“The time is always right to do what is right.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
I have come to the conclusion that to really enjoy weekends with kids (and I’m hazarding a guess that this might apply to many with children under the age of say, 6) planning and even some negotiation is essential.
There are three potential scenarios that I’ve seen play out over the course of a weekend at home with kids:
1) Everyone does everything all together. Neither parent gets any time for themselves. No one works out. No one really gets anything done. Maybe one or both parents manage to ‘sneak in’ time, which is unsatisfying AND leads to resentment from the opposite spouse (um, did someone just disappear for an unannounced nap or — worse — mindless insta-scrolling!?).
2) One party does what they want and the other plays the role of martyr. (You can guess which gender typically takes which role). Actually, this really doesn’t happen in our house, but I’ve seen it play out over and over again with friends and blog readers/podcast commenters.
3) Parents discuss what they’d like to do, creating a concrete plan that includes:
– personal time for each adult (exercise, reading, cooking, working, napping, insta-scrolling – whatever the person wants!)
– family time – with some fun activities thought of in advance, because staying home and lazing around with kids A&C’s age just doesn’t work (G would be fine in her current stage, but she barely counts at this point).
– couples/social time, either a date night / extended family dinner / friend date / whatever.
Scenario #3 is the only one that leaves me feeling satisfied on Monday morning. This is why I craft a weekend plan every weekend and send it via email, and I am lucky that Josh is very on board with this (I don’t think he enjoys scenarios #1 or #2, either).
This weekend was a great example of this – he asked to do a long run + have a ukelele meet up with a friend (yes he is super into this currently, and is sounding great!). I wanted some time to brainstorm/write and some relaxed time to cook/read/maybe nap. So, here was my email (and again before someone accuses me of spousal abuse, he really does ask for this if I don’t do it!):
And though there were some hiccups (kids were so bad at the restaurant, though the food was great — try Soul Tavern, locals — it’s a self-described “plant-based gastropub”!), I feel so happy with how we spent our time! We had a lot of family time, but I got to do some things for ME, too. Josh got in his desired workout and music time. There is such a difference between having some time (even if limited) to use at one’s discretion versus having none. And when there are many moving parts, I am not sure how this can possibly happen without careful planning, communication, and discussion.
I am interested in others’ thoughts on how they manage their weekends with kids.