My son had joined the ski club, which took place on Friday nights. This meant he wasn’t home and tucked into bed until after 9 p.m., a little too late for a him at 9 years old. But because it seemed very important to him, I let him try it out. So the next morning when he had a basketball game bright and early (something else he really wanted to do), I was up while it was still dark trying to pull myself together enough to make sure everyone else got up early and did what they were supposed to do before we headed out for a Saturday of family fun time.
As I was getting everyone out the door in an orderly fashion (or yelling at my son to get his water bottle and get in the damn car so we wouldn’t be late, whatever), he was rolling around on the floor throwing a tantrum saying he couldn’t go because “it is too early for my body to work.” I hear ya kid. Me too. But that is no excuse. We are all up already, and we are going.
This was too much for him. It was too much for me too, and we all know very well when it’s too much for Mom, everything goes to shit. I don’t have to explain why — you already know.
I really wanted to be in my robe eating cake over the kitchen sink, but on this lovely morning, I would have settled for being hung upside down by my toenails instead of trying to find my way out of this fresh hell. Nothing like wrangling a tantruming kid in the car while his brother and sister are half-asleep and complaining about how awful their lives are, all the while telling them you are going to have a nice family day, running around enjoying all the commitments you made, and they are all going to like it, so they better start acting normal — like, now.
When we have a weekend with no plans, I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Only wait, yes, I do abso-fuckin-lutely know: nothing. And it is glorious.
There is something so sensational about having a free day, when you are always running around like a chicken with your head cut off, that it stops you in your tracks. At first, you may have a nagging feeling you need to be somewhere, or you are forgetting something important, or you are a lazy sloth, or surely you must really be forgetting something, but before you know it, the feeling passes and you are breathing a sigh of relief because you can be on your own schedule for the day. You can roll around with your dog, pants are optional, and for fuck’s sake, you can take a long shower and not run out the door with wet hair.
We are always talking about how busy we are: “We are just too busy. We can’t.” “I am so busy I can’t remember my own name.” “I wish I could start doing that, but I am too busy.”
Most families would trade in a busy Saturday for a relaxing day with no commitments so they can make the day up as they go. Maybe throw the kids in the car and go see a movie at your leisure without trying to squeeze it in between sports, grocery shopping, and errands. And how fun would it be to call that couple you have been wanting to get to know better over for dinner because you actually have the time to do it , and lo and behold, so do they? Maybe staying in your pajamas all day and only eating food that has to be microwaved will leave you feeling rejuvenated and more ready to tackle the week ahead.
Adults need time to slow down and be alone with our thoughts. Most of us get sick and tired of running all over Timbuktu, forgetting this or that because there is just too much to remember and too many things we need to do.
Our kids need the respite too. We think they have endless energy, but our kids can also feel overscheduled and exhausted, even if we don’t think they are. And before we know it, they break down right before our very eyes. What feels like too many outings, games, parties, and commitments for some, might not feel that way for others, so every once in a while, listen to that voice in your head that tells you that you need to be still for a day or two, then actually do it.
And while you are at it, I highly recommend stocking up on soft pretzels and Cheez Whiz. You can run around and tend to everything tomorrow. Let yourself have a commitment-free day at home. An added bonus: There are always memories to be made, and it’s reflecting back on these slow days in our cozy home that often bring me the greatest joy.