Sunday, August 21, 2011

A weekend of her own

Anyone else have weekend angst? C'mon, give me a show of hands. Do you leave work on Friday, heart light, head full of plans for two full days of freedom, only to see it all crumbling to dust by noon on Saturday? Or is it just me? At the moment I'm not working, but you'd better believe I'm waiting impatiently for my husband to walk through the door on Friday evening and share full-time parenting duty for two whole days. Then, by Saturday afternoon I'm griping at him, frustrated that the house isn't really cleaned as I'd like it, the floor is vacuumed but not mopped, or half the laundry is unfolded. Or maybe I haven't gone for a run, and it's almost five o'clock and I'm still in my pajamas. Mademoiselle doesn't want to nap, and the floor under the dining table is still covered with giant, scary crumbs from lunch.

Yeah. If only I could take a deep breath and smile at that point instead of moping and yelling.

Remember how Friday night felt in college? Even the nerdiest among us took the night off. My school was hardly a magnet for parties, which suited me since I was a teetotaler and just a wee bit "lame" back then. I'm not sure what I did, exactly, except try to escape to wherever my loser boyfriend at the time happened to live, or failing that, hang out with friends and maybe scrape together enough money among us to go out to dinner or coffee. I studiously avoided schoolwork without any of the guilt that needled me when I avoided schoolwork on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. I could stay up as late as I wanted. I could sleep in the next day. I hadn't a care in the world.

Now, well, I've got kids, and the song is a little different. Friday night starts at nine or, now that it's summer and the schedule has gone a bit sideways, nine-thirty, when the kids are finally asleep. I don't manage to get any of my projects out (sorting through vacation photos, writing a new blog entry), and instead I waste time on the computer and procrastinate on doing the dishes. By the time 11 o'clock rolls around, I've done nothing, and Mademoiselle has likely woken up for the first of three or four times that night.

Now I'm lucky, because my husband will as often as not do all or half of the dishes if I procrastinate long enough -- we really do split things 50/50 -- and I know that if Mademoiselle wakes up at 7 the next morning, my husband will look after her and let me sleep in until 8 or 9. Still, my Friday nights are more exhausted apathy than giddy anticipation.

So, by Sunday night I'm worn out, fed up, mad as hell at no one in particular and everyone in general that the weekend didn't live up to my ill-defined expectations. I wanted to DO SOMETHING, I whine. I wanted some FREAKIN' TIME TO MYSELF, ALREADY.

"If you wanted to do something, all you had to do was ask," my husband protests. This makes me angrier still because it's at the same time incredibly kind, completely true, and irritating. If he agrees that the weekend was less than stellar, I accuse him of blaming me. If he points out the silver lining of all the things we managed to accomplish, I whine that it wasn't enough, it wasn't what I wanted, so who the hell cares? And so on. He's long-suffering, yes -- some of this bellyaching of mine was worse, believe it or not, before we had kids -- but he also stands up for himself (and rightly so).

So, I've come to conclude that although the difficulties of organizing a weekend with small children are large and structural, they aren't insurmountable. I can have fun if I put my mind to it. Heck, I wasn't so cool back in college, so there's no reason I can't have as much fun now as I did back then... at least, as soon as I manage to get my French driver's license. So this is my weekend manifesto:

1. Routine. We clearly need one, so I will define one. It will involve kicking the kids and my husband out of the house for two hours on Saturday morning so I can get the house clean once and for all, so the housework isn't hanging over my head like a Damocles sword all weekend. (My husband already does the shopping, which I hate, so don't think he gets off the hook.) It will also involve getting the kids in bed by nine, for the love of God.

2. Goals. I will make doable goals for each weekend, including something just for me.

3. No more Friday Night lethargy. If I started the weekend by spending a little time on a pet project, perhaps I'd feel more optimistic come Saturday.

I'll work on this for a few weeks and see where it gets me, hopefully halfway to a much-needed new attitude.


Cloud said...

I'd give us a solid B for weekends- we often get too busy, but we also sometimes get it just right. If you're curious, here's our routine:

Friday night after the kids are in bed, we have beers and talk. One of the things we talk about is what we want/need to do that weekend. We make a to do list and leave it in the kitchen. This works really well for us, but we're both naturally list writing people. I don't know if it would work so well if we weren't.

I also try not to plan too many organized outings in one weekend, so that we can get some lazy backyard or park time. I don't always succeed at this. This weekend, for instance, was a little too busy for my taste.

Good luck with your weekend revamping!

Jac. said...

I am all about routine. My entire life has routine and when I am in the routine I am happy - when I am not, I spiral way out of control into procrastination, bitchiness, lethargy, resentfulness, etc. Here is my weekend routine.

Here's my weekend routine (apologies about the length).

Friday night: Kids are in bed between 7:30 and 8 (I know - I am very lucky). While I am putting kids to bed, DH is cleaning the kitchen from dinner. We meet in either the shower or the bathtub for a couples soak and chat (best part of my day). If it's the bath, it's usually with a glass of wine in hand. Usually that leads to more couples time.... ahem.

Downstairs. If I can prep for breakfast, I will (eg, if I'm going to have crepes I usually mix the batter the night before). DH finds a show or movie for us to watch and we veg til bedtime.

Saturday morning. After breakfast, DH usually takes DS out on errands or they 'work' together in the garage or the garden. DD is still taking a morning nap and I use that time for house cleaning. (Just reading this has made me hyper aware of how we divide tasks up along stereotypical gender lines). After morning nap, I take both kids on an outing (usually a playground or a hike on a sunny day, a mall, museum, indoor playplace on a rainy day) and DH gets 'his' time. Back home. DD has afternoon nap, DS has quiet time in his room or nap (50/50). DH and I veg - we plan menu and shopping list for the next week and check in with our calendars to see what days are better for leftovers and easy meals, and what days we can do more complicated things, and who can cook when. After afternoon nap time we divide kids and tackle the grocery shopping - we have a couple of different stores central to our shopping so we each pick one.

Dinner is usually simple. Saturday night routine is similar to Friday night.

Sunday morning - at the moment is similar to Saturday except we eat our big meal of the week for lunch on Sunday so DH usually puts some kind of roast on in the morning. Also, if we are going to have people over we usually do it on Sunday so they can join us for lunch.

Sunday afternoon is lazy and this is 'my' time - if there is something I want to do I'll do it here and leave both kids with DH. Dinner is usually sandwiches and/or leftovers. After kids are in bed Sunday night, DH and I can both usually be found in the office getting a jumpstart on our week, prepping for work, etc. My DH is really into clothes and usually lays out all his outfits for the week at this time, so he can iron if necessary. I need to add that into my routine cuz I can see how much easier it makes his mornings.

There you have it! It's really boring, and I love it.

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

@Cloud - I'm a list-maker only when I'm super-stressed, like right before I leave on a trip, because it has a calming effect on me, but I don't do it habitually (I think because I hate seeing the last couple niggling items hang around forever). So, y'know, I thought "gee, that's such a crazy idea Cloud had, it just might work" and started a list this week and I think it improved my mood... lessing the stress of forgetting something, helping me feel like I was making progress on, y'know, life.

@Jac. - your routine sounds lovely! I have weekend envy! Seriously! I am so impressed that you plan your meals for the entire week, and your husband even plans his work outfits. I feel like a disorganized loser now. Kidding. Mostly.

I think part of my problem at the moment is that our place is so small I can't accomplish much while Mademoiselle is napping. Vacuuming is out as is cleaning the bathroom simply because the noise would wake her up, adding to my difficulty scheduling the housework. Grrrr.

Plus my husband and I both want to go running at least once but preferably twice during a weekend and we have to go individually while the other one looks after the kids... although we do often combine my run with a family outing. Today I ran around the grand canal in the Parc de Versailles while my husband chased after the kids.

I love that you guys both have "couple time" on Friday night. "Date Night" isn't an option for us at the moment (I don't want to ask too much of my in-laws, currently our only babysitters, and my husband hates the whole idea of a codified "date night" for some reason), but I like the idea of some regular quality time without leaving home.

Jac. said...

Ha ha - I am actually a disorganized loser too! Am slightly embarrassed to admit that my Iphone and a couple of key apps has completely reformed me. If you have an Iphone/Ipad - I use Mealboard for planning my meals and grocery shopping, and Home Routine for keeping on top of my housework. I can tell you that the flip side of having a bigger place (and I'm not complaining, truly) is that there is that much more to clean. So home routine is really helping me stay on top of it.

And exercise is the one thing I don't have in my schedule at the moment, so it doesn't get done. Am hoping that when I return to work I can take a longer lunch and exercise then.

caramama said...

I wish we had some sort of routine for weekends, but each one ends up being so different.

Every time I plan on cleaning for chunks of time, I end up not getting those chunks of time or using it to do something even more important, like nap. It's actually more likely that I'm simply not motivated enough, even though my house is getting ridiculously dirty. Sigh...