Weekends. They’re supposed to be relaxing, aren’t they? In our house they are the most stressful time of the week.
Our weekends are all about the sport. The football on the Saturday morning – my son’s under 9s team which has just started league games and is coached and managed by my husband. We have early starts and away games, forms to fill in and referees to pay, substitutions to organise, cash to collect, kit to distribute, kids to control and at the end of it all – the final straw. Kit to wash.
Sundays are rugby for both boys. From 10 until 12. Ish. The games start next week and then it’s early starts and away games there too. It can eat into our whole day and we come home to school bags to organise and homework to do and NO FREE TIME.
Recently we’ve chucked another curveball into the equation. My eldest has started playing football. My eldest is not a footballer and he’s never shown any interest in it, until a chance remark by the other year 6 teacher just before he left primary school. ‘You’re good at football, do you play for a team? You should.’ Inspired, he had to find a team. Equally inspired, my husband helped him.
They found a team that trains at the same park as my husband and younger son. But they train for less time. So we have to make sure he is safely looked after if we’re at an away game. And they play matches on Sunday afternoons. Sunday afternoons! Our tiny bit of free time.
It’s the straw that will break the camel’s back.
Every weekend we think it, every weekend we say it. We can’t go on. It’s not sustainable. We have to do less. Something’s got to give. Then we forget about it during the week and suddenly we’re back at the weekend and we do it all over again.
My husband coping with 13 8 year old boys. My daughter bored out of her mind. Me struggling to find the time to do homework and housework. But no-one will put their foot down and say what it is that has to change or stop.
Because we believe in commitment. If you sign up for a team, you turn up for training and you play the games. Every week. Even more so if you’re the coach. Or the coach’s son.
But other stuff does happen and we are trying to do it all.
My eldest had Scout camp a couple of weeks ago and he’s got it again this week. More pressure on me to pack and unpack. Less time for him to do his homework. An inevitably tired and grumpy boy that gets home at the end of it. Apart from anything else, this is three weekends running when I have hardly seen my son. With work and school I don’t see him that much in the week either.
And he’s breaking Daddy’s rules. He’s missing training in rugby and football. I suspect he doesn’t mind. I suspect deep down he’s not keen on either of them, but he would never admit it out loud. And I would never encourage him to stop. If he came out and said ‘I don’t want to do this any more’ and he was sure that was his decision, I would say fine. But I think he thinks he’s failed us if he does that.
He used to love rugby, but a couple of incidents last autumn this one and this one knocked the stuffing out of him a bit and took away some of his enthusiasm for rugby. Add that to the departure of his best friend and his dad, the coach, it’s no wonder he’s not as keen any more.
Last weekend I had my Bristol half marathon and my husband took all the kids to Man Utd to watch a game the day before. A lovely treat and they are all very lucky, but couldn’t he have done it at a more convenient time? Straight after my son’s football match, up to Manchester, going to bed late and then up very early again the next day for the half marathon and rugby. And while they were gone, I had a job interview to prepare for.
‘There is no better time,’ said my husband. And he’s right. When it comes to us and weekends there is NO GOOD TIME. And that can’t be good for any of us.