It sounds completely unfair. You have the children, the cleaning, and other responsibilities all week long. Weekends are only different because you have another adult around to talk to. This isn't enough! Fellow homemakers raise up your fist and protest: "What do we want? A Day OFF! When do we want it? Right friggin' NOW!" Okay now that we got that out of our system, let's rewind. How do we get a day(s) off without having a heated argument or sounding like a nag? Keep in mind this is the working spouse's time off, as well. They want to relax too. So how do we make everyone happy during 3-day and normal weekend breaks? (Well, short of shipping the kids off to their grandparents.) For the times where grandparent escape is an impossibility (or you actually want to have your kids around for the weekend), let's keep some things in mind when trying to enjoy time off.
There's No Such Thing As A Day Off
Whether you have a career or not, life after kids rarely involves breaks. As soon as that little one comes into the world, they need someone to take care of them until they're legally able to leave your house. Even then you'll probably still be taking care of them. Get this in the head of both you and your working spouse. No one has the weekend to relax fully. Babies and children don't care that you had a heavy workload this week or that someone at work made it harder to do your job or that you have been running around all week and just need a rest. Instead, you might want to start thinking of work as a partial vacation from your kids. This might help soften the blow of your life without days off.
All Hands On Deck
So since we now understand that no one with children can have a decent day off. Let's look at what this means. This does not mean that someone gets to drink beer and watch football all day while the other occupies the little ones for hours. This does not give anyone a free pass to zone out on their cell phones or laptops while their children are trying to have a unintelligible conversation with you. And, no, you can't hide in a different room all day and ignore the frustrated screams of the other adult in the house who can't deal with being around kids anymore.
Everyone has to chip in. This can be done in a number of ways: (a) Tag Team= Don't start having a WWF match in your living room. Let's not be tempted to "Powerdrive" or "Leg Drop" your kid! There are other ways to get your frustrations out. No, I mean take shifts with your kids. Let one adult go relax somewhere else in the house or outside somewhere while the other looks after the kids. Take an hour, but no more than two, before coming back to let your spouse have their break. (b) Family outing= get out and go for a hike or to the park or take a day trip somewhere in the car. A change of scenery can get kids to behave a little better for a little longer than being stuck in the house. They will go stir crazy and someone always gets annoyed, and later, hurt. I'll leave you to guess who gets what. (c) Schedule play dates with other adults= Having coffee or a BBQ with other child sufferers can lessen the load of watching your kids because others are their to look after them.So you can have a few drinks if you want, can finish a sentence, and other children can occupy your children. Win-win! (Going to a kid's birthday party can have the same effect. I'm looking forward to spring. Lots of kids were born in this season.)
Whatever you choose to do make sure both you and your spouse allow each other a break without nagging or complaints. A simple "It's Your Turn", or for the more juvenile, "Tag Your It, Neener-neener."
Sleeping In is More Like Rest Your Eyes for A Little Longer Than Usual
Again parenthood excludes you from the basic joys, like sleeping in. Things you took for granted in your life before children stage. A short pause for a sigh of nostalgia. And back to the present. We all know that young kids do not need an alarm clock. They don't even need the sun to tell them to get up. Half of them beat the sun and wake you up to tell you about it. The more you try not to fight this fact the better your life will be.
There are a few tricks I have used to prolong the total waking up early on a weekend nuisance. 1st- one adult takes the ring leader who started this wake up early revolt and place them somewhere in front of a low sounding television. Now the low volume is important because it will keep the others sleeping for a little while longer and you can doze back without the loud sounds of cartoon characters smashing into things. 2nd- When the baby starts stirring, place he/she in between you and your hubby. You will not be in a deep sleep but you can rest your eyes for another 15 to 30 more minutes. If you're really lucky, you'll get an hour. Fingers crossed. 3rd- 20 minutes to an hour after the ring leader has woken up, the others will start getting up. Let them come to you. Maybe bring them in the bed with you for a lazy tickle monster attack or a kissey assault. This maneuver will help buy another 5 to 10 minutes before the real work begins.
The Control Freak Must Die!
Workaholics if you want to survive this 3-day and/or a normal weekend, kill the control freak in you. This red monster does no one any favors. It will stress you out and make others fear your presence. When you see the counter not being wiped down before your spouse starts preparing lunch, let it go. When the laundry needs folding and you are busy in your break time or feeding the baby or whatever and you notice your spouse isn't doing a damn thing, just breath out "Woooosaaaahhhh!" Remember you can't and shouldn't do everything, especially on the weekends or holidays. Some things will get done by the other adult. It may not be your way or at the time you need it to be. But it will get done. Find peace with that and relax.
If the control freak tries to resurrect itself, leave the room. Don't look at the disaster that is about to unfold. When you have settled the beast, come back and say what needs to be done or suggest a better way of doing something. Do all this without anger, attitude, and/or frustration. You may need to collect yourself for a few hours so this talk can wait for later that day or maybe even the next day. Yeah just tell them tomorrow. You should be calm by then.
If your last weekend or 3-day weekend, didn't go as relaxing as planned, try these techniques next time. They may help. The important thing to remember is that both you and your working spouse need to communicate and help each other out during this kid zone time. Also enjoy each other with your children. Family time can be fun, just kill off any control issues and let the flow begin!