Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to be Perfectly Okay with Self-Care on Sundays

Are you ready to say "Priest's Wife- quit it with all the advice! We go to Auntie Leila for the good stuff!" What I say to that is: She is supreme at advice and inspiration, and I just aspire to someday be worthy of wiping her counters with her thrifted vintage linens. In the meantime: I have advice on how to be perfectly okay at some level with self-care on Sundays! Again, some of this advice will work for any mom, some I failed at and have learned my lesson, some I never really had a problem with, and some I still fail miserably at- here we go again...

Get some sleep in preparation of a church day- You might be tempted to stay up late with the latest episode of Downtown Abbey, but studies show it is good to be unplugged for an hour before sleep. How about some chamomile tea and backgammon instead (I'm talking to you, Priest's Wife)?

Wake up before the kids on a church day- this will give you time to take a shower if you prefer a morning one. Put in your earrings; you will forget otherwise. You might even enjoy a quiet cup of coffee listening to non-angry birds! I prefer not to read the paper until after we get back from church- too negative.

Listen to calm music on the way to church- We have been getting in the habit of praying a rosary for our bishop on the way back from church. It makes the drive more peaceful.

Pack some toiletries and a change of clothes-  We drive a long way to church and we tend to stay there once we get there. There is no going back home to change if we decide to play soccer or if the baby has an accident all over. I am thinking of investing in some non-wrinkling travel skirts to save ironing (or non-ironing) chaos. 

Make sure the sink is shining & food is waiting at home-  Depending on the age of your children, maybe you didn't shine the sink or cook. Delegate! But maybe you did do the dishes and threw a chicken in the crockpot. This is your treat to yourself when you get home after a busy day. Kim commented that her husband likes to invite guests over after Liturgy and she has two really small children. Be prepared with easy things to fix (how to prepare for surprise guests  in an hour on Good Friday {!!!}- hummus and rye crisps for appetizers, black beans and rice, fresh cabbage and carrot salad, red peppers and pickles from jars-- with big girls quickly straightening up the house)

In order for a Mom's personal prayer life to exist-
  • Make an effort to read the assigned readings for the day (and Troparions if you are Byzantine)- sometimes (always) it is difficult to focus in church while the babies are squirming.
  • Consider having the bigger kids take the littlest kids out of church when the Divine Liturgy is over and have five minutes of prayer time to yourself. Then, go in a socialize at coffee hour.
  • Go to confession as often as you can. For Catholic clergy wives, it is helpful to confess to a priest who understands the Eastern rites even though you will probably be meeting with a Western-rite priest. For other Christian clergy wives, I bet it would be helpful to meet with other pastor's wives or maybe a pastor who is not your husband to decompress and get a bit of counseling (wrong word- but you know what I mean).
  • Offer up any duties lovingly performed for the greater glory of God. But you knew that already!...a Byzantine-style prayer rope is also a great way to get snippets of prayer into daily life...with the Jesus Prayer, it just keeps going, you never finish it is okay when a mom is interrupted by her duties.
Please put your fabulous ideas on being a spiritually okay mom in the comment box!


  1. i've borrowed episcopal priests who don't know my husband to do confession. it works well, i get the toxic stuff out, and it gives me a way to have my own spiritual life that is separate from my husband.

  2. I am so blessed that we have a large Eparchy with nine churches in our city alone. I don't want to brag, but I even have my own spiritual director! Of course, my husband is not yet the priest, so that may change if one day (God willing) we are posted at a rural church. I know some priest wives that have to travel 5 hours to get confession!

    Thanks again for the great tips, keep 'em coming.


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