Friday, October 4, 2013

No Rush Weekends: A Mini-Manifesto

I'm trying to institute a new household policy around here, and it's called "No Rush Weekends." And even when the whole household can't follow it, I try to follow it on my own as much as I can.  Now that Emmett goes to school five days a week we are trying to be more like normal 9-5 families, and just work on the week days and do family and personal things on the weekends.  For years TH and I have been fitting in work in whatever tiny slivers of time we can manage to scrape together, be it nap time, school time, weekends, whenever we can slip away and cross one more thing off the never ending list of work tasks.  It is kind of the trap of being self employed, and the down-side of setting your own hours.  It is very hard not to take work home with you, especially when your studio is attached to your house.
But now I am trying to set some boundaries for myself, which is, of course, a hard thing to do.  But I finally realized that no one was in charge of my schedule except me.  And I am trying to be more disciplined during my work week so that I can relax with less guilt on the weekends.  Seems so obvious now, when I write it down.  But I hardly ever sit down and read a book, or a magazine, take a walk with a friend, lie in the autumn sun, enjoy the outdoors, or do any of those wonderful things about living in the country.
And a lot of this process is also letting myself, and all of us, off the hook for many of the things we all feel pressured to spend our time doing, like active involved parenting, and house cleaning, and all of those sorts of productive activities. If Emmett wants to wake up on Saturday and watch a movie? Fine.  If he wants to go outside and sit in the dirty driveway in his underpants, that's fine by me too.  If he immediately wants me to play trucks, or read him a really long factual book about construction equipment?  Mmmm, maybe in an hour or so.  We all need a little time for independent play.  Am I sitting and leafing through a magazine, or catching up on my blog reading in the middle of a shitstorm of a mess?  Very probably.  Sounds kind of selfish I guess, but it is pretty wonderful to just sit and breathe, without always working my way down a list of tasks, or running out the door to a playdate or the children's museum.  And yes, eventually the laundry and the vacuuming need to be done.  But not clogging up the weekend with work stress makes those tasks a little less onerous as well.  And sometimes this means that an order goes out a day later than I had hoped.  And for now, I guess I'm ok with that.
And of course one of the most amazing things about this is that we actually get to do things together as a family, all three of us, instead of one parent working while the other takes care of Emmett.  Now we can do outings, or not outings, all together, and get some nice calm quiet time together, and have time to enjoy each other.  If we never take the time do that, what on earth are we working so hard for the rest of the time?

And of course this won't always work.  Craft shows are always on weekends, for one thing.  And this system will only cause less stress if it is a flexible system.  But I am trying to take that extra step to ask myself "Is this something that can wait until Monday?" before I break up my weekend zen.  And of course I mostly really enjoy my work, so it is a slippery slope. But it is still work, and this is the proverbial "stop and smell the roses."  I'm just getting to it now at age 35, but I'm glad I'm finally here.  Here's hoping I stay here!

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