While I was driving home from work on a recent Friday, my husband called and suggested I meet him and the kids at a little local restaurant we used to love. Money is tight, so we rarely go out to eat now, but we’ve been in a bit of a rut lately and it seemed like just the kind of treat we all needed.
The weariness of the long week seemed to fall away as I drove. Usually on Fridays, my husband picks up the kids from school and I try (and usually fail) to get out of work at a halfway decent hour and end up racing home to make bedtime instead of dinner. The kids are happy to see me and the welcome is always warm, but I hate ending the week that way.
That week, though, my work was done early; a last-minute family date felt like icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, the restaurant we used to love had changed in the years since we’d been there last; the menu was smaller, the prices higher, the waitstaff less professional, and that great old bartender who knew our names and poured our pints the moment he saw us at the door was gone. But the kids were excited at the novelty of eating “someplace fancy” (it’s not fancy at all, but it’s a little local pub and not a national “family style” chain), and their excitement set the tone. They tried something new (fish and chips, which garnered one “May I eat up your cheeseburger, Mama?” and one “I LOVE fish, can we have this at home ALL THE TIME?”)
The break in our usual routine made a huge difference. So much so that when Sunday morning rolled around, we felt like we’d somehow gained an extra day.
A FEW SUGGESTIONS : FROM FOLKS LIKE YOU —-
I’m single with no kids…. so one of the things I like to do on a Friday afternoon after work is to take a long shower, eat ice cream and catch up on my shows that I’ve missed from the week on my DVR. I know it doesn’t sound exciting… but it sets the tone for relaxation for the weekend.
This is one of my favorite subjects–squeezing every precious drop of the weekend. Now that it’s finally warming up where we live, we grilled out two nights in a row, which my daughter loved. We dragged her art easel out on the deck and set up the baby pool. She barely watched any TV which was a nice break for us all. She and I took a leisurely Sunday nap (we canceled our plans for the day–we’ve all been running around too much), and basically lazed the day away (except for some assorted chores I can’t ignore). I’m lucky that my weekend begins early bc I work at home on Fridays–it’s still work, but at least I don’t have to commute. So, Thursday night, i’ll stay up a little later and maybe watch a movie with my husband or by myself if he crashes early. Downtime is in short supply for us these days, so I try to savor every minute.
In trying to keep on a regular budget, hubby and I, who enjoy eating out, have limited to one night a week. Friday is the winner! We both look forward to it after a long week. He works from home so I’m able to get out of the house and it helps me relax after a long week at work. We enjoy it more, too, since it’s not every night. Plus it’s in walking distance. BONUS!
When I was young, my granddad would pick me up from school and we go eat dinner at some place “fancy,” too lol. It wasn’t fancy (local buffet) but we both really enjoyed it. Afterwards, we would go to this tiny little video store and rent a (gasp!) VHS. Usually, some older Disney flick or the like. Oh! And the place had free popcorn and we always got a bag of that though we were stuffed to the gills from dinner :) Those were good times.
Now, my husband and I kinda carry on the tradition. I work in a different city during the week so weekends are out time. Friday night usually consists of “catch-up” time: snuggling on the couch, talking, maybe an adult beverage or two. Doing this really helps us reconnect and unwind from our busy week. Saturdays consist of “drive time” i.e. getting out of the house! That night we choose a movie and veg out to that after we’ve had a nice dinner … sans the popcorn, though ;o) Sundays include a “linner” (lunch/dinner) with his parents and then some family time with them.
Simple, inexpensive, and personal. Some of the best ways to unwind.
A lot of local parks are sponsoring concerts during the summer months. Check for listings in the paper. The kids might not enjoy the music but they will love being outside with a lawn chair and a cooler of drinks and snacks. Drive in movies are relatively cheap if you avoid the concession stand. For a romantic evening with hubby, a bottle of wine and star gazing in the backyard can help you unwind after the kids are asleep. Don’t talk about work or kids though. It’s a mood killer…lol