Feet up relaxing

Ways I Make Weekends Feel Different as a SAHM

I have always stayed home with my children, and I really can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s been the greatest blessing, but — like any job — doesn’t come without challenges.

One of the greatest challenges for me is how the weekends can often feel no different than the week. It can be an exhausting thing feeling as though your weekly grind doesn’t get a break. I don’t know if that’s right or wrong to feel that way, but I do know that we are conditioned from a young age to expect rest on the two days of the week that begin with the letter S.

This normalcy does not exist when you’re a mom. The kids still need to be fed, the bottoms still need wiping and the house still needs cleaning. Yes, your spouse is likely home with you — but if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll still demand most things from you over their dad.

Over the last few years, I have found some simple ways to make the weekends feel a little bit different, and I want to share them with any other parents out there who are desperate to change it up just a bit on the weekends but don’t know how.

  • I save simple pleasures for the weekends. I like to save a few things for the weekends — small pleasures that I purposely choose not to indulge in during the week so that they are little things to look forward to on the weekends to make life feel just a tad bit different. These simple pleasures include baking desserts, drinking an alcoholic beverage (or two), wearing comfy and cute lounge sets during the day, and watching movies or playing games with my husband in the evenings. These small things can help create the illusion that I’m on vacation when, in reality, my day pretty much looks the same as the rest of the week.
  • I try to plan a family outing most weekends. With three children, I am sometimes intimidated to do certain things with them alone. I take full advantage when my husband is home and plan fun things like picnics or hikes. If the weather isn’t good and a family outing isn’t doable, I will try to take one of my kids out for some one-on-one time. I will take my son to a movie or my daughter out for a treat. I am the type of person who doesn’t like to feel trapped at home, so I like to run out as much as possible when my husband can stay home with the kids. Alternatively, if we cannot find something fun to do outside of the house, I do make sure to fill my children’s cups on the weekend with quality time. I try to focus on being present with and enjoying them, and put aside any housework I’m tempted to do because that can wait until Monday! I will explain how below.
  • I do not clean on the weekends. Recently, I’ve started a “no cleaning” rule on the weekends for myself, and this has been a total game changer. I feel like half of my days go to trying to maintain order and cleanliness in our home, and it is constantly undone in seconds by my kids. This is a normal part of life for this season, but it can cause serious burnout — so I force myself to take a break from cleaning on the weekends. This does not mean that I don’t clean up the highchair after mealtime or do the dishes or a load of necessary laundry here and there. However, I do not do any routine cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, mopping, wiping surfaces or decluttering. The way that I can do this guilt-free each weekend is by sticking to a simple cleaning plan during the week, which I will share below. Each day gets a “theme” or a focus. My goal is never to have the house clean all at once, but rather to give the different layers and rooms of my house turns to be clean — because let’s be real — with three kids ages 5 and under, it’s pretty much impossible for my house to ever be clean all at once.

My Weekly Cleaning Plan:

  • Meal Prep Monday: On Mondays, my focus is food. I do my grocery shopping (delivery or curbside pickup on a good day) with the kids, and I clean out the fridge and freezer. I organize the pantry, and then unpack and organize our groceries, restocking the kitchen for the week. This is also the day I prep some simple meals and snacks for the week. For instance, I rinse and cut the fruit and will sometimes make a snack for the week or prepare some meat and vegetables for lunches and dinners.
  • Tidy Tuesday: This is my favorite day of the week. Tuesdays are my designated days for decluttering the house and putting every item back in its place. We already do a quick tidy each evening before bedtime, but will often leave things on the counters, and bedrooms often get left messy. But not on Tuesdays! My quick method for a full-house tidy is to gather a few plastic bins and walk around the house, putting every item in the bins until they are full. I then dump the bins onto the living room floor and sort the items by room. I assign each bin to a room and then put the items back in their place, room by room. This technique saves me lots of steps and endless circling throughout the house. The kids have fun helping me with this, too!
  • Wipe-Down Wednesday: This is my other favorite day. Now that the surfaces are cleared (for the most part), it is time to wipe them down! Of course, we do a quick wipe down of the kitchen counters and table each evening. On Wednesdays, I sanitize all surfaces, including the dining room chairs, highchairs and kid craft table, and on the first Wednesday of every month, I wipe down the windows and mirrors.
  • Bathrooms Thursday: On Thursdays, I clear off the bathroom counters, clean the toilets, wipe down the counters, and do anything else that seems necessary in each bathroom that week. On the first Thursday of each month, I scrub the bathtubs and showers and mop the floors.
  • Floors Friday: On Fridays, I do another quick tidy and a quick wipe down, neither of which take long at all because I just did both of those tasks thoroughly in the days prior. I put up all the chairs and items on the floor. I run the robot vacuum, and then I spot the mop. On the first Friday of every month, I use the actual vacuum to get everywhere, including the kids’ rooms and the hallway, and I do a full mop this day as well. Some of you may want to do a full vacuum of the whole house weekly, but this just isn’t realistic for us right now — and we don’t have pets, which helps!

In addition to the focus of each day, I also do one load of laundry per day. I know this is a personal preference for everyone. Some people do better with doing all of their laundry in one day, but that is not me. I do better with a little at a time, and doing one load per day keeps me from getting overwhelmed with piles to fold.

Another important thing to mention is that while each day has its focus, I do my best to maintain the other parts of the house throughout the week. For instance, after dinner each night, I wipe down the counters and sweep the floors. We tidy the toys each night after dinner.

On the weekends, I might straighten up the bathrooms again or do some catch-up laundry. I never go over the top with these tasks, but I do my best to maintain some sort of cleanliness throughout the house each day.

By spending each day of the week getting to all the different parts and surfaces of the house, I am able to prop my feet up and relax, guilt free come Friday afternoon — as much as a mother of three can, at least. I look around at my cleared countertops and shining floors, and it feels like I can finally “take off” a couple of days of housework. Then I might even enjoy a beverage to celebrate and spend the evening planning something fun to do as a family during the weekend.

The combination of these three small little tricks helps the weekends feel just a little different — a little better — than the week, as they should! It helps me be a better mom and a happier wife when I feel like I get a little time off from the responsibilities of the week, too.

Written By Sydney Smith
Army Spouse

Sydney has been an Army wife for four years and has two children. She often writes on the raw experiences military spouses face during challenging times, striving to be a voice of encouragement and validation among the military spouse community.

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