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07 February 2016


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I find disorder unnerving, though I'm not high-energy and organized enough to produce much order and my children are still chaos-makers. But I can relate to feeling stressed out by others leaving mess in their wakes and the ennui of idleness.

I'm not as strict about keeping Sunday as you sound like you are--I do dishes (which I find relaxing, especially with a good podcast playing), I fold laundry, I pick up things if they are egregiously irritating me. But what really makes the difference to me in making my "day of rest" actually restful is focusing on recreation that energizes me. It's leisure in the Pieper sense of the word.

I even have a reminder on my phone that beeps at me at 1pm on Sundays and reminds me "Recreational creativity!" And then...I make something. I mold things out of clay. I color with the kids. I paint. (The kids like that too). I might write something. I might just doodle while I watch a movie.

The other thing I really love to do on Sundays is either visit family or take my family outdoors. We had a birthday party today, but if we hadn't I think it would have been a great day for a hike. And...my kids are happier for *doing* something together too. Otherwise their Sunday afternoon quickly devolves into computer games, movies, and more screen time, and they become irritable (and messy...they are never so messy as when fidgeting while distracted by some screen). Getting out of the house has the side benefit of saving the house from some of the mess and letting the keeper of the house breathe. :-D

Christine in Houston, TX

This is why I love your writing. You don't have to have the conclusion before you share your struggle. You speak with candor and humility and insightfulness on the complexity and meaningfulness of everyday things. Real life shared. Thank you.



When I got home from the coffee shop, even though it wasn't dinner yet, Mark and the kids had already cleaned up the kitchen.


After dinner I did ALL MY LAUNDRY (I even washed my gym bag) and I felt ***SO MUCH BETTER.*** Even though laundry is my least favorite.


Pa whipped her for the slap I think - he told her a story of Grandpa and the Pig for the Sunday bit.

I really appreciated your thoughts on Sunday Dinner from a while back. I often find myself with Kate in her comment here - my family does better with some sort of re-create-ional activity(s) that we enjoy, rather than unfettered free time. Otherwise, I'm happy to let the house run down around me, but I don't actually rest while I'm sleepily doing the crossword at a cluttered table, eating a doughnut that's putting me in a sugar coma, and lolling my way toward sloth. Yesterday, we had a birthday party, with much cleaning and prep beforehand, and then (hooray!) without any suggestion from me, the 13, 10 and 7yos cleaned up the party areas until they were almost as nice as before people arrived!! What a treat for today (for them too). But somehow it wasn't daily work, because the party made it extra-ordinary.

Fr. John Riccardo has some interesting thoughts on Sunday - you can hear his podcasts "Christ is the Answer" from Ave Maria Radio. He mentioned that the phrase "may he rest in peace" always seemed to grate on him, until one vacation when he was doing only what he chose to do, but still very active (golfing, cooking...) and realized how good it was. Peaceful rest.


I am married to one of those people who cannot sleep if the sun is up. We live in continual amazement of each other. I cannot believe he is awake and he cannot believe I am still asleep.

I have a very hard time relaxing. That's not to say I don't ever do things I like, which could be considered recreation, but it's usually done with an overhanging sense of dread that I really ought to be doing something else. I cling to the idea that I shouldn't relax until All The Things are finished, but The Things will never be finished so I snatch unsatisfying and guilt-inducing pieces of time instead actually scheduling recreation. I share your vision of happily relaxing in an orderly and clean home, and I know it probably wouldn't be good enough.

I think it is of a piece with the American vacation problem. Many workers leave vacation on the books, unused, because taking the vacation creates more problems at work than just chugging along in semi-burnout.

Speaking of jangled nerves, I have discovered I have a very developed startle reflex. Every time some clangs a dish or drops something heavy, I jump and yelp like I've been shot. Given how many times a day a child clangs a dish around here, this is a frustrating state of affairs.


It posted! Hurray!


Sundays are my catch up days. Church and a good meal are the only thing that distinguish them from Saturday. If I need to clean or do laundry or do meal prep for the week then I do. I just can't envision it a day of rest. In order to reduce the time our son is in daycare my husband works either Saturday or Sunday every week so that means I'm either solo parenting or it's the one day we can get any joint errands done.
Yesterday is a good example. I spent the entire day "working" and when my husband got home we watched the last half of the football game and relaxed. I considered a couple hours of downtime a huge success. I know part of it is my personality, I have a hard time resting and there is always a to-do list. Your post was very thought provoking, but I'm not sure what to do with it!


One thing that has helped...besides your snacky celebration dinner plans...is starting our Sabbath on Saturday night.

Winding things up in the afternoon, quieting, sleeping fully at rest. Then waking (early!) and going for a walk or writing or making breakfast while the rest of the house wakes.

Then to church and home again for a nappy afternoon. Then a slow getting ready for dinner and beginning to get ready for the new week.

I so appreciate your Sabbath thoughts as we still try to figure this out!

Peace keep you.

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