For my Mother’s Day gift this year, I was given an IOU from my husband for some alone time, and a few days ago, I cashed in. He took our little boys out of the house and left me home all by myself (insert hallelujah chorus here).
I hugged and kissed them goodbye, shut the door and took a deep breath; it was so quiet.
I didn’t know what to do with myself and I started to feel a lot of pressure. They would only be gone for four hours, which seemed like so much time at first, but I was suddenly afraid I wouldn’t spend it the right way.
So I instantly made a mental list of all the totally normal things I could do while they were gone that have suddenly turned into luxuries …
1. Taking a shower
I could stay in the hot shower for as long as I wanted, I could shave both of my legs and both of my arm pits. I could actually follow the instructions on my shampoo bottle: Scrub, rinse, and repeat.
2. Watching TV
I could turn on Netflix and choose any show that didn’t come from the Kids Under-12 section. I could turn it up loud and listen to it while I wandered around the house trying to decide what else to do.
3. Spontaneously leaving the house
If I wanted, I could just stand up, put on my shoes and walk out the door. No little ones to get ready and buckle into their seats, no asking my husband if he minded if I ran out really quickly. I didn’t have to find a babysitter; I could just go. However, I was in a nightgown and still hadn’t showered, so I decided against it, but still I could have if I wanted to.
4. Putting (potentially) dangerous items wherever I wanted
If I felt like it, I could cut an apple and leave the knife on the counter. I could light candles and put them all over the house. I could boil a pot of water on the front burner, or actually set a hot cup of coffee on the coffee table.
This was my chance; I could eat something that was meant to be hot, while it was actually still hot. I could have dessert without eating my veggies. I could simply enjoy my food without listening to protests or complaints from a toddler who thought his food looked “too icky.”
6. Enjoying … silence
I could choose to do absolutely nothing, to just sit and be still. There would be no one to take potty on the “big toilet,” no poopy bums to wipe, no sticky fingers pulling on my arms, no tantrums to deal with, and no fighting over toys. It is such a strange but wonderful feeling to simply — just for a little while — not be needed.
7. Taking a nap
I could lay on the couch, close my eyes, feel the breeze coming in from the window and just sleep uninterrupted. Maybe I could even finish a dream instead of being awoken during the best part and never getting to find out how it would end. How long does a REM cycle last? Maybe I could actually complete one of those.
8. Calling a friend
Talking on the phone used to be something I did for fun. I forgot about that. Now it’s something to be avoided at all costs because inevitably at the exact moment a phone call begins, someone will scrape their knee, poop their pants, break my favorite lamp, or get in a fight over the blue sippy cup. Is it really possible to call someone just to chat and actually have it be a pleasant experience?
9. Cleaning the house
This may not sound super exciting, but it has to get done and it is 129,480 times easier when the kids aren’t “helping” or following behind me making messes as I clean them up. I could even go in their room and get rid of some of their toys. You cannot purge your toddlers’ toys while they are home; the things they never play with will suddenly become their favorite and it will cause them severe emotional distress if they are forced to part from them.
Most of our bedroom closet is full of projects that I have started, each collecting dust while I lose the excitement and energy I once had to finish them. However, without the kids here playing with my hot glue gun, pretending my measuring tape is a snake, or running through the house unwinding a spool of twine, I could totally get some of them done.
I could work-out, but I think I already do that all the time. Lifting my kids on and off the potty approximately 500 times a day and chasing them through parking lots with my arms full of groceries totally counts as exercise, right?
So, after debating with myself about how I would fill the time, I lit lots of candles, did the dishes, popped some frozen waffles in the toaster, turned on Netflix, and arranged the couch pillows just how I like them.
I sat down cross-legged on the couch, with a plate full of waffles in one hand and the remote in the other. I hit play and The Magic School Bus came on; I began watching it out of habit. The moment I realized that this was not the right show, my husband and kids walked through the door.
Ever since then, my kids won’t let me out of their sight because they think I’m going to watch their cartoons without them … again. I hope I don’t have to wait until next Mother’s Day to get some more alone time because I think I’m ready now, and I don’t even care how I end up spending it.More On