How to Transition from Weekend to Work Week
By Laura Reagan-Porras
I drove up to the drop off line at my daughter’s high school early Monday morning, thinking about the week ahead, the old 80’s band song from the Bangles came on my radio, “just another manic Monday, ah, ah, I wish it was Sunday.” (Yes, I still listen to radio occasionally.) I realized, I am not manic on Monday’s, I am almost always fatigued on Mondays. After working all week, creating a weekend quality time plan and executing it with family, I feel really drained most Monday mornings. Even though I do a better job of letting go of work on weekends lately and having more fun, I am still sluggish on Monday mornings.
I’ve done all the things that I coach other parents to do for a smooth running home life.
1.) Involve children in chores so they don’t fall on one person usually the mom.
2.) Engage family members in regular preparations for the school week on weekday evenings so laundry and grocery shopping isn’t all accomplished on weekends.
3.) Schedule some alone time on the weekends, not just family time.
It wasn’t enough however. I was still feeling a bit defeated on Monday mornings so I engaged the collective wisdom of other mothers. I simply needed their help. All the mothers I spoke with were gracious and compassionate. They identified with the Monday malaise at some point in their motherhood journeys. Most of them had some helpful ideas, practices and suggestions.
- Sally, a mother of a teen boy says, she always starts her Monday with an early morning run or bike ride. She doesn’t call it a workout. “It’s my transition time,” from the weekend to the work week.
- Ann, a mom of four children, three teens and one precocious tween is the head of her team at the office. She thought if she was slow to engage, her team probably was also; she brought morning coffee and donuts, fruit plate or breakfast tacos and had a half hour “check in” time about how the weekend went. Invariably the group shared humorous stories from their respective weekends. A group laugh and fellowship, helped everyone to focus on work thereafter. (Ann is obviously an extrovert and recharges with others.)
- Joan an office manager with school age children said, she took the long way to work on Mondays and played her favorite CD from the time she left the kids at the school drop off line to her office. The music helped her transition to the work week.
Even stay at home or work at home moms seem to feel the Monday blues to some degree.
- Gayle a stay at home mom with two preschoolers said, she tended to be wiped out thinking of all the cleaning and organizing ahead of her so she made coffee and literally sat down for one hour in front of the television (no multi-tasking involved) during the toddlers Monday morning nap, to watch her favorite talk show. She didn’t do this other weekdays, but on Mondays she did. She began to look forward to Monday mornings rather than dread them.
The social researcher in me, began to see a pattern. Each woman created her own Monday ritual that afforded her the personal space to transition. What a relief! I know how to create rituals, practices and routines. There was a way to free myself from the Monday struggle.
Since I am a freelancer, I have the freedom to create my own schedule. I made a quick list of my favorite things, music from Bon Jovi, poetry, my animals (a horse and dogs). I am an introvert quite naturally therefore most of my favorite things are solo endeavors. I decided I would create a ritual, transition time from weekend to work week before I hit my computer in my home office and got busy writing. I committed to it. By only the second Monday, I was looking forward to Monday mornings instead of dreading them. I noticed my creativity seemed to be awakened after the ritual. It didn’t seem to matter if the ritual changed or how short or long it was. If I only had 15 minutes that was enough. What seemed to matter the most was my commitment to the transition time.
If you have trouble with Mondays, reach out. Talk with other parents. Ask about what they do to transition from weekend to work week. Make a list of the activities you can do within your schedule and life to build a bridge from the activities of the weekend to the commitments of the work week. Create a ritual. Share your plan with your spouse, partner, co-worker or fellow parent. Hold each other accountable to work the plan. Make the commitment to transition activities and stick to it. Most of all, have fun!
Laura Reagan-Porras, MS is a freelance writer and family sociologist. She enjoys weekends with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys Mondays now!