Separation is hard enough as it is. And if children are involved, it demands a lot from both parents. Not infrequently, however, mainly for the mothers. Although there is the nest model and more and more couples are opting for alternating models, e.g. one week mom, one week dad, this is still the minority. The main burden remains with the main caregiver. And in most cases this is the mother.
One could almost think that little would change anyway: Household chores, shopping, cooking, homework, child care and attendance, illnesses, pastoral care of little souls – all that was her job anyway. And yet it is different. Because there is no one to tell in the evening that the big daughter has stress with her girlfriend again. Or the little son suddenly refuses to eat what has been cooked and instead only survives with jam sandwiches. And as much as the daily routine is well-rehearsed, at some point the weekend arrives. And that’s when you realize all the more that you’re alone. That you’re doing children’s programming and it really deserves its name. That the mama-sun only orbits around this one planet. And that there is no moon anymore.
That’s hard to digest at first. One can feel quite lonely, although one is surrounded by people. By loved ones. But children do not replace a partner. Also not the son may be stylized to a substitute man, no matter at what age. Children give love, but they take far more. To expect this love to replace the previous one is out of touch with reality.
First of all, there must be a rethinking in one’s own mind. This starts with the fact that there is now no one to judge you. Whether the laundry basket is half full or overflowing, your children will most likely not make an issue of it. Finally, the mother can allow herself to put aside her perfectionism. Breathe deeply. Children have their own rhythm. And they usually don’t have the needs we impose on them either. Of course, home-cooked food is the best thing we can feed them. But they will also be happy if it’s the Italian next door. Or even a Kaiserschmarrn for dinner instead of the usual vegetables. The rules that apply in the household were set by you. So you’re in a position to change them. And honestly, what’s the consequence of not spending two hours in the kitchen? Probably that the evening is much more relaxed. You’ll have more time to play together or do homework in peace or just snuggle and read a book. You don’t have to handle everything on your own.
Short trips are recommended for the weekends. Whether it’s to visit the grandparents, the friend you’ve known since school days or for a city trip. Because yes, culture is also possible with small children. Many museums offer a children’s area. And a sightseeing bus is also exciting for the kids. With enough stops for an ice cream or a snack, you keep the energy up. In the summer, boat trips, pedal boats or feeding ducks are great – if you’re near the water. In winter you can also go to a bouldering hall or an indoor adventure park. The main thing is that you enjoy it! Because yes, it can and should be fun for you. You’re not doing it for the kids alone, but also for yourself. So you can have a great time together, and take lots of memories with you. Get on the train and explore the country you live in. There are guaranteed to be quite a few places nearby that are worth seeing. Drive across the border, get to know the neighboring country. Kids are usually early risers anyway, and so much can be done in a long day. And if you don’t feel like driving: hiking, picnics, barbecues, a trip to the city, the zoo – most of the time all of these are better than staying at home. You don’t have to worry about keeping the kids busy because they are busy. And if you do, because it’s a cold rainy day on which you want to stay home: celebrate that one, too! Consciously. Decide to watch a movie. On the picnic blanket in front of the TV, with snacks like in the cinema. Or look for inspiration for handicrafts, the Internet is full of them. Paint, together, on large-format paper. Or play a board game. Or even find a hobby together. Why not try an online dance class or yoga for kids? And get together with others: Playdates can be relaxing for both the kids and the moms, if the chemistry is right. Having visitors is always exciting, and it doesn’t always have to be coffee 😉
During the week, think about what you would like to do on the weekend. It’s motivation for both the kids and you. Getting out isn’t just about distraction. It’s also an opportunity to broaden your horizons, learn about new things, experience encounters. And, with some practice, you will find that it is also much easier than having to split up or settle arguments. The program is of course also compatible with single children 😉
I’m looking forward to more suggestions for activities with children in the comments!