I’m writing this on Sunday night, at the end of a really fun weekend. Saturday we spent the morning browsing our neighborhood tag sales, and in the afternoon we explored the natural foods store and bought Minnow a bigger car seat at Target. For the evening, we hired a babysitter, so that Fish and I could go out and celebrate Fish’s birthday by playing trivia at a local bar. Today was a great family outing; we explored backroads until we found a u-pick pumpkin farm with a hayride and corn maze. Afterwards, Minnow and I played with Fish
watched football napped.
Why I am telling you what we did this weekend? Because our narrative is missing much of the usual detritus that strangles the fun out of weekends. We didn’t do the three loads of laundry or the grocery shopping or the yard work. I didn’t grade the 50 student papers or start writing the next grant proposal.
And for this weekend, that’s OK. I am staying home with Minnow for the next two days, so I’ll be able to wrangle the laundry and groceries. The papers will get graded during naps and after bedtime, because I don’t have to write any lecture this week. The grant proposal will get written, or not, but my chair is already pleased with my work this semester.
But on a normal two-day weekend we really struggle to find time for fun amidst the accumulated chaos of the previous week and the looming duties of the next week. It’s easy to go weeks without doing more than chores and errands. We want to have more fun. We want to explore Mystery State. We want to take advantage of the cultural opportunities in Mystery City. But we tend to get bogged down with drudgery, and if we ignore the drudgery, we have no clean clothes or clean dishes or food to eat.
It seems like we ought to be able to have weekend fun and keep a well-stocked house at once. Obviously, if we had three day weekends more often things would be easier. One day for work or relaxation, one day for chores, and one day for fun, and we’d all be happier. But there’s not much point in wishing for the impossible – four day work weeks aren’t part of our reality. Maybe we could get more of the chores and errands done during the weekend, but our weekdays seem so full and stressful already. More time spent cleaning and shopping on weekdays means less time playing with Minnow or writing lectures or sleeping, and those are unacceptable tradeoffs for us. Maybe we could jam all the chores and errands into one day and make sure that the next day we do something special. But that makes for two full days and doesn’t give us any chance to relax and recharge. Maybe we could lower our standards for housekeeping, but they’re pretty bad to start with. Maybe we could hire a cleaning service to come periodically to do some of the deeper cleaning so that we only have to the “light” maintenance cleaning. Maybe we need to recognize that we aren’t going to get to do as many explorations and fun activities as we wish we could. Probably we’ll do some combination of the above.
Next weekend, we’d like to find a petting zoo. Likely, we’ll pay bills, Fish will mow the lawn, and I’ll finish the grant proposal. But at least we got to pick a pumpkin.