Last Saturday, I realized something important. That in my mind, I had created a weekly holiday.
No, it is not called “Let’s throw the Cheerios Day.”
I call it Guilt-Free Saturday.
I would also like to acknowledge, here and now, that this is my solution to a truly first world problem.
So, without descending into a socio-political debate, let me share with you the origins, and celebration, of this special day.
My husband works every Saturday. This is not overtime, or an option. It just IS.
Prior to becoming a mom, and after i finished graduate school, I spent Saturdays as “me time.” Mostly, I did very little, cooked elaborate recipes (would have been a GREAT time to start a food blog), and pooped around.
Fast forward to the past 16 months. As a working mom, being alone for 12 hours on a Saturday freaked me out. Why? Because I had so much to DO. Laundry, housework, grocery shopping, cooking, and, oh yeah, recovering from my week. I have an intense job, and it FRIES me. Plus, family demands-grandparents to see, parties to attend. Add on top of that an increasingly active munchkin, who has her own laundry list of needs.
I am a queen multitasker, but I can not do everything and pay attention to my little girl, and be happy with my life.
Whatever focus I chose, I could not escape the guilt. I could never do all the housework, finish the laundry, get all the errands done, and enjoy my one special day with my little one. Each Saturday would end with me in tears, miserable.
I decided that this was, simply, not working. I needed a solution.
And, most importantly, I wanted to have some FUN. It is, after all, the weekend.
So I slowly tackled the day, beginning with breakfast. I prioritized my coffee. Then my food. I started making Mommy and Me breakfasts we could share. I dropped the rigors and formalities of the weekday, as well as my own Mommy standards.
So yes, we eat fatty, salty, breakfast sausages while sitting on the floor, watching TV.
And I practice mindfulness. I feel the guilt. I notice it. Then, I say “Dueces!” (that means bye in teenspeak) and eat another sausage.
It evolved. I outsourced a few things. I visited the local drive- thrus. I started saying “yes” to help and “no” to my own inner critic.
I let my little one eat however many carbs she could cram in her little mouth. And I ate them too. (see aforementioned Cheerios, served “a-la-in-the-box.”) She eats organic quinoa with lentils and oatmeal with apples the other six days of the week. But on Guilt-Free Saturday, we eat pizza and Special K cracker crisps (which I recommend).
I call the grandparents over, and instead of pressuring myself to host and entertain them, I let them babysit. I mean, they aren’t here to see me anyway! And I don’t feel guilty about leaving my baby for an hour or two to get things done.
We watch TV. Loads of it.
We play outside for hours and get shockingly dirty.
Sometimes we eat cat treats. Well, not “we”.
We do chores and errands as they suit us.
We go on a lot of field trips.
We make tons of messes.
And we nap.
Last Saturday, I dropped everything to meet a friend and her little one for lunch and frozen yogurt. My little one sat in my arms and ate a hamburger bun and some chicken and fries, and water off my straw. As we relaxed together, I realized I didn’t even FEEL guilty. As my baby girl smeared pumpkin yogurt all over herself while I enjoyed a salted caramel gelato, I told my friend, a newer mom than me, and also a working mom, that I had a new holiday called “Guilt-free Saturdays.”
As I sit here and write, this is what my living room looks like from my morning with my little one: