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Losing the end-of-the-week baggage

Categories: Hacking Life, Making Time, Uncategorized

5 comments

While I was driving home from work on 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 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. This past week, though, my department got done early; a last-minute family date felt like icing on the cake.

Unfortunately, the restaurant 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?”) and yes, our 3-year-old boy was very 3-year-old boyish by the end of the meal, but 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.

Really, what we’d done was lost some end-of-the-week baggage. And the lighter load carried through the weekend.

It’s only Monday, but I’m already planning how we’ll break that I’m-too-exhausted-to-think cycle. A fancy meal on a weekend night so the kids can keep challenging their palates? A mandatory grownup movie night at home on Fridays? Another family date out somewhere inexpensive, maybe just for dessert? To be honest, the money we spent at the restaurant could have been better spent in other ways too numerous to list here, but what we got out of it — a bit of bonding, a bit of a break — was priceless.

How do you get rid of the end-of-the-week blahs?



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5 comments so far...

  • Fun post, Lylah! I think that end-of-the-week/blah-busting treats are money well spent. Dining out is my favorite, and there are plenty of ways to keep it within a reasonable budget: use coupons (Restaurant.com has great ones - we recently spent $2 to get $25 off); grab prepared entrees at a high-end grocery store (sushi can be much cheaper this way, and you save money on tips and (for parents) wine/beer by drinking out of your own fridge); or go out to Saturday morning breakfast instead of dinner (also tends to be cheaper). For movie nights, our local library rents DVDs for free — throw in a pizza or drive-by bucket o’ chicken, and turn it into an at-home picnic with a “pic” (beats paying a fortune for movie tickets — no sticky floors or chatty audience members checking their iPhones incessantly, either!)

    Jeannie  |  February 11th, 2010 at 9:54 am

  • We’ve been in the same rut and doing something similar at home. For us, it’s nighttime sojourns into downtown Boston. Amelie loves to see the horses at Faneuil Hall and we usually do our daily routine down there at night.

    It’s really inexpensive (even if we get dinner somewhere), but some suggestions I would have are bundling up and:

    - Take the kids to see the seals at the aquarium. No cover to watch them outside and the bonus is that, between the nighttime hours and chill most tourists and non-natives are not crowding the area.

    - Let them race the boardwalk behind the aquarium, watch the boats in the harbor and the planes take off and land.

    - Afterwards, head toward the No. End for cappuccino and cannolis at Modern Pastry on Hanover.

    - Wander Faneuil Hall. We were there a few nights ago and got a cheap meal (I know where to go), chatted up the horsey set and Amelie got to dance while a street performer played children’s songs on his bass clarinet just for her. Then he let her play the keys while he blew - and it was awesome.

    - Wander Chinatown and explore. It’s amazing the tings you find.

    For us, we may spend 20 bucks (much smaller family though) or nothing more than the cost of fare on our Charlie Cards and end up home, exhausted, happy, cold, feeling warm inside, feeling like you got out and moved…and we always seem to find some new, hidden gem or adventure each time.

    Phe  |  February 11th, 2010 at 11:09 am

  • My friends and I have gone out for dinner most Friday nights since long before I had kids. We all qualify as workaholics, and it really does set the tone for the end of the week - though we do work the weekend. I thought we’d have to take a break from it when I brought my kids home, but in fact, we went to a nice Indian restaurant within days of coming home. And the kids did great. So we’ve been doing that weekly ever since. We don’t order anything for the kids other than milk. They can share with us; we always have leftovers still.

    I “break up the week” during the week, too. Usually, I take the kids somewhere on Wednesday evenings. Either shopping/cheap restaurant or picnic/fun place. Our local art museum is very nice, free, and open Wednesdays until 9pm. There is also a sort of “cultural party in the park” near the museums on Wednesday nights in the summer. I should probably buy a membership to the natural history museum, which is next door to the art museum, so we can enjoy that freely as well. In summer, kids are free for the orchestra at our open-air concert place, which is also really nice. Adults are maybe $10 or $12 each. So a pretty affordable family experience if the weather cooperates . . . .

    SKL  |  February 11th, 2010 at 11:28 am

  • Family pizza night! For whatever reason, we only ever seem to have pizza on Friday nights. Make or buy some dough (or even some of those bread shells), make a quick no-cook sauce from crushed tomatoes and some herbs, get some cheese and whatever other toppings you like, and let everyone make their own pizza. Throw together a green salad, pour everyone their favorite beverage, and have fun. It’s more fun than ordering in, and not that much more work. We usually wind up sitting around the table talking for a while, and then often watch a movie or play a game. The kids stay up late, and we can really enjoy that time together without anyone having to rush anywhere (well, except for once a month when there’s a cub scout pack meeting, but even that somehow doesn’t mess with the Friday feeling).

    akmom  |  February 12th, 2010 at 11:59 am

  • Doing something relaxing with a family doesn’t have to be expensive. You can go for a walk downtown, beach or park, go out for pretzels or ice-cream or frozen yogurt, popcorn and a movie at home - it makes a big difference :)

    Stickers  |  February 25th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

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