I’m coming off my second weekend in a row where no makeup and pajamas ruled. I liked it. A lot. In fact, I liked it enough that I’m wondering why the hell I ever did anything but the bare minimum on weekends.
Oh, yeah. Now I remember. Kids.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my babies. But the minute kids pop into your life, they take over your schedule. First its diapers and food. Then it’s playdates and food. Then school activities and sports. (And still food.) In between it all you fight to wiggle in date nights and scraps of the activities that feed your soul–if you’re lucky.
It was in the quiet moments of the last two weekends, I asked myself (repeatedly), “How much of what we get ourselves into is necessary?” I look back at my childhood and don’t remember it being so busy. I remember Saturdays as lazy play days. I remember church on Sundays and a nice lunch right after. I remember dad listening to football on the radio. I remember mom kicking us all out of the house to go spend, “quality time with dad.” Translation: Get out of my hair so I can have some peace and quiet.
I do NOT remember endless sports activities or birthday parties to rival a debutant ball. I don’t remember us getting up early and scrambling like crazy people on a tight schedule.
I wonder if I’m remembering it wrong? Maybe I was just a kid and didn’t have any responsibilities back then, so it just felt easy-peasy. Maybe mom and dad were darting around as frantic as hubby and I are today. I’d ask mom, but she’s earned her luxury stay with the big guy already (and is probably laughing her ass off at me). Dad says he doesn’t remember.
I do think I’ll try to hang onto what the last few weekends have given me and try to do a better job of challenging what ends up in my weekend to-do list. I’ll encourage my kids to pick one activity and to do it well rather than cram an entire rainbow of interests into one season. I’ll think twice about agreeing to my own outside obligations. I’ll try to fill every weekend that same easy-going air I remember from my youth so I can pass it on to my kids. When I feel the guilt begin to pile on too much, I’ll encourage my inner child to say, “Oh, yeah? Make me.”
What about you? Are your weekends (or weeks) chaotic? Do you agree to too much and then regret it in the end? Are you comfortable pushing back and dropping items you’ve agreed to when the weight becomes too much to bear? How do you remember your youth? Was it as busy as things seem today?
MarilynAugust 12, 2013 at 10:53 am
My childhood was pretty idyllic, with NO scheduled activities beyond church. On Saturday mornings, we cleaned house and did laundry. The rest of the time, in summer we headed out to play in the woods after breakfast, went home for lunch, then back for dinner. Mom was lucky to see us for three hours a day. We had a swamp-cooler sort of thing for AC back then, and it wasn’t much cooler inside, so we preferred being outside where we could run and scream like hooligans.
During the school year, it wasn’t much different. We helped fix dinner, did dishes and homework, and the rest of the time was ours. No Scouts, no sports, no after-school clubs — and we didn’t want them. We were happy being uncivilized most of the time. 🙂
Marianna HeuslerAugust 12, 2013 at 11:02 am
I do think things were different then – four channels on television – no computers or e-mail to check and we weren’t constantly being battered with bad news on facebook and on twitter. I remember being kicked out of the house also – so my mother could watch fifteen minutes of Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light. I have to constantly remind myself to take time out to breathe.
CJ BurrightAugust 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm
I remember my childhood the same way as yours, but I always thought it was because I lived way out in the boonies (we got maybe two TV channels). Summers were spent entirely outside from sunrise to sunset and beyond, riding horses, traipsing through the woods, trekking to the locals-only swimming hole and spending all afternoon splashing and catching crawdads…ah, the good ol’ days. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
SusanAugust 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm
I work with a woman who has three children. They schedule their days full. It takes her, her husband and both their mothers to get two of the three kids to all their activities. (One is just an infant and everyone has a job, so they take turns.)
I couldn’t do it. And I don’t think it’s fair to the kids. They don’t know what childhood is supposed to be like.