It wasn’t too long ago that Fridays were the days I dreaded. The day that most people longed for and celebrated was the one that I loathed. I suppose it was because I was tired, exhausted really, and it wasn’t even the last day of my week. I still had one more to go before my “day off,” the day when Sunday mercifully arrived and we were all together again, huddled around the TV agonizing over another Chicago Bears’ football season, or nestled in the nothingness that is truly the best day of the week.

Instead, Friday is my Humpday, another reminder that there are errands to run and chores to be done and the “oh my goodness there’s no way I’m going to get it all done because someone just smeared peanut butter all over the carpet” reminders that things don’t always go as scheduled. Now, add on the long, slushy winters and the fact that we have a one-year-old who isn’t exactly North Idaho weather-ready, and you have a string of very long months spent cooped up indoors. Talk about a double-dose of feeling down and out.

Until I realized I didn’t work for anyone.

So I officially declared Fridays (ahem, and most Saturdays) pajama and movie day. Simple as that. No managers to confer with, no pesky HR forms to fill out. I simply said it, and it was done. Mom’s in charge, and I am Mom. The all-knowing, all-powerful Mom. Ruler of the roost, head honcho of the home, boss of the abode, commander of la casa.

Now that’s powerful stuff.

I remember when it finally hit me that, as the parent, I was in charge of my children. That what I said goes. It seems like such a silly thought now, but there was a time – especially in the first few months of the boys’ lives – that it wasn’t so. Instead, it was the twins who dictated the order of our lives. Of course, any parent knows that doesn’t go on for too long. Regardless of the different styles we choose to use, we parents eventually smarten up and take charge.

And this moment of clarity had the same feeling. The “ah-ha” moment that had hit me when I realized that I was indeed calling the shots took over when I simply decided Fridays were going to be fun. I realized that I was also in charge of my own household, that the tasks and busy-ness of the day didn’t have to rule our schedules.

Even Joey knows how important it is to relax ... regardless of where you are.

The best part is, it doesn’t take being a mom to determine this. In some form or another, we all reach this juncture. Whether we’re just starting out, heading off to college, newly married or newly single, our lives are ours for the taking, and take we should. If we don’t someone else – or a series of events – are going to dictate the direction of our lives for us. And one or three or even seven years later we’ll end up somewhere unfamiliar, bewildered and without a clue as to how we arrived. Fortunately, the only thing we’ll need to get back is a change of mind.

Certainly gives new meaning to the expression “because I said so.”

This column was originally published in the December 7, 2011 edition of the St. Maries Gazette Record.