Tiistai 24.9.2019
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Elävät, elävät sinua ylistävät, niin kuin minä tänään ylistän! Jes. 38:19

Blog: Family weekend

in English 30.4.2019 06:01 | Päivämies-verkkolehti
It was Friday. The week had been busy and full of unexpected events. I had taken one child to a dental appointment and another to the health clinic and had attended the parent-teacher meetings of several children.  I had not been able to fit all of the seven parent-teacher sessions into one week, so there would be more to do after the weekend.
 
The children had had the normal number of hobbies and had needed the normal number of rides. I had taken some paintings to Pori, and some prospective buyers had come to see my paintings in our home. I had tried to maintain a moderate level of tidiness in the house, so the visitors would not stumble over piles of shoes when entering the house.

The previous weekends had also been busy. We had had overnight company for many weekends in a row. It seemed that, for a long time, I had not been able to pause and stand still. I admit I am not such a relaxed mother that I could hang around in pyjamas when we have children’s friends staying overnight. Nor do I feel able to sleep in freely. Although there are loads of home chores, I do not want to order our children to do them when they have friends visiting.

So, on that Friday I decided I would be a cruel mother for a couple of days. I would not take any extra children to stay overnight, and I would not let our kids go anywhere. In my mind I declared this weekend to be a family weekend! My plan was that on Saturday we would do some chores, spend time outdoors, and heat the outdoor sauna. I dreamed of sleeping late on Sunday, having an unhurried lunch, and getting to services in good time.  

When the first kids came home from school on Friday afternoon, I had the first question, ”Could a friend of mine come for the night?” “Not this weekend”, I said. The next kid came and said her friend had asked her to come over for the night. “Not this weekend”, I said. The third child soon arrived with the same question. She would have liked to have two friends to stay overnight. Then someone called and also asked to be put up for the night.

I felt miserable saying ”no” to all these request. I felt I would soon be known as a truly ruthless mother. But I decided to stand by my decision and said there would be no room in the inn. I wanted so badly to have a moment of peace and quiet. When I explained to my children that we would spend this weekend with just our own family, I was astonished to hear no protest. I guess they have learnt that when I say something emphatically, it is no use to press on the matter. Or maybe they needed some peace and quiet themselves. One actually said, ”OK, that’s fine.” She could just relax and read a book this weekend.   

On Friday we decided to leave Dad at home, so he could have a nap, while the rest of us would go to the library and also buy some candy. When I went home with the little ones, the bigger children stayed behind to shop for clothes. In the evening we had a meal together and talked. On Saturday I persuaded each child to do a small chore. Some of them were a bit reluctant at first, but did what I asked for. In the evening my husband took the children on a hike in the forest. I spent that time heating the outdoor sauna, painting a picture, and listening to the silence. Later in the evening our older children went to see their friends. The rest of the family had sauna. On Sunday we all slept late, cooked lunch, went for a short walk, and even lay down for a while before the services.

When we talked about the weekend, everybody agreed that it was wonderful to spend some time with just our own family. Someone also said that it is good to invite friends over for the night to get to know them better. I said I agree. I very much enjoy having a family of friends visit and stay overnight during the weekend. I enjoy the discussions and the possibility to do things together, but such weekends should be so rare that they seem special.

I find that peaceful family weekends improve the family spirit. That seems very valuable. It may be that, living way out in the country, we have become a bit of hermits. But the truth is that our family needs peaceful weekends once in a while to manage our hectic weekday schedules.

Text: Virpi Mäkinen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen

You will find the original Finnish blog post here.

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