By Anne Metz
God set a day aside for us to worship and rest, and it isn’t just a suggestion - it’s a command, the Third Commandment to be exact. It may seem difficult, almost impossible to take the time to worship and rest when you are part of a busy family, but it’s definitely doable! Here’s how:
Go to Mass on Sunday - every Sunday. Worship with your community and receive the grace from the Eucharist: it will strengthen you for the week to come. It’s true that getting to Mass can be difficult for busy families, but you can make it happen! Most Catholic churches offer several Mass times, including a vigil on Saturday evenings. Pick the one that best suits your family’s needs. If your children are more content in the morning, take them to an early Mass. If your daughter has a softball game on Sunday, go to the vigil. If you’re away for the weekend, find a Catholic church near you - they are all over!
Make Sunday Fun
Sundays aren’t just about fulfilling our obligation to go to Mass. They are meant to be restful, restorative, and a time to connect with those we love. God does not want us to work every single minute of each day. So, be sure to do something fun together as a family. After Mass each week, grab some donuts, go on a family hike, or have an epic board game tournament. This gives the kids something to look forward to as well as providing fun, restorative activities for your family to bond.
When You Can’t Rest
Being part of a big family means that sometimes you just can’t rest, or at least not in the way you’d like to. Sundays often get away from us and we end up as busy as any other day of the week, hustling kids to activities, catching up on house projects or yard work, and doing all the mundane tasks that need to be done each like day, like changing diapers, washing sippy cups, and preparing and cleaning up after meals.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to determine what aspects of your life are keeping you from a restful Sunday. Once you can see what is impeding your rest, you can get creative about how to make it work. Here are some examples:
Our day-to-day tasks must get done.
Creative solutions: Prepare as much as you can the night before. Finish up the chores and even prep the Sunday meal. If you’re tired of cooking and cleaning up after dinner every night, order a pizza and eat off paper plates! Feeling like you can’t change one more diaper? Take turns being on diaper duty. Each Sunday, assign a parent to change all the diapers so the other can have a rest. Switch roles next week. There may not be enough time to rest all day, so find a pocket of time during the day that can be restful. You just might be able to enjoy an hour in the hammock reading a book.
My child is involved in an activity.
Creative solutions: Is this an activity that your child absolutely has to go to? What would your Sundays look like if you could say no to some activities? Don’t overload your children with so many sports and clubs; teach them to enjoy downtime. If this activity is a must, it’s probably because it’s something your child truly enjoys. Use this as an opportunity to explain to them that God wants us to enjoy our rest and downtime so that we can refresh and rejuvenate for the upcoming week. Tell them that by participating in this activity, they are taking part in that restfulness.
It is difficult to take little ones to Mass.
Creative solutions: Well, this isn’t creative, but just go! God wants you there. Go even though it’s hard and keep reminding yourself that Jesus wants your children there. Other solutions: Sit with another family or an older couple who might help you wrangle the kiddos. Pick a Mass time that works for your children’s temperaments. Bring activities like coloring pages, books, and snacks.
Sunday rest may look different in this busy season of raising children, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. So, get creative and find ways to incorporate rest into your Sundays.