When I see people getting excited about the weekend on social media, I never really get it. Sometimes, dare I say it, I prefer weekdays. Our weekends aren’t exciting. We don’t go on family days out. We don’t have a lovely family DVD evening with popcorn. We don’t have a Friday night takeaway.
Our weekends are all about sport. Our weekends have been about sport since my 15 year old son was 7. That’s a long time to have your weekends ruled by something external. Something that isn’t lovely family days out, watching DVDs together and enjoying a takeaway. Sometimes I feel jealous of families who do those things. Sometimes having a weekend ruled by sport can be slightly stressful, as it seems like we’re doing nothing but rushing around.
We need to eat early to get out on time for an away game. I need to make sure all of the kit is clean and dry. I know we’ll be out for a large chunk of the day and, by the time we get home, it will be going dark. And the weekend will nearly be over.
Weekends always start with parkrun – for my husband and I, but usually these days also for my daughter. My younger son will usually have a school match – rugby before Christmas and football after Christmas and before Easter. If it’s an away game, we drop him off just after 8. If it’s a home game, that’s more challenging as he needs dropping off at parkrun time.
After parkrun, we will go and watch his match if he’s playing at home – and sometimes if he’s playing away too. For me, watching my kids do sport is priceless and I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Even though it’s usually freezing cold. Somehow we also have to drop my eldest off at work in this time too.
Because we’ve all exercised in the morning, lunch is usually big and involves making a mess of the kitchen. Sometimes I wish we didn’t make such a mess.
My husband is a Man Utd fan, but above all he is a football fan. He watches A LOT of football on TV at the weekend. It gets on my nerves, but then I remember how hard he works and how this is his relaxation.
Sometimes we will be briefly go to town as a family, or maybe just my daughter and I. Sometimes I will have to catch up with housework (I hate housework at the best of times and I hate it even more at the weekend).
Then it’s pick my son up from work, another big meal, another mess of the kitchen. Sometimes I wish we had takeaway, just to cut down on the mess. My son might go out in the evening, or he might stay in. His girlfriend might come over. He might have had a late lunch at work and not want the food we’ve cooked him – or he might have had an early lunch and be starving.
Sunday morning is all about the long runs. I’m up at 6, ready to go running by 8.30. My husband runs too, we’ve been doing eight miles since last spring, but now it’s increasing every week as I follow my marathon training plan.
My son needs to go to work again. We just about make it back in time, but with the longer runs, he’s going to have to start fending for himself. It’s a real shame he can’t just drive himself.
My husband takes the younger two to a coffee shop for a late breakfast. Sunday is their lie-in day. Then it’s lunch almost straightaway. Another big one because we’ve been running.
Then it’s time for football. My husband is the coach, so he has to set off early. I watch as many matches as I can. My son is the only player who has both parents there. I know he might only have another season left before the boys all give up and go their separate ways. I’ll be sad when it’s all over and want to make the most of it now.
If we’ve been disorganised (which we often are), we won’t have food in for tea and the shops will be about to close. When it’s an away game, the shops will be closed and I will end up at the Co-op. Making tea will revolve around whatever football match is on TV. My husband literally will watch anything.
Then I have to pick my son up from work. It’s like groundhog day. Every weekend the same. Every weekend rushing around, cooking meals and clearing up.
Sometimes I wish we did something different, but my husband loves our weekends and he’s taught me to see them in a slightly different light. Our kids aren’t toddlers, they’re not at primary school. Families with teenagers don’t go on days out at the weekend, the parents don’t have a nice quiet takeaway on their own on a Friday night. Teenagers have different needs. They need us to drive them places, they need us to support them with their sport and they need us to cook for them.
They’re not always going to need us. They’re not always going to play football and rugby. They’re not always going to want to spend time with us.
Our weekends might not be Instagram-perfect, they might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re OUR weekends and that makes them special.