Too often I’ve heard my son, Isaac, scream, “I HATE Saturdays!! They are the WORST day of the week!!!” The rest of kids grump in agreement, but Isaac gets heard over the murmuring of the others since he, as my mom says, has two volumes regardless of mood: louder and loudest.
At the time of these charades and full-body protests from my son, I’ve been torn between pulling out my video camera to document the hilarity of the drama, but also thinking in disbelief, “You have no idea how good you’ve got it!” or “Some kids would be so grateful if all they have to do is pick up their room and vacuum.”
Asking them to do a few extra chores on Saturday morning (deemed Alley Family Workday by yours truly) is no reason to label the day with venemous spite, it’s just good parenting.
But then I got thinking.
I’m hardly raising my kids to be lazy loafs – we all work hard! What would be the problem with more playtime on a regular basis so my kids leave the house with fun memories?
As a wellness coach, I completely understand the benefits of play for physical, mental, and emotional health.
But I don’t like the idea of having an empty day. I just want a PLAN! It can still be fun even if the spontaneity is taken out of it.
Wide open days end up going two ways: I either schedule last minute work projects to fill the time (cleaning, business stuff, yard work…) or I feel like time gets away, productivity tanks and frustration takes over because I feel like I’ve “wasted time.” Being purpose driven by nature, I go nuts over “wasted time.”
I don’t know about you, but there always seems to be more bickering when the day isn’t structured. I admit, more than half the time I’m the one who starts it because I get the grumps when there’s no plan. On the flip side, the kids want to trade in their parents when there is too much work on the calendar.
As much as I love getting things done, I also love having a good time.
What I was noticing was that, as an adventurer at heart, there was some serious lack of adventures on my calendar. The weekdays fill with kid stuff, homeschool, trying to get a business going and the necessary tasks that go into putting food on the table from grocery store to plate and running a household. My oldest has also been known to bemoan, “Mom, you don’t do anything fun!” (He knows which buttons to push.) “Me!? What do you mean?! … WAIT!.. I AM FUN!” It seemed like it was easier to have fun when I was single and didn’t feel the responsibility of adulting.
And then I came across a phenomenal book by Laura Vanderkam called, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, where she brilliantly stated:
In a world of constant connectivity, even loafing time must be consciously chosen, because time will be filled with something, whether it’s consciously chosen or not – and not choosing means that the something that fills our hours will be less fulfilling then the something our remembering selves will likely wish we’d elected to do.
For a planner like me, loosely structuring my downtime on the weekends to play so I can create those memories, rejuvenate AND still feel productive creates WINS all around!
To avoid the weekend grumps, here is what to do:
#1: Start with your Dream 100.
Before even sitting down to think about what that looks like, Laura suggests coming up with your Dream 100. If you could pick your top 100 things to do in life, what would they be? The word “dream” is key here. Don’t sensor your list. Anything goes. If you want to add in climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro in Kenya, put that down. What I found in creating my list was that about 15 of them were long-distant traveling excursions (for now) and the rest were local. How many people live in Paris and have never been to the Eiffel Tower, right?
#2: Loosely plan your weekend from your Dream 100.
From your list, start to create your