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. =)