Take the Day Off (Moms Too)


Some of you asked about Sunday being a restful day. Here’s what it looks like at our house.

On a usual Sunday we go to a church service in the morning and then come home and change into comfy clothes. We eat brunch at home or go down the street to get coffee. (Brunch…doesn’t that sound fancy? It’s just scrambled eggs and bacon.) We do whatever we want after that, maybe read or go outside. Watch football. Naps are a sure thing. Supper is easy or we might go out for cheap fajitas. Fun Sundays are a predictable part of our weekly routine.

That’s what I think of as a day of rest.

A day off.

When Doug comes home from work, he gets to leave his work behind at the office. When I’m at home, I look around and see a bunch of work that still needs to be done. There is laundry, the kitchen needs to be cleaned, and the floors are messy. Those things won’t go away. Once the dishes are washed, a cup is set in the sink. As soon as all of the laundry is done, a pair of socks gets tossed on the closet floor.

The only way to stop working is to choose to take the day off. You can’t wait for the work to be done, because it never will be. You can work all the time until you don’t even remember why you’re working.

20090912-lane-readingThat’s why I choose to ignore the work on Sunday, even though part of me wants to do a load of laundry to get a jump start on the week. It helps if I think of Sunday as the last day of the weekend, instead of the start of the new week.

How to take the day off:

Plan ahead for it. On Friday I do a last bit of cleaning to prepare for the weekend. I check the fridge to make sure there is enough food for meals and snacks to enjoy.

Get going on Saturday. Saturday mornings I’m pretty tired, and I’m tempted to sleep in and not do anything. I try to keep in mind that if I don’t accomplish things on Saturday, then I’ll have to do them on Sunday. Procrastination is not restful. I coach myself to get moving so that I can have the full day off on Sunday.

Eat simple food, unless you really like to cook.

Enlist family help. We don’t do much house cleaning, but we do basics like washing the dishes after supper and picking up after ourselves as we go. We do it together so that it goes quickly and it’s not a burden on one person.

But what if…

What if you work outside the home, and the weekend is the only time you have to get things done? If you’re a mom and you also work, then you’re working two jobs. It’s just as important (if not more so) for you to have a regular day off if at all possible. Nancy said,

In order for me to have a good Monday (and week), things on the homefront need to be in order.  I work outside of the home so for me that means having laundry done, menu planned, groceries bought and the house in some fashion of clean and picked up.  With 2 teenage daughters that are involved in sports and school activities, you know what occupies our weeknights.  And that’s ok because these years are flying by.  I expend a lot of energy on Saturday to get all of this accomplished so that we can go to church on Sunday and then have an afternoon/evening of togetherness.  Or naps.

What if you or your spouse works on Sunday?

Find another day to be your regular day off. Be purposeful about it, otherwise it could get filled up with errands and chores since it’s a work day for everyone else.

If you work at church, then Sundays can be the hardest day of the week. There are a lot of expectations on the family to be active and involved as well. When I was growing up my dad worked at church, and Sundays were filled with church services and activities with only a couple hours break in the afternoon. Frankly, Sundays were exhausting. My advice is to let it be OK for your kids not to have perfect attendance or be involved in too many church activities.

We need a regular day off as a family. Weekday nights feel like a blur since there is such a short time to eat dinner and get the kids in bed. The weekend is when we get to do the fun stuff. What does your ideal Sunday look like?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. This is such an important topic for us all. I struggled with this for the first couple of years of my marriage. Once I started seeing preparing for our weekly Sabbath as an image of preparing for our eternal Sabbath my entire week’s focus changed.

    I wrote a post here: http://www.nourishingdays.com/?p=903 about how I prepare, though it is pretty old and the formatting not so good. Now our whole week is planned around preparing for that day of rest and that day is spent choosing not to do the work that always needs doing.

    Shannon´s last post…Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pears & Thyme

  2. I just have to say… that picture is killing me! So adorable. It’s making my ovaries hurt!

    Carter @ The Kitchenette´s last post…Salmon with Citrus Vinaigrette

  3. What a sweet pic!! And great advice!!!

    Ca´s last post…I Love My Home BUT…

  4. I love this post. This is something I’ve really been trying to work on. Keeping Sunday as the Sabbath day of rest and worship only. I do cook, but I love to cook, so that isn’t really work for me. Although we do sometimes go out and that is nice. We also, come home from church and change into comfy clothes. And I love the Sundays we get to take naps. It’s just nice to have a day that you don’t really have to do anything you do not enjoy!

    Michelle Traudt´s last post…Journaling is Just Good For You

  5. what a great picture :-)

    i’m glad you wrote about this. i definitely need to *choose* to have a day off where i get some rest. i can’t be a great mom and wife if i am exhausted all the time. but it is hard when where you need to rest is also where you have to work.

  6. Thanks for this post. It’s a great reminder of how Sunday’s should be. I was reading an article in Real Simple a few issues back that actually touched on this fact. My ideal Sunday would include nothing. Unfortunately, that is the day we do most of the chores because the week is busy and Saturdays are often filled as well. What might be better is doing a few things along the way during the week (after work), finishing up on Saturday and truly doing NOTHING on Sunday. I think I would be more mentally ready for the week ahead if I took the time to enjoy Sunday.

    Nicole´s last post…fall weeknight

  7. Having Sunday be a true day of rest sounds like a wonderful idea! We’re not quite there yet, but I’m going to work towards it over the course of this year. Parenting a toddler, working outside the home, maintaining the spirit of our marriage, fulfilling family obligations caring for aging family members all add to the mix. I have to figure out a better way to get more tasks accomplished during the week while keeping our weeknights unrushed and low-stress. When I push myself to do too much I go to bed too late and feel it the next day.

    Usually I attend church on Sunday evenings, so that would definately be a part of my perfect, restful Sunday. A relaxing homemade brunch, lots of good coffee, the newspaper, unstructured playtime with our little guy, maybe a trip outside for a hike, drive, or adventure to a children’s museum all sound good! I also enjoy cooking/baking something on Sunday afternoons, like homemade chicken soup or pumpkin bread. Dinner together, phone calls to a friend or two in the evening and an early bedtime all sound delightful.

    We’ve alos decided to say “no” to playdates and birthday parties on Sundays. Sometimes it’s all just a bit too much, and we need to carve out uninterrupted family time. No better time than a Sunday to do that!

  8. Great post! I find it all too easy to get caught up in the minutiae household duties. As a stay at home mom you are right, there is no leaving your work behind. So finding the balance is tough, but your idea of taking Sundays off is great.

  9. We take a day off every weekend to go hiking as a family, the whole day. We prepare food the night before for breakfast and lunch. Then we eat supper out on our way home. Our other weekend day is for house church (in the evening) and working on the house (endless renos) during the day.

    I love it when we just take a day off at home but my husband gets antsy in that scenario and so do the kids. I also find it trickier to do than actually leaving the house. Too much cooking, cleaning and tidying when I’m at home that I have a hard time just leaving. But if it were me alone… well then I could spend a day at home crafting, editing photos, reading and eating really simple, easy to clean up food.

  10. I absolutely love the picture of your men together. So sweet. Makes me miss those baby days.

    Thanks for sharing what your day off looks like. It is so important that we find a balance between work (whether it be at home or office) and down time. We all need to be able to decompress, rejuvenate and start fresh. It’s necessary for our health; physical and mental.

    Sweet of you to share my comment. Thanks for the link love.

    Nancy´s last post…Chicken & Noodles

  11. Thanks for the post! Sundays are busy days in our family as my husband works on staff at a church. It is a constant struggle to make Sundays restful, but worth the reward! I really like all the other comments too! -Especially cutting out birthday parties on Sundays.

  12. My favorite Sunday activity involves going with my husband, son and dog to the dog park for a nice long walk. Our dog park is not like the typical park. It has trails and much of it is along the Mississippi river, so the views are great! It is so relaxing to be out in nature and great to be doing something active together as a family.

    Greta @ Mom Living Healthy´s last post…Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

  13. Christine says:

    I am such an advocate of rest this semester! Being a college student with lots of homework and activities to be involved in, I am loving Sundays… I nap, spend time with the Lord, catch up with friends, watch movies. Rest just makes us better people!
    Thank you for your blog; it’s an encouragement to me.

  14. I love the tips! I think that the struggle for me is to take a day truly off and not use weekends as “catch up time” since the hubby is around. We’ve been trying to move towards a more concrete sabbath. I just wrote about it here: http://simplelifemusings.blogspot.com/2009/09/moving-towards-sabbath.html

    Adele´s last post…Reading Aloud

  15. How sweet! The baby is still so little! I’ve learned that taking a day “off” means different things to different people. But you have the concept down! It’s so nice to relax!

    Jena (Organizing Mommy)´s last post…Peanut butter makes me friends

  16. This is good food for thought. I work outside the home, and while I do try to keep up on chores on weeknights, I usually end up doing meal planning and grocery shopping on Sunday. Maybe we should try moving that to Saturday instead. I do like to start the week with everything I need for dinners, but going back to work after a hectic day of chores is no fun.

  17. Oh I am so glad to have my own newborn so that I don’t totally have to covet that cute little guy (and I mean the litttle one!!!) in the photograph, what a darling!!!! I have got the sunday rest down pat – we pretty much have the exact same day as you… church, quick and easy lunch – we stop at the bakery for breads and yummy toppings on the way and everyone picks and makes their own. Followed by a family collapse: nap, read, blog etc… we get up about 4:30 and do a clean up for Monday morning and have a long slow bath and lots of books in bed evening… Perfect. My problem wasn’t so much the rest it was getting up and getting everyone to church with a good attitude on my part… no freaking, no shouting, just calm and relaxed and you know Sunday hearts!!! I wrote a post about it here:


    se7en´s last post…Se7en Make Millions of PaperChains…

  18. My ideal Sunday would be: a home-cooked (maybe crock pot) but simple breakfast, church, watching a football game or napping on the couch with the family (though my 2-yr-old probably has very little interest in football), something simple for lunch (sandwiches and veggies), maybe a walk outside or a leisurely game of catch, supper out, and a relaxing evening including family devotions. This has never once happened. My husband works during the week, and as a photographer with a child at home, I work evenings and weekends when she’s asleep. This was a great reminder that I NEED to ignore some stuff and schedule my work time better so I’m working less but accomplishing more and can take at least an afternoon off here and there. For family time, it might have to be a weekday evening that is “our time.”

    Minnesotamom´s last post…Yikes

  19. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve recently considered given up on having any day of rest and I know that it’s a big mistake. It seems like Sunday is the best day for me to get things done. My husband is home, he plays with the kids and entertains them so I don’t have to but I have a really hard time just relaxing.

    The dirty clothes are nagging at me from the basement, the dishes are crying out to be washed and even the unorganized nooks and crannies are whispering to me. I have a hard time ignoring them. I want to enjoy Sundays. I need to make our Day of Rest a priority – for everyone in the family! Thanks so much!!

    Donna S´s last post…NO SPEND MONTH – Week 3

  20. Wonderful! I love reading your posts!

  21. Like the rest I have to say THANK YOU for the reminder. I’ve started getting snippy when the family requests a day off because I never get one. But I can. Goodness me, why didn’t this occur to me before? Just DONT do the laundry, dishes, etc….pure genius!! Smiles and Thanks!

  22. I was raised in a Mormon family and am still an active member of the church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Mormons, like members of many other faiths, believe that one day in seven– in our case, Sunday–is a holy day for rest and worship. Like what many of you are doing, we attend our worship services and then set aside the rest of the day for quiet activities and family time, avoiding work and commercial activity. I definitely believe that the commandment that one day in seven should be a day of rest was given for our own good. It’s something we all need. It’s nice to have a day where I can look at the pile of dirty laundry and say, “I can’t do that today. It’s Sunday.” I also think our children need the rest and family time as much as we do. I have really great memories from my childhood of Sundays spent quietly at home with my family, baking cookies, playing games, and talking together.

    Preparing on Saturday definitely makes a big difference in how Sunday feels. Even if I choose not to do the laundry, having it staring me in the face all day is not as pleasant as having it done. Mormons even have a children’s song that goes, “Saturday is a special day–it’s the day we get ready for Sunday!” that reminds us to prepare for our day of rest so it can truly be restful.

  23. Thanks for this. Great post.

  24. my perfect sunday would include all of us getting to sleep in [happens sometimes] and then our usual big brunch and nice dinner [i enjoy cooking] as the bookends to church. perfection means my kids would sit through the service, quiet as church mice and be entertained by their coloring books. that quiet part only happens if they fall asleep on the pew. :)

  25. I share the same philosophy about Sundays…we look so forward to them! Nothing beats beginning the week with church, food, family and rest. Even if the laundry waits, a restful Sunday clears mental clutter!

    Deanna´s last post…My Grocery Game Day 10/18/09

  26. Our Sundays are very similar to yours and it’s the perfect way to rest and get ready for the coming week.
    A few years ago a friend of mine gave me the book Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent. It’s a great read and gives great reasons for a day of rest, as well as real-life examples of how families are taking a day off each week.

    Danielle´s last post…Make your bed!

  27. My husband works two jobs, so after church Sunday is about the only guaranteed time that he is off both jobs. Unless we have an extended family gathering (maybe once every two months), it is his job to watch the kids for the afternoon/evening. This usually involves building forts in front of a tv with sports on! So I am free to nap, go get coffee, browse a bookstore, movie with friends, etc. I find I have to leave the house to keep myself from starting laundry, dishes, etc. After I come back it is usually easier to not touch these things til the next day. So our Sunday of rest looks a little different than most, but those couple hours away changes my perspective and the kid’s (two preschoolers) about being together. They will act like I’ve been gone for a week when it’s only been a few hours! Since I’m home full time they see me 24-7 the rest of the week. I’m sure as they are involved in school this will develop into family lounging as we reconnect after a week apart. For now, I enjoy the way it is.

  28. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. What an encouragement. God bless you and your sweet family!

  29. We have been trying to be very intentional with our Sabbath keeping these past few months. We purpose to have a day of worship and relaxation. It has made the start of our week and our life so much calmer and less complicated.

    Erin´s last post…Happy Fall!

  30. Thursdays are our “day off”. My husband works Sun-Wed, so we stay up “late” (11pm) on Wednesday night, then “sleep in” (8 or 9am) on Thursday and have a lazy day. But, because I grew up with Sundays being the “day off” at home, unless I’m at church or with family, my Sundays are pretty low-key (read: movie or book in the afternoon while kids are napping), even though my hubbie is working!

    Ashley´s last post…Random Ramblings, episode 1023

  31. Bless you and yours! The pic brings back memories of our own babies; those were sweet (if hectic) days.

    Bravo for making Sunday your sabbath day of rest. We did the same, as often as we could (both hubs and I are Lutheran ministers, so we work on Sunday mornings.) Comfy clothes. Family lunch, often at our favorite diner. Naps, for sure. Family games. Football on TV. Time to make phone calls to grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents. Time with friends. Easy dinner, with the kids helping to cook. Once in a while a movie (or rent one).
    My understanding of this Sunday/sabbath rest is NOT that we use this day to rest up from our work, but that we work FROM OUT OF this rest. It’s a different way of seeing it ……… Sundays are the first day of the week so we rest and worship and play, and then, out of that strength, we work.
    Helps me. What do you all think?

  32. Love this. I try very hard to keep the kids close on Sundays. Once we are out of Church we change clothes and settle into a day of games, baking, hanging out.

    The Countess of Nassau County´s last post…The Sunday Stunner – Durango

  33. now i know what to do! i deserve one too!

    hailey´s last post…What A Weekend!

  34. Oh how embarrassing – I meant for this comment:

    This is inspiring! I love the idea of choosing to ignore housework for the day. I have houseguests this weekend, but I hope to try this out next weekend. It will inspire me to be productive on Saturday.

    To be for this post. Sorry for the confusion!

    Juice´s last post…Sometimes I Regret Being Single

  35. A day off to me means just a day where everything goes smooth and is well planned. I posted my plan for taking a day off at http://absentmindedmother.blogspot.com/2009/10/take-day-off-moms-too.html.

    Absentminded Mother´s last post…Take the Day off (Moms Too)

  36. What a fabulous post and so incredibly true in our time! Just earlier today I was reading an article in Parents magazine about how women are still overwhelmingly responsible for the kids and the house, even if they work outside the home. Taking a day off is definitely something that I strive for.

    As for an ideal Sunday off, it would involve starting with brunch out with my husband and daughter. Then I would love to sit outside at a park reading the newspaper and/or a good book. Most importantly, it would have no guilt for not doing all of the household chores.

    michelle´s last post…weekend wrap-up

  37. I’ve been thinking about the need for a real Sabbath a lot lately. Especially since our Sunday services were expanded this fall, and we now have to get up earlier on Sunday than any other day of the week, we’ve lost our Sunday morning breakfast with my parents (which was a huge blessing because I didn’t come home from church to breakfast dishes), and an afternoon nap is now the result of my body collapsing in exhaustion instead of a restful indulgence.

    My hubby and I both serve on Sunday mornings, which we enjoy. But adding an extra 90 minutes to the schedule was not our choice. Now we feel like we have to cut out all our Saturday activities so we can go to church on Sunday and not feel so overwhelmed.

    I guess I’m struggling with knowing whom to say ‘no’ to. It’s not my forte. :)

    Amanda´s last post…Fall farm fun!

  38. Love this. I love the idea of a true sabbath to rest. :) Naps are ESSENTIAL aren’t they.

    becky @ our sweet peas´s last post…A few of my favorite things….

  39. We do the same thing on Sundays. We go to church in the morning and then come home and change into comfy clothes. We eat simple meals and I don’t do housework either. Actually I have a weekend rule about housework. No deep cleaning is done on the weekends. No laundry, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, etc. I only wash dishes and pick up toys. So nice. :)

    Nicki at Domestic Cents´s last post…Frugality Is Not A Contest