The joy of alone time … where ever we find it!
I just had a wonderful moment; a moment that only mums with young children will appreciate. I had to go to the shop to get a cake for my husband’s birthday (no, I’m not baking it). The kids wanted to make him a “dinosaur cake”, which, in reality, means the kids decorate a ready-made cake with toy dinosaurs. I went up to the bakery to get the cake, but while I was choosing it, I got distracted by the chocolate eclairs. I confess, they are my weakness. Even though I would be indulging in “dinosaur cake” in a few hours, I couldn’t resist. I bought my two cakes and returned to the car. Then a thought occurred to me: “If I eat this eclair now, I don’t have to share it with the kids!” So, there I was, alone in my car, rain outside, radio on softly, eating cake. The best part: I actually finished the cake, all by myself. Every last crumb, all to myself! Oh, so devine.
As I drove home, I began thinking about similar experiences. Those moments of alone time that are so refreshing, but in places that pre-children me would never have imagined. For example:
A medical appointment, where I have managed to get someone to watch the children. Upon arrival I am informed the doctor is running a bit late. “Oh, what a shame”, I say with a bit of a smile. I suppose I’ll have to pass the time with that two-year old Marie Claire magazine. Sure, the chairs are uncomfortable; sure, I’m surrounded by sick people; sure, I’m about to have a biopsy on a suspicious mole; all worth it for forty minutes of uninterrupted alone time.
Wide awake at 11pm at night. Pre-children me would be looking for the valerian—not now. Oh, the possibilities. Everyone else is asleep, there’s time, it’s quiet—what to do? I could read. I could watch one of MY favourite shows. I could check my emails. I could pin on Pinterest. I could have a bath. Heck, cleaning the bathroom in peace and quiet could be exciting right now! I could do so much I may never get to bed.
Filling up the car—without kids. Amazing! Not having to time it around one of them being asleep. Not trying to wrangle them in and out of the store to pay. Not having to fight with them at the counter about buying chocolate. Not having to drive around to find a pay at the pump station. Just stopping, filling up, paying, and driving off. Oh, the bliss.
Going to a public restroom. Sure, they’re horrible places. But just a few moments to use a bathroom without a toddler crying at my feet, or splashing water from the tap, or pulling out all the toilet paper, or saying, “Mummy, are you doing a poo or a wee?” Just silence. Time to myself. Just to be clear: I don’t linger in the bathroom, but I do pause and enjoy the brief solitude. I’ll take it wherever I can get it.
Hanging out the washing. I never enjoyed hanging out the clothes. In fact, as a child, I worked very hard to avoid that chore. But now it’s my job (at least until I can delegate it to one of the kids) and, most days, it’s all of us out at the clothesline. The kids will be in the treehouse, the baby on a rug, and me trying to get the clothes out while they are nagging me, fighting with each other, or trying to sneak off while my back is turned. But sometimes, just sometimes, I grab a window of quiet time to do it. And for that few minutes, I’m outside, it’s quiet, I’m in the sun and simply enjoying the breeze. Add to that the smell of clean laundry and the satisfaction of getting a job done. It’s the little things.
Going to the shop to get Milk or Bread. I used to hate this. Who wants to have to go out again when you are just about to settle in for the evening? Well, me. Frankly, it’s almost exciting. It’s a short enough trip that I can run up and leave the baby at home with my husband; but for me, it’s five minutes of quiet time. I can listen to my own music, make a quick phone call, or just tune out for a few moments. More than that, I can get in and out of the car without strapping all the kids in. Talk about liberating!
Those are some of my glorious moments, what about yours?