Society likes to depicts “Sunday Funday,” as a peaceful, relaxing testament to true family connection.
This misleading myth can be likened to chancing upon an empty parking spot in a packed garage, only to discover as you edge closer, that its really being filled by a smart car.
So close, yet so far.
One could argue the impact is greater for religious Jews because we keep Shabbos, leaving Sunday as the only commitment free day of the week. But I doubt any parent ever considered chaperoning kids from soccer to lacrosse to field hockey at 5am a cup of tea. So, we will call it even.
Sunday morning you’re already a few steps behind. Especially if the previous 24 hours were spent entertaining the masses, void of connection to the outside world. Waking up to a messy house and dirty dishes is disheartening.
The playrooms entertainment factor drops significantly in value overnight. A result of the previous day being spent emptying its entire contents onto the floor. The kids are over it, as I’m sure you are too. They turn to you in anticipation of new and exciting attractions to keep their young minds stimulated. Or, simply distracted from another altercation with their siblings.
It’s also the only day to get anything done around the house as a couple. Tasks are attempted but fail to transpire. Gardening, paper work, clearing out the garage or any attempt at productivity, takes on a whole new dimension when attempted with multiple mini people at your feet.
Originating, in early 19th century Britain, the “weekend” was Initially a “voluntary arrangement between factory owners and workers.” The agreement saw to it that workers returned refreshed to work the next week.
There are a lot of words I could use to describe my temperament Monday morning, but “refreshed,” would not be one of them.
In those days, most nobles didn’t even know what a weekend was. It seems a break from lounging in luxurious libraries whilst discussing the price of tea in China was unnecessary. The reason for conveying seemingly useless snippets of history, is to relay just how far from its origins Sundays have veered.
Sunday IS NOT Funday. Its WORK day. Its work really hard all day, day.
From sunrise to sunset its bathe, clothe, feed, entertain, stimulate, redirect, negotiate, mediate and whatever else it takes to make it to bedtime with minimal breakdowns, from adults or children alike - day.
All this is taking place in a sea of disorganization and chaos that started Friday afternoon and will likely continue until the sanctity of routine redeems us all Monday morning.
I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my Sundays. I think every day of parenting is met with equal parts: “WOW, I can’t believe G-d entrusted these children to me, this is beyond amazing,” and “WOW, I can’t believe G-d entrusted these children to me, better not screw up.” I just think on Sundays the scales tip further towards the latter.
Back to our history lesson, the greatest problem with all this, is society's depiction of Sunday as some sort of in-house getaway from the regularities of everyday life.
My husband and I LOVE to boast about how our kids get up at 6:00am and know very well not to come wake us. Instead, they STOMP down our uncarpeted wooden steps. After which they proceed to chomp and clamber through every draw and tool in the kitchen in search of food that requires minimal to no preparation. Their good deed of “letting their parents sleep in” is then finalized with really LOUD yells over who’s turn it is to be on top of the human pyramid today.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but any Sunday that starts only hours after the college students next door turn off the music and exit the hot tub, is likely to be a challenging one.
So, where’s the lightbulb moment where we turn around and think to ourselves “ah it’s all worth it?” I doubt I need to go into a lengthy discussion of why having kids is life itself. But what is life without some down time? Peace of mind? Breaths of fresh air? Reminder that we are human, living, breathing, thinking, -occasionally- sleeping organisms?
I have come to terms with the intensity of a Sunday. Entering armed with coffee, iPads and excuses to go to the gym, we all usually manage to get through unscathed.
Gone are the days where Sundays involved pining after parenting awards. Pushing strollers over larges areas of land so three toddlers can glimpse the gorilla that always happens to be sleeping when we arrive, can wait.
In an attempt to make our lives easier (which is the basis for some of history’s worst decisions), the library and park have come to define the extent of our adventures.
But what enduring Sunday has really taught me, is to appreciate the beauty of its partner in crime: Shabbos.
Better than this weekly oasis we are all meant to be achieving, is something a lot more wholesome and truly rejuvenating. A concept naturally ingrained in the week, Shabbos brings with it a tried and tested routine from years gone by.
Shabbos probably does makes our Sundays a bit more hectic, but it also allows us to experience a quality of time and ability to disconnect that even a private cruise to the Bahamas with unlimited maid service couldn’t achieve. (I mean I wouldn’t know, but one can only assume).
While Sundays are prefaced with a tang of anxiety and end with a dose of relief, Shabbos week in, week out, is greeted with love, appreciation and peace.
As the sun goes down at its completion, the lights get turned back on and the phones are pulled out. It is not without dismay that I re-enter the world at large, always looking forward to this day next week when time stands still to allow us to take in the beauty that is, family time at its best.