Sunday, March 04, 2012

Sunday Routine

A typical weekend running route

My favorite thing in the New York Times is the Sunday Routines feature. Do you read it? It's merely an outline of the typical weekend activities of someone in New York, generally someone distinctive but not name-famous: a dancer with the New York City Ballet, for example, or the Manhattan borough president.

They're usually not that exciting--brunch and babies and walks and whatnot--but I find them immensely entertaining. I guess it's fun to take a peek into someone else's life, especially someone who's a little like you--not a superstar celebrity like Katie Holmes or Beyonce, with whom your life would clearly have nothing in common--and yet theoretically more interesting, affluent, or dramatic.

As someone who lived for many years in big cities, in particular for a very long time in an uber-urban neighborhood in the heart of Chicago, and wouldn't live in a huge city again if someone paid me (no offense, urban-parent readers; just a personal preference for a simpler life and an actual house), I nevertheless enjoy the glimpse into city living and the memories it brings back. I also get a big kick out of the Sunday Routines of non-parents--the sleeping late, the lounging with coffee, the movies and solo workouts and prolonged brunches--because they're laughably foreign to me now and yet provide some sort of parent porn: OMG, the freeeeee tiiiiiime!

Just for fun, here's my version of Sunday Routine. How does yours compare?

PRE-DAWN KIDDOS AND COFFEE My daughters wake me up around six, which is an hour later than I sleep on weekdays, so I guess it's sleeping "late." I feed the cat and the kids, turn on NPR, and start the coffee. While the girls eat, I drink two giant mugs of coffee with half-and-half, check email and the online weather site, and generally just try to wake up. I might answer messages or check in on Facebook, where my fellow moms are often up as well.

MORNING SHIFT Sunday mornings are "lazy" in the sense that we don't go anywhere, but things are pretty active and noisy by 7 a.m. We tackle some chores, the girls play, and I'll often do some baking--which I love--with public radio on in the background. I've recently stopped working on Sundays; I used to do a lot of writing on the weekends but have found I'm a healthier person when I get a real weekend like most people.

A SWIM, A REST, AND A RUN During the school year, one or both of my daughters has swimming lessons on Sundays. I feed them an early lunch, then bring them to lessons and enjoy a half-hour of "me-time" while I watch them swim and browse a magazine during the lesson. After swimming, we go home and the girls take a rest. Very occasionally I do too, but more likely I'll cook and do laundry, or else go out on my weekly long run (which I sometimes save for later in the afternoon, depending on weather and our schedule).

PLAYTIME + EARLY SUPPER We typically plan something fun for Sunday late afternoons. Often that's for the girls with my husband only while I'm out running or busy cooking dinner, but sometimes we do something as a family like get together with another family, go to the park, or go sledding or for a walk. We try to get the kids active and outside in the afternoons. Because we enforce early bedtime, that means early dinner too, so we're always back by five for a home-cooked family meal, preparations for the next school day, and a bath for the kiddos. If I've just completed a seven- or eight-mile run, I'll soak in a hot bath too. I like quiet Sunday evenings. I find it helps everyone get mentally and physically prepared for the upcoming week.

SNUGGLES WITH BOOKS One of my daughters' favorite things to do before bedtime is to join me up on our big king-sized bed, get under a snuggly blanket, and read with me. Because they're avid independent readers, we all read our own things, cuddled up together. It's very relaxing and soothing. But I actually miss reading storybooks aloud to them. At seven, my husband tucks them into bed, and then it's always an unknown whether bedtime will go smoothly or if there will be multiple protests, calls, tears, and requests for water or a blankie that's gone lost. It's gotten better over the years, but Genevieve, our five-year-old, still fights bedtime most nights. It takes superhuman endurance to deal with it, but eventually everyone's quiet.

EARLY TO BED Christopher and I like to watch a series on DVD as a little in-home "date." Right now we're working our way through "Mad Men." We might pop some popcorn. But I like to get to bed early; my lights are out by nine at the latest most nights. Morning comes early in my house.

Your turn!

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