SAHMs: How Do We Not Hate Our Weekends? Taking the Weekend Back

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!

Preparing To Go Solo(Parenting)

I’ve been a mom for almost 5 years and my husband has been traveling for work several times a year, a week at a time.  When Reece was an infant I would be so freaked out.  The few days leading up to my husband’s work trips would be fraught with stress.  Fast forward 4 years and being the occasional Work Widow hardly phases me anymore.  Oddly, weeks when my husband is away seem easier than when he’s not traveling.

So what changed?  How did I learn to deal?  A few things happened.

It Takes A Village

Before I felt comfortable going solo for a week I would recruit help.  There was a high school student who lived across the street from us who would come once or twice to help out at dinner time (the home stretch).  I would also ask/beg/pester my brothers to come by for company.  There’s no shame in asking for help.  We are willing to help our friends and family but afraid to ask them.  Just ask!  Be shameless!

Poppy sleep over - Getting help from family while soloparenting

Have a Plan

Meal prep is the first step.  The Sunday before a trip is the perfect time to do this.  Crock pot meals that go in a bag and are frozen until the day of are great.  Pasta and soup meals are quick and easy meals when you’re burnt out at the end of the day and don’t want add more to the todo list.  Why make a big meal then having do wash several pots and pans?  I will also plan on one pizza night during the week.

Chicken, quinoa, brussel sprout crockpot dinner
My Italian Chicken crockpot meal – that only I ate, but whatever.

It’s more than just food planning though.  I like to know what we have going on for the week before it begins.  If there’s a day without classes or school, set up a play date or plan to go to the gym. If you’re going to stay home then think of a few small crafts or games to do.

Popsicle stick project while soloparenting

Stay Organized

When my husband is home we get ready for the day in the morning.  But, when he’s away, I get ready for the day, the day before.  Before going to bed dinner and the house is cleaned up, I make lunches for the next day, and set out the plates and cups for breakfast.  All our outfits are picked out so we don’t have waste time in the morning.  It helps to have as many todo’s checked off the list the night before so things are rushed in the morning.

Confidence

I stopped freaking out.  I knew I would survive, even if it was stressful.  Once I stopped stressing, I realized things were actually easier when it was just me.  Only one adult making decisions, only one way of doing things.  The kids don’t get wound up seeing dad when he gets home from work so things go smoother, and faster, at bedtime.  You need to know that you can do this.

Let Things Go

If you’re stressed or overwhelmed and need a break, give one to yourself.  Amping up TV time for a week or two isn’t going to make you a bad mom or ruin your child.  Order pizza or reheat frozen meals.  When one parent is away for work things are going to function differently.  Don’t guilty for doing more of this or less of that.

Cutting corners - frozen pancakes when I soloparent

It’s not to say that I don’t want my husband around, but when I know no one else is going to do something (like dishes or get kids dressed) I’m not annoyed when I HAVE TO do it.  Being on survival mode can take it’s toll and it feels like a disconnect in our marriage when we don’t have face to face time.  Setting up a date night or special family outing when Dad comes back gives us a chance to reconnect and bond, plus a little light at the end of a long time apart.  Coming back with little gifts doesn’t hurt either.