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10 Sunday Night Secrets to a Successful Week - by Mary Ellen Barrett

10 Sunday Night Secrets to a Successful Week


by Mary Ellen Barrett | There are few things worse than starting your week in a bad frame of mind. Waking up on a Monday morning…

There are few things worse than starting your week in a bad frame of mind. Waking up on a Monday morning and feeling overwhelmed and behind before the first hour passes is a sure way to ensure a difficult and stressful week for everyone.

However, if you spend an hour or so on Sunday, over the course of the day, doing a few small chores, you can almost guarantee that your Monday, and hopefully your week, will be off to a much brighter start.

1. Clean out the fridge.

Now, I’m not talking about a complete, pull everything out and wash the fridge (although if you are so inclined be my guest), rather a quick evaluation of the contents of the fridge.

Toss all the mushy vegetables, the jars and bottles that contain only a drop of this or that, the aging leftovers no one will eat, and that thing back there that everyone is afraid to touch.

Put all the containers in the dishwasher and do a ten second wipe down of everything that is reachable. You will be very glad to wake up on Monday with a freshened-up fridge.

2. Straighten up your bedroom.

Do a quick purge of any piles on the dresser or nightstands, hang up the clothes that are draped on the chair, and run the vacuum. You will rest much more contentedly in a tidy room, and a well-rested mom is a happier mom.

3. Prep Monday night’s dinner.

Dinner prep takes up a huge amount of space in our heads, doesn’t it ladies? It’s the hundred pound weight we walk around with all day.

So on Sunday decide what you are going to serve for Monday and get the ingredients together. Put them in a separate section of the fridge so they’re easy to pull out the next day.

Better yet, plan a crockpot meal, assemble the ingredients in the insert, and just pull it out and pop it in the pot Monday morning. Dinner is done and you can relax about that for the rest of the day.

4. Check your calendar for the coming week.

Pull out your planner or fire up your iCal or Outlook and see what’s coming.

Ask all the kids and your husband if there is anything they need to do or anywhere they need to be that is not on the calendar. There is nothing worse than that sort of surprise.

Write it all down (or type it in) and make a note of anything special you would like to do with the children. Is there a feast day you could celebrate? A holy day? Do we need special clothes for any activities this week, uniforms or costumes? Can we fit in a library day or is there a dentist appointment one afternoon?

Get it all out of your head and on your calendar; that way, any conflicts can be dealt with first thing, and Mom knows exactly where everyone needs to be this week.

5. Make your lists.

This is a good time to make a menu plan for the week. You have the calendar out, so you know when you will need a quick meal or when you will have time for something more involved.

Jot down a meal for each day and make a list of groceries, craft supplies, toiletries and any other errands that need to be run.

I also like to make a quick list of goals for the week under a few headings:

  • Household (wash and iron the curtains in the guest room, tidy up the garden, paint the chest of drawers)
  • Homeschool (pull out some American history literature and grab some books from the library for a state study)
  • Personal (work in my journal, plan a date night, exercise five times, read a novel)
  • Community (deliver a meal to someone in need, brainstorm ideas for VBS, call about donation to thrift store).

You get the idea. Not all of these things will necessarily happen, that ironing chore has been on there a while, but the very act of writing these goals down is a promise that it will happen at some point. It’s a small push to accomplish something, and it helps me to better use my time.

6. Set your phone alarms.

I must confess that I seem to be at a point in my life where I am getting a teeny bit forgetful. Recognizing that I might need a little help in this has been a bit of a struggle for me, but I have finally seen the light (and missed a few appointments).

I spend a minute on Sunday setting my phone to beep, wail and screech at me an hour before I should be somewhere, or to remind me that I wanted to do something.

It’s humbling, but I am much more relaxed knowing that I will be reminded to do something.

7. Empty the dishwasher.

After dinner on Sunday, clean the kitchen, or have the kids do it, and start the dishwasher immediately. Empty it before you go to bed. It’s a wearisome thing to do, but you will be happy on Monday morning when the breakfast dishes are able to just go right in and the clean-up is a breeze.

8. Prep for breakfast.

After you empty the dishwasher, you can get your morning started in a small way.

Take out the breakfast dishes and place them on the counter or set the table. Make the pancake batter and put it in a covered Pyrex ready to be poured out. You can even beat up the eggs and put them in a covered container.

Take out the cereal boxes…you get the idea. Do whatever is necessary to save a few minutes and encourage the older children to get the meal started.

9. Relax for one hour before bed.

This is essential. Put the kids in their rooms, declare the day over, and enjoy some peace and quiet before retiring. Speak in complete sentences to your husband, read a book, watch a movie, or just stare into space.

End the day with a prayer of thanksgiving for all that you have.

10. Go to bed early.

Most people are sleep deprived, and so many moms do not get uninterrupted sleep as it is.

This is not the time to catch up on laundry (it will keep), or start a big project, or even to mop your floors.

These things can all get done during the day; it is much better to be rested than it is to have an absolutely pristine home.

Moms who are well rested are just better moms, so go to bed as soon as you have unwound a bit from the day, no screens, no lights, just peace.

You’ll have more energy to tackle those things when you wake up.

These things are what I do most Sundays to keep my week on track, and it’s become such a habit that I don’t think much about it anymore.

After Mass and lunch, I spend the afternoon puttering around getting the house and myself ready for the busyness of the coming week.

It doesn’t take long, but the pay-off is big, and it leaves the late afternoon to enjoy with my family and friends and frees up time during the week as well. Isn’t that worth a little prep?

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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