Working mums (and dads) – what are we to do? How do we spend quality time with our kids at the weekend and how do we do this when it’s just one parent?
Our kids spend the week with the choice that we made for their childcare and in many ways it might be more engaging than being at home. Ours goes to a local nursery for a few days a week and then she’s with her dad on the other days because he works weekends. He’s able to take her to a playgroup on Tuesdays (and chat to other parents – my idea of heaven…when do I get to find time to meet other parents??). She gets stacks of variety in the week. Then the weekend hits and I look at the two days every time thinking what on earth can we do that she hasn’t already done in the week? Guilt time! I also feel the pressure that these are the only two days I get off from work a week and have to use the time to do chores, run errands, fit in seeing family and friends as well and fit in engaging toddler activities. I have found myself bouncing from weekend to weekend this year not really getting anything that I wanted done (like this blog). The tiredness never left me and I would wake up on Monday mornings feeling like I hadn’t had a weekend.
So recently I made a stand and decided to claim some of my time back.
Firstly I stopped the pressure. It was only coming from me and no one else. My girl clearly loves me and she doesn’t care one jot if we spend money to take part in a “child friendly” activity, or if if we just have a walk down the pier. It’s hanging out together which is the key. Simple stuff but it’s taken me ages to get that one. With this in mind I’ve started to ask her to help me around the house rather than trying to fit in chores when she naps. She loves helping out – who knew? Give her a dustpan and brush and she’ll put more mess back on the floor than was there in the first place, however it means that I get some breathing room to get what I need to get done and she’s happy because she’s doing something that she wouldn’t be doing in the week (eh Daddy? looking at you…) and she’s hanging out with me.
Next up is getting strict with visits and visiting. I often don’t have the car at the weekend and when I do I usually plan a visit. I’ve started to unplan that a bit and inviting people to come and see me if possible. I don’t have many friends in Brighton so it’s been tough but I’ve had to stop long drives to London and beyond or else the only alone time I get to spend with my girl is in a car. It means saying no a bit more (especially to those that want to stay the weekend) and getting better with time management.
I’ve also been trying to find more local parents to hang out with at the weekend but that’s a pretty tough nut to crack. Weekend parents come in twos. They talk amongst themselves and often not to lone parents at the library or the park. They are safe in their numbers and I usually too tired to say “HI” or say “HIIIIIIIII” too enthusiastically and they feel the need to back slowly away. At least in the week all the lone parents can link up in play groups but they don’t have them at weekend because usually both parents aren’t working and don’t need that support. Well I do!! COME AND TALK TO ME WEEKEND PARENTS – I DON’T BITE!! (I appreciate that I might not be coming off as approachable with this but I promise I’m nice k?).
I think the thing to do is just cope right? Most of the time I muddle through and then when hubby is around at the weekends it’s so special and the Little One absolutely loves having us both about. It means we make the most of when we are all together. Here’s the the weekends!