Weekends are pretty full these days. Four out of five kids have regular activities on weekends, and while they don’t have an excessive amount each, I just have a lot of kids. Plus there are playdates and birthday parties and such.
A few years ago, when I did a “realistic ideal week” exercise, I came up with a template for a good weekend. What would make a weekend feel good to *me*? As with many parents, I do the things I have to do. My kids will all get where they need to go and we will end the weekend with groceries and with everyone’s school pictures pre-ordered and with my high schooler’s AP classes/tests registered with the College Board. By asking what I want from a weekend, and then planning weekends with that in mind, I increase the chances of my own satisfaction.
Anyway, it’s a loose template. I want to do a “long” run (I say long in quotes because my long runs tend to mean just more than 4 miles). I want to sing with my choir. I want to have some adults-only fun, and I want to do a half-day family adventure (i.e. often the “big adventure” of “One big adventure, one little adventure” fame).
This past weekend fit that template pretty well. I ran 6 miles with Jane on Saturday morning. I sang with the choir on Sunday morning as I usually do (with my 16-year-old! It was a beautiful morning so we went for a short walk in our robes between rehearsal and the start of the service.). On Saturday afternoon I went to the parent social for my 3-year-old’s preschool. And on Sunday afternoon we went to the very, very crowded and as it turned out hot Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire as a family. We saw jousting and left with a handful of wooden shields.
What else happened this weekend? I took my daughter shopping for clothes for her upcoming birthday. I took her plus the 14-year-old to our new grocery store to check out the sushi bar. My husband took the three younger kids to the Paw Patrol movie (I had dinner with the two older boys during that). We had a tennis lesson — though we thought we had two, but it turns out the Sunday evening session starts on the 8th, not the 1st (this was not at all clear, by the way). One child went to a friend’s birthday party. There was a soccer practice/game, a Scouts meeting, and a parkour class. Making it all fit was complicated and the fit was tight at times. We got back home from the Ren Faire at close to 6 p.m. Sunday, and knew the first round of folks was going to leave at 6:45 (though as it turned out, for the non-existent tennis class…but that group did have to go to parkour too so we wouldn’t have gained a ton of time). We had steaks defrosted for grilling – so we just went for it – getting everything on the table at approximately 6:30. A very quick family dinner! But it did all fit.
In other news: I’m writing a magazine feature on teens/young adults, social media/tech, and mental health. My goal is to be nuanced (it turns out that moral panics about teen behavior are not new. On some dimensions these days, teens are doing better than in decades past, and in some, worse.). Anyway, if you are young enough to have spent your teen years with social media I’d like to talk with you — as always you can email me at laura at lauravanderkam dot com.