Dear Holly,
I am really feeling the need for a regular Mother’s Day Out. I am an introvert and recharge by being by myself. Each Sunday evening, I drive an hour, attend mass, and then drive another hour back. But I really do not feel like that is enough. Plus, that mass will be ending in about 8 weeks. My husband works nights so sleeps during the day. I have 6 children aged from preschooler to sixteen. The 16yo babysits frequently for me — including Sunday evenings when my husband is at work and I am at mass. The other main factor in my situation is our schedule for school: we are in school now and follow the liturgical calendar. So we take off Church Feast days (feasts, not memorials), birthdays, baptismal/first communion/confirmation/saint days. We usually get about 1 day off per week, but are scheduled Mon-Sat so in reality we get about 5 days per week of school. We take off all of Eastertide for our ‘summer’ break.

That was the setting, now the dilemma. I do not feel like I can take a MDO on a school day. I think you understand. I don’t think I could count on it for the irregular day off. We just have too many other things going on: 16yo babysitting job, music lessons, mass, field trips, etc. I could probably swing it on Saturday afternoons and evenings since my husband usually has that night off, but we usually go to mass as a family that night since my husband cannot go in the mornings due to his work schedule (he stays up nights even when he is not working to not mess up his body clock). On Sunday mornings, I take some of my children with me and go to mass again. We are very involved in our parish and the boys are altar boys, plus I usually catch up with people on Sunday mornings. The mass is at 8:30. Then we go grocery shopping on our way home. Due to gas prices this is the best choice for a grocery shopping day.

I think that in reality, the best day for a MDO for me is Sunday starting from about noon until I would get home from the evening mass. But I am hesitant because then I really would not see my husband from Sunday morning to Monday morning. Plus, I feel like it would be putting a great deal of unfair expectations on the 16yo since she would have to watch the other children while my husband slept and then after he went to work and before I returned home — all told about 5 hours. Is that fair to her? She is very gracious, but I don’t want to take advantage of her. Finally, in reality, while not ideal, I would also use some of this time as school planning time and as shopping time. Like I said, not ideal, but at least I could get some uninterrupted planning time. Also, I think I would only do this about every other week.

I seem just stuck by this schedule and cannot think of any other options.