I mean we flush and use lightbulbs, but we generally stay away from the store, unless it's an emergency and we need tylenol or diapers or emergency chocolate.

Thou Shalt Not Play Sports
I will confess to not understanding this one.  Why no sports?  Is it because they're rowdy?  Or because you sweat, and that's kind of like working? And why are some recreational sports o.k. and some aren't?  Like, it's o.k. to take a family walk, but it's not o.k. to go hiking. You can go on a family bike ride but only at a leisurely look-I'm-not-engaging-in-sporting-activities pace. And you can go on a drive, but you can't go for a boat ride. (Because of Satan being part mer-man.)

How we do on this one:  So-so. Sometimes we go up to the canyon with the idea that we're just going on a drive, or to have a family picnic, (five minutes from our doorstep, HOW COULD YOU NOT) and we end up hiking a little. Although it isn't exactly restful because I end up worrying that God Is Angry About This and will therefore sic a bear on us.

Thou Shalt Get Thy Brood To Church
Mormons go to three hours of church, y'all.  THREE HOURS.  (Personally, I think we'd have a LOT more converts if we dialed that back a little. I don't even want to do things that are FUN for three hours.)

How we do on this one: Church starts at 9AM right now, and I will just admit right now that MOST Sundays, we don't make it there for the first hour. (DON'T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT MOM.) We TRY!  (USUALLY!)

But by the time everyone is showered and blown dry and dressed and besocked and presentable, it's getting late. And if you get there late, you are NOT getting a pew, you are going to end up sitting in the metal folding chair ghetto at the back of the chapel with all of the other families who couldn't get their act together either, and those parents are usually all so demoralized and beaten down that they allow their children to run completely wild - beating each other over the head with chairs, eating crayons, and behaving in a generally depraved fashion.

When I see that we are cutting it close and are going to end up in the ghetto, sometimes I just make an executive decision so that my children don't have to see such poor examples of reverence.  It's ALL ABOUT TEACHING REVERENCE really.

Thou Shalt Partake of the Following Approved Activities:
Church.  Eating.  Reading.  Game playing.  Crafts.  Visiting people.  Visiting the elderly.  Making cookies for random people.  Reading scriptures.  Making puppet shows about Jesus.  Gathering around the piano singing.

Although honestly, all of these activities generally take a back seat to sitting on the couch staring blankly at the walls, pondering how we will get through the next umpteen hours of our lives without any snip-snapping at each other or the children, who we love, but let's face it - EIGHT HOURS IN THE FAMILY ROOM AS A FAMILY.


So basically, I'm looking for ideas.  What do YOU do on Sundays to make it - not like that?  What on earth do you do all day long? How do you keep from killing each other?  Do you have fun family/friend get togethers?  (And if so, can I come? Without the kids?)

PS:  I should add that the eight hours of family time is NOT enforced family time.  ON THE CONTRARY.  We encourage them to go a) upstairs to play, b) in the basement to play, c) outside to play, d) in the garage to play, e) up on the roof to play - I'M FLEXIBLE.  Just - GO PLAY.  Somewhere else.  Sometimes they will actually go off and have fun together, but a lot of other times they just want to be with us - and when I say "with us" I mean RIGHT WITH US, on our laps, draping themselves over our shoulders, and hanging on to our noodly biceps. (Clearly I need to be meaner to my children.)



  1. I grew up Jewish. We ate bagels and fought over the Sunday comics.

    My husband is Catholic. We go to Mass, then we come home and kick the kids outside. If I had to do something family-friendly all day long, it would end up being a frightening experience for the children. So I don't. And even then, bedtime cannot come soon enough.

  2. I've always wondered about the whole going to the store one. I had friend in High School whose parents would let them go to the local vending machines, because they weren't making someone work.

    I was always taught it was spending money that was the issue and it was a day of rest. Although, Sunday is when a lot of the cute new stuff comes out on, so it making robots work breaking the sabbath? SO many questions!

    I also like to think that having the Ensign on the coffee table, while I'm watching Project Runway has to count for something.

  3. Wow. LOL. We are morning people. Getting to church on time isn't an issue and since we go to early service we don't have crowd control issues either.

    Can't imagine forced "togetherness" all day though. We come home, do yard work, read books, go to the park, have a picnic, whatever. I'm not really into false piety so I figure I can honor the Sabbath out in God's great creation much better than sitting in the living room getting irritated with my kids.

  4. Lucky me--my kids tend to entertain themselves.

    (By that I mean that they like to read for hours, play board games, do crafts, and then eventually break Mom down so, "Yes, go ahead and play the stupid Wii even if it is Sunday! Just stop fighting already!")

    Works for us. :D

  5. Um, eight hours of family time? Are you INSANE? We basically do the early church thing (8:30 - which in my book is basically 9:15) and then we come home and NAP (or I do, anyway) and then it's one board game if you're lucky, or just basic day as usual with TV off (except at 8:00 when Desperate Housewives comes on.) I am a sinner. We do not force anyone to stay in one room ever.

  6. OK, I had to laugh because I missed the line where you said that it's not working if it's robots, and I said that in my comment, and just saw it as I was creepily rereading your post.

    Our brains are weirdly connected.

  7. Since Neil is branch president and goes to early morning meetings, I've had to develop a strategy if I'm going to make it at ALL. So here's Kim's Guide to Sabbath Sanity.

    Do everything the night before. Including but not limited to:
    Showers and baths (wet hair in sink next morning, then style - saves oodles of time).
    Setting of table for breakfast.
    Bags packed.
    Clothes, shoes, and coats laid out.

    If I don't do all of the above I play sick.

    Since I'm currently Primary president, primary teacher, primary pianist AND primary chorister (yeah, work that one out if you can) I'm beat by the time we get home. I force my family to scavenge for food while I collapse, then whine until my husband lets me have a nap. Sunday afternoons are all about Veggietales at our house. And playdough. And watercolour paints. Pretty much anything that will let us flake out for awhile.

    We'll visit the eldery and write letters to missionaries when the kids are older. This time in our lives is about SURVIVAL, my friend.

  8. We always had 1-2 hours of MANDATORY QUIET TIME where if we bothered Mom & Dad, we got no dinner. (Or some other terrible consequence.)
    We were also given the choice to go to ward choir or do the dinner dishes.

    Turns out, we all sing pretty well.

    Church movies and family home videos when it gets bad.

  9. we have 1:00 church and I thought it was the worst time to have church- until I decided to do several things in the morning- required journal writing time for each girl, family scripture study (catching up on the days in the week that we missed), a good breakfast and by then- it's time to get ready.

    It does help us do a better job of not strolling through Costco on Sundays when it is far less busy than any other day of the week.

    But during the summer it is going to be a drag because it will just be too late to spend the afternoon in the mountains. btw- hiking is okay as long as you aren't breaking a sweat.;)

  10. Yes, sometimes the day seems to drag on, but I love having a day where I can say "Sorry, mommy gets to take a break from laundry today!" The kids know that if they don't get their socks in the wash on Saturday, they're wearing dirty ones on Sunday and Monday. :)

    We're far from perfect, but we generally stay away from regular tv and computer stuff. Instead, we play board games or cards, take naps, watch movies, read, bake...whatever happens to keep the peace on a particular day!

    I think the no sports thing is more that the Sabbath is made for man to rest, and the less exertion, the better prepared we'll be to be physically ready for the week to come. After being on the go all week (whether with my own stuff or running everywhere with the kids), it's a welcome change.

    Sometimes I blog...

  11. Well, SUE (if that is your real name). I'll come back in a while and post some righteously helpful ideas. I can't post them right now, because I'm too busy judging you. (That takes a lot of concentration.)

  12. When I was little my dad used to work really late, so we would have Family Home Evening on Sundays. And if that meant engaging in rowdy sport activities, we did. I think it's more about preserving the nice family feelings than worrying about what you are doing.

  13. Sunday is the LONGEST day of the week and quite honestly I mostly dread it. There is no such thing as a day free of labor for mothers. Our meeting start at 11:00 which means an entire morning spent not hurrying to get ready so all 7 of us can take a shower at 10:00 and the last 4 can whine that there is no hot water. Then we come home starving because we didn't eat before (cause, was 11:00) and since I just cannot manage to plan ahead everyone eats cereal or ramen or whatever junk is handy.....

    I could keep going, but it's just depressing.

    Our kids jump on the trampoline on Sunday afternoons and I don't care who knows it (which is a good thing since my neighbors are all in my ward).

  14. I always have thought that the purpose of no sports or shopping was because those things are more worldly, and Sunday should be a day to concentrate on spiritual things.
    We do let the kids play in our backyard sometimes, but usually we play board games, draw pictures/color, watch family videos, make Skype video calls to family members far away, and just hang out. So it's not like we're really concentrating on spiritual things, but we aren't concentrating on material stuff either.
    Oh, and when church is in the morning we take naps, although some of the older kids like to watch the church videos we have bought (old seminary ones).

  15. Two things are non-negotiable:

    1.We have nap time/quiet time. I don't care what you do, but there will be 2 hours of quiet in this house while I take a nap. You can take a nap, or watch a movie, or play in your room(s), but this mama gets a nap on Sunday or HEADS WILL ROLL.

    2. I don't cook Sunday dinner. I go to my mom's house for Sunday dinner and we take the kids. Family dinner is important. You don't have to go, but if you do, you will forage for yourself since it's my day of rest and I'm not cooking Sunday dinner.

    I don't clean on Sundays, or just the bare minimum. The kids don't get to play with friends. They can play in the yard with each other, but not with friends. I'm OK with some sports, although we're not a really sporty family.

    To me it's a family day and whatever you decide that works with your family is cool with me. Your family is a bunch of hikers? OK. You picnic? OK. Recreational activities that bring you closer together? OK. I don't spend money, I don't go out to eat, I don't shop. I don't care if you do.

    Mostly, I just want a nap.

  16. When our kids were small I just wanted my husband to take the kids and let my mind actually take a break for a couple of hours. I think he resented it a bit that I didn't want to participate in family time, but honestly? . . . 6 1/2 days of kids was all I could do, I needed a day of rest. He ended up baking with the kids every Sunday afternoon and they all have great memories of that. Now that they're older, we all really enjoy each other's company all day long.

  17. this is one of my favorite posts of yours. evah.

    i have no response except to say that i think whoever said sunday is a day of rest was being sarcastic and was definitely not a woman.

    i have a friend whose family has a rule that they can't play with anything round on sunday. sometimes when i am bored i have fun imagining activities and things that are NOT round and are WAY more unSabbath-like than basketballs and bicycle tires. like fencing and synchronized swimming.

  18. Since we started 9am church in January, our house has become the "Saturday is a special day" house so we are ready for the chaos Sunday morning. Showers are done Saturday night and church bag is packed. The other thing is to not allow ourselves to sleep in on Sunday. We're up at 6:30am just like we would be Mon-Fri to get ready for school.

    As far as the "Sabbath Day Holy" stuff goes - I don't stress too much. We avoid the store but can shop online. No Nintendo DS but we can play the Wii as a family. No waterskiing but shooting baskets is okay. The kids can play on the playset in out backyard until the neighbors come over to join them then they have to come in (that's the hardest one)

    And if we are on vacation and it's Sunday? All rules are out - it's vacation!

    Basically, we're hypocrites. But we're happy hypocrites.

  19. LOL Love this post. Not being Mormon, I can't really give you any specific advice, but we do try to keep the Sabbath holy...sometimes. Usually we go to early church (8:30). Sometimes we stay for second service, sometimes not. Then it's out to lunch if I have my way....'cause Momma needs her rest, which I realize gives my fav. waitress NO rest on Sunday. But I guess that's her choice. Hanging out with the kids & hubby the rest of the day. Outside, inside, whatever. Then sometimes back to church in the evening. Thanks for all of the good ideas of how to make this a more sacred day!

  20. I don't get the no swimming. Or sit around in your hotel room if you are on vacation. If I wanted to sit around all day I would have stayed home.

    I also hate Sunday. And I'm with you, if we are more than five minutes late we are so staying home. Metal chairs = devil children.

  21. I thought I had the whole Sunday thing worked out - no TV, no friends, but playing outside was allowed (encouraged!) in the backyard.

    Then we moved, and our backyard changed from being a happy little fenced in area to facing Dorothy and Toto's homeland, so playing outside no longer happens in the backyard but rather in the cul-de-sac...WITH ALL THE REST OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN. And then my husband started watching golf, so it became "Well if GOLF is okay, then what's so wrong with 'Phineas And Ferb'?" Basically what I'm saying is I've been doing a lot of research on the Telestial Kingdom - I think it's the best I can hope for.

  22. I remember church videos becoming huge and my younger brother being obsessed with watching them. However, if I were to EVER had been forced to watch only those, let alone even offered to watch them, I probably would have straight up apostatized. I cannot bear to watch church videos, cartoons, and especially detest Mr. Kruger's Christmas (my family has three UNOPENED copies... I don't care how many times we receive it as a gift, a free handout at church, etc... we are NEVER watching that willfully).

    We play occasionally rowdy games of Settlers of Catan, bake (for ourselves).. it's a great way to get all ages involved since it's hard to mess up chocolate chip cookies, nap (a lot), and play outside (trampoline, bikes).

    In the summer since it is suffocatingly hot we lounge around in the pool AS A FAMILY. It's ok as long as the whole family is in the pool vicinity! *justification? I DON'T CARE*

    My mom is a little sneak.. she only has her home teacher come over on Sundays. Of course, he always brings treats and his wife as his companion which means a) she doesn't have to make snacks for whoever is over, and b) she has THREE people to gossip with! Pure genius, I think!

  23. This struck such a cord with me. So much so that I came out of my very comfortable spot of being a "lurker" and commented! I am so happy to see that I am not the only one that dreads Sunday! Every Saturday night I close my eyes and pray that I can make it through the next day.

    One idea that I remembered as I read this is actually an idea my mom implemented when we were growing up. She called it Sunday Stations. Their were four children in our family so she had set up four activities in four different rooms to keep us occupied-puzzles, journal writing, play dough, books, etc. They were never very complicated activities and didn't involve a lot of preparation on her part. We would spend an allotted time in each room then rotate when the time was up. I always thought that she did this because she wanted us to learn about the Sabbath day. Years later she told me the truth-she did it so she could keep from killing us and so that we wouldn't kill each other. I understand now!

    I love seeing all the other ideas.

  24. I didn't take the time to read all the previous comments, so I could be repeating something somebody already said, but I'm lazy, and that is far too much work.

    Have you forgotten about the Sunday Nap? Around our house, it has become the Naked Sunday Nap. Sometimes it's my kind of nap, you know, with a comfy blankey and a pillow and a little cuddle action, but not too much, with the spouse. Sometimes it's his kind of nap. Yeah, that kind. Either way, we have conditioned our kids, either through years of them just understanding that mommy and daddy lock the door on Sunday afternoons, or by them accidentally discovering why mommy and daddy lock the door on Sunday afternoons, that they are not to bother us under any circumstances. Blood, theft, or fire are obvious exceptions.

    But if it weren't for that nap, Sunday's would be Hell.

  25. Anonymous4:56 PM

    I think this is one of my favorite posts so far ha You are a hoot! It is hard trying to be reverent during church for three hours esp. when you have a child under nursery age squaking and chomping on food in RS. I say that you are free to do anything on Sunday as it is a family activity. Growing up we would play board games and make cookies. Sunday naps are the best too!! :) Also, I prefer not to spend money on Sunday unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary. You can't starve your baby. I liked the comment about getting things done the night before. It really does help a ton! I do a roast every Sunday in the crockpot. It is the easiest and quickest dinner. You get home from church and your house smells SOOO yummy and dinner is pretty much done!

  26. THANKFULLY, our couples' Bible study is on Sunday nights so not only are we 1) spending time as a family, 2) fellowshipping, 3) reading the Bible, and 4) engaging in time with other fabulous Christians. I mean really, we are the model Sunday family. ;o)

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    WOW. I can't get my kids to settle down for the 10 minutes of family service before the nice, nice lady takes them away to Sunday School.
    But it's all moot since ever since my dad started attending - and this is a secret, so shh - we don't go anymore. Because my dad brings stress everywhere he goes. It's true!

    So now I keep the Sabbath by laying around the house all day. Sometimes we go on a picnic.

  29. Actually, I am just super psyched that out of your post I found out there is actually a Mormon urban legends website! Awesome!!

  30. Love this post, Sue. You rock! And Sundays definitely don't around here in every sense of the word. I have a hubby who loves TV so the TV is on from when we get home until bedtime (as usual). Trust me, it's a battle I keep trying to fight and I keep losing. Perhaps with the nicer weather I might win a battle or two but I fear I may never win the war.

    I am totally for the Sunday nap thing. It's about the only time I have to decompress all week long.

    Church kills me. No matter what time it starts we're always 15 minutes late. And our Sacrament meeting is last. Yes, last. That means by the time we have to sit quietly as a family my kids are tired, hungry and very, very ornery. And so am I.

    I am inspired to suggest other activities for my kids like games, painting, etc. Before you judge (because you're so totally the judging type...not!) I'm not all about rotting my children's brains with TV, promise. I do offer them other activities like babysitting their younger siblings, practicing their instruments and playing in traffic.

  31. This isn't a funny comment, but hopefully a useful one. we have a "Sunday Box" full of stuff that they can ONLY use on Sunday. It's stuff that they've seen for years and years, but suddenly, now that it's taboo six days of the week, it's interesting when it's pulled out for their 1-2 hours of mandatory quiet time.

    In ours, we have lots of activity pages I've copied from the Friend (word searches, puzzles, etc.), cartoon church books, kid card games, coloring stuff, etc. There's also some non-church stuff like Sadoku books. The last half of their quiet time they can watch a movie (yes, it's a church movie, but we also include Veggie Tales and similar stuff in there . . . my kids will watch the emergency broadcast signal, they're so into TV, so they like it).

    I think the trick is to focus on the stuff they CAN do, rather than the stuff they CAN'T.

  32. I have felt the same exact way...and I play the where does it stop? game with myself. ie newspaper delivery etc. Sunday is a hard day. We have lightened up a bit since the kids have gotten a bit older. For our own sanity. I try to keep the electronics off for as long as possible...just to keep the noise down. Sometimes it works sometimes it isn't worth it!

  33. Anonymous6:50 PM

    I'm not Mormon, but from an non-believer's reading of these comments it seems that few Mormons actually do the Sabbath family thing without resenting it or "fudging" it. Seems like it might just defeat the purpose a bit. If its not done wholeheartedly with a joyful heart, what's the point?

    Just sayin'....

  34. I remember this feeling and I finally implemented a game time and most importantly I changed MY attitude about the whole thing. I also hate the metal chairs and decided if I wanted a cushy tushy then I had to get it together one day a week I would choose Sunday. My kids were late to school sometimes but we finally got to be on time to church. Now that my kids are all teenagers and are more than happy to spend time in their rooms without us, WE are the ones who want to play games and since we started when they were young they are still mostly willing. This is the time we hear about friends, school and the other important stuff they try to not tell you. Mostly you should remember - this too shall pass, quickly!

  35. Only 3 hours? What part of Mormondom are you from? We're easterners - choir starts at 9:00, Sacrament at 10:00 followed by the other meetings. Then our family is blessed with the responsibility to stay several extra hours beyond that so that tithing, interviews and extra meetings can take place (hubby is currently Branch pres but they keep telling me that it won't last forever - just 'till I'm so burned out, I don't have a brain anymore.) So by the time we actually get home (one car family - live 25 miles from Church) we are all so exhausted that we sleep the rest of the day. Keeping the Sabbath is easy when you approach it that way, right?

    Sounds like you're generally doing well. :)

  36. My Hubby is what the oldies call a "jack" mormon. He was baptized but that's about it. Plus it happened when he was 8 and well, he's 48 now.

    So. We play in the pool when it's warm enough. I tell myself that @ least we are doing a family activity & heck, my dad hasn't told us it's bad & he was my bishop when I was little. I can't be totally going to hell, can I?

  37. This post actually made me wonder if some of the sisters who always seems to be so perfect there with their kids and hubby all looking prim and proper... were really freaking out behind the scenes!!! lol...

    I personally LOVE church... all three hours of it!!! PLus CHoir!! =)

    I have three kiddos... and for the first 8-9 yrs of their lives we went on our own without hubby....(he was inactive back then)....

    On Sundays our rules are:
    *Have your clothing laid out the night before... shower the night before...
    *Make sure you have whatever you need for class, to keep occupied during sacrament whateva....ready..
    * We dont do anything on Sunday... that we would normally do any other day of the week... Its a special day for a special we do whatever family stuff we want to... together... that we dont normally get to do during the week due to work and school and such...

    Thats pretty much it.... There is no forced togetherness here... we are usually good for a few hours together... and then everyone sort of does their own thing for awhile... and we all take some sort of quiet time or nap on Sundays...

    We are far from perfect... but we do love our Sundays... =)

  38. I love Sunday! Our kids do play a lot of Wii though...

    You need my husband around. Being late to church just would not happen with him around. If it meant he had to get up at 4 am to do it, he would. Luckily, after 8 years of marriage, I know nothing bothers him more than being late. So I get up early and we get to 9 am church early (if we get there later than 8:40 we have to sit in the overflow, so we get there early).

  39. It's all about the FAMILY NAP time.... yep that's right, all five of us take naps on Sundays. It's the only way I get through the trauma of a Sunday

  40. When my second daughter was born, and then for the next five years Dadguy had a calling that kept him at the church pretty much eight hours or so on Sunday, so I learned that if church was a gonna happen, it was up to me. Outfits HAD to be laid out the night before, as well as all showers baths and hairwashing. By the time he got released we had three little girls and a baby boy, so I got fast at simple hairstyles and learned to also have all bags packed and all lesson material nailed down the night before as well. Now that he has a less time intensive calling, son-uv-a-frakk-basket, I have discovered that it is STILL 100% up to me!

    But at least I get a nap nowadays.

    Don't you have any family you could go visit? Extended family crap sucks down large swaths of any Sunday!

  41. Anonymous9:42 PM

    I just wrote my longest comment ever, hit "publish," and Blogger told me it couldn't complete my request and it all got lost. Waaaaah.

    Tiny excerpt: I said I love Mark 2:27 that says, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" and went on to talk about the trials and rewards of the Sabbath day for me and my family, and said how I do think Sundays should be holy and different from other days, and also that they can be exhausting for moms even while often very spiritually refreshing. And I said a lot of other more specific stuff, but now Dean wants to watch Lost. The End.

  42. Anonymous10:44 PM

    lol, me and my pack of wild church rats are totally ghetto mormons:) I am NOT a morning person and getting there is a miracle in and of itself.
    After reading your post I guess I I should also confess I do not keep the sabbath correctly and I have no advice or for that matter repentence to offer:D

  43. as a single mom taking her twins to church, if I hadn't been decided about being there every week, not sure when I would have managed to become active again, you know? we sat out in the foyer a lot. enough that when they got older, and I realized they could actually sit still long enough to get through it, they didn't understand why we needed to go in the chapel. bad mom, that's me.
    we're always late, still. but we are there, every week.

    after church - I don't allow computer or any electronic gaming. I can't take the noise, and I wanted one day a week when I didn't have to try to ignore it or keep telling them it was time to turn it off. It's just not allowed to be on in the first place. they do not love this rule.

    sometimes we watch a movie together, sometimes mom knits or sews or reads, and I have no idea what they're doing, but I don't hear stupid video game music, so whatever.

    I am so not helpful here.

    I guess, on the whole, I just try for anything that makes the day not suck. If it keeps the peace, I'm all for it. As long as it doesn't involve me driving them anywhere, me cooking anything, or them facing a screen while weilding a controller or keyboard, that is.

    they are teenagers now. soon, my Sunday's will be my own. Right?

    loved this post.

  44. We live near family so most Sunday afternoons are spent at some relatives house, gourging ourselves on good food while talking, playing with the kids and/or playing cards (it ALWAYS ends with the adults playing cards). You are welcome to come but you MUST bring your children. I've seen how cute they are. We currently only have 2 kids to be shared amongst 9+ adults and they are in high demand. Until it's card time. Then we hand them back to their mom and dad so we can play undisturbed ;)

  45. it sounds like most your kids are in the under ten crowd? I can see how that would be tough.
    This is what we do sometimes...
    We drive from South Jordan, my parents drive from Alpine and we meet as a family in Riverton to visit with my Chilis, where she waits on us during her dinner shift.
    Or sometimes my husband and I leave the kids (they're old enough) to 'grab something at the office' and instead we make a Costco run. It's tricky waiting for dark so we can unload the car.
    My husbands a convert, to pretty much everything except the Sabbath part. One thing at a time at our house.

  46. Up at midnight. Reading this. Laughing out loud, all by myself. I have to read it to G tomorrow. Yes. Yes. My great grandmother - not the warm southern one but the rowdy, Tom boy, horse-team driving kansas city one (neither of these women actually did religion seriously) - on Sundays got her two little girls gussied up and made them sit on the sofa all day long. I can understand this. Once I had my two girls actually dressed up and hair combed (so rare), I wasn't about to let them move around AT ALL and spoil the effect. This does not strike me as quite the right spirit of religion. It does, however, explain some of the problems her daughter, my grandmother, had with life. She took that holding still and lookin' good thing a little too much to heart.

    The sports thing? Have you ever BEEN to a church basket ball game? Definitely more likely you will be forgiven for that kind of language if it's uttered on a Saturday.

    I educated my kids at home. All day. Every day. We did not have FHE because we held FHALLTHE TIME. So filling a reverent Sabbath was pretty much business as usual, which is problematic.

    One of the allowed activities that you didn't list? NAPS. Naps are our friends.

    My dad, the Bishop of our Texas ward, used to take us to Pizza Hut after church on Sunday. When I got old enough to be scandalized by that, he was pretty put out. I hold by the not making people work for non-essential things, and try not to think about non-automated services. But I did get a parking ticket at BYU one Sunday when I parked in a service parking spot - because I was GOING TO CHURCH in that building and there weren't any other places. I thought surely you were safe on the Sabbath. BUT NO.

    I think this is one of the mysteries.

    And you are very funny. YOu are funniest when you turn a lamenting sort of wry light on the reality of things. No, you are just funny.

  47. Okay. I just read through the comments. Now I have to go to bed. But I was touched by the anonymous one. And so I thought I'd better write something straight-ahead.

    It is very difficult to be a mother of small kids. People who don't have three or four little kids at one time, or who can regularly pawn them off on other people - they don't understand the weariness and fatigue that comes of constant earnest kid-wrangling and training.

    The kids don't magically become mature and self-governing just because it's the Sabbath. In fact, the training they get on that day has to be, in some ways, even more intimate, more carefully done than on other days. This is why these mothers sound like they're fudging and frustrated.

    My feeling has always been this: it is a different day. The entire day is organized around going to church - but not just going - actually being there for a reason. Reverence is a big deal. A hard job - maintaining it. But it really is a big deal. You have to be able to talk to your kids like they are real people to get them to do it. Which means that you prepare for the Sabbath every day of the week.

    Like some others have said, we drew lines in the sand: we had special toys. We didn't play with friends. We didn't play rowdy things. We stayed in the backyard as a family, and played together. We didn't do things that we did the rest of the week. And it was a family day, as far as church callings (problematic again) allow. We played games together. We looked at each other and recognized each other as belonging to each other. I wasn't worried about religious-centered activity as much as I was putting into practice the behavior the Lord expects of people who take him seriously and love each other.

    We put in those hours - and ended up tired and sometimes frustrated. But after all these years, it's born real fruit. Our kids know how to talk about spiritual things in real terms - not just formulas off the top, but in thoughtful and meaningful ways. They ask good questions - of us and of themselves. And they really believe in something with their whole hearts.

    The sabbath was never easy. But it was worth the work.

  48. Okay, what about naps...very long naps.

    My 8 children are getting pretty grown up now (9 to 26 yrs), but I have never laid out clothes the night before--even when church was at 8 AM. You just get through it and slowly they get older and it gets better. It really does.

    Personally, I love Sundays. They're second only to Mondays when everyone goes off to work and school and I have the house to myself.

  49. Oh and the no shopping on Sundays--it's less about making someone else work, more about setting aside worldly concerns. Sunday should be all about simplifying.

  50. you are so funny. SOFUNNY.

  51. We hike nearly every Sunday in the summer. No one can ever tell me that - getting out in nature, appreciated God's beauty, spending time with family - is against the Sabbath.

  52. My sad answer to how I handle Sundays? I work. Very un-Baptist answer. However, I think there is a clause in the commandment that says, "If thou husbandeth is in seminary, the woman to whom he is espoused may work outside the hometh, even on the Sabbath, if it means giving thou offspring food and shelter."
    Doesn't it say that somewhere?

  53. I hate when we have the "keeping the sabbath day holy" lessons in church. People get way too into the minutiae of it all for my taste. Once, in Relief Society, it turned to the matter of meal preparation and I almost lost it. One woman actually said we shouldn't prepare a SALAD on the sabbath, we should do it the day before, because apparently opening up a bag of lettuce and slicing up a few vegetables is very offensive to God. My eyes were rolling a lot that day.

    I'm all about the spirit of the law as opposed to the letter of the law. I think that as long as you spend some time together as a family and you get some sort of mental break from your usual daily goings-on, and you're comfortable with your activities, go for it. I think it's better to be outside being a little too rambunctious than to be cooped up in the house trying not to kill each other. Then again, I watch Millionaire Matchmaker, so you probably don't want to take spiritual advice from me.

  54. As a non-Mormon reader, I find this post and the comments totally fascninating. THREE hours for church? I thought the Catholic 45 minutes was difficult with a toddler, I can't imagine 3 hours.

  55. Veggietales videos have saved our family unity. Because, hey, they discuss Jesus so it's just a good as going to church, right?

  56. Oh, you know how I feel about this one. Three hours of anything that involves my kids sitting is bound to end badly.

    I'm fine with vending machines on Sunday. If things start getting tense around here, we head over to WalMart where they have their soda machines outside. And then to make it spiritual we drive up to the temple grounds. Or past the stake center if we're not feeling that energetic.

    I've always said that the reason missionaries can't swim is because the church is self-insured. The same reason I couldn't ice skate even though I was FINALLY in a place where people liked to ice skate. It's called liability, my friends. It, like three-hour church, sucks.

  57. I had a Sunday Box of really cool toys and games that my kids loved but the only time they got to play with them was on Sunday. And if they fought or bugged me too much, I put them away and they had to be extra good to get them back. IT worked out pretty well.

  58. Anonymous3:36 PM

    Maybe you could arrange to be called as Relief Society president. Then you can attend lots of extra kid-free meetings on Sunday and leave hubby in charge at home. It worked for me!

  59. Before we had kids, Sunday was when we were marital. That was great. Way back then.

    Now? I have a meltdown and then W makes me take a nap and then we eat dinner and then watch Amazing Race. Marital Sundays were MUCH better.

    We recently had an area seventy speak to us and he related how, because of their tremendous number of children and his tremendous number of callings, his wife realized pretty early on that she was not going to feel the spirit during sacrament. So she would prepare during the week in quiet hours to take the sacrament--and I really was touched by that.

  60. I make my kids watch the movies I grew up watching while I sing along/act out favorite scenes/recite marginally related trivia and call it family history.

  61. Three hours isn't bad. I tell ya why here. (I didn't want to take up lots of room in your comments' box.)

    Also, about the swimming. I get the impression as well that it's so the missionaries aren't caught off-guard by women in bikinis. For the rest of the LDS population, it's so we aren't caught off-guard by large men in Speedos.

  62. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Aah, besocked! Classic!

  63. I so wish I had a good suggestion for you. We meet at 11, so we only have 4 hours to fill. But it is HARD. The boys will only watch like one Living Scriptures movie. The usually end up on the computer, playing on Sometimes they go outside, but then they end up playing with the neighbors who (not to be judgy) never go to church. Superman and I try to rotate taking naps, but it's not really working lately.

  64. Sunday is the WORST DAY!!! Recently I've found that relaxing about it helps a bit (the first Sunday that I gave up, let the kids watch or play whatever they wanted and hid in my room with the hubs and watched Bones for 3 hours) was the best Sunday I'd had in YEARS. So now I relax a little more. We still don't hit the store (we both used to work at grocery stores and I can tell you, I REALLY resented people who shopped on Sunday), I don't do homework and we only work when necessary (but we both work in hospitals so...) Basically I try to avoid all those things that get me down on on regular days (you know, how you sit in the living room and look around and think "I really should clean up" on Sunday I don't think that because cleaning would be breaking the Sabbath).

    I think the sports thing is ok actually. We don't do organized sports because then it becomes one more thing that we have to do, but I think hiking, esp. with the family, is fine. Take the kids out and play a little kick ball. Not only do I think that's ok, I think it's recommended.

  65. I hike on Sundays. (And if it weren't for my calling as Ward Librarian, I'd probably skip church every Sunday the weather was good just to go hiking).

    And when the extended family gets together, we play cards. Not just any cards... FACE CARDS.

    Yes, I'm going to hell in a handbasket.

  66. When you said you hate Sundays, I immediately thought, "Me, TOO!" But then I realized that lately I haven't been hating Sundays and I'm not sure why. I'm not even sure why I hated them before. I think I'm just getting old and my brain isn't working.

    I mostly just had a hard time going to church, not for the church part but for other reasons. I think it was easier to go to church when I was trying to train my kids how to properly do church. Now that they are all trained up, I'm feeling less useful.

    One reason I like Sundays now is that I don't make dinner any more. I never know when my husband is going to come home from his meetings, so I never know when to have dinner ready. If I have it ready early there's nothing left for him, if I have it late, he's starving waiting for it - and that's not pretty. So I have lots of heat-up-able foods and my husband eats his La Casita left overs, cuz we pretty much eat there every weekend, just so he has something for dinner on Sunday.

    The thing I hate most on Sunday is to come home feeling all spiritual and walk through the door and my kids have beat me home and already turned on the TV. I tried. I really tried to keep the TV off on Sunday but it just wasn't feasible, because I was comatose in my bedroom and the kids just did whatever they could to entertain themselves. But they've all turned out okay - except they'll all have to marry better spouses who won't let them watch TV on Sunday. When I make them turn the Tv off, the youngest turns on BoM on CD, so that's encouraging. I must have done SOMETHING right.

    Amen to K. Whatever you do that is right on Sunday is well worth the effort.

    If you want a new perspective on the Sabbath, read Truman Madsen's writings about the Sabbath. Very enlightening.

  67. We treat Sundays like any other day, except for no store and no friends and lots of church. But I mean, after church the kids do the usual activities--quiet time, naps, coloring, play-dough, TV, games, etc. WE aren't so picky that we're like "you can't do that on Sunday" if it's something they can do around the house and stay out of our hair. Or we go visit relatives. Cause then the kids can run wild while we chat it up.

  68. You make me feel so much better about myself. Not because I AM better, but because I'm right there with you. I have no useful advice. I'm sorry.

  69. i will now have to follow your blog because of this...i feel exactly the same way on sundays. my husband has to be there an hour early and sometimes stay a few hours after church for his calling, and by the end of the day, it's all i can do not to commit murder...i don't think that's allowed on the sabbath.

  70. We have had 9 am church for almost 8 years now. I'm in the nursery & sacrament is last so we have to be there as close to our version of on time as possible. I'm not really sure how we survive.

    We have extended family dinners twice a month, so that off-sets the boredom. Sometimes we get together with friends on the other Sundays, but the kids come with. ;o) As for ideas, well, we paint nails a lot (I have 2 girls), we talk a lot, then we talk some more, we play Wii as a family sometimes. TV, movies and Wii aren't against the rules around our house at this point. My children are still pretty young (2 & 5) so it isn't an issue yet. We do whatever it takes to get through the day with as little yelling as possible! Book time in laundry baskets is a big hit around here pretty much any day. When the baskets are empty that is. ;o)

  71. I'm LDS too, and I just found your blog. I love this post. It is so true. I especially like the "Where does it end?!?" regarding not letting others work either.

  72. I also dislike Sundays.