Many of my clients, especially ones with children, tell me that weekends can often be a stressful time because of all the things that need to get done. They have the expectation that weekends are for relaxation but by Sunday evening they are left frazzled and fed up because they crammed everything in last minute or argued with their partner for not pulling their weight with the chores.
I have to admit I used to feel the same when my kids were little but then I made some changes to how I set up my expectations and it helped. I have shared these tips with many clients over the years and got lots of feedback that it has really worked for them too so want to share them with you.
Get Some Structure To Your Weekend
When I start mentioning structuring weekends to clients I often hear “But weekends are supposed to be relaxing. Who wants a schedule at weekends?” but I am not talking about heavily scheduling your weekend.
Here’s how to do it and why some structure works.
I suggest sitting with your partner on a Friday evening and break the weekend into 6 blocks; Saturday morning, afternoon and evening and then the same for Sunday. Write a list of to-dos and who is going to be responsible for what and then schedule them into the blocks of time. You and your partner aren’t mind-readers so taking time to discuss what you both want out of the weekend helps you achieve it.
It also works because by knowing what needs to be done and planning it makes you feel more in control and less overwhelmed.
Following a loose schedule can avoid one partner feeling overwhelmed and the other feeling nagged and ambushed, it’s smart for both to make your expectations known.
Communicate With Your Partner
Many women keep the to-do list in their heads and not written down so their partner is blissfully unaware and is looking forward to a relaxing weekend because they think they don’t have anything to do. This leaves the woman overwhelmed and probably irritated that she has to do “everything” and seems to be the only responsible one so has to take on the role of “nag” to get any help.
If you both write down your expectations of the weekend no one needs to mind-read and this aids communication. It’s a rare person who sees a list of 20 to-dos written down and says ‘’I’ll do those 3 and you do the rest” but if the list is only in your head, your partner doesn’t know what is expected of them.
Creating a schedule helps couples decide together what needs to get done and how best to use the time they have left to spend with the family and of course some time alone.
Don’t Forget To Build In Time For Fun and Relaxation
Life of course shouldn’t be just about chores and errands.
I think a great weekend contains 3 things: alone time, couple time and family time.
Not necessarily the same amount of time for each but get all of them in there somewhere and so you are not just spend your whole time doing errands, chores and sports practices.
Some alone time for each person to do whatever they want is a must; exercise, meet a friend for coffee or even play video games if that’s your thing.
We all need a bit of alone time to de-stress or else life is one long drudge punctured by exhaustion.
Couple time doesn’t necessarily mean date night if funds for a babysitter are short. Get the kids in bed early, not up late because it is the weekend and order in take-out for just you and your partner and sit down and be able to have a conversation alone.
Lastly, family time is very important. You had kids because you wanted a family so slow down and enjoy them by doing something fun together. Do you want your kids to have memories of family fun or how good mom is at doing laundry. I know laundry needs to be done but family time doesn’t have to be a big event like going to the zoo. Go kick a ball around in the back yard or sit and play a board game for 45 minutes.
Here is an interview I did with Reader’s Digest where I discussed these tips. I hope you find them helpful too!