Monday, April 29, 2013

Redefining Weekends

It is interesting how our concept of weekends changes once we have kids.  This is especially true, I think, for those who stay at home with young children full-time during the week.  How do we go about differentiating the "workweek" from the weekend when the stay-at-home parent's job is to take care of the children Monday-Friday?

First, I've found that it is absolutely necessary for the SAHM to still embrace the fun anticipation of the weekend just as someone who works outside the home does-- after all, no matter what our job (even if it's taking care of our dear little ones) we all need a break in order to be our best.

It gets even harder to find that personal time once you have more than one child.  You can no longer  easily pass the one child off to your spouse and take turns running errands, exercising, etc.  There are now two (or more) children to entertain, care for, feed, etc.  And if the SAHM isn't careful, her weekends can easily blur into the workweek.

So what to do?

One tip I have is to make sure you carve out a couple of activities to enjoy solo on Saturday and/or Sunday and-- this is the most important part-- put them on the calendar.  Decide what you will truly look forward to-- lunch with a friend, reading at a coffee shop, window shopping?-- and reserve a time slot for it.  Otherwise it is too easy to put everyone else's needs before your own...and before you know it, Sunday evening rolls around and you eat chicken nuggets for dinner, have baby poop on your hands, and the same sense of exhaustion that you have come to expect Monday-Friday.  I know I feel much warmer to my whole family by Sunday night if I've managed to get a little space over the weekend.

But I also like to make sure there is some family time on the weekends where we all spend time together.  Otherwise, my husband and I never really get to share in the fun (and work) of having young kids.  Playing in the yard, going out for ice cream, or just playing with cars (of course) as a family feels really nice.  As in a this is why we had kids way.

One of the hardest parts of being a mom though, regardless of your work situation, I think, is the "mom guilt."  On the weekends, sometimes I wonder "should I go out for two hours by myself?"  Or worse yet, "do I really deserve x-y-z?"  I try to remember that I am a better mom when I return from a little alone time.  I have a renewed sense of energy and appreciation for my family.  And then I'm ready for another Monday.

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