Sunday, April 13, 2008

Can Mom's Keep The Sabbath Day Holy?

When I was newly married my MIL joked about keeping the Sabbath day Holy. She quoted Deuteronomy 5:14 "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou."

MIL: "See, they mention the servants, strangers, even the donkey, but nothing is said about the mother not working. Mom's never get to rest, not even on the Sabbath."

My first reaction to this was to think, "Oh come on, it's not that bad. And really you could keep it holy if you wanted to."

Then I became a mother myself and I realized that really a mother can't rest. At least, not a mother of small children. Babies must be nursed, diapers must be changed, food must be prepared, kids need to be dressed. It is simply impossible to expect that a mother can spend all day in reverent prayer and worship on any given day of the week. Recently I started to take upon myself this one complaint of my MIL and began to feel like a victim. "Oh poor me, I'm a slave, I am lower than the ass, I must work on Sunday." I've never liked feeling like a victim and I quickly realized that I really wasn't liking myself with this victim attitude going on. So, like many young mothers I know, I have been trying to improve my Sabbath day with small and steady changes. Sure, I may not be able to sit in silent meditation all day long, but neither did Christ. Even he healed the sick on the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath Day holy is not just about what we should and shouldn't do, but the spirit in which we do things.

Sure I must feed my family, but the food can be simple like tonight's dinner from the Crockpot Lady (Thank you for your awesome and funny blog). I don't need to do it all myself. If I can work in the kitchen, so can everyone. This way the work is quick and family bonding is happening, which is a holy thing.

Sure I must help the younger kids get dressed, but I can have their clothes ready the night before, I can have their daddy help them, and I can do it with a smile and a good sense of humor so it is a fun time instead of a chore.

Sure diapers must be changed or potty training bums be wiped, but.... ok, I'm sorry, there is just no way that is ever going to be a holy thing. It just stinks. But I can remind myself that it won't be this way forever. Someday, in the distant future there will be a day when I am released from the bonds of pottydom and I will sing praises all day long. And until that day I can at least stop my whining and do it with a smile... even if it is a fake smile.

And really, I need not do it all every Sunday. My husband and I can switch off Sundays, giving each other a turn at having a relaxing, meditative Sunday. The kids can be expected to clean up after themselves (or just not make any messes for ONE day every week) and to help with the younger kids.

We can have well planned Sunday-worthy activities ready to do.
I can have a holy attitude one day each week and, thereby, keep my Sabbath day holy.

And if all else fails we can all take naps. =)


Lynell said...

So well put. It reminds me of a story my Aunt told me years ago.

Her husband was in the bishopbric and she had 5 children under age 5 (one set of twins). So she had to get the kids to church by herself. One week as they scrambled into their seats the congregation starting singing "Welcome, welcome Sabbath morning. Now we rest from every care." She said it was the last straw. She told me how she broke into tears and knew that it was a man who had obviously written the hymn. Ü

Amy said...

It's funny that you should post this, because I was thinking about the very same thing today. It just seems like Sundays are such a catch-up, soccer, etc. sort of day. I would just like to go to church and that's it!

I like your ideas, though. I think I will try to do the same.

Becoming Me said...

Awesome and well-written post.

Richelle said...

I'm with you on the nap thing! I like my Sunday afternoon naps. And a lot of the time my husband makes dinner on Sunday, which is such a nice break.

Cheri said...

"I am lower than the ass . . ."

Okay, that's funny, my dear.

Michal said...

i had never noticed that the wife/mom was clearly left out of that verse. sure, give the servants the day off. your wife can handle it!:)

i find myself really struggling more on sundays sometimes to not be cranky at my kids, which is such a spirit killer. i try playing a cd of hymns, listening to a conference talk while i'm putting on my make-up, and other tricks to keep me from losing my cool. but some days that just isn't enough.
and some days i complain to my husband that i want to be mary instead of martha. switching off with him is a good idea. i wonder if he'd go for it?

Family Adventure said...

"We can all take naps!"

Say no more! :)


I have a good life said...

I LOVE your comments about moms and Sundays. I so feel the same way. But, you are so right...there is more I can do to keep it holy...even if it never will be a day of rest!

BTW: I love the phrase "whining angels!" It fits children so well!

Anonymous said...

It is so hard to keep the Sabbath day holy as a mom. I try to just ignore messes and keep cooking simple or something that my DH can help with. Sunday is one of the only days I can get in a nap!!

mom huebert said...

I'm with you on the nap thing. When my kids were younger we sent everyone to bed for the entire afternoon!

(Now that they are teenage and older, there's not a lot of sleeping going on anymore. In fact, Sundays are one of the busiest days of the week, and we usually have company. Ah well. The times they are a'changin')

An Ordinary Mom said...

Naps on Sunday's help make everything better :) !!

And there is a reason why I do not cook on Sunday's. It is all about leftovers because I really do need a day off, too!

Leslie said...

So so true...I blogged a bit about this today too...Sunday's a just crazy days...I think I'm going to start taking naps & letting my husband do the cooking!

Tama said...

Hmmm. I have pondered this very subject several times myself.

CC said...

I just can't do it. I work 5 days a week and as much as I love my husband, he just can't do 50% of the household stuff. :(