Friday night has always been my favourite part of the weekend. I think it stems back to childhood. That moment when the bell rang at the end of the day and you knew there was no more school until Monday and you got to hang out with your friends and go on family day trips and wear what you wanted, rather than your school uniform. At university, even though we went out every night of the week, Fridays was always my favourite night at our students’ union bar. I felt the same about Friday nights when I started working full-time. Heading to the pub at 5.30pm and enjoying happy hour cocktails, ending up in some club at 2am still in your work clothes was a great start to the weekend. And you had all of Saturday and Sunday to recover.
Now that Little Miss E is in school full-time and Little Man O is at pre-school every afternoon, I am ready to burst with excitement by 3.15pm on a Friday as I know I get to have all my babies with me all weekend. I miss them so much when they are at school and I think Baby I misses his big brother and sister too.
I know I have friends who feel the opposite – Friday pick-up is their least favourite time of the week! They’re quite happy when their little ones are at school. But it’s one of my favourite moments of the week.
Weekends are certainly not what they used to be however, and while Saturdays and Sundays are often dominated by swimming lessons and rugby and the continual circuit of children’s birthday parties to attend, often there is the excitement of day trips and family film afternoons and meeting up with friends and their children too. And Friday Eve is the start of it all. Also, it signifies that Cardiff Daddy is home for the weekend (unless, like tonight with the big Wales versus England match, there is a rugby game to go to or golf to be played, but for the most part, he is around!), that there is someone to share the load with and take over primary childcare duties when I want to do something for myself.
Going to the pub with my colleagues or friends at 5.30pm on a Friday might no longer be appropriate for me now, but I still have this overwhelming need to mark the start of the weekend – so I do my best to make Friday evenings special.
Some weeks, I’ll take the children to the coffee shop for a babychino and a chocolatey treat to share. In the summer, it’s the park and perhaps an ice cream. Some Fridays we arrange playdates with friends. Other times, it’s me and the kids huddled under a blanket on the sofa watching a film, or playing a board-game together.
We also always have more of a fun tea on a Friday; something special and celebratory. Pizza, perhaps, or fajitas or DIY KFC. Sometimes a barbecue in the summer. Definitely nothing boring and definitely no left-overs! We eat as a family as much as we can anyway and are lucky that Cardiff Daddy is usually home by about quarter to six. On a Friday, we always have our evening meal at our dining table, rather than the one in the kitchen. That makes it sound a lot posher than it is. The dining table is situated in the chaos of what I call the living room and my children call the play room and it’s usually covered in toys and colouring books until about five minutes before we eat. It is a scruffy hand-me-down in desperate need of some good old chalk paint, with chairs that don’t match. But the kids know that when we eat here, it’s a special occasion. And, to us, Friday nights are special.
My children get so excited by our Friday nights. It’s quality family time, which is so important when life is so busy and fast-paced. At the moment, they’re all in bed by 7pm. Sometimes, either myself or Cardiff Daddy will have a night out planned with friends. Occasionally we’ll get the opportunity to go out together, other times it’s a boxset or a film together.
I’m sure as my children get older, Friday nights will change. Perhaps instead of going to bed at 7pm, we’ll all have a family movie night or play board games. Maybe we’ll go to the cinema or bowling. Soon enough though, there will come a time when my children are mortified by the idea of spending Friday evenings with their parents, and they’ll be off with their friends creating their own new Friday night rituals in the bars and pubs of Cardiff. In the meantime though, hand me the pizza and a Disney film. It’s Friday!