Maybe it was the weekend I drove five hours with my husband and our 4-month-old son, went to a bluegrass festival, visited friends, shopped for groceries, finished writing an article, baked cookies, and could barely lift my head by Sunday night. Or maybe it was the one when I cleaned the house with my husband, hosted relatives, played tennis, took our 7-month-old daughter to the park with her brother (then 6), did four loads of laundry, baked popovers and could barely lift my head by Sunday night. At some point it dawned on me: Now that I had kids, I wasn't having weekends anymore. I was having two-day weeks - seven days' worth of activity crammed into 48 hours.
"New moms tend to have this sense of panic and scarcity on the weekends," says Jeanine O'Rourke, LCSW, a therapist near Philadelphia who helps women adjust to postpartum life. "It's 'How am I gonna do quality time with my family and unwind and clean out this closet?' Everything's competing for the same interval of time."
Weekend angst hits moms of all kinds, though the flavor varies. "I work full-time, and my daughter is in daycare during the week, so on weekends, I'm torn between just being at home and playing with her, fun outings like the zoo or the park, and errands like grocery shopping," says Erin England Acosta of Orange, California. Amy Tiemann, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, recalls a different dilemma: "On weekends when my daughter was a baby, probably the hardest thing was wanting to spend time with her and my husband as a family, but also wanting some time to myself because I was home full-time." For moms who work from home, the conflict between "me" and "us" can get further complicated by an urge to start that spreadsheet before the visit to Grandma's.
Well (big surprise here), you can't do it all in two days. But with a little planning and creativity you can do enough to keep body, soul, and family together - and have plenty of fun while you're at it.