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Sunday Night Stress

It's only the first Sunday night of the school year, and already the stress turns on like a switch.  Promptly at 5pm, I feel unbelievably overwhelmed by lunches ("NO!  I don't want a peanut butter sandwich tomorrow!"), different requests for different dinners (which I no longer really accommodate), stray undone laundry (even though I have been doing laundry all weekend!), bath-times, tired children (didn't we have a relaxing day today?), empty cupboards (how did I just come back from the market and be fresh out of butter?), and all the rest....  I feel like screaming "Calgon!  Take me away."  

My partner has previously called me out on what a bitch I can be on a Sunday evening.  Even on Mothers Day, after a completely glorious day wherein the kids agreed to my every whim, once the clock turned to 5pm, I turned into a completely sour, rotten, moldy, and dilapidated pumpkin.  It's terrible, I know, but I have too much on my mind to prevent my spontaneous combustion.

Do you experience the same Sunday night stress?  Do you have some excellent tips to combat the condition?


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As the mom of a kindergartener, this is my first time handling the Sunday Night Stress... why wasn't I more prepared for this!?! I had lunch number one planned perfectly, but apparently I threw all my tricks into that one and now no one's buying it- "carrot sticks AGAIN? uhh, no THANKS mom." Plus after one day of school we have already lost our thermos and our jacket. And how did it get so late already!!
At least it's good to know I'm not the only one going through this. I am dying to hear some tips, other than "oh come on, get it together lady!" which is the only advice I'm coming up with to give myself.

My little guy is only three, but he goes to preschool most mornings. We don't deal with lunches, but I do get pretty stressed out the nights before school. My husband is slow as molasses in the mornings, so I try to drive the ship at night to make sure mornings go smoothly.

Dishes done, house tidy, major breakfast prep accomplished, table set, etc. It stressed me out not knowing where my clean clothes are, so I'm putting mine and Asa's clothes away. Meanwhile, I'm trying to prioritize my work day so I can jump right in after preschool drop-off.

I suspect a lot of spouses don't think/operate this way. I don't have any tips other than to make a family effort to tackle evening duties. When my husband pitches in, I feel much more like we are a team instead of me playing project manager.

Oh - I have three places to be at 8 AM tomorrow. And I'm not quite sure how to handle that yet. I'm just hoping everyone can be a little forgiving - and we'll all get through! I think for me, I try to plan ahead -- food and laundry at the very least. Cleaning if there's spare time (and energy). I usually plan a slow cooked meal and start very early, since I rarely get to do that during the week. This week we've cooked a weeks worth of meat and we're going to prep meals during the week w/ the leftovers. Haven't tried that before, so we'll see how it goes...

I think it's probably pregnancy hormones that are making me so lax, though. Usually I'm uptight and a nervous wreck! The above paragraph sounds nothing like me :-)

We haven't really gotten back into the "school" routine (fully) yet, so I've actually forgotten all that I should be stressing about tonight. Thankfully we don't have homework until the following week. I know there are clean clothes for children.

I did get around to meal planning today (since that's a year-round event) so I've got breakfast, lunch and dinner planned for tomorrow.

Of course, I forgot about firming up carpool plans until 9:30p so I'll be tracking down parents and details at school in the morning but I'm not going to worry about that one.

That should at least get us through tomorrow.

For working Mom's, Sunday evenings can suck. It's like playing the ring leader in the circus. Will dinner be ready on time? Did we leave time for bath? Is all the laundry done? Did I buy stuff for lunches? Wait, is there enough dog food? Am I ready for that 8:00 a.m. staff meeting? It's enough to drive a Mom batty. I think this is the place Calgon was depicting in their famous TV ad, "Calgon, take me away." Calgon probably wouldn't cut it for me. But, by 10p Sunday evenings I take comfort in knowing that next up...Monday.

I felt the boom lowering on me at exactly 4:57 p.m., as we biked through the gorgeous summer afternoon toward home... *how* am I ever going to get everything done? *how* did I get so exhausted? now it's 10:16 and I just finally got them all (bathed thank goodness) asleep a half-hour ago, having left dinner far too late because I got caught up in a relish-making project.

even though I unpacked backpacks, filled out paperwork, and got laundry done earlier this weekend, there are still a thousand things I meant to do today before Monday morning, and only an hour before I fall into the land beyond exhaustion.

I'm already looking oh-so-forward to the next Monday holiday... it's November 22nd, folks, mark your calendars :)

I was pretty prepared fir our first Sunday night ( we just started k on Friday), but turns out my kiddo was the stressed out one. Even with a fairly relaxed day. Very concerned about the before care, being at school all day (no different from daycare), worried about some of the new kids. We had all weekend to talk and process and it came out as angry at mama at 8:15. And now he is up at 6:00, excited and scared. What a way to start the week.

Last week I had both kids choose breakfast and lunch for the week and it helped a lot. It also helped me to create a more accurate shopping list (the idea of meal planning is relatively new in our house). I was trying to avoid the negotiating and complaining that previously accompanied any discussions on what to eat. It also allowed me to have conversations about the need for vegetables in their lunch in a less emotionally charged time.

For clothes, I choose and iron a weeks worth of outfits and have my daughter pick outfits too as she's prone to trying on many things and being dramatic about not "feeling" right.

So far so good (fingers crossed)...

About a year ago we started having family meetings on Sunday evenings. The four of us sit at the table, after dinner, for about 15-20 minutes to talk about: compliments from the last days/week; stuff going on we want to fix/improve; revisiting or altering house policies someone's unhappy with; and looking to the week ahead. In some ways it makes Sundays more stressful b/c it's one more thing to do. But I like them because they are an island of calm in an otherwise chaotic evening. They've improved our weekday negotiations over eating, chores, etc., SO MUCH too.

The only other thing I'd say is that the Sunday evenings that are least stressful in our house are the ones where I've spent the day mostly at home, doing laundry, cooking a big pot of soup, and getting ready for the week. In other words, one way to make Sunday evening less stressful is to stretch it out into a whole day! But then sometimes I'm a bit irritable that I didn't really ever escape the grind...

I love the family meeting idea!

I am impressed it starts Sunday night at 5... I, being a procrastinator, started the stress out, turning into a rotten pumpkin, at 7:15 this morning. Barking orders at my poor hubby (did we fill out all the paperwork, make sure they eat breakfast, why did you give him cantaloupe, he was supposed to have a banana... I'm late, your late)... ugh. I am sure as we get this whole school thing down it will work into a Sunday night stress and have Monday mornings running smooth... I am now sitting at my desk with half dried flat hair, I didn't work getting myself ready into the morning routine!

I gave up on Sunday night dinners. We have our big meal mid-day, and a lighter lunch-type meal in the evening. It's helped a ton. Sunday nights are still tough, though....

Another dilapidated pumpkin chiming in. Last week went so well (lunches done early! outfits chosen! great attitude about bedtime! teeth actually clean!) that I was shocked last night & this AM when it all fell to pieces: noooooo!! say it won't be like this the next 11 yrs. Forget Calgon: need something stronger.

I will say that hubby thinks it's going well, leading me to wonder if this sour, rotten, moldy, & unbearably cranky pumpkin is mostly feeling internal stress....

Molly - I love the family meeting idea. We had our first one yesterday (early) when the kids started getting crazy & we need to have some new family rules. I pray we don't need that kind of family meeting often!

I do like the idea of sitting down together and talking about the week ahead. Gets everyone on the same page.

Yes, yes, and yes. I hate Sunday nights. I was so glad to read this post. Every Sunday, right around 3:00pm, I start to feel like a complete failure. Our house doesn't look like I spent the last two days cleaning ... there are a million things left to do ... and I have to be at my office, looking pressed and bright, at 9:00am Monday. To make it worse, we start off our week with a 6:00am wakeup call by the recycling truck (sometimes earlier). Ugh ugh and ugh.

One small change we made when my oldest started K two years ago is that my husband and I trade off making lunch each week. The caveat is that the non-lunch maker cannot criticize or comment on the lunch made as long as it includes a protein, fruit/veggie, and beverage and the lunch maker must plan and either shop for or put on the list everything needed for that week. Just taking away thinking about, planning and making lunches every other week has made my Sunday nights more bearable.

I'm with the mom who says stretch it out all day Sunday. I used to have Mondays off and that would be Mom day (cooking in crockpot, laundry, etc) Now it will have to be sunday, but husband can help.
This week I asked him to plan some meals for week and he did. Also, we now get groceries delivered from New Seasons. The more food in the house the easier things seem to go. Also, have lots of juice and cheese and crackers at all times!

Since my husband is working and going to school I do most of the bedtime routine. He did do the Costco and picking up of dinner last night which was helpful. I cleaned up after dinner, we watched a movie together and then it was bath time, reading and bed. After that I make the lunches and decide what to have for breakfast in the am. It usually goes fairly smoothly but I do get anxious about getting the boys in bed by 8:00, especially since they have been getting up at 5:00 am for some reason. If I feel like I am not going to get them ready in time I get really grouchy and my poor husband tries to stay out of my way.

I am so happy to read these posts. I thought parenthood changed me into a crazy, bitter, overtired and mean person. But it looks like I am just normal :) (no offense to other moms)

Yes, I feel the same on Sunday and every night through Thursday. In my case it is not school lunches, but storing, freezing, defrosting and bottling breast milk to be sent to daycare. Also, constantly washing the bottles and the storage containers, the pump accessories etc. Remembering to bring diapers, wipes, solid food, extra clothes, favourite blanket to daycare.
Oh, and packing my own lunch as I now eat much more than pre-baby.

I hear you! It helps me to make lunches earlier in the day rather than waiting until after dinner. I also hate, hate meal planning because I can never think of dinner that we all (or mostly all) like, so I just last week started a "go-to" list of dinners and lunch ideas. I'm hoping that having this in the kitchen will help aleviate some of my stressing about what to make. Also, if I've really got it together it helps to make a dinner requiring few if any pots, etc, to reduce the dishes/kitchen clean up that night. Having backpacks packed and clothes picked out sunday night is pretty key at our house for avoiding ugly monday mornings. Not that we always manage it... ;)

I am SO. GLAD. I am not alone.

Sometimes, on a Sunday night, I can't even sleep because I think of how much I forgot to do for the next day. aj brings up a good point: packing for the infants is *so* intensive! Pipes, parts, valves, bottles, lovey, stuffed dipes, wipes, gluten-free/dairy-free lunch and snack.

I am lucky if I remember my own water bottle.

I love the Sunday meeting idea. I need to implement that and keep a central area where we can track an agenda. I'm going to try it in coming weeks.

I love the family meeting idea, and this year I've definitely started doing more planning/prep-work on Sunday nights (lunches, extra clothes, snacks. etc.). The one big change I have made in the last couple years involved Sunday dinner - I'm from a house that always had a big, nice Sunday dinner as a family. I've started trying to do nice family dinners on Saturday instead, and have Sunday be something very simple, with not alot of prep-work or dishes involved. We still eat as a family, but it's a much less stressful environment for everyone. I've also started working harder at getting all the laundry done on Saturday. It doesn't always happen, but even getting through most of it on Saturday makes my Sundays so much more enjoyable. Good luck to ALL!

I have to admit that having a lady come clean the house every other week has reduced my weekend stress immensely. I know that it is a luxury... but it makes me a nicer and less gripey working mama.

I second (third?) the idea of a down day on Sunday to just get everything in place. Between work, soccer practice, and more, we've decided to hold Sunday as a bit of a sacrosanct day (and we're not even religious!) where there are no playdates, no expectations, no place to be. We get the house in order, have kids to homework, do laundry, and just breathe. We'll see how it goes...

I'm right there for sure. It is nice not to be alone! Now that I have two kids w/lunches and snacks to pack in addition to my own I am almost paralyzed by it, as absolutely ridiculous as that sounds. Throw food sensitivities (mostly mine and my husband's) on top and I am feeling clueless. I must figure out a meal plan for the week. I am going to start right now!

@Jen, is your cleaning person taking new work? I've been thinking this might be the only thing that will save from the feeling of drowning. I need help.

There are several suggestions on this previous thread. They may be dated, so please feel free to make more suggestions! http://www.urbanmamas.com/urbanmamas/2008/04/housecleaner-re.html

Right on with the central agenda tracking area, Olivia. I saved my AmEx rewards points and ordered one of those Pottery Barn Daily Systems for my kitchen wall last spring. I can't overstate the difference it has made - we have a "this month" board, a "next month" board, a meal planning board and, of course, a bulletin board for everything else I'll forget. It has been a life changer. Particularly because my husband actually READS it. Also, the cleaning person is key if you have two full time working parents. I know it seems like a luxury to many but it's one check I'm always happy to write. It saves us from a lot of arguments and gives us much more family time on the weekends. One other key item I have - the grocery shopping list. I have a preprinted pad that's called something like "need to buy" and it has every grocery basic listed on it. I use it for the basics then go to my meal planner for anything I might need for recipes. Meal planning is so key.

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