When I returned to work full time earlier this year, I quickly realized how valuable my weekends were. Once again, I found myself longing for them. I knew that I didn’t want them to continue to be filled with errands and pit stops as we tried to squeeze in tons of activities and visit loved ones. I wanted to make the time that I did have with my family more meaningful. Even if it meant we ate at home and seldom left the house. Even if it meant I had to wear the same outfit twice the next week, because I never got around to the laundry.
When I left to resume solely working from home until I start part-time work outside of the home, I had a newfound appreciation for those two days that are often filled with tasks from our to-do lists. This was our time — Daddy was off from work, big sister out of school, and with that came a chance to be together beyond dinnertime.
These days, we are still running errands here and there, but we are also making it a point to slow down. I am making a point to slow down. To catch my breath, to feel and experience some of the things I may have missed as I rushed through the work week. For many of us, weekends are the only days when we have our entire family together for a long period of time.
Here are five ways we try to make the most of our weekends:
We get off to a slow start – Whenever possible, we start the day more slowly. Even if one of us isn’t able to. Stories and cuddles in bed or watching a favorite show are one of our favorite ways to spend the first moments of our morning. Given the dash that occurs as we travel through the week, we welcome the slower pace the weekend mornings bring (even if our dawdling means we’re rushing to a party come the afternoon).
We say “no” (or better yet, “no thank you”) – We have learned to stop trying to pack so much into the two days that make up the weekend. Often it results in us parents feeling tired and depleted and our children feeling grumpy because they’ve constantly been on the go. We have learned that we may have to say no to a few things in order to make the most of the things that we say yes to.
We deviate from our normal routine – With the exception of church, we tend to deviate from having a set routine on the weekends. We might have breakfast late after having spent the morning reading in bed, we may stay up late watching a movie or eat dessert before dinner. Our days have more of an organic feel to them. We don’t just participate in things that required us to RSVP or that we planned weeks in advance. We also do what our heart fancies, whether it’s going on a hike, playing at the park, visiting our favorite bakery, taking out the crayons and play dough to create masterpieces, or adorning ourselves in stickers.
We complete necessary tasks together – Whenever possible, we do things together. While we try to get most of our errands done during the week, sometimes Sunday afternoon will roll around and we will realize that we need groceries or toilet paper. So, when possible, we try and go as a family. There’s nothing like strolling down store aisles with your entire family.
We laugh – We have fun being silly, playing games, watching funny shows or movies, and having tickle fights. We do some of this during the week too, but not nearly as much as we should. Our moments of laughter bring us closer together and help us to see the good that abounds in our days, even during those trying times that life presents us with. These are the moments that will make us parents smile as we reflect on them during the week.
Life with our littlest has forced us to slow down a bit. And I’m grateful for that — she is constantly reminding us that there is an art to stopping and smelling the roses and doing so makes our journey even sweeter.