My husband recently took the kids to his parents for the weekend, leaving me alone for the first time in forever.
Some might ask, “Were you lonely?”
To which I reply, “Bah-ha-ha-ha!”
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Because clearly these people do not have children.
I love my kids so much. They are my people. I just want to squeeze their squishy cheeks and smother them in kisses.
I also want to put them to bed by 5 pm.
I crave alone time. I NEED it.
I will shrivel up and slowly wither away without it.
Since becoming a parent I have learned one extremely important fact no one bothered to tell me. Kids just want to be with you. Like, every second of the day. And this? This is why moms (and dads) crave alone time.
Think it’s just when they’re babies? Think again. That’s just the beginning. Sure, it’s awesome for the good ol’ ego to feel so wanted, needed and loved.
Having kids that need you and want you all the time is great. Until it isn’t. Here’s why moms need alone time.
Kids hang on you. Literally. All the time.
They play with your hair, they wriggle onto your lap as soon as you attempt to sit down, they wrap their arms around your legs so you can have the pleasure of dragging them across the floor, wherever you go. They have zero concept of PERSONAL SPACE. Zero.
There is nowhere that is sacred. Nowhere.
I locked the bathroom door. Once. My then 2-year-old got a bloody toe from kicking on the door because apparently he could not survive for one minute without me. Sweet, right? Wrong.
There is no time of day that is sacred.
Sure, nighttime is supposed to be when human beings close their eyes and don’t open them again until morning. Unless you are one of the TINY TOTS among us. They do not like sleeping (because they’re crazy) or being alone.
They will show up at your bedside, creatures of the dark, silently staring at you until you wake up in horror, just shy of a heart attack. They will demand water or suffer death by thirst; or announce to the entire house, “I have to pee!” like they deserve some sort of achievement award; or whisper, “I want to snuggle with you,” awwww. Except not awwww when it’s 2 am.
You don’t shower alone or shave your legs alone. You don’t go pee alone.
You don’t eat, poop, or get dressed alone. You don’t drive alone. There are no 15 minute coffee breaks or 1/2 hour lunches. You are literally never alone. Like, ever. Except for maybe that one precious moment you had scarfing down the last chocolate chip cookie while you hid in the pantry.
Quiet does not exist in the land of the little people.
It begins at the butt crack of dawn. Sometimes earlier. It is crying. It is whining. It is lamenting the extreme unfairness that is getting the orange cup which was soooo yesterday’s favorite instead of the blue cup that clearly is THE ONLY cup and “why are these adult people so stupid?” It is “No job is too big, no pup is too small! Paw Patrol is on a roll!” and “I’m the map, I’m the map, I’m the map!” But definitely not CAILLOU, for he has been banned from the house forever.
It is the talking. So much talking.
About Pokémon and the LEGO Movie and robots. About FORTNITE and Minecraft. It’s “Mom mom mom mom mom,” and “why?” It’s endless fart jokes and knock knock jokes that make zero sense. It’s the talking that never ends. Just like the song my friends.
While you are expected to listen, don’t think for a second that your children (or your spouse) will actually hear YOU talking. No one hears you the first time you say something. Or even the second time. Which is so weird. You’re standing in the same room. They’re right there, you’re right there. They have ears. They can clearly hear themselves. And yet…
Moms crave alone time because we spend our days in a constant battle of Survivor.
Struggling to outwit irrational pint-sized dictators, to outlast raging lunatics, and to outplay tweens and teens who are quickly becoming savvier than we are. We are ever vigilant to ensure that our children don’t accidentally kill themselves or each other on purpose. It is a continuous cycle of putting everyone else and their needs ahead of our own – our kids, our spouse, our jobs, the dog. By the end of the day we are touched out. Listened out. Played out.
It’s not just the kids. By the time darkness descends we have peopled with ALL the people.
At work. With the other parents at school drop-off and pick up. In Target. In the stands at our kids soccer game, dance practice, swim meet. With the Amazon Prime delivery guy, the employee in the drive-thru window, the receptionist at our dentist’s office.
Even our spouse, who may or may not receive angry grunts because if we have to talk to one more person our heads may explode. Or who, if we have spent the entire day solely in the presence of our offspring, will be bombarded with verbal diarrhea because praisethesaints! finally another adult to talk to, until all of our words are used up and we just want to be left alone.
Is it really any wonder that we crave some me-time?
It doesn’t matter that when we are alone we spend the entire time thinking about our kids or our never-ending to-do list. What matters is that we finally have a moment to catch our breath, revel in the solitude, and pick the remaining shreds of our sanity up off the floor and Kragle (yes, it’s a LEGO movie reference) them back together to do it all again tomorrow.
Just because we crave alone time doesn’t mean that we wish our lives were different or that we don’t enjoy the time we spend with our kids. We do. But that time alone? Recharges us so that we can slay it at this motherhood gig. Well, sometimes at least.
I may crave time alone but I crave time with my family more.
If I had to choose, I would take the chaos, the crazy, the non-stop chatter over silence any day. But please, just give me a minute first, okay?