What are the weekends like in your house? Are they restful or stressful? Like most modern parents, you’re stretched too thin. You can definitely use a simple strategy for better weekends.
Are you rest and refreshed come Sunday evening, ready for another week of work or school? Or are you frustrated and frazzled, feeling like you’ve run around all weekend with little to show for it?
If you’re tired of feeling tired on the weekend, I have a solution for you. A printable Weekend Planner is a simple strategy for better weekends.
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Weekends with Children
I spend all week looking forward to Friday. After the endless cycle of wrangling all the children, shuttling them to all the places, working on all the projects, cleaning all the messes, preparing all the meals, and then collapsing into bed at night, I am always ready for a little R&R
But I forget that these same small people also live in my house all the weekend. And I’m self-employed so the work projects are always there.
So while my husband Kyle is home from his corporate job, our weekends look a lot like managing meltdowns, completing chores, and endless errands with church and the occasional family outing punctuating the weekend
Then I read Laura Vanderkam’s book 168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think. She suggested that being intentional about our weekends is necessary to living a productive and fulfilling life. This was a life-changing idea for my family.
We need to plan our weekends and you need to plan your weekends.
Weekends are for More than Chores
With children the chores and errands and arguments are always there. Families are busier than ever with endless demands on our time.
Then we get sucked into social media and non-stop kid requests for Paw Patrol and fruit snacks. If we aren’t purposeful about planning our time, we will get sucked into the endless demands of life on Saturday morning and before we blink, it is Sunday night
Don’t get me wrong, I know most for stay-at-home parent families and working parent families and single parent families, weekends will often be the only time we can accomplish certain chores and errands. Maybe we can’t manage the weekday schedule to fit in a trip to the car dealership for an oil change or the hours post office are too limited to send a package to Aunt Becky.
But we can plan for those chores and errands to be secondary to more important items.
Weekends are for More than Rest
When we were younger and childless, Kyle and I would spend our weekends resting from a busy week. We carried this belief over to weekends with children and at some point we made a shocking discovery:
Weekends were not restful.
With small children, we were still waking up at 6am (or earlier – sob)! Gone were the leisurely days of sleeping in and cuddling into the late morning on Saturdays. Gone were the days of hanging out on the couch watching hours of college football.
Now we’re watching Daniel Tiger before the sun has risen and fielding requests for milk and bananas before we’ve even managed to get a sip of coffee.
We are rarely going to get that deep rest we took for granted from our pre-children days. And that’s okay. Once we reevaluated, we discovered our weekends were for more than rest in this season of life.
Weekends are for Dreams
It is super-cheesy to proclaim that weekends are for dreams. But for me, it’s true. I dreamed of being married and having children. This is my chance to fulfill what I longed for during my single days.
Plus, our weekends are limited. We only have 52 weekends a year with just 13 weekends for each season.
Some seasonal things have an even shorter window. The pumpkin patch is only open for four weekends in October. Strawberry season only lasts a couple weekends in the late spring.
There will only be one pumpkin patch visit when our daughter is 6. There will only be one strawberry picking trip when my son is 3. We will only put up that Christmas tree once in the year 2018.
Kyle and I discovered that when we are purposeful, weekends are an opportunity to increase our happiness. They are the chance to make memories as a family.
Weekends are for Parents’ Dreams
I am also a firm believer that happy parents make happier kids. We need to have dates or time with our spouses. Parents need a chance to have a break and pursue their individual dreams to have successful weeks.
From experience, I know that taking breaks from parenting makes me a happier parent and wife. My blog work is often my break because I enjoy it so much. But I also schedule in time to read, exercise, talk to my extended family, or just watch Netflix. Kyle feels like going to his office is a break from the children, but he still needs time to watch college football or movies and exercise.
I understand this belief is fueled from privilege as I have a supportive partner. Nonetheless, it does not make selfish parent to carve our time for yourself; in fact it will make you a better parent.
For parents with partners or access to child care, the opportunities are endless if you take some time to think about what your dreams are.
For parents without supportive partners or child care, this might mean tackling your dreams involves your children being around. It might look like working on starting your own blog while your child plays at McDonald’s playland. Maybe you want to spend time with friends so you have a mom friend and her child come over for dinner and a movie so the adults can have a mini book club. Maybe you strap the children into a used double Bob stroller while you train for a marathon.
How to Plan the Weekend
When you plan the weekends, it works best to have a set point in the week to consider the weekend. Kyle and I plan on Thursdays. However if you’re coordinating with other people or need tickets to an event, you might want a routine time earlier in the week
Next you need to consider your goals. We have three goal lists we work from: Kyle’s 19 for 2019, my 19 for 2019, and family 19 for 2019. You might also want to consider a seasonal bucket list
Kyle and I found that just discussing these did not really improve the quality of the weekend. We needed a written plan.
Printable Weekend Planner Page
After scouring the web, I couldn’t find a weekend planning worksheet so of course, I made my own printable weekend planner.
We start with filling in the right side. First we choose the Family Goals we are hoping to work on. We also identify a few fun things for either the family as a whole or for individual members
Next, we identify any major or non-routine chores as a reminder of what needs to be accomplished. Like this weekend, we really needed to wash and dry the white slipcover on the sofa.
We have systems for routine chores on the weekend like vacuuming and changing the Beta fish’s water, but we’ll often write those down anyway to reduce our mental load.
Then, we schedule things in on the right side. We start with scheduled events like church and Sunday School and swim lessons.
After that, we plan when the adults are going to have a date and get breaks. This weekend, we didn’t have childcare so we planned an at-home date. Kyle usually goes to Starbucks and reads or daydreams or looks at ESPN on his phone. I tend to work at Starbucks or the library and occasionally have a happy hour with girlfriends or get a manicure.
We still spend the majority of our weekends managing our children’s needs and helping them learn and grow as people. This is our season and most days, we embrace it.
But we have happier weekends with better days now that we are intentional in planning the days and scheduling fun.
You deserve a fun and productive weekend with time for your dreams. It is possible with a printable organizer and a little planning.
Get the printable here: printable weekend planner.