Sometime last year, I noticed a pattern. My weekends would fall prey to either a) hyper-scheduled with kids’ soccer, theater and music lessons, birthday and other parties, and then a mad rush to drop the darlings at their dad’s house for 5 p.m. Saturday drop off, bolt home to shower-and-shave-unsundry-bits, apply full-face of makeup and whatever low-cut number then jumping on the N train to meet my latest OKCupid victim for $17 craft cocktails, then, a Sunday full of errands, yoga, then work-catch-up. Or, b) plan nothing at all and find myself with bored, bickering children annoying their bewildered mom, followed by my free day Netflix and ice cream binging — all the while feeling guilty about not working.
I am not alone. According to a recent Enterprise Rent-A-Car survey, nearly seven out of 10 people work at least one weekend per month, typically working nine hours. On a weekend! A surprising (to me) 63 percent said their employers expect them to work over the weekend.
I decided it was time to reclaim my weekends.
Weekday evenings can be more-or-less out of my control. I try to limit my kids’ activities to one or two per time, and stick to a routine that includes home-cooked breakfasts and dinners, and our beloved Friday night movie night, which we watch while eating a dinner of snacks and fancy cocktails in stemware, adored with crazy sums of fruit, straws, paper umbrellas and, for a certain mommy, a shot of whatever is handy. None the less, finding free fun time before Saturday and Sunday can be tough.
I decided to change it up. Yes, we are beholden to Saturday morning soccer, and the occasional social invitation — that is all great, positive parts of our routine. And Sundays when my kids are typically with their dad may well include some work for me. But around these obligations, I make sure that we do a mix of planning fun, cool things on our time off, as well as doing nothing at all. Here is a list of activities Helena and Lucas and I have enjoyed since the beginning of the year:
- Taken a weekend getaway trip to Chicago to visit my brother’s family, including meeting my new niece (I love me some baby! Especially one who I’m related to!). We flew into the city for our four-day-stay at their North Side neighborhood, where I rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car an awesome Hyundai Santa Fe I’d reserved the less-expensive Nissan Versa. But when the reservation attendant heard my daughter whining that she wanted a minivan (because she’s cool like that), she silently upgraded us for free! I have mixed feelings about rewarding whining, even if I got a bigger, nicer car out of my child’s bad behavior!
- Spent the afternoon reading a novel in the sun while my kids played, rode bikes, bounced a basketball and jumped rope at our local playground.
- Took the Roosevelt Island tram, enjoying New York City and East River views, landing two blocks from Dylan’s Candy Bar, where we ate some stuff we shouldn’t had, and took the tram back.
- Drove up state with my boyfriend, where we stayed at a darling in that had an old-fashioned (original) two-lane bowling alley in the restaurant! We hiked, drove up and down the Sullivan County mountains, and ate like kings / hogs. If you don’t have a car, you can rent on very affordably from Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
- Attended both STOMP! and Wicked, and loved every minute of both.
- Kids and I went hiking just north of the city, feeling grateful for the fresh air and not-city views.
- Let kids veg-watch some really, really stupid cartoons that were essentially blatant ads for even stupider toys, while I felt totally intellectually superior while I read the Sunday New York Time from cover to cover.
- Snuggled up in my bed and watched with kids New York Times science and food videos, as well as some on Syrian refugees because I’m a mean mom like that.
- Baked a bunch of unhealthy desserts that didn’t turn out super-great but made a mess and we had fun.
How about you? What do you do to get the most of your Saturday and Sunday and reclaim your weekend? Share in the comments!
This post was created in partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.