Fucking Wednesdays. Seriously. Wednesdays. They’re just full-stop full of woe. I can’t deal with them at the moment.
And I don’t even really understand why.
Because it’s midweek and because I finish early on Wednesdays and because we’re usually running low on something like bananas from the weekly shop, we got into the habit of ducking down to the local shopping centre once we’d collected the boys from the childminders at 4. It was a bit of a follow-on from when we usen’t to even send them to the childminders on a Wednesday, or pick them up early because of my early finish. And then I decided to take that afternoon time for myself. For the last however-long I’ve been using it for running with students after school.
So Wednesday had always been a bit of a happy treat day, kinda. I mean, not a big ole holiday or anything, but a little bit of an oasis in the desert of the working week.
Then something happened.
Around this time last year, if I remember correctly. We kept running into a friend of ours and her two boys who are around the same age as ours (well, one the same age and one two years younger). And so initially we’d share a pleasant catch-up coffee down at the free soft-play in the shopping centre, the kids would run around together for about half an hour and we’d head on home or to pick up our shopping or whatever.
Even then I felt that the time got stretched a little further than was ideal for us. The kids would kick up a small fuss at having to say goodbye, and sometimes we would stay on a bit later and eat dinner in a nearby family restaurant rather than facing into cooking as late as we were now going to get home.
But all in all the cost of entry was worth it. It was nice to catch up with friend. It was nice for the kids to play together. It was all adding to the niceness of Wednesday.
Then it evolved. The kids outgrew the small local softplay area. Our friend’s kids outgrew it first, but ours are definitely past it now. And we started to move over tothe local park. And then the time expanded, and we were leaving for home later and later with the kids more and more wound up. On rainy or overly cold days, we’d meet up in friend’s house and now it was nearly bedtime before we were getting home with cranky, wound up children.
In the intervening year, another friend has returned from abroad with her child and Wednesday afternoons have evolved yet further. It’s no longer a chance meeting on occasional Wednesdays but a standing obligation.
And the oasis in the middle of the week has become a frustrating and hellish commitment, where we get back late with both children and parents exhausted and yet having to face into a dinner fight.
Have I mentioned before how social interaction drains me? Well, social interaction drains me, and constant management and correcting of my children in a public space drains me more than a bit too.
So, maybe you’d think the solution is to send G. off with the children to meet up with friends and kids, and this is certainly an option we’ve gone with and it does make things a little better. But it’s the time, really. They’re still rocking in past dinner time, usually with someone having given them sugary treats I’d rather avoid on so frequent a basis (especially as they’re not the best for eating dinner in the first place), and cranky and fractious, with an exhausted, irritable and self-critical husband shepherding them in.
I liked it when we took 30-60 minutes pre-dinner to wander out together as a family. That was refreshing and refuelling. I’m not loving 2+ hours of shouting at them because they’ve gotten over-excited in the company of more boisterous kids. Of having my “human” face on in front of friends who are naturally gregarious and chatty and questiony. Of just generally being “on” and en-masked in a way I don’t have to do when it’s just my family.
When G. takes them on his own, I feel guilty for not going. I’m “expected” and also when he rolls in tired and they tired too, I feel guilty there too. No matter what, the oasis is destroyed.
And it’s every. fucking. wednesday. It has to change because it’s just not working for me. But, hi! More Guilt! Because maybe I am the only one it’s not working for, and there’re now a lot of people invested in “Wednesday Afternoons”.
I don’t know what the solution will be for us, yet. But I really needed to vent about it.