I don't have any pictures to post from the weekend. Well, there's one that Henry insisted on taking of the tower he built with Jenga blocks, but that's it. When we came home Friday evening after work + soccer, I immediately made a To Do list for the weekend. Friday evening may not be the best time to face the numerous tasks waiting for me. You may recall, Fridays, can be extremely stressful around here.
When I looked at the list of not-so-quick-n-easy chores, I almost had an anxiety attack. Certainly as close as I've come in ten or so years. Besides not knowing how I'd accomplish it all in just 48 hours (34, if I was allowed to sleep), I was also VERY dismayed to see that not one of the things on the list involved spending time with my children. You know, those two little boys who I barely see all week long? They weren't on my weekend list.
Well, this is not going to work. Now what?
I needed to grade eighty middle school projects, do seven loads of laundry, go to at least two grocery stores, get the oil changed, wash the windows (seriously, you can barely see out of them), balance my checkbook, reset the water softener and mow the front and back lawns. Definitely no time to spend just being. With my children.
Typically, I'm all about compromises but in this moment, I realized that a compromise wouldn't work. This was an all or nothing situation. Either I plowed through my To Do list, stopping only to eat twice a day OR I spend the weekend being present with and for my children. I could give them my full attention which they crave and deserve or I could multitask our way into family dysfunction.
You know the saying, The days are long but the years are short? Well, it's ubiquitous for a reason. It's very, very true. My boys are 4 1/2 and 6 1/2. This is their one and only childhood. I can share it with them. Or I can get stuff done. I cannot do both.
By the end of the evening, I knew what I had to do. I tore up the list. Over the next two days, some things got done... like the laundry. Actually, I think that's all that I finished. And you know what? The world didn't end. The projects are slowing being graded--fifteen or so at a time, on my lunch breaks. I bought milk and frozen pizzas at Menard's (oh yes, I did) and we just pretend the windows have a fancy UV tint to them.
I noticed a difference in my boys. They were calmer and happier once they realized that the pace of the weekend was going to be slower. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed them. I (almost) relaxed.
I have no idea when I'll get the oil changed or mow the lawn and I'm pretty sure this weekend will be just as filled with want to's and have to's. I need to get better at separating work tasks from home tasks and at separating both of those from parenting.
Real time parenting--not add it to my list parenting.
I'll let you know how it goes. But for now, here's the Jenga tower: