Can I let you in on a secret? It may seem a little selfish at first glance, but if you’re a mom or about to be a mom, or maybe even a newlywed, perhaps you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
You see, I’ve got a dashing husband, four beautiful, peppy kids, a cat, a rabbit, and a newly acquired Beta fish that my son has named Meatball. Sometimes it feels like all we’re missing is the partridge and the peartree.
We’re busy, too, like every family. It feels as if we’ve had something going on every single weekend, along with activities during the work week since at least February. Maybe even longer. I’ve lost track. I bet you’re in the same boat, and like me…maybe you can’t even keep track of what day it is.
If I let you in on my little secret, I hope you’ll understand. You see, if I glance at the calendar and see that we’ve got a free weekend (which is rare), I protect it. I strive to keep it for ourselves. We don’t make plans and this is usually the time when we start making polite declinations of any invites that happen to come up. Usually, I’m only protecting our Sundays – keeping it as our “Sabbath” (in the sense that it’s a day of rest) and maintaining as much as a relaxing day as we can. However, sometimes the weekend as a whole needs a little rescuing.
You see, family time is very important to me. Life gets so fast and it’s hard to keep up unless we take a break. These breaks are not important just for you as the mom, but also for each individual family member. I think of little Ruby who is almost eight months old and how if the week is too busy for her, she begins to melt down. My children are the same way and while my husband may not meltdown, he does get weary, too. Each person needs their own personal break to do what they want (for my husband it’s typically building something) for the kids, it’s reading or playing outside with their friends in the neighborhood.
Sometimes, and forgive if this is controversial for anyone, but sometimes we even stay home from church! This probably only happens a few times a year at the most, but every once in awhile we need that break to connect as a family.
If this seems radical to you, I assure you that it’s not. God Himself took a break to rest after He created the world! Even Jesus was known to withdraw from the crowds to recharge and spend time with His disciples.
I don’t think it was that He (Jesus) didn’t want to be with the people – I believe He did. The Bible tells us that he felt “compassion” for the people because they were like a flock without a shepherd. But, it would seem He practiced protecting times of rest and reflection as a way to be more focused and present the rest of the time. Perhaps I’m reading into the text here…but I don’t think so. (For examples, check out the Gospel of Mark, verses 1:35, 4:35-41, and 6:31,32.)
3 Ways to Protect your “Sabbath”
- I like to look at our Sabbath as a Saturday/Sunday extension. If Saturday is jam-packed, then Sunday needs to be as restful as possible. Keep the chores light and plan easy meals for dinner. Waffles and smoothies are a popular dinner trend in our house or keep with the trend of breakfast for dinner and serve this Overnight Blueberry French Toast.
- Just say “no.” Sometimes, this can be really hard. We recently had a free weekend – no plans on Saturday and we had agreed that we would take Sunday off from church. We had explored the idea of using this time and getting out of town to Central Oregon, our favorite escape to recharge our batteries. But after discussing it and praying about it we decided to stay home. This turned out to be a wise decision as my car ended up needing some work and when we actually dove into the details, we both began feeling more stressed. We stayed home instead and watched movies with the kids, played games, and made some good food. It was exactly what we needed. We had also extended this idea to our kids. Sometimes, we’ve had to explain to one of our daughters on a Sunday afternoon that today is a family day and she can play with her friends another time.
- Use the time wisely. On Sundays Josh and I (almost) always make time for each other. It’s hard to make time during the work week and really chat or even discuss certain things while running errands because we’ve got the kids with us, so on Sunday afternoons, usually before we get ready to start dinner we tell the kids we’re stealing 30 minutes away and we head up to our bedroom with a latte and time to talk. Since January we’ve been using a marriage journal called Navigator’s Council and it has been an excellent tool for our marriage.
I can think of many more reasons on why it’s important to protect your family’s “Sabbath” (or one day in particular in your week), but these are some of the top ways we go about it. This has been such a big blessing for our family. We’ve had some of the best talks, watched some of the best movies, had some of the greatest laughs because we set time aside each week, usually a Sunday for us, but sometimes that’s a Saturday, too.
How do you protect your family’s Sabbath time? I would love to hear about what you do to connect.
Chels, Catz in the Kitchen