When it comes to the weekend, I’m feeling burnt out and want to check out, to pass the ball to my husband. At the same time, the weekend is when we have family time and can get quality bonding time in. Which makes it feel like a Sophie’s Choice of locking myself in my room or embracing weekend activities.
As I ranted, recently, about how much of a drag the weekends are, I’ve also been trying to find ways to improve them. Can Mom’s go back to the pre-kids days and look forward to weekends and not feel relieved when it’s Monday? We might not be able to go back to pre-kid excitement levels, parenthood changes things, but weekends don’t have to be something parents dread. We just have to work on adjusting the natural routine we’ve dug ourselves into when it comes to weekend overload.
Start With a Game Plan
What makes the weeks work as smoothly as they do? Not that they are smooth, haha, we have kids, come on! But smoother than weekends? Weekdays are very regimented. It seems obvious and maybe you already do this a little bit during the weekends, but there’s still a little more chaos happening than weekdays.
Take a good look at weekly obligations. Is there a way to food shop solo during the week? If there are several classes your kids are signed up for, maybe cut out one that your family isn’t as excited about as the rest. Once you’ve cleared out the weekly overload, cut down on one-off obligations that are unnecessary. We have axed many birthday parties this way. Now we only go to birthdays of people that my husband, myself, or my kids are close to. If you get an invite for little Susie’s birthday party and don’t know what she looks like or her parents names, throw that invite in the trash! After you RSVP no that is. Please, save another mama’s sanity, RSVP.
Break Up the Time
We naturally break up the time, and it helps plan out the day. It’s pretty straight forward. Naps usually happen 1-3 PM so the days are broken into mornings, after naps, then dinner which is right before bed. By breaking up the day we are working towards avoiding overcommitment. We know only one or two things (depending on the time commitment) can be done during each block of time. As opposed to thinking about the entire 12 hour day where it seems like eight things can be done, we realize only three things can happen.
Designated Adult Time
My husband and I find this very hard to do, and usually I need this more than he does. For the sake of your relationship – with your other half and tiny beasts – time away to recharge then reconnect is beneficial. If every weekend seems too daunting, aim for once a month or every other weekend. Each parent finds time to sneak off solo, wether it’s to Home Depot, lunch with a friend, food shop, or go for a run. You don’t have to go all out. Starting out small might is better than not taking the time at all. A big chunk of time for one parent to go off on their own, alternating every other weekend can be a goal.
Disregard the Guilt!
When you do take time for yourself, take it for real. Savor and enjoy the time. Don’t waste your designated recharge time feeling like you should be doing dishes, helping out, making the most of your family time. Parenting now is a lot different than when we were kids. The focus is on our kids. It’s not only OK to take a step back and spend time away from being Mom and Dad, it’s a good thing. We are role models for our children. While we can’t just do whatever we want when, we do want our children to know that taking time for ourselves is important. Letting go of the guilt and being in the moment when we are kid free is also great for our sanity.
If you didn’t read my post a few weeks ago about how the weekends are tougher than weekdays, I also recommend weekly house meetings. We do a House Meeting twice a week, Sunday and Thursday. We go over everything in the calendar which ensures me and my husband are on the same page.
If weekends stress you out, you’re not alone. I got a lot of comments and feedback from my last weekend post. I recently read How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids by Jancee Dunn, she dedicates an entire chapter to taking back the weekends which gives some great anecdotes and ideas. Weekends can be fun…ish…. again!