Oh Weekend, Where Art Thou?

My husband and I went out to a group dinner a few nights ago. We sat at a table with 3 other couples, 2 of whom were newly engaged and all adorably handhold-y and whatnot; the 3rd couple, like us, is holding down a ramshackle fort filled with 3 small children. The engaged folks were sparkling with excitement; the ladies were abuzz about receptions and wedding cakes, pointing here and there with their freshly manicured hands, while the unsuspecting fellows discussed the benefit of a Home Depot registry. We sat and listened politely to this conversation, sipping our wine and smirking across the table at each other.

Finally, sensing the need to move on from wedding talk, one of the engagees asked us old married folks what we had planned for the weekend. The other mom started cackling a semi-evil, all-knowing laugh and told them, “ah, you see, weekends to us are just like weekdays. There is no difference.” The shocked looks on their faces said it all; they were clueless.

The conversation then abruptly shifted to the last time any of us had actually stayed up past 11 (having a sick or nursing child doesn’t count). Our non-married friends began to cower. Just think about it:  how different are your weekends now that you have children?

My husband and I used to have glorious weekends which were a celebratory culmination of a hard week at work. In the Springtime, for instance, a deck would call our names, and we’d meet up with tolerable co-workers for a Friday afternoon Happy Hour before sauntering off to dinner out somewhere. We’d turn in early–by midnight–because Friday was really just the warm-up to the weekend.

Saturday would find us sleeping in, snuggled down in comfort until at least 10. We’d roll out of bed, read the paper and think about getting lunch. Saturday afternoons were a hodgepodge of football or old John Hughes movies or reading on the front porch. We’d typically enjoy a nice dinner out, often with friends. Sundays were generally a mirror image of Saturday. We’d wind down on Sunday night with a good bottle of wine, some Italian take-out and some truly trashy TV (Hot or Not?, anyone?). Monday morning would find us rested, relaxed and ready to get after it again for another week.

Fast forward 8 years, and our weekends are shockingly different. For starters, despite their mother being a definitive night owl, my children think they are roosters and are up by 6:20. That’s a.m., folks. That’s 365 days a year, and lucky for us, 2012 is a leap year, so we get an extra morning of rising and shining before the majority of the civilized world has even stirred.

We have taken a “divide and conquer” mentality to this nonsense; typically, my sweet husband will get up with the roosters…er, boys…and I’ll sleep in for another hour or so (which, for those of you keeping count, makes it around 8 a.m., still a solid 2 hours earlier than we ideally would be getting out of bed on a weekend). Then my husband comes back to bed, and I groggily supervise the art projects, wrestlemania and fort building that need to take place.

A bit later in the morning, there are sports practices or games to juggle along with a few birthday parties. I’m convinced Tivo was invented to keep men from absolutely losing it during football season. Time stops for no one, you know, though it certainly does feel like it when you’re imprisoned at Chuck E. Cheese from 2 to 4 on Georgia/Florida weekend.

Nighttime finds us trying to rush through dinner and get the children showered in hopes (and prayers) that they go the heck to sleep before 8:30. We meet back downstairs just long enough for me to kiss a nearly comatose Russ goodnight and head to bed myself. For those of you keeping score, going off the clock at 8:30 has landed you a 14-hour workday.  On a weekend.

The brides-to-be looked like they could cry at this point.

“Well, what about getting a sitter and going out on a date?” piped in one of the guys. The wide-eyed brides nodded encouragingly to each other. The old married folk snorted. Oh, yes, let’s not leave this stone unturned.

First, there’s the task of finding a sitter. By the time you land a sitter, all the reservations at the good restaurants have been gone for weeks, so if you dine out anywhere a step above your neighborhood Applebee’s, it’s going to be sitting side-by-side at the bar–which is fine, mind you, as long as there are no chicken nuggets on the menu, and you don’t have to get out of your seat 14 times to get things for other people.  Beggars certainly aren’t choosers here.

There once was a time when my husband and I would go hear live bands after dinner. How extravagant, right? Nowadays, that sort of youthful luxury is way too loud (and late) for us. A movie at the actual movie theater is about as rowdy as we typically get. And it’s got to be a short movie–noDances With Wolves, thank you–since the meter’s running, so to speak. Back home, the sitter is watching the minutes ticking by and rubbing her hands together in excitement over the down payment for her house she is in the process of earning. The cherry on the top of this discussion/rant was when both of us married couples confessed to going out to dinner and then cruising our respective neighborhoods until just past our children’s bedtimes, jockeying to walk in the house right as the sitter is coming back out from tucking everyone in.

Then the war stories really started, culminating with my husband’s revelation of how he knew his life had really changed when he was putting together a Diaper Genie, stone-cold-sober, at 10:30 on a Friday night.

By this point, all 4 of us were unstoppable, howling with laughter at the absurdity of it all, while the other end of the table was stunned to silence. You could envision the conversations that were going to take place in their cars on the ride home. “Honey, promise me that will not be us.  Promise me we will not be a married old couple like that.”

Good luck on that one, folks, good luck. And be careful what you wish for…



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