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Reclaim the Weekends

When Friday evening rolls around, I instinctively breathe a sigh of relief. The workweek is finally over. Now I can relax!

Or can I? Actually, my weekends are anything but relaxing. A typical one runs something like this:

Get up early to straighten up the house, throw in a few loads of laundry, and make some phone calls before running to my 10-year-old daughter Libby's softball game. Grab lunch, then hustle over to a birthday party for 4-year-old Hank's friend. Later, drop my 11-year-old son, Cole, at his baseball game a little early so I can slip in a trip to the drugstore and get gas before the first pitch. After the game, I drop Cole at a sleepover, praying he'll get some pizza. The rest of us dine on Top Ramen and Cheerios at home around 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, there's another birthday party and a club soccer game for Libby an hour's drive away. In between, I fold the laundry, water the garden, make a supermarket run  -- and please, dear God, don't let this be the evening we invited the new neighbors over for dinner. (It is.)

By Sunday night I'm beat. I wake up Monday morning needing a weekend to recover from my weekend.

My consolation is, I know I'm not alone. While you can't stop doing laundry or skip every birthday party, you can organize your time so that when the week ends, the chaos does, too. Here, tips from real moms to help you free up Saturday and Sunday for the biggest priority of all: your family.