If I could rewind my life just a few years, it’d be Friday night at 7:30 pm and my wife and I would take the last few bites of pizza before simultaneously asking each other “What do you want to do tonight?” We might binge on Netflix, catch a late movie, or hop into something more adventurous like a late-night swim or a few drinks on the town. While we didn’t sleep in much before kids either, it was nice to at least have the phone alarms turned off for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was mostly meandering through the day at a snail’s pace before an evening out. Sunday was ‘recovering’ from the week that was and knocking off a quick errand or three. Life was simple, weekends were slow, and my wife and I were wholly unprepared for the madness that awaited.
Two lovely little girls later and our weekends have changed…a bit. Both my wife and I work, so we typically hit Friday with a to-do list of errands 19 post-it notes long. As fun as the grocery store is with a terrible-two-ridden bottomless pit that is Eliza, it’s only the beginning as we attempt to jam in a week’s worth or requirements into the tiny pockets of time we have. It’s not only running errands but also taking take of the items around the house. We live in this insuppressible jungle my neighbors like to call my ‘yard’ that requires hours and hours to achieve the look of ‘unkempt’. If some item in our house is growing mold or smelling profusely (that’s about the requisite needed to distract our attention) then we may even mix in some housework also. My wife, for reasons unknown, also sometimes gets the inclination that the girls actually need bathed on a semi-regular basis. I thought it’d be great if we saved the first bath for maybe an eighth birthday party, but I lose that battle and baths get tacked onto the weekend chore list.
The funny thing about chores and errands is the exponentially greater time commitment each takes with the miniature humans in tow. I can take a shower in 90 seconds but I’d be lucky to knock out a bath with Eliza in 90 minutes. I can snag a week’s worth of groceries in 12 minutes but Everly’s cries and diaper explosions will keep me locked inside those doors for an entire evening. Somehow I work much harder to accomplish much less anymore when I’m at home.
When you’re a parent of young children, you’re often running on about 47 minutes of sleep per night during the week. With how exhausting surviving those 5 days are, we typically seek to sneak in some ‘make-up sleep’ on the weekend. I’ll wake up at 5 am Saturday morning (because of course that’s the toddler’s Saturday biological alarm clock) and let the wifey snooze as much as she can; we’ll cover each other when possible to sneak in a quick nap or early bedtime. I can’t quite quantify how much sleep we actually capture, but I do know we fall short of the 29 hours we lost during the week that we’re trying to replace.
We’re still in the easy (cough, cough) phase of pre-activities kids, but we still manage to further complicate our weekends with weddings, birthdays, activities, etc. I understand it gets much, much worse as the girls get older and sports and dance and instruments and sleepovers and all that nonsense starts to pervade, but we’re not quite there yet. Still, we get our fair share of events thrown into nearly every weekend, and I have a strong feeling that’s why we’ve become so anti-social. We have neither the time nor the energy to have friendships or lives outside our kids.
I feel it’s proper to explain that I am incredibly dry and sarcastic; sometimes I wonder if my blog audience wonders if I actually enjoy being a father. The truth is that I have no greater purpose and all of these problems are nothing more than blessing speed bumps. Regardless, it’s an interesting thought exercise (ooohh I think I’ll turn this into another blog post!) to think back on how life was before kids and how much time we let slip and slide through our fingers. Friday night used to mean impending rest, adventure, travel, and fun; now, Friday night means time to clean, time to catch up, and time to run around like a crazy person for 16 hours a day to maniacally capture all the time lost during the week. It does make me wonder though, are weekend days with kids actually easier than weekdays? Hmmm…