Finding space in full days

photo-411In my ebook, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend, I wrote that there are 60 hours between that 6 p.m. Friday night beer, and that 6 a.m. Monday morning alarm. If you sleep 8 hours a night (oh, I wish, but more about that later), that would leave 36 hours for other things. Even if you have a lot of stuff on the calendar, such as kid sports and birthday parties, there is often open time. The key to not feeling like the weekend is a forced march is being aware of that space and not spoiling it with half-hearted housework, unfocused email checks, etc.

This weekend had a certain intensity, at least for me, but open time as well. Friday was particularly low-key. After I picked up kid #2 from Lego Club, the evening was open. I wound up reading on the porch and then in bed for about 2 hours after the kids went down to have a “sleepover” together in the basement (they played a board game together beautifully!). It was all work stuff, but mostly interesting work stuff, so that’s good.

Saturday started early. I set my alarm for 6, pumped and got ready, and went to NYC on the 7:21 train. I spoke at the Bullish Conference. It was an enthusiastic group, which was nice. I did need to race out, though, to get back to Penn Station and the noon train. I feel like I am often racing to catch trains, but my husband had been dealing with the kids all morning, including a swim practice and soccer game, so I thought I shouldn’t dally. I worked both ways on Amtrak. I made it home at 2, and plunged back into kid mode. After I got the baby down for a nap and my husband took the 4-year-old to the Y, I guided the 6-year-old through writing thank you notes for his recent birthday. This was somewhat painful, as he is not a confident writer. There were a lot of letter inversions, which frustrated him. But we got it done.

Our sitter came at 6:30 and my husband and I Uber-ed to downtown Philly for a friend’s 40th birthday. It was a great dinner, and we went to karaoke after, but I was fading. I intended to leave at 10:30 but my husband never wants to leave a party so I wound up coming back by myself at 11:15. I was in bed by 11:50, but the baby woke up at 12:30, and then again at 5, and never went back to sleep, which was trouble, as I had a long run planned at 7 a.m.

Like the thank you cards, this was slightly painful. Lynda was cheery and a good conversation partner, which made it bearable, and we did 9 miles in the cold fog with the vines all bright red and yellow. I was a little annoyed with myself for staying out too late, as that kept the long run from being as awesome as it could have been on a beautiful fall morning. I can’t control the baby’s wake-ups but I could have controlled that if I had thought through how the evening would play out. Oh well. I survived. By the end I felt much better. Running 9 miles in the cold does wake a person up.

I came home, got breakfast and showered and then we went as a family to a trampoline birthday party in New Jersey. The birthday boy’s family lives in Europe, so we don’t see them often, but they were in the US for a bit and decided to have their kid’s 8th birthday here. We’ve known them for a dozen years, so it was good to catch up (when I wasn’t chasing the 9 month old everywhere).

We came back at 2:30, and then the weekend chilled out considerably. I got the baby down for a nap, and I took a much-needed nap myself from 2:45-4. Then I got up, and spent the next 90 minutes playing with various combos of kids. One surprisingly mellow stretch involved taking the baby out on the porch and just sitting there, watching him cruise around. It wasn’t completely relaxed, as I had to be ready to get him if he crawled down the stairs, but he was mostly exploring in non-dangerous ways, which was nice.

We had family dinner (for the adults: scallops and Asian cashew salad, courtesy Costco). The kids had baths and tried on Halloween costumes, and were in bed by 8:15 – leaving enough time for a glass of wine and some journaling. Well, until 9:30 when my 8-year-old decided he needed to get up and talk with me, but it was a good conversation. He’s planned out the names of his children and when they’ll be born. He told me I’d live to go to my grand-daughter Catherine’s wedding. I’ll be 89. My husband will still be alive (at age 100!) but won’t feel up to going, which is really too bad. As I noted, he always likes a party…

On one level, packing in a trip to NYC, swimming and soccer, an adult birthday dinner and karaoke, a 9-mile run and a kid birthday party in another state would sound like a packed weekend. But there was still space. There is almost always space. Now I just need to get a bit more sleep…

Photo: Rock-climbing wall at the trampoline place. I like the Elsa princess dress combo with the rock-climbing halter.

10 thoughts on “Finding space in full days

  1. Your husband and my husband have similar party approaches. Although mine is a serious introvert, if we are out with friends whom he enjoys he will not leave. I’m already thinking ahead to this Thursday night’s supper club, when I’ll want to be rested for a Friday of serious work meetings.

    1. @Griffin – yep, if you know this tendency, then you can plan on it. I know I need my sleep, and I cannot plan on getting it in the morning right now. The only way to sleep in is to go to bed earlier!

  2. This weekend was a harsh reminder that I actually have more energy/motivation when our weekends are packed full. The lazy hanging around sounds nice in theory, but are somehow more draining.

    1. @Ana – I love my anchor events because yes, sitting around all weekend with the kids can get draining. Especially if they are bickering. The board game playing was a nice change.

      1. we even HAD anchor events, it just…wasn’t enough. Next weekend I’m going all out. Not taking a break for a nap that may or may not happen.

        1. I relate to the “potential” nap all too well… Entire days may be structured around the nap of the toddler – which is so satisfying when happening but can be really frustrating for the whole family when the said toddler in fine dosen’t need it…

  3. ahh, that feeling of actively chasing around a younger kid while everyone is relaxing and just kind of casually hanging out with their older ones — know it intimately 🙂

    we did very little all weekend. i mean, lots of playground time & home play time. i was mostly solo parenting so i treated myself to a 4 hr stretch of babysitting on Sunday afternoon, during which I read, took a 2 hr nap, and went for a run.

    re: never leaving a party – so not our style. we are both lame and tired. ha! i didn’t realize that your husband was 11 yrs old (josh is 6 yrs older).

    1. @SHU- it makes kids sports games particularly draining too. Other parents get to watch their offspring play and casually chat with others. We are inevitably trying to keep someone from eating dirt.
      He stayed until 1, so it was good I left!

  4. My fourth child is a few weeks younger than yours. Your post reminds me that I’m satisfied to have children who are slow to develop physically. No crawling till the end of soccer season, I hope!

    Great post. I identify, including the Thank you note struggles. We’ve also started piano lessons.

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