why it's okay to not plan out every second of the weekend
My son needs a routine, and quite frankly, so do I. Right now, though, there are very few things that he does at a reasonable pace, and that affects the schedule. That means dinners take over an hour, the bedtime routine drags on for close to two hours, and forget about getting into the car and just going without having to look around to ask questions about the entire neighborhood first. It's a struggle. Every. Single. Day. Yesterday was a meltdown day. I knew the problem before we even got to the meltdown, but I was still pushing so hard just to stay on track. My son knew better than I did. He knew that we were packing too much into our day, that we didn't have enough time to go at a reasonable pace, and that sooner or later things were gonna get ugly. By the end of the day, his body told him that it needed to get ugly, and it was meltdown time.
The past couple days have been a reminder to me about why I try very hard not to plan out every single moment of our days especially on the weekends when what we need most is to recharge. Honestly, it can be never-ending...With soccer and playdates and all other kinds of activities. I mean, really, at what point did we all decide it was a good idea to schedule out every single moment of our time and never take a breath? Yeah, this is honestly killing us from the stress of it all. With a highly sensitive child in our house and two parents who are pretty close to that if not that themselves, it gets pretty challenging when we pack it all in. All of the transitions from one thing to the next get extremely exhausting, and we're left wondering why we did this all to ourselves. Oh yeah, this was supposed to be fun, right?
Quite frankly, I just don't believe in scheduling that extensively anymore. When I think about it, it actually feels more like a significant burden when I'm in the middle of it all rather than when I have it all together. Then, I just keep asking myself, why did I take on so much when all I wanted to do was relax. We just can't help it, though, can we? It's ingrained in us to want to constantly plan our lives and make sure there's something that we should be doing at every second of the day. Guess what, though? Those seconds would be much better spent if the rigidity of it all were taken out of the equation.
See, it's not the fact that we needed to have a plan to begin with that's really the problem. It's when we get it in our minds that we need to follow it to a tee or else we'll miss out. We build up what we think is an amazing schedule for our weekend plans (which may even be more about telling people that we have amazing weekend plans), and then we're rushing around trying to fit it all in. It just becomes an exhausting way to actually miss out on what's really important to us in the time we have with our families. Putting this all into practice to find more slow moments is a little easier said than done, but starting with the following components is a great way to try it out.
plan for feelings not for tasks
If you end every weekend feeling more exhausted than when you started, then somethings gotta give. Maybe you're creating space in your life for all kinds of errands or to-do items or maybe you're just spending all your time dragging the kids to their activities without hesitation. When we plan for our tasks and not for the way that we want to feel in those moments, we become slaves to the constant grind of life that dictates our days for us. Free yourself from always thinking about what you should be doing. At the start of each weekend, decide on one word that will become the goal for the weekend for how you want to feel at the end. Whether it's happy, content, accomplished, or strong, make it something that will guide your days to a more fulfilling outcome rather than just a set of tasks that will leave you feeling exhausted in the end.
only schedule 2 activities per day
This rule has had a major impact on our family's wellbeing and the way we feel at the end of our weekends. Instead of trying to pack it all in on the two days that we really need to be calming down from the week, we only choose to plan for 2 activities per day at the very most. That's it. Two and only two. We've found that if we try to cram more than that in, our day becomes about trying to beat the clock instead of enjoying the moments that we're doing those special activities. Slowing down and spending more time on just those two activities actually helps us to feel like we are accomplishing what we set out to while we enjoy the weekend at the same time. If something else comes up that we'd like to do, then we happily add it to our day. The point, though, is to leave it open to possibilities that can be enjoyed as they come. If you overpack your weekend days, those possibilities won't have a chance to be noticed, and they'll pass you by. Those are the kinds of things we look back on and realize were actually the most important things to be spending our time on anyway.
build in plenty of transition time
I cannot stress enough the importance of transition time. Going from one activity to the next is so draining. It's just like having a jam-packed sightseeing vacation with the kids that you need an extra vacation to recover from. Yeah, let's not do that every weekend. Building in a nice cushion of in-between time surrounding the things your family needs and wants to do over the weekend can alleviate some of that stress of always trying to move to the next thing. You've got the time. You just need to build it into your plan just like everything else. This is what will make you more relaxed when your daughter stops to pick flowers on the way out of the grocery store, when your son sees animals in the clouds when you're trying to get him in the car for soccer, or even when your spouse just needs to talk to you instead of getting the last bit of dishes in the dishwasher on Sunday night. Knowing that you actually have some extra time to enjoy these moments can be the thing that saves your weekends from tumbling into disaster.
So take a step back and really think about whether it's possible for you to be more flexible in your weekend plans. If you implemented only one of these ideas, would you feel calmer and more relaxed? Would that give you a better feeling about allowing your kids to take the time that they need to enjoy something? Will that make you ultimately feel like a better mom for bringing more calm into your families days together? If you're willing to put your family's wellbeing above the propensity to constantly be on top of things, then you're so completely capable of giving them and yourself some incredible, memorable weekends together. Make the changes. Feel empowered. Be okay with new possibilities. Enjoy.