When Justin and I first got married, I remember being surprised by how hard it was to adjust to living together. There were plenty of petty arguments about things like who would do the dishes or how to spend our money. After a few months and lots of communication, we began to hit our stride.
Once we added little ones to the family, it almost felt like we were starting over. We had to divvy up childcare responsibilities on top of our normal work and household chores, but this time with the added fun of sleep deprivation! It's taken us awhile to figure out weekends especially. My husband and I are both teachers (though I am VERY part time), so there is often correcting, lesson planning, and making copies that needs to be done on the weekend. Throw in church, lawn care, grocery shopping, meal prep, blog writing, exercise, and *gasp* alone time, and there hardly seems to be a moment left over for quality family time.
We are getting better at communicating our needs and planning our weekends accordingly, so each person can accomplish what they want to, and do what they need to feel refreshed for a new week. (I was especially inspired to improve this aspect of our lives after reading Kate's blog post on this topic!)
Our strategy lately has been to designate one day of the weekend as a work day. He brings one or two of the kids to school with him to plan for his week, and I grocery shop with whomever is left. We chop, wash, and prep food. We fold all the neglected laundry that has been transferred from the dryer to the laundry basket and sorted through all week. I brainstorm blog posts and outline them in a Google Doc. We feel so productive and satisfied by the end of the day, even though we've barely seen each other. The other day of the weekend is focused on relaxing and spending time together. We try to have a slow morning with coffee and a big breakfast, catching up with each other and letting the kids play. Sometimes we'll do a family outing to a park or take a day trip to a nearby city.
It's been so helpful to take the extra step to figure out what each of us needs to get done before the weekend even begins. It took me awhile after having kids to learn that I needed to communicate exactly what I needed, whether that's time away from the kids, an hour to work on a blog post, or to get a workout in. I would end up frustrated and crabby, but was expecting Justin to read my mind - not fair! Talking about what we want to get done and how we want to spend our time is working out so much better!
I'm curious, how does your family do weekends? How do you balance work and rest?