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.