Working for the Weekend

Aliya, Poodle, and Maia ready for the zoo.
Aliya, Poodle, and Maia ready for the zoo.
One thing we’ve struggled with on the weekends since having kids (especially multiple kids) is finding balance. The balance between resting, relaxing, doing fun stuff as a family, and getting stuff done around the house to keep this crazy ship afloat. Add anything else to the mix, like dance rehearsals or birthday parties, and it all becomes that much harder.

This past weekend was the first weekend without anything extra in a while and we were not prepared. (That’s another thing: after all these years I would think we would be better at this weekend thing.) Anyway, Saturday rolled along and Aliya’s crib had to be switched out for the mini bed we had in the garage, then the flower beds had to be watered since the heat is creeping up now, then the garage had to be reassembled because of course, that bed frame was at the bottom of a delicately layered mountain of camping gear, Christmas decorations, bikes, and old clothes. Then the kids were hungry for lunch (hadn’t we just had breakfast!) and on and on until it was time to make dinner and get them ready for bed. At the end of it I felt, I admit, pretty annoyed that it was Saturday and I was just as worn down as if it had been a Monday, and even questioned the quality of time we spent together as a family.

That night Sarah suggested we make a plan for Sunday so we didn’t have another day that just sailed by without doing what we really wanted. This was another conversation we were quite familiar with, and it was a good idea, but I was feeling a little hopeless. I get this way, especially when the temperature around here starts climbing up into the 90s. I feel like I’m racing nature to get everything done that I want to do outside before the blistering heat and shitty air closes in. That, coupled with an already intense competition for needs and time, is a recipe for an unproductive conversation. Here I was already tired from a “day off” and I couldn’t get past the existing list of house cleaning and grocery shopping that still needed to get done. Plan something fun? Forget about it.

Luckily we were able to persevere through the initial turbulence of this conversation and finish the talk, emerging with a decent plan for a trip to the zoo in the morning, followed by an afternoon (inside away from the heat) doing house cleaning.

And it worked! By God, we had fun and got a lot of shit done! It wasn’t easy of course, and the kids still had a little meltdown (literally) before lunch, but once we cooled off and ate something, the afternoon was fine. I even squeezed in a game of chess with Keana, Maia, and Aliya.

I’m a grown-ass man with three kids and yet I still just want to sleep in and play on the weekends. Maybe some day I’ll accept the fact that that life has packed and sailed (for now), but this one, now, can be navigated well if Sarah and I just chart a course together…before we embark on the journey.