I used to be a madwoman on the weekends. Dr. D. avoided me Saturday mornings as I rode around on my broom frantically trying to cram in as many tasks before noon as possible. As a busy working mother, I found that my weekends were consumed with catching up on all of the stuff I couldn’t get done during the week — laundry, cooking, errands, you name it. Even before becoming a mother I tended to treat the weekends as an extension of my work week. Not that I didn’t have any fun, but Saturday and Sunday days were for catching up on work-related reading, responding to email and planning out the next week.
A typical Saturday morning for me would include an early morning Weight Watchers meeting, grabbing a latte at Starbucks and then on to my weekly run to the dry cleaner, grocery store and various other pit stops along the way. I’d squeeze in a workout while D2 was napping and do piles of laundry. Sundays were consumed with church and then I’d spend the afternoon cooking two to three dishes for the week. All of this activity left me feeling frazzled and guilty that I wasn’t spending enough quality time with my family. A few months ago, I decided I needed to take a step back and reclaim the white space in my weekends. First I sat down and thought about what my weekends were really worth to me. I cherish my family time. And I know I’m at my best when I have a few hours of down time on my own to recharge. So here’s what’s changed for me:
- Evaluate and prioritize what really needs to get done. This is a hard one if you are naturally hard-driving (and I am) but I resolved that not only could I not do it all but to focus on the two or three key things that really mattered. For me it’s getting our meals ready for the week, grocery shopping and maybe one household project (this weekend it’s replanting two rose bushes).
- Spread out key chores over the week. For example, I now do laundry at night during the week. I fold it straight out of the dryer and immediately put it away rather than let it sit in a basket for a week. I’ve also made it a habit to plan my next week (work and home life) out Friday night after dinner so that I don’t have to use that time during the weekend.
- Schedule fun time. I have found that if I don’t actually schedule time in for having fun, my weekend chores take over. So now I’ll make a plan to take D2 to the Children’s Museum or schedule a sitter and date night with Dr.D. It’s made all of the difference.
- Keep a block of time open for spontaneous activities. In our house late Sunday afternoon is a great time to chill out and watch a movie, go to the park or just read.
- Keep a running list of household projects and work through it gradually. I ask myself, “Do I really need to reorganize my closet and replant the flower beds all in one weekend?” No. I keep a prioritized list of to-dos and review what needs to be outsourced and can be tackled later in the month as my time allows.
I don’t pretend to have cracked the code to having a less frantic weekend but taking these few steps has dramatically improved the quality of my weekends. Bonus? I actually have time to relax. What’s your strategy for managing the weekend?