Those first few months after separating are always the hardest when you have weekends without the kids ... what do you do? As the months progress, those empty weekends have to be filled with something to do otherwise you will have to put on a swim ring to wade around in your own self pity. Here are some suggestions to make those weekends precious and not a drag!
1. GET YOUR CHORES DONE FRIDAY NIGHT
It sounds like a very cruel suggestion but its well worth it to wake up on a Saturday to a tidy house. But you can't do it the normal way. Here is how you make it fun!
a. Turn it up
Throw on some comfy clothes and crank the music up! Spotify is perfect to find a fun playlist with an up-tempo beat to set the pace for your fanatical cleaning frenzy.
b. Distract your mind
Whenever I clean, my mind is usually silently swearing at the injustice of dust and dirty clothes. If you're in the same boat, I have the answer! Podcasts! There are some awesome podcasts that are so engrossing you'll be through your chores in no time and wishing you had more just to keep listening. My favourite podcasts include: Serial, Conversations, This American Life, Homecoming, TED Radio Hour, Reply All, and Science Vs and More Perfect. For a more comprehensive list, Podcastia have collated their favourites.
c. Beat the clock
Set yourself a timeframe – maximum 1.5hrs because any longer will feel like a drag. One hour is best. If you want a suggestion of a power clean, follow this process:
– drench your toilet with toilet cleaner and douse your shower with scum-busting spray. Leave for now.
– check the bedrooms and bathroom for dirty clothes and put a quick wash on so you can get through two loads before you finish.
– grab a large plastic box or washing basket for you and each child and power through your home and throw in anything that is not where it needs to be. Straight away you've tidied every room and can come back to each basket later. I make it my kids job to put away their things when they return. Surprising how they get better at leaving things around the house when they have to put it all away!
– wipe surfaces, vacuum, then clean the bathroom – but not the shower.
– take the washing out of machine and hang any clothes on hangers around the house and fold the rest (guarantees less wrinkles) so you can hang out in the morning.
– wash the floors, working your way to the bathroom. The last thing you will do is clean the shower so you can jump in afterwards and finish the evening with a long soak! You'll be ready for a drink and dinner in front of a good movie. However you might be distracted by your clean home that you won't be able to stop admiring!
2. MAKE THE MOST OF WEEKEND MORNINGS
Now that your house is sparkling clean, this is your time to enjoy ‘you’ time. Surely for the past decade you’ve always said that when you have some time, you’d love to … learn the piano, improve your photography, start hiking, learn to skateboard, train for a half marathon, plant a herb garden, play tennis, experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, learn to sew, build a fort for the kids, paint your house. Now you have no excuse! Book out weekend mornings to invest in a new hobby or just knock off the list of jobs around the house you’ve always wanted to do.
3. GET OUT OF THE HOUSE ON SATURDAY NIGHT
Unless you can’t wait to make dinner and lounge in front of the TV to enjoy the latest Netflix series or watch old movies you never got the chance to before, you have to take the bold step and get out of the house. You have a few options:
1. Catch up with other single friends
2. Go to the movies on your own … it’s awesome once you overcome you’re feeling of being the odd one out. Don’t worry, there will be others like you there too!
3. Go to a Meetup for separated parents or other activities you’re interested in – dancing, theatre or the movies.
4. PREPARE YOUR WEEK ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS
My kids return on Monday afternoons so if I don’t have my week organized, I find I’m chasing my tail all week! I use Sunday’s to:
1. Schedule what’s on: I use Divvito’s Co-parenting Weekly Planner to determine what events we have on (sports/school events etc), what’s for dinner every night, what chores the kids have to do, and what fun stuff is planned. Now the kids don’t have to ask what’s happening or what we’re eating, they just look at the planner on the fridge.
2. Cook and freeze one weekly meal. Typically I cook a big batch of one meal and freeze a couple of dinners for the weeks ahead. With freezer space at a premium, my best investment was a cryovac machine so everything laid flat and stacked. I also cook something for the kid’s lunchboxes or afternoon snack like brownies, cupcakes, pizza scrolls or savoury muffins, and freeze them also.
Once that’s done, I fill the bath tub, pour a glass of wine, and watch an episode on Netflix while I relax in a pool of bubbles. Trust me, you’ve feel a million dollars and completely relaxed for the week ahead with the kids!