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Posts Tagged ‘weekends’

One thing I’ve discovered, in my almost two years as a stay-at-home mom, is that “weekends” just don’t have nearly the same ring to them as they used to.  In my pre-kids working days, I loved the weekend as much as the next person.  Get up when I feel like it, stay in my pajamas if I so choose, maybe go out for Sunday brunch or an impromptu Saturday night sushi dinner.  Maybe I’d be good and go to the gym, maybe not.  Leisure. Freedom.

Ha.

Turns out, my toddlers don’t know the first thing about sleeping in on the weekends or the joy of doing absolutely nothing.  No, they want the exact same routine as every other day. Wake up, have breakfast, watch Sesame Street, get dressed, have an activity/outing, eat lunch, nap, play some more, have dinner, go to bed.

For me, Saturday ain’t that different from Wednesday.  Except my husband (M) is home instead of at work.  And I’m tired of the Groundhog-Day repeating of our day-to-day. I still feel this pull towards the idea of the weekend, as though I’m due some blissful quiet.  And so is my husband.  So while I’m always scheduled and routined during the week, and can be surprisingly efficient with my time, the weekend days have a tendency to slip by.  We’re still in our pajamas too late, and not in the relaxing way.  But in the “what do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?” kind of way.  And in the meantime, the kids are bored and cranky, and I’ve lost my sense of time and forgotten to give them a morning snack.

seesaw swing

It’s the weekend when I feel ambivalence toward my routinized ways.  On the one hand, I’m tired of them and want to forget about them.  On the other hand, the lack of routine makes me realize the degree to which I rely on them, and the degree to which they make my kids (and, by extension, me) much happier people.

I think that what I really need is a weekend routine.  Something different from the weekday, so the SAHM thing gets a little bit of a change-up.  But something relatively set and predictable, so the day can still move along and we don’t all go nuts until I explode and yell “we have to leave the house RIGHT NOW!”

Checking out the tractor

As with many things parenting-related, it’s also a question of setting and meeting (or not) appropriate expectations.  Expecting the weekend to be leisurely and relaxing is just setting us all up for failure.  And it’s when inappropriate expectations are set (and, subsequently, not met) that I get the most frustrated.

Obviously, weekends can be and have been times of fun.  Trips to the farm or a fun birthday party, going out for lunch to a Mexican restaurant, etc.  Fun.  But I think I need to balance the need for fun with the need for routine.

And get it through our thick heads that weekends as we once knew them are long gone.

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Ahhhh, weekends!  

Time to relax, kick your feet up and… SNAP OUT OF IT!  

Relaxing weekends at our house were soooo 14 months ago.  In fact, I think the word “relax” has officially been omitted from our family’s dictionary.  And that’s fine. With B and I both working full-time, by the end of the work week, our weekend To Do list is a mile long.  There are the usual must-get-done-no-matter-what tasks such as laundry, grocery shopping, a trip to Costco, recycling, bills and preparing food for the week.  Then there’s the attempt-to-squish-in-if-at-all-possible tasks that seem to migrate from week to week because we always run out of time.  These tasks (taxes, hem B’s jeans, repair button on kids’ shirt, make prints of photos stored on jump drive, install dimmer switch in kids’ bedroom, etc.) seem to be never ending and, in fact, multiply with every passing weekend. 

So, how does a working-family with twins fit in all of the “must do’s”, a few of the “attempt-to do’s” and still have fun, all within a 48-hour time period? 

You become a Weekend Warrior! 

Back in the day, the term Weekend Warrior meant something completely different than it does to me now.  Weekend Warriors escaped right after work (car pre-packed with needed gear the night before), grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed for the nearest mountain/lake/cabin/ski slope.  It meant that you seized the weekend and all of its relaxed luxuriousness.

Um, not so much any more. 

Now that we’re parents, we seize the weekend by (unfortunately) cramming as many errands and household chores as we possibly can within the 2,880 minutes that we are allotted.  It’s a bit of a whirlwind, not exactly relaxing and hard on your back, but that’s just life these days!  The good news is, with some efficiency, organization and a helluva lot of teamwork, we always have time to get outside and enjoy the Alaskan outdoors with our kidos (pending any crazy weather and illness, of course).  

Without further ado, here are a few things that help us to be a bit more efficient in completing our To Do list so we can maximize our fun during the weekend:

  • MAKE FRIDAY NIGHTS FUN:  On Friday nights after the boys eat their dinner, we pack ‘em up and head to Costco!  Fridays are a bit less hectic than going on a Saturday afternoon, yet they still have the usual array of food samples.  A double bonus!  And, as all MoMs know, Costco (BJ’s and Sam’s Club, too!) is one of the only places that has twin-friendly shopping carts (as referenced by Finn & Reid below).  The boys love riding around in the cart, trying out the massage chairs and looking at the huge TVs during our Costco trips.  Some good people watching for the boys and one less item on the weekend To Do list for us! 
  • Costo Kids

  • BE EFFICIENT DURING NAPTIME:  We try to complete most of the household chores while the boys take their naps. That way, when they wake-up, we can head out the door for a fun activity instead of hanging around the house while the kids play and we finish up the breakfast dishes, bills or laundry.  
  • STAY ON TOP OF THE LAUNDRY:  Now that our boys are feeding themselves, it seems like the dirty laundry is multiplying!  I try to start a load of laundry after I get home from work at least twice during the weekday.  Before we bathe the kids, I transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer.  Then once the kids are in bed, the clothes are ready to be folded.  I don’t mind doing laundry, but I really dislike folding clothes, so spreading the laundry throughout the week helps cut down on the piles and piles of clothes, bedding, towels, etc. that build up by the weekend. 
  • DO A CLEAN SWEEP AFTER BEDTIME (EVERY NIGHT):  Every night after the dudes go to bed, we do a sweep of their main play area.  We place the 15,000 books back on their shelf, throw the blocks and stacking cups back into their holding containers, gather the toys that were hidden in drawers, baskets and behind stereo speakers, and clean up their booster seats for the next day.  It’s nice to spend the rest of the evening in a semi-organized and less “circus-y” state, as well as wake up to a fresh play space, even if it only lasts 1.25 seconds before the kids destroy it once again. 
  • PAY BILLS USING AUTO-PAY:  Before becoming a parent, I actually enjoyed doing bills.  Writing out checks, placing address labels and stamps on envelopes then sending them on their way really helped me know where our money was going.  After the boys were born, however, this (sick) enjoyment that I once had lasted all of about 2 days.  I barely had time to change out of my spit-up stained sweatshirt, let alone write a check!  Now I’ll all about Auto-Pay.  Not only does it save us money (stamp-wise) and time, we are also saving trees because we don’t receive those pesky monthly statements for half as many bills as we used to. 
  • TRADE OFF:  When the kids are sick or the weather is crappy, it’s obviously going to be an indoor-kind-of-day.  When this occurs (and it happened to us a lot this winter because of well below-zero temps and multiple illnesses!), we trade off playing with the kids every 30 minutes or so.  While B watches the kids for 30 minutes, I can focus on making the boys’ beds, chopping veggies for dinner and cleaning the bathroom without having to refill a sippy cup with water, change a diaper, or break up a fight over the stuffed monkey.  When the 30 minutes are up, I feel like I got a few items checked off the To Do list and I can focus 100% of my attention on the boys while Brook picks up the dog poop in the backyard!  :) 
  • FEED ON-THE-GO:  For quite a few reasons, I used to be adament about being home for the boys’ mealtimes.  But in the last few months, I’ve got I bit more relaxed about feeding the boys while we are out and about.  Although it’s a bit of a pain to pack up the boys food, it’s certainly worth the extra time and effort so that you don’t have to rush home when you’re out running errands or enjoying an afternoon hike.  The past few weeks, we’ve also got in the habit of stopping for lunch at a little cafe across the street from the grocery store.  All four of us eat lunch (although the boys mostly people-watch) and then head over to the store to do our weekly shopping.

How does your family fit in a little bit o’ fun on the weekend while still making sure you take care of those have-to tasks that always seem to be looming over us?

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