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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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The Fleeting Saturdays of Childhood

Uploaded: Sep 6, 2014
I truly enjoy recording our family's memories. I scrapbook, keep a sentence-a-day journal, and write a weekly email to distant relatives. And I always try to keep an ear out for new and creative ideas. Over the weekend I came across Dr. Harley Rotbart's wake-up call to parents - that there are only 940 Saturdays between the time a child is born and the time that child goes off to college. We've all heard how fleeting childhood is, but numbers like this can be an eye-opening reminder.

Dr. Rotbart recently created a keepsake journal for parents to record these fleeting Saturdays along with a booklet of ideas for how to spend this time together.

I personally don't think a Saturday journal is the right fit for our family. Most importantly, many of our family's most special memories didn't happen on a Saturday. The journal would have missed my son's first steps, along with many holidays and family vacations. It would also have missed the special moments that popped up during our weekday morning and evening routines.

Thinking back to my own childhood, I don't recall Saturdays as being especially memorable. And as a parent, most of my favorite family memories happened throughout the week...usually when I least expected them. Of course, we plan special outings as a family or extended family, but even the most memorable moments during these trips were not when or what we had planned. My son could have done without his first sledding experience but he loved playing with a bucket of snow in the bathroom.

For some people, trying to turn every Saturday into a special memory could easily become stressful and overwhelming. It might be better to let the memories happen organically rather than forcing them. For others, however, the journal might give them that extra nudge to try something new.

I don't know what memories my son will remember most from his early childhood. But I think for me and my husband, Saturdays will most likely only be about 1/7 of them.
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Comments

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Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 12:16 pm

I agree with you completely while you still have preschoolers. As you get into elementary school and start the inevitable sign ups for sports/dance classes/birthday parties, etc. You will start realizing that Saturdays start taking on a new meaning. A holiday weekend with no planned Saturday activities will suddenly become a day to relax and just be a family again.

As the kids get older, Saturdays will then become a time for them to catch up on sleep and homework.

I think it is important for you as a family to start relishing the Saturday and also Sunday flavor. They will become more meaningful as your family grows and gets busier. Whatever type of activities your family get involved in, a special Saturday tradition (game night/movie night/icecream outing/whatever) will be something to try and preserve each week to keep the family bonding experience prolonged even as you get busier running in several different directions.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Sep 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- Thank you for sharing how Saturdays can take on new meaning as children grow up.

My mom always talks about her family's weekend tradition of watching The Wonderful World of Color (on their black and white TV). I can see how a weekly family tradition might work well for some, but I don't know if I would buy a special journal to record a weekly game or movie night.

Growing up, I remember our quality family time happening more organically (it wasn't necessarily scheduled). We played a ton of board games, but there wasn't a designated night to play them. We watched a lot of movies together, but it wasn't on a specific evening. We ate many meals together, but sometimes a music lesson, homework, or sporting event collided with them. As a kid, I remember spending a lot of time on Saturdays with friends, sporting events or other extra curricular activities. I don't think I would have been excited about scheduling anything else into an already busy day/week.

Maybe it'll change once we are out of the "toddler-phase," but as you mention, sometimes it is fun to just relax and be a family on a free Saturday (or Sunday, Monday evening, Tuesday morning, etc). And let the memories happen when they happen.


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