When I was in my early 20s, weekends were treasured.
Weekends meant staying up late watching bad movies, sleeping late, eating take-out, taking day trips.
Weekends were for partying. Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend, they said.
When you have a full-time job and young kids, weekends can be a unique kind of torture.
Babies don’t respect the “weekends are for sleeping in” rule. They don’t understand the notion of enjoying some extra time wrapped up in cozy blankets. They are generally pretty well-rested, so they don’t need Saturday morning to catch up.
Little kids aren’t down with the dozing, either. Saturday mornings are for cartoons, dammit! And we can’t waste any precious running-around-screaming time by sleeping, mom. JEEZ.
So there you are, at 6AM on a Saturday, realizing that everyone else in your immediate neighbourhood is still asleep, and it’s so much more painful than, say, 6AM on a Tuesday.
Our weekends are always stuffed full of chores, grocery shopping, meal prep, nagging the kids to clean their damn bedroom, again, please, for the love of god, why is every christly piece of Lego you own on the floor, how can that be fun? And the dog looks pitiful every time we dress up to go run errands because why aren’t we taking him with us? And somehow every toy George owns ends up in the living room where I can step on them / trip over them / sit on them.
By Sunday night I’m knackered, and by Monday morning I’m glad to see half the family leave for the day, because at least I know that I’ll get some quiet time when the littles are all napping.
It’s been dreadful, actually, and getting worse all the time. Every weekend since vacation we’ve had some commitment or other that we couldn’t get out of. I spend the weekends snappish, resentful, and tired.
So I decided to stop.
On Saturday, Michael and Harry went out for the day to play Warhammer. I did have to buy groceries, but for whatever reason Ron and George enjoyed the trip – they were pleasant, helpful, and uncomplaining. I took them out for lunch and over burgers, I asked Ron what he wanted to do with the rest of the day. Anything you like, within reason.
He wanted to bake blueberry muffins and then go for a nature walk.
Got home, put the groceries away. Settled George for a nap. Ron and I baked the muffins and then I played Wii with him while we waited for them to cool off enough to eat. I need TWO muffins, he said calmly, since I baked them.
George had a really long nap, which meant it was close to 4PM before we could leave for our nature walk. Usually, that would be where I started to backpedal. It’s too close to dinnertime. I have to start cooking.
If weekends really are supposed to be about letting go of the schedule, then I need to actually let go of the damn schedule sometimes. If dinner was a little late, so what. I promised him a nature walk, and he held up his end of the bargain by being delightful all day.
We went. We were gone for an hour. We saw caterpillars, seagulls, little brown mystery birds that I didn’t know the name of. George learned that goldenrod is called ‘goldenrod’ and then greeted each and every yellow sprig individually. Dat’s GO-den-WOD. Hi GO-den-WOD. Bye-bye GO-den-WOD! We walked past the pioneer cemetery and Ron peeked but refused to enter. We talked about whether the ‘right’ name is cemetery or graveyard.
We saw a huge purple tour bus full of cruise ship passengers. I waved at the driver, and he waved back! said Ron, as George pointed and yelled purple bus purple bus PURPLE BUS!!!! and the ladies in their perfect outfits and their silly high-heeled shoes all smiled.
Dinner was late. Stupid late. Like, George-went-to-bed-right-after-we-were-done-eating late. He had a bit of a hard time settling, so hey! that’s probably why I stick to the schedule like glue. Oops. But you know, it’s not like the world stopped turning or anything; he just needed a little extra reassurance to get to sleep.
I curled up on the couch with Harry and Ron, cracked open our brand-new copy of Little House in the Big Woods, and started reading. We read, and talked about what we were reading. Eventually they went off to bed too.
It was a practically perfect day, and even now just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.
Clearly, I can’t always take the time to just fling my to-do list out the window – but when I can, I have to. Especially now, when increasingly we feel like hamsters on a wheel and winter is setting in, I must keep reminding myself that I built the damn wheel, and I can step off once in a while.