Today’s post is by Tricia of Raising Humans. Tricia shares ideas for simple, sane, and satisfying celebrations throughout the year – ways to acknowledge milestones and recognize accomplishments without going overboard. You can check out her other posts here.
“Yay! It’s the weekend time!”
My daughter spoke those words into the darkness as my husband and I tucked her in one Friday night. She couldn’t have been more than two years old at the time. But she’d already caught on that there is magic in the air as the weekend dawns, even in those few, dark minutes before bed. She couldn’t name the days of the week but she knew the feeling of a Friday night. She knew that the days ahead would be fun. And she knew that it was special.
Weekends are an important time for families. They are a time when the world slows just a bit. Parents can linger over a second or third cup of coffee and little ones can play in pajamas until noon. Schedules relax to allow time for cuddles on the couch, movies on the TV, and games strewn across the dining room table. And even if, at first glance, the chaos of a Saturday morning resembles the most manic Monday, whenever I take a step back, I realize that there is always something undeniably special about Saturday that Monday will never have. Togetherness.
Now that school is back in session and ballet classes, soccer practices, and homework snatch up most available weekday hours, chances are you’re feeling the weight of the new routines and schedules. Maybe you’re missing the lazy summer days when the kids were right there by your side. If that’s the case, here’s some inspiration to help you make the most of the weekend ahead.
Plan ahead, just a little
I know, I know. The last thing I ever want to do on a Wednesday or Thursday night is make another plan or look at another calendar. But even the quickest glance at your calendar combined with the briefest, 5-minute conversation with your family, will go a long way. What’s already on your calendar for the next few days? Where are your pockets of free time? And what do you want to do with them? Is there a movie coming out that you’ve all wanted to see? An exhibit at a nearby museum? Or will the weather be right for some time outdoors? Jot down a few ideas so that come noon on Saturday you won’t all be staring blankly at each other, searching for what to do.
Work in some regular traditions
One Friday afternoon, over three years ago, my daughter and I had cuddled on the couch and were working dutifully through a rather large stack of picture books. I didn’t want to move or distract myself from Olivia the Pig and her antics. So I called and ordered a pizza. And Friday pizza night was born. I don’t even love pizza all that much but I look forward to pizza night all week long. For us, pizza night is the start of the weekend. It’s all of us together and everyone eats without an argument, freeing us to catch up on the week, talk about upcoming plans, and remember what it’s like to have dinner as a family. On pizza nights, we release the stress of the week and just simply celebrate that the weekend is here.
Save it for the weekend
In our home, screen time and after-dinner dessert are weekend treats only. This one serves a sort of dual purpose, making weekends more special and preventing arguments during the week. Our kids know that the TV remains off and the iPads tucked away from Monday through Friday. They know that, no matter how much they beg, if they are still hungry after dinner has been cleared on a Wednesday, they can have a banana from the fruit bowl but not the ice cream from the freezer. And they know that come Saturday and Sunday, they will get to munch on waffles while watching cartoons and squeal as a teenager piles scoop after scoop of chocolate ice cream into a bowl just for them. Naturally, the cartoons and waffles and ice cream aren’t the celebration on their own. More important is that we sit there with them in the morning and indulge in a cone ourselves in the evening. Nothing celebrates the gift of weekend family time like sitting outside of the ice cream shop with the people you love the most.
Go the distance
During the week, we stick pretty close to home. When we walk out our front door chances are we’re headed to the park we can walk to, the grocery store that takes all of five minutes to get to, or, the farthest flung venture of our week, the seven minute ride to school. If I wander more than ten miles from our house, it’s a big day.
But there is a big, grand world out there and it needs to be explored. I’m not talking about weekend getaways, but I am talking about the park that takes a half hour to drive to or the museum that requires us to cross the river and duck through the woods. So we pile into the car, settle in, and see the world right around us. On the way to our destination, we’ll pretend we’re on a mini road trip—music cranked up, toys and books scattered across the backseat, snacks passed back and forth. We’ll sing and tell jokes and play I Spy. Because it’s the weekend. And just like a celebration doesn’t need to be accompanied by meticulously planned decorations and cupcakes, neither does an adventure need to be wild and exotic. We’ve had plenty of adventures at our local zoo. The weekend is the time for an adventure that is just a bit farther than your own backyard.
Some of my favorite weekend celebrations come in the quiet moments of a Sunday afternoon. We might all be doing different things, cooking dinner and packing lunches, finishing up laundry or carrying out an intricate game of house or school, but we’re all there together, wandering in and out of each other’s paths and dipping in and out of each other’s activities. When it’s four in the afternoon and we’re all together and just settling into the groove of a Sunday, sometimes that can be the most beautiful celebration of them all.