Everyone gets something to look forward to

My kids get quite a long weekend for Presidents’ Day — the Monday, of course, but also Friday, which is a teacher in-service day. Thursday is a half day for the elementary school kids, and the older ones will be doing virtual work. For at least one of them, this is a “virtual asynchronous day” — which means you basically have  homework.

So, theoretically we could have gone somewhere though I often find it hard to plan for this one. It’s only a few weeks after Christmas. I often have been planning spring break and putting together the summer spreadsheet and I am just…planned out.

We’ll wind up doing something — we always do — but as I’ve been thinking through options, I’ve been pondering what makes a weekend feel “good.” A key part of it, I think, is that everyone in the household has something they are looking forward to.

I, personally, have some things I am looking forward to, but I want to make sure the others do too. Here things get complicated. My 14-year-old has tickets to a show, so he’s good. The 2-year-old is going to a birthday party (his first!). My husband is usually happy if he can go to the gym a few times, though he does like to ski too. My daughter said she wanted to go to a restaurant (we went to Moshulu for brunch a few weeks ago and she was really taken with the idea of going out for brunch…). Unclear on the 12-year-old and the 7-year-old. I’m sure both would like to have lots of video game time, which they will get, but the 7-year-old in particular is having his screen time limited currently (honestly the 12-year-old should have it more limited) so we’ll need to go a little deeper on their requests. Or I guess I can feel that as long as they are getting some video game time they’ll have something to look forward to!

Anyway, it doesn’t always happen, but it’s something to aim toward. That means adults too! Of course, a key part of having something to “look forward to” is that it is planned in advance. That means thinking through the weekend a few days ahead of time. In the past I’ve suggested carving out a time on Wednesday to think through the weekend, which can work, though with a 4.5 day weekend earlier is probably better. Maybe next year we’ll plan a trip somewhere warm…

(Though it is actually supposed to hit 60 degrees on Friday! Spring may get here yet!)

Would you agree with this “everyone has something to look forward to” idea as a weekend principle?

20 thoughts on “Everyone gets something to look forward to

    1. @SHU- well, Disney is fun, but it takes effort, and some of the satisfaction will come in the memories, whereas the video games are RIGHT THERE. It’s like cereal for dinner vs. going out for a steak dinner. The latter is superior but, you know, the cereal is there in your pantry and it tastes pretty good…

    2. Daughter would prefer roller coasters (probably not Disney specifically) to video games, but that’s only because she knows she can play pretty much as much video games as she wants.

  1. I LOVE this idea. We have a second home in the mountains and so every time we go there it’s a fair amount of work since there are endless projects (we’ve only had it for a few months and it’s still not nearly completely furnished/decorated). My husband looks forward to project time, and I look forward to sleeping in and a more laidback schedule. As for my kids…I guess I assume they should just be super grateful they get to go away and that we have 2 homes! But your post inspired me to ask them so they can start getting excited and we can plan activities if they want to (we usually have zero agenda when we go there since we’re still exploring the area). So I put a recurring reminder on my calendar for dinnertime on Wednesdays to ask the kids what they are looking forward to. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I love this! We are a family of three so it’s easier to plan around, but something to look forward to seems key to avoid wasting a weekend. For us, that’s often brunch or tea and cake after swim lessons somewhere, or a whole afternoon of Lego building. Or ice cream after nursery on a Friday.

    1. Cb – Yep, I hate the idea of a weekend that feels wasted. Time is precious and fulfilling, rejuvenating weekends are a key part of making it feel that way.

  3. I literally just found out today that Monday is also a company holiday for us, so had I known that earlier, I could have planned something reasonable 😛 But I decided to take Friday off too (another BOBW tip) to extend the weekend. One kid has a class and a birthday party so we need to stay in town, husband is going to a car track day, and I just need to figure out what the older kid and I want to do that’s fun. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. I love the IDEA of it, but frankly it’s just more work/planning for me. I feel like I have enough to do without making sure everyone else feels happy. Sorry if I’m the negative nellie here, but it’s that mental load again….

    1. @Jennifer – I totally get it, but my point with this post was more that it was OK for the *adults* to have something to look forward to! As parents it’s easy to create weekends that feature kid want-to-dos and our have-to-dos, but we can have our playdates as well.

  5. I like the idea as well, although tend to agree with Jennifer about it being one more thing for me to make sure happens. However, there is nothing to say that it cant be the same thing every weekend. For example, we have instituted “Starbucks Saturdays.” My husband usually works early saturday mornings and gets home around 8 am. He brings home egg bites for my boys and a big ole cup of coffee for me. We typically eat it while watching TV and the morning is off to a great start for everyone.

    1. @Delia – very true that it can be the same thing, and it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just something that you are genuinely looking forward to!

  6. I definitely agree with this idea. It lets everyone (especially anyone having a rough week) look forward to some upcoming fun, and being able to help choose the weekend activities adds to the excitement. This will also allow for the planning not to fall all on one person.

  7. YES! We live by this approach.

    It’s easy for the parents: every Saturday night, we have a home date night after the kids are in bed. Cocktails, wine, dinner at 10 pm (so nobody tries to join us). It’s a lovely, lovely ritual. Just caffeinate beforehand.

    For the whole family: Sunday night family movie and takeout. It all happens without planning, because it happens every week. Anything more is gravy!

    This weekend the “more” is sleepovers for both kids, Sunday night dinner out with another couple (doing family movie night Monday), and Monday doing a museum and Spanish tapas in downtown DC. So excited for a weekend packed with little pleasures and adventures!

    1. @Kathleen – the museum and tapas sounds like a fun addition! And yes, good to have things planned every weekend that you are looking forward to (so the actual planning is just which restaurant and which movie).

  8. Isn’t it great when your kids start picking things like brunch?!? If the kids are happy and mom can get coffee and mimosas, that is definitely a parenting win.

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