My kids were 2.5 and 1 years old when my husband became the Associate Pastor of a church. It was his first full-time ministry position and therefore the first time I was officially labeled “Pastor’s Wife”.
Sunday mornings became a dreaded scary part of my week because it was left up to me to get our children ready and out the door on time and in the car to church by myself. I suppose I could get up extra early and get us ready early so we could leave for church together as a family, but that would probably be harder. My husband is there an hour or more before service to pray with the other pastor and the worship team. There isn’t much for my kids to do at church before the Sunday school hour except for get into messes or mischief! So we stay home and head to church on our own. This was a hard transition for me as I was used to having my husbands help every Sunday morning. But we entered a new season and I needed to learn some new Sunday morning managing skills.
I still struggle with being late but that’s just how it goes. Kids don’t know how to rush and they certainly can’t remember where they last put their shoes with perfection, so having these high expectations on them can be hard. It’s easy to slip into allowing stress dictate my attitude towards the kids. How we leave the house should be just as important as how we behave in the church pew. We can either be angry, stressed, agitated and in a furry as we leave or we can go with the flow, have patience, plan ahead, be mindful of our words and actions and leave in a more calm way. I wonder which is more God honoring? Hmmm…
I thought I would share some habits I have developed over the last couple of years and some things I more recently have started to incorporate into our Sunday morning routine. So here’s my advice to make the Sunday morning chaos disappear.
Get up early.
This one is newer for me but I find it to be super helpful. I am not a morning person. I hate getting up early. However, the last few Sundays I have been more disciplined and needed to get up extra early for various reasons. I program my coffee the night before and get up when everyone else is sleeping. Sitting in the quiet house sipping my coffee to get that jump start on my day has helped me to feel more awake when I need to and more calm and ready for the business of Sundays. This is a good time to meditate and pray over the day and something I want to be more intentional to do more often.
Plan outfits ahead of time!
This helps everyday but especially on Sundays. When the kids know where their clothes are and what they should wear to church they can be told to get dressed and it doesn’t take a lot of time.
Speaking of outfits: DO NOT GET DRESSED BEFORE BREAKFAST.
I have learned this the hard way. Your daughter will put on that beautiful new Holiday dress first thing in the morning because she’s so excited to wear it. At breakfast the little brother will goof around and bump into her cereal bowl getting soggy cereal and milk all over her new dress. Avoid this risk by waiting until after breakfast to the tell the kids to go get dressed!
This goes for me too. I actually get dressed last because I can run around the house helping everyone else a lot more easily in my pajamas than I can in a skirt or a dress.
Plan a Quiet Activity: For us, it’s TV time
When the kids have eaten and then they are dressed then I need some time to get myself ready. When we get to this point I let the kids watch a show. This is a little risky because sometimes when it’s time to turn the show off and run out the door it’s hard for the kids to transition. If you have another solution to this time great, but I’ve come to enjoy the peace it brings us because they all sit quietly, are doing the same thing, and it doesn’t make a new mess. I usually will pick something educational or something like Veggie Tales. As long as I give warnings to the kids or tell them ahead of time they only have time for one episode, shutting it off when we need to has been okay.
Give Yourself Permission to Skip the Non Essentials
If you slept in or had a blowout to clean up and are running short on time it is OKAY to skip the makeup or throw your hair in a ponytail. My go to look for these mornings are putting my hair in a side braid and throwing on some lip gloss in the car. I enjoy wearing makeup on Sundays but there have been plenty of Sundays that all I can muster is a little lip gloss and that is okay. People are there to worship God and spend time in fellowship with each other, they are not there to judge your appearance. Having my children dressed and ready on time (and I have to be dressed too obviously) is more important than being extra late or extra frazzled just because you wanted more time to put on makeup. It’s important to keep our priorities in check. Be confident in who are in Christ. It’s okay to not have it all together sometimes.
What are your go-to Sunday morning routines with your young kids that help you maintain peace? I would love to hear more suggestions!