“Now what?” I walked into the house after handing my kids off to my ex-husband for the weekend and looked around at the stillness. It was Friday at 5 p.m. and very quiet. As exhausting as parenting is, I was sad that they weren’t home with me. What do I do for the next two days? I needed kid-free weekend ideas to help me feel less alone.
When your kids are away at their father’s or for a weekend at Grandma’s, you’ve got to make the most of it. When you get intentional with that time, you’ll find you’re a better mom when they return home to you. So check out these 7 things you should do when the kiddos are away.
1. Get together with friends.
I have a dear friend who’s our group’s party planner and she kindly checks with me before setting a date: “Do you have the boys this weekend?” She knows that if I do, I’m not coming to girls’ night, but if I don’t, I’m in. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re enjoying the gift of friendship.
2. Do the hobby that you can’t do when they are around.
Sure, you can read, do your DIY project, or watch a chick flick when your kids are home, but you’re going to get interrupted every five minutes and probably react with impatience. Take the alone time to pour into your passion and work on your identity outside of motherhood.
Girl, sleep in! Hit snooze, take a midday nap, and, in the immortal words of Depeche Mode, enjoy the silence. Next Saturday morning you can wake up at 6:30, ready to scramble some eggs and mix up some chocolate milk.
4. Go on a date.
Of all the kid-free weekend ideas, this is the one you should think most carefully about. If you’re ready to date, saving it for the weekend the kids are away will save you babysitting money, and keep you from bringing your kids into a part of your life they might not be ready for.
5. Keep the house quiet for a full hour.
When the kids are home, music is playing, iPads are dinging, doors are slamming, and kids are screaming, fighting, singing… When they are away, the quiet can feel like a void. Try not to fill your quiet house with noise. Sitting in stillness can help quiet your mind and soul.
Try not to fill your quiet house with noise. Sitting in stillness can help quiet your mind and soul.
When my sons are at their dad’s and I miss having them at the dinner table, I pray that they are eating something nutritious and enjoying the dinner conversation. Whether I miss them or am worrying about them, there is always a prayer to offer and it always brings me peace. iMOM’s free printable 10 Ways to Pray for Your Child can help you if you’re not sure what to pray for.
7. Do the thing you’d feel selfish leaving them to do.
“Sorry, sweetie. Mommy can’t play dolls because she has a 2:30 facial.” I’m not saying self-care isn’t important, but the blessing of kid-free weekends is that you can do those things without sacrificing precious time with your children.
8. Organize one thing.
Kids don’t care if their pajama drawer has PJs that haven’t fit them in four years, but when it comes time to put laundry away, that overstuffed drawer probably drives you nuts. Pick one small thing to tidy up while they’re away. Bonus—this is also a sneaky way to get rid of broken or unused toys!
9. Do something that will make your kids feel loved when they get home.
I want my kids to know that even when they are away, they are never far from my heart. Recently I printed photos and arranged them in frames on the wall. When the kids got home, they got a kick out of recalling the good times the photos captured. It makes me feel like I’m still “Mom” to pour energy into loving activities.
Share your favorite kid-free weekend ideas. How do you deal with missing your kids?