Before I became a mother, I used to love spending time alone.
I thought it was a necessity for my sanity. Every day, I would spend a few hours just by myself; letting my mind wander, wasting time, doing whatever I wanted. Seriously, what did I do with all that time? When I was pregnant, I remember looking down at my squirming belly and wondering how I would survive without this daily dose of self.
Now, it has been over two and a half years since I have spent a night alone.
When my husband is away, I always have my son and when my son is away, it is always just me and my husband. But this week, I have had the entire week to myself. (First my husband bravely took Wolfy on his first camping trip then I left to do a week of professional development an hour and a half away from home.)
I haven’t spent this much time alone since before I met my husband! Suddenly, I am face-to-face with a person who is staring back at me in the mirror and I wonder if I even know who she is. Surely I am not the same person I was when I was in my early twenties and I met my husband. And I’m also not the woman who became a mother a few years ago. Who is this new me? What does she think about? What makes her who she is? What is she doing with her life? All these years, I have defined myself by my little family. I love them. I am proud of them. I talk about them constantly and show pictures of them to anyone with the bad luck to have to sit next to me when they’re not around. My husband and son are such a part of me that I’m not entirely sure where they end and I begin.
But if you want to know a secret, this time alone hasn’t been so bad. Here are some of the perks of spending a week without my family:
- Eating an entire sandwich without anyone asking for a single bite.
- Cooking a meal luxuriously slowly with no interruptions.
- Exercising every day. I know, I know. Even as a parent, you’re supposed to make time to exercise. On what planet does that actually happen?
- Sweeping all the rooms downstairs and no one tries to grab the broom, or dance in the pile of dirt.
- Drinking an entire cup of coffee in one sitting before it gets cold.
- Leaving the house happens so quickly! Seriously, it’s like a miracle. I just get in the car and go. Wow!
- Laying around in bed until 8am.
- A sudden ability to stay up past 11pm. Even with all the exercising I’m doing, I can’t seem to get as tired as I do when I’m chasing around a two and a half years old boy. Hmmm.
- It’s easy to feel like I’m somewhat cool again. Like when I’m riding around in the car with music playing super loud and the only thing that’s louder is my own warble-y crooning and there’s no little voice yelling from the backseat, “Stop singing!!”
- Also, what makes me feel cool is riding around on my tiny purple vintage Bianchi racing bike. It’s impossible to hitch that thing to any kind of kid attachment or bike trailer because it’s just too sexy! That bike was meant for the single life. It’s pretty much the embodiment of the slogan on that pro-cyclist bumper sticker: “Put the fun between your legs.” Yes, please! Make me feel twenty-two again!
Of course, none of this stuff comes close to having Wolfy around. I miss him with every cell in my body. I miss him in a try-not-cry-while-he-can-see-you-on-Skype kind of way. I miss the sweaty warmth of Wolfy sleeping next to me. I’ve woken up several times each night this week only to realize I’m cold and sore from sleeping in a strange contorted knot without my boy. I miss Wolfy’s prancing little run. I miss burying my nose in the soft crook of his neck. I even miss the singsong, slightly infuriating way he says, “I don’t know” as a response to any question that he doesn’t feel like answering.
It’s been a long week. I’m ready to go home to my family.