Thursday, March 7, 2013

[Guest Blogger Series] Sacred Saturdays and Family Values by Tanya Koob

When I started the Mommy Hiker blog a whole 4 months ago (it seems like ages!), one of the first people to reach out to me was award-winning blogger, travel writer and inspiring outdoorsy mom Tanya Koob of Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies fame. I am so grateful for all of her support and guidance and it is a special honor to have her as my Guest Blogger this month!

It's nearing the end of the week and if your to-do list looks anything like mine, it's loooong! Way too long! I don't know how it happens but I start off strong every Monday with great ambitions to conquer the world, get a mountain of tasks done during the week, and finish with a glass of wine on Friday before taking the weekend off. Yet, once again, the weekend is going to arrive with half of my list still unfinished.

tanya koob
Skiing with my son

 Now I don’t know what’s on your list of things to do but I expect there’s some house cleaning, shopping, at least one errand that requires driving to the far side of the city, and possibly other random chores around the house from yard work to repairs.  You know that you could wash the floors after the kids are in bed but in reality, the TV is far too tempting at that point when you are seconds from falling asleep during the kids’ bed time story.  And you justify not being more productive during the day because you have children to take care of after all and you’ll get a lot more done if you go out shopping by yourself on the weekend when Dad can watch them for a couple of hours.  Right?

I’m there with you and my to-do list currently still has 15 things on it that I would love to have completed by Sunday night.  However, it’s not going to happen because Saturday in our house is a special day where nobody works, looks at lists, or frets over dirty bathrooms.  I've started referring to them as Sacred Saturdays because while our practice of not working on Saturday isn't a religious one, it is sacred for us none the less.  We protect our Saturdays and try extremely hard not to do anything that has to be done.  We devote the day to play, family bonding, relationship building with friends, and outdoor pursuits.

Tanya Koob
Hitting the slopes

There are exceptions of course and I’m not going to stop my husband from answering that business email that comes in from India requiring him to drop everything and quickly solve some big problem as soon as possible.  And there are things that sometimes have to get done today – and not tomorrow or next month as is often the case.  Gardens don’t plant themselves, house repairs generally don’t get done mid-week, and those epic shopping trips to the far corner of the world tend to pile up until it requires a whole day or weekend to get everything done.

So what do we do on Saturdays?  We go to the mountains.  We hike, camp, ski, ride our bikes, go paddling, and travel all over our beloved Canadian Rockies.  We usually invite friends to spend the day with us and we try to unwind from a busy week of working.  We reconnect as a family and catch up on stories that may have gone forgotten during the week.  Overall, we just play and have fun!  No shopping, no work, no errands, and hopefully no cooking on my part as my husband takes over that duty on weekends.  (Yes, I know I’m lucky.)

What do we sacrifice and give up by living this lifestyle?  We miss the occasional birthday party, we’re often not back in town by Sunday morning for church services, and our son won’t be playing soccer this spring as practices in our neighborhood happen on Saturday mornings.  We've also received criticism in the past for being out of town playing when friends may have needed us to help with anything from a move to building a garage.   In our defense, we’ll happily help you build that deck Sunday afternoon if we’re in town, and we haven’t missed a birthday party yet this year.  

Tanya Koob
With my son

Despite a few sacrifices, I wouldn't change a thing and we try very hard to live a balanced life.  Given enough notice, we will save a Saturday on the calendar for a birthday party in June, (Love friends that plan 3 months ahead!) and we will move things around on the calendar so that we are in town when our truck is invited on a play date to help friends get a Christmas tree, move furniture, or pick up a large appliance that doesn't fit in their Honda Civic. 

If setting aside a full day per week is too much for your family, start off small and choose a couple days per month that you will devote to family play and bonding.  Even one day per month is an excellent start.  The key is to choose a day where the whole family will be together for as much of the day as possible.  And while we've chosen Saturday, you might prefer to keep a more traditional Sunday Sabbath.  For ourselves, while we go to church on Sunday, we find that by the time Sunday afternoon arrives we are already thinking about the coming week and are anxious to start preparing for it.  Meanwhile Saturday beckons our family to get outside, throwing lists to the wind, and to celebrate the first day of the weekend together where we are happiest – outside.     

Tanya Koob
Our Family
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About the Author: Tanya is the author of the Calgary based blog, Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies.  She is an aspiring freelance writer, coffee junkie, and new convert to the exciting sport of Stand Up Paddleboarding.  She is the mom to a spunky four year old boy who currently thinks she is a princess and wife to an amazing husband that, in her words, “I will never truly deserve.”

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a perfect Saturday! We don't live in the mountains, but we love doing active things with family. These pictures make me want to get out there and do something RIGHT NOW. Thanks for the inspiring post!

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  2. Tanya and Jennifer, I love this idea! I'd say we are pretty much doing at least 1/2 of one weekend day playing outdoors as a family, and often the whole weekend. It IS hard with sports, bday parties, etc. What also helps make those days sacred for us is a no-electronics rule. After reading this, you've given me the idea to be more intentional about it. Thanks! Debbie at Odyssey Outdoors

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