Reviving Motherhood

Learning on the Journey

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Happy Sunday Morning

Sometimes getting a family to church is hard. Many weeks it feels like there’s a Murphy’s law just for churchgoers—If anything can go wrong on Sunday morning, it will! Satan hates God’s people and he despises seeing them meet to worship and gain strength from each other and God’s Word. He hates to see them challenged to let God make them more like Himself and encouraged to share that life-change with others. I think he delights in throwing roadblocks in our attempts to get to church—and if we get around the road blocks, he wants us to be bent out of shape, yelling at our kids, and in a rotten frame of mind when we get there…Just to get out of the car, paste on a happy face and tell everybody we are GREAT!!!

For a long time, Sunday morning at our house was a disaster. I hated Sunday! What should have been the best day of the week was the very worst. I dreaded it.

But I learned that there are a few things we can do to make Sunday mornings go a lot more smoothly. Some simple preparations can make a good morning great and a rough morning better. I asked some wise mamas and read insights from ladies who once had several children to get ready for church, just as I do. This is what I learned to do to make Sunday morning a happy day. It’s not a cure-all, but it’s helped me a lot. I can truly say that I love Sunday morning!

1. Go to bed early Saturday night.

Saturday is often a night for social occasions, but it’s best for a good Sunday morning if we—and our kids—get adequate rest. So enjoy a social Saturday evening, just don’t stay up too late. Exhaustion makes everyone sluggish and grumpy.

2. Lay out clothes.

Lay out everything for everyone on Saturday night, right down to hair bows, underwear, socks, and shoes. Don’t forget yourself! If you are still in diaper bag days, make sure the bag is packed too.

3. Bathe everyone Saturday night.

Don’t try to bathe everyone on Sunday morning. Put them to bed clean!

4. Plan a simple breakfast.

I ditched oatmeal, which was time-consuming, messy, and usually didn’t get eaten, for cereal bars. They don’t provide the best nutrition in the world, but at least the kids eat before we go and they don’t make too much of a mess. I’ve experimented lately with homemade granola bars too—the bottom line is just to give them something fast, semi-nutritious, and not too messy. Sometimes my kids just eat fruit on Sunday morning.

5. Simple grooming!

Keep clothes and hair simple for everyone. My girls love me to roll their hair, but it’s rare that I do, simply because it’s time consuming. I try to have everyone presentable, but not get too caught up in perfection. Anyone who has had 4 little people to get ready knows that some days we are more successful at the “presentable” thing than others! J

6. Get up early.

Sunday morning isn’t a day to sleep in. You’ll only feel more harried and frustrated. I try to get up around 6:00 on Sunday morning in order to have everyone ready for the 8:30 service. And even then, we have to keep moving.

7. Get ready first.

If I can be up a few minutes before the kids to dress, do my hair and makeup, and grab a bowl of cereal, then I don’t have to worry about me at all. I can focus on getting everyone else ready. It makes a world of difference.

8. Prepare your heart.

I try to take a few seconds to breathe and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Some people like to put scripture on the mirror or listen to the Bible on CD or worship music while they get ready. Church isn’t a club or social event, something I do just because it’s socially expected or a good habit. It’s a day that I get to take my family to worship our Savior with others who know Him. It’s worth going to a lot of trouble for that, and it’s worth remembering why!


I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to say here for a couple days. Ironically, Murphy’s Law for churchgoers was in full effect this morning at our house. I was up in the middle of the night with 3 of my 4 kids. I overslept by 30 minutes. Before I even got up, I had spit-up in my hair. Morning found 3 sets of dirty sheets and a baby and 3-year-old that needed to be re-bathed. Before I could bathe the baby, the 3-year-old dumped baby’s bathtub all over the floor, soaking herself in the process. The 7-year-old couldn’t find her shoes (the only thing we failed to lay out last night). Finally I got everyone cleaned up and ready to go, sat down to feed baby one last time, and…Well, I had to change her clothes yet again. (At least she missed getting me dirty again, barely.) By this time the objective changed from “getting to church on time” to just “getting to church.” We arrived and discovered that the Snugli wasn’t in the van. We made it inside in the middle opening announcements—not too bad–but there weren’t enough seats left for all of us. This was a morning I’m especially thankful for the wonderful childcare our children’s ministers provide! They always have room for my kids!

I was so glad that I had made a few preparations in advance. They kept me from melting down and giving up. If we hadn’t had a plan in place and had our things ready to go, we certainly wouldn’t have made it to church, and church is something we need. It turned out to be a great day of worship.

What I’ve learned:

Churchgoing has to be a priority, and

you have to plan for it. Otherwise it just won’t happen.


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Frugal Baby

Babies can be expensive—but they don’t have to be nearly as expensive as we think. There are a multitude of ways to cut costs on baby expenses. Here are some. I don’t do all these things, but all are good ways to save money on little ones, starting at birth, literally.


Formula for one baby for one year will cost between $1,000 and $2,300 depending on whether you use the powdered version or ready-to-pour. (That’s if your baby tolerates regular formula and doesn’t have to have a special–and specially expensive–kind). Breastmilk is absolutely free! What’s more, research shows (and most pediatricians will testify) that breastfed babies are sick far less than formula fed babies, so that eliminates a lot of dollars going out for doctor visits and medicine. I’m sold (literally, haha) on breastfeeding for many reasons, not the least of which is money saved.

Cloth diaper

This is something I’ve dreamed of but never really done. Maybe one day. Disposable diapers cost a lot, even when you buy store brands. Depending on what kind of cloth diapers and accessories you buy, there will be some initial investment, plus the cost of detergent and so forth, but the cost will still be drastically less than disposables.

Make your own wipes

Cut up old towels and re-wash them, or make your own wipes from inexpensive paper towels. One mom recommends just keeping a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of soapy water handy. If you use regular wipes, try cutting them in half for small jobs. You can google “recipes” online too.

Make your own baby food

The AAP’s most recent breastfeeding recommendations state what a lot of moms have known all along—it’s rarely necessary to introduce solids before 6 months, and sometimes even later. When you do introduce baby to solid food, make your own. There’s no great mystery to this. Some people use the little baby food maker, but I don’t bother. I just mash or blend whatever vegetable or fruit I have on hand. My babies start with things like mashed banana, baked sweet potato, mashed avocado, applesauce, and pureed garden veggies (like squash). Instead of boxed cereal, I just gave them pureed old-fashioned oatmeal and pureed brown rice. And as they got a bit bigger, they ate tiny pieces of whatever we ate. Do stay away from high-allergy foods though.

Don’t Buy New Clothes

You don’t have to buy new clothes for your baby. You can outfit him or her for a little of nothing by shopping at garage sales and thrift stores. When they’re little, babies often wear an item only a few times before they outgrow it, and it’s not uncommon to even find clothes with tags still on. I have beautiful name brand children’s clothes that I’ve gotten at garage sales for mere pennies, far nicer things than I would have gotten if I’d bought items new. You’ll probably be offered hand-me-downs as well, which is where a lot of my kids’ clothes come from.

Try to wait till baby is born before you invest in clothes anyway. Gift clothes often cover clothing needs for the first few months, if not longer.

Shop Dollar Stores

Lotion, shampoo, and lots of other baby supplies cost a fraction of the regular price at a dollar store.

Freecycle and Shop Used

Join your local Freecycle group and be on the lookout for baby items like furniture. Check out Goodwill, junk stores, or other second-hand venues. Just make sure items like cribs meet safety standards.
Stay Home

You won’t have to pay for childcare, as well as food for those hurried mornings when you didn’t have time to fix breakfast or the nights you’re running late and doctor bills from all the illnesses baby picks up at daycare.