Chronicle of a Sister: Why Do I Put So Much Pressure on Myself on Weekends?

Every Friday night it’s the same refrain: I wonder what I’ll be able to do with my dear family during this long (rainy?) weekend. I would like to enjoy them, but without getting tired, even more.

As I write these lines I have just checked if there is free space for Saturday at the Cité des enfants in La Villette (I live in Paris). It’s a place I love, with a beautiful circuit full of discoveries for children aged 2 to 7. Yes, there is room, come on, I’ll book, no I won’t, it’s not cheap anyway. So what do I do? Lazy to take the subway on a Saturday morning with the stroller… and at the same time. Well, if I book, my boyfriend will probably tell me. “Why are we putting ourselves through this?”. I will answer her “For them, to please them and then I can’t do anything about it, that’s how it is, I have to do things”. DO THINGS. How can I explain to you that I love and hate my routine. I hate doing nothing on Saturday night, but running into The voice it demoralizes me, and at the same time I complain as soon as I have something planned. “I’m comfortable on my sofa under the blanket, no desire to see people.” Ahhh maternal ambivalence.

What’s the program then?

Often, at the end of the week, I write this tourist-worthy phrase on the internet “What to do in Paris this weekend?”. Inevitably I come across the site Going out in Paris which offers me a visit to Les Invalides, St. Patrick’s Day (what is that?), the Army Museum, Paris by tuk tuk and many other sponsored things. Nothing excites me, no joke. So what do we do? The question wouldn’t arise if I lived in a house, close to nature, but here I am in the city and my children are more familiar with construction machinery than farm animals.

Anxiety about going to the park

I talk about the park a lot because I think it’s a real torture for parents, especially when it’s cold. None of us have fun sitting on the bench full of dried pigeon (or mouse) droppings watching our children go down a slide that doesn’t slide. We quickly forget when they grow up. I won’t deny that with twins it’s even more complicated. In short, this routine is not fun, but so classic, I’ll give it a try hustle and bustle planning family outings and activities. Because my boys, how many there are, need to shake themselves off, we can’t stay closed together all day, we would risk killing each other. We need to find an exit that appeals to 2 and a half year olds and 10 and 12 year olds. Big deal.

I put pressure on everyone

Really? I hate weekends in relaxed mode, is it because I’ve put so much pressure on myself these past two days that doing nothing at the end makes me anxious? Or am I simply afraid of finding myself alone with my children? Honestly I do not know.

There’s nothing relaxing about our weekends, but it is Our moment : after a long and eventful week, we need to recover quickly, compensate for our absence, make sure these 48 hours together are exceptional. Sometimes I even find myself thinking that maybe the twins want to do something else besides picking up twigs in the park. It’s ridiculous. There is this idea, specific to our time, of making the most of our free time together, a notion that normally applies to the world of work but which affects our personal lives. “How to perform this weekend ?”

Does this sentiment apply to all mothers?

Packing a week’s worth of pleasure into two days is absolutely unrealistic. Especially because the weekend also awaits us with other less glorious tasks: the mountains of dirty laundry, the meals to think about and prepare, the homework I mentioned above. Fantasizing about weekends full of activities that in the end I don’t always organize (and disappoint myself), perhaps I spend along with really beautiful and spontaneous moments, the famous quality time. What do children remember? Dozens of trips to the zoo or aquarium? Puppet shows, ongoing exhibitions? As I write (I think at the same time), I think of my twins, and I tell myself that everything impresses them, the work on the street, the subway escalator, the cleaning trucks washing the sidewalks, they have no idea, they don’t need moreover in itself. As for adults, most of the time they don’t ask for anything and we would like them to be grateful.

Life with children is a series of insignificant and unique moments that I don’t take the time to savor because I’m in too much of a hurry, in the future, not in the present. But it’s true that looking at all these perfect lives on Instagram, how can you do it settle for the ordinary ? I’ll leave you my basket for The city of children has expired, we will settle for the Piazza next door. And have a nice weekend.

This post is taken from the weekly newsletter “Le Balagan” by our editor-in-chief Candice Satara. Candice is the mother of four boys ages 2 to 12. To receive it you can sign up for free here.

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