With two little kids, I feel like I never get to pay attention at mass. I try to prepare ahead of time or read and meditate afterward, but I'm not always able to. During those times, I take solace in the fact that I offer God my Sunday best. In our house, our Sunday best includes dressing our best.
1. Determine what your best is.
Many people have an idea of how fancy they are willing to get for special events, like weddings. Some families go all out with suits and ties or dresses. Some are more casual and go for khakis and polo shirts. In the Steed house, our Sunday best is a fancy Easter/Christmas style dress, tights, and dress shoes for the girls, skirt & shirt or dress for me, nice pants & shirt for hubby. I like this stuff and so buy it anyway and I find I get more use by wearing it to church. Think about what works for your family.
2. Determine your minimums.
On the flip side, you need to know your minimums. There are situations (vacations, new baby) where your best is not possible. So what are your minimums? I don't allow spaghetti straps without sweaters/shrugs but wide sleeveless dresses are okay. Shorts are never allowed, but skorts are. Flip flops are frowned upon but in a pinch (like when I forget to pack church shoes), we've used them. Figure out what your minimum standards are.
3. Have a Sunday wardrobe.
With the girls clothes, I usually have two church dresses per season, but you could get by with one if you do laundry every week and/or take it off as soon as you get home.
I have 2 skirts & 2 shirts -- one set for spring/summer and one set for fall winter. Hubby just wears work clothes since he has to dress fairly nice for work anyway.
Plan or find a church outfit for each person. If you have more than one outfit, awesome! If not, one will make it super easy to get dressed. Think about proper undergarments, socks or tights, shoes, top, bottom and any accessories. If you can have a coat or jacket for church too.
4. Shop. With a list!
If you are missing pieces, make a list of what you need (i.e. Navy tights size 4-6, brown loafers size 3, etc).
For the kids, I purchase dress clothes after Christmas & Easter when they are on clearance. Preferably in the next size up.
For me, I've found that the Worthington & East 5th Ave skirts at JCPenney are modest and $20 on sale--even less on clearance! And they will last a long time, too. If that's not in your budget, consignment and thrift stores can have great things, too.
5. Prior Proper Planning...
Once you have everything you need, get it all ready the day before Mass and put it all in one spot. Include special coats, shoes, gloves, hair ties, hats, and whatever else you need. I even include a special basket for brushing hair and washing hands/faces because I ALWAYS manage to forget until we are walking out the door.
Looking your family's best is no substitute for paying attention, but on those bad days I'm sure God appreciates the effort it takes!
Copyright 2012 Jen Steed
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