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.
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.
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!”
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.