10 Aug 2015

One Mistake We Made This Weekend

Weekends are the life jacket that help keep us floating, head-above-water, the rest of the week, aren’t they?

I love weekends.

I love family time on the weekends.

I love reading and I especially love doing lots of nothing. I mean, I always have one or two things I want to accomplish on the weekend, but more and more I have learned to build in space for nothing.

Space for sitting out by the fish ponds and just watching the fish. Or watching the kids play catch with Peter. Or picking flowers off the tree that seems to be delayed in this beautiful, perpetual state of pink blossoms.

Sure, I also want to wash some dishes and some laundry on the weekends, but I especially want to carve out time to pour all the things that make me feel the most, “me” back into my life.

So on Friday nights when the house is finally hushed – just shadows and light and me still awake – after a long, loud day it’s my favorite time of the week.


It’s like we can all exhale, waiting for the weekend to fill us back up again.

But this weekend we missed the mark completely.

We had all the right intentions but we made one big mistake: we let our kids drive our agenda this weekend.

I love our little people, but sometimes we get carried away in our desire to surprise and delight them. Sometimes they don’t need surprise, sometimes they just need to be still.

We overcommit to activity when what they really need is roots at home. When they’ve been driving hard at 6 hours of soccer a day they don’t need to do more, they need to rest more.

And the thing about kids is they don’t know what rest looks like unless we show it to them.

Sometimes staying home and poking at the scrubby bushes or playing kick ball will fill them up more than anything we could plan.

Unpacking every piece of furniture from the doll house and replanning how your dolls will spend their days can be the perfect Saturday for a four year old. Paint or playdough or painting your nails. Old coloring books and that plastic caddy of markers. Bikes or scooping leaves out of the water above the fish can feed a soul.

But sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough, does it? Sometimes it feels like we need to make more magic than what the ordinary back yard offers.

And those can be good choices that refresh us – goodness we loved our trip to Medieval times and our vacation in Florida – but this weekend we were all already running low on energy and the better choice would have been to stay put.

Because our plans got tangled up this weekend but we pressed on and it wasn’t bad, and they were surprised, but by the end we were all very, very tired.

Tired parents after a long week combined with needy kids is not a great combination.

“No,” is so hard to say in the face of childish anticipation.

But “no” is a gift that sometimes comes wrapped in layers that have to be peeled back to truly appreciate it.

Sunday was also a morning of rush. And come 1pm I declared our household on full “comfy pants and movies” status. We basically walked in the front door and dropped everything. We snuggled up under comfy blankets and watched our favorite movies and ate our favorite snacks until the meter on our rest tanks slowly started to tick back up.

But it wasn’t enough. Especially not for the parents who still had laundry to catch up on and boxes to unpack.

And a weekend that doesn’t instill rest and refuel us for the rest of the week can leave a bad taste in your mouth. To me it tastes like regret.

But, I’m simply going to pocket that lesson so that next Saturday I’m armed with a more resolved, no. 

No to busy and car trips and to-do lists and wants and surprises.

Yes to less and slow and quiet and rest and hours and hours filled up with just exactly whatever we can find at home. Because that is almost always exactly enough.

How was your weekend?




{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Restful weekends are so necessary but staying at home doesn’t work for our family because the kids and I are home all week running my busy daycare. By the time the weekend rolls around we’re all stir crazy but outings are still exhausting for the hubby and I with our four littles. Any advice for finding rest away from home?

  2. 2

    Amen to that!! We made the exact same mistake this weekend. By the end of the day yesterday, I was a puddle of exhausted tears and kicking myself for heading into this week totally on empty. Hopefully I den learn and slow down next weekend!!

  3. 3

    “To me it tastes like regret.”

    I know what you mean! Felt like I did too much this weekend too.

  4. 4

    Ahhh….But even God knew this would be an issue for His people. He said Remember. We don’t have to figure out how to manage our weekends, we just need to do what he said. Remember the Shabbat, the Sabbath and keep it Holy. Do no work on the seventh day. Funny, it’s the only command that says remember. Seems like He knew we’d forget.

  5. 5

    I just heaved a big sigh of agreement. Steve and I really want to do nice things for the kids and create fun and have surprises and it just gets to be exhausting and honestly – they start expecting it. Then it’s just not fun at all. I’m glad to hear someone else say the simple things are enough. :)

  6. 6

    Thank you for the reminder that rest is important for us. I believe that living in the city makes it more difficult to rest on the weekends. This weekend we celebrated my 40th birthday with my family. Soon the new school year will begin. I hope that we will be able to make more time during the weekend for family time. Thank you for the encouragement and suggestions. :)

  7. 7
    Christina says:

    I love following your blog and this was a timely post as we are about to launch into another busy school year. We don’t often hear someone cheering us on to rest. It is too easy to say yes to yet another activity for the kids (or one we think is for the kids) especially on the weekends. I am still trying to learn the art of resting and how to fill up their tanks on the weekends so that we all have energy for the upcoming week. Thanks for the reminder that it is OK to have downtime in a world that expects that so much energy from us!

  8. 8

    I feel like we have this same problem every weekend. I feel bad that we don’t do fun outings with our kids much (our three year old doesn’t do well on outings and our budget isn’t too fond of them either). Most weekends involve the grocery store, Target, yard work or occasionally the library. I used to be able to do these errands with the kids during the week, but in my current 8 month pregnant state, I can’t seem to manage it anymore. There might be a movie from Redbox or the library or sometime playing video games with Daddy, but mostly it’s just hanging out together or errands. I want weekends to be restful, fun or both and mostly they end up feeling like an extension of the week, except with two parents working together instead of mommy flying solo. (Though we don’t usually do school work on weekends unless Daddy does science experiments). I hate that I feel like we have to choose between being refilled as parents and filling our kids with necessary quality time (especially with Daddy).

  9. 9

    What a great post! Rest is so important, and rest on the weekends..even more so. And necessary. Not only for a busy family, but also for Mom and Dad. Take it from this “older” mom. There are so many things that try to pull and tug at our families.There will be plenty of times ahead for saying, “yes!” But there are also times we need to say, “no.” It may cause a “disturbance in the force,” but it’ll be worth it in the long-run. :)

  10. 10

    Yes. And Amen! This post is filled with so much wisdom and truth! I thrive on those weekends when the calendar isn’t filled to overflowing with one activity after another! I need the downtime and so do my husband and kids!

  11. 11

    I’m a big fan of doing nothing. When we finally have some free time there’s a temptation to fill it with as many activities as possible so we feel like we accomplished something, but that won’t do anything to rejuvenate or refresh. I like to have one of the two weekend days be dedicated to nothing but sitting and staring at things. Looking out the window, watching the kids play, staring at the books on the shelf that I haven’t read yet, etc.

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