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In which i require solitude

I require solitude. Lots of it.  I always have and I always will.  I had my own room growing up and I would escape into it with a book and read for hours.  When I got to college I had a roommate, then an apartment mate and finally, by senior year, I lived alone.

I also lived alone in New York City for four years.  I tried the roommate thing but very frankly, she drove me nuts.  Her hours were different than mine and in a city of so many people, when I got home I just wanted to be by myself.  I’m not sure I would have survived without my safe haven of an apartment.  When I got engaged and moved in with Kevin, I hadn’t lived with anyone for quite a long time.  I still got my solitude however because although we both had jobs, he had his life and I had mine.

Kids though. Kids change everything.  When Keely was born I soon realized that she was ALWAYS there.   It was a helluva adjustment.  It soon became apparent that I would have to use her naptime to have my “Lynn” time.  When Andie came along 15 months later, my goal was to get them on the same nap schedule ASAP.  It took a while but I soon accomplished this.  When my kids were napping, I would either read or find some other relaxing activity to do.  I NEVER did housework or anything else when my kids were napping, because that was MY time.  Occasionally my mom would call up and I’d say “Mom, do you realize that THIS is naptime?  You’re NEVER supposed to call me during naptime!”  Rude, I know but honestly, there was a lack of solitude and I needed every second I could get.

Eventually, I had a sitter coming in twice a week in the mornings so I could get out and play racquetball.  After that, did I run my errands?  NO I didn’t!  When I had a sitter I would come home and go into my office that also doubled as a guest room.  There was a sofa bed in there and I would lie down and read.  That’s right. READ.  After all, this was my time.  I never went grocery shopping and ran errands without the kids.  I know it’s more difficult with them but honestly, if it came down to me time or getting errands done, me time won every time.  So if that meant that I had to run errands with my kids, so be it!

People used to think I was crazy when I explained that I had a babysitter so I could do nothing but honestly, that’s what kept me sane.  Sometimes I painted, sometimes I sculpted but always this babysitting time was Lynn time.  Errands, bills, other tedious chores … that stuff was  done with three kids in tow.  

On weekends, Kevin would always take the kids to lunch and then watch a movie with them while I sat in my office and did whatever I wanted.  He knew that the “best” me was a “relaxed” me and the only way that was achievable was with a little solitude.

So, to all those moms out there rushing around getting it all done, maybe it’s time to think about restocking yourself with a little you.  You can begin by some alone time.

I’m just saying…

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30 Comments

  1. Victoria KP
    January 19, 2011

    I can SO relate to this. If I don’t get a little alone time I start getting REALLY grumpy. That’s why it’s 6:20 am and I’ve been up for almost an hour. It’s the only opportunity I have to be by myself and it’s MINE. My boys know that if they open the door to my office before 7:00 things will get ugly.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      I know, right? Christmas break this year almost killed me. I felt like I hadn’t been alone forever. Finally starting to feel better now that my girls are back in college.

  2. Just Margaret
    January 19, 2011

    Great advice! I realized in college that I had to ensure that I got solo time, “Marg-Time” I called it. I’m an introvert at heart, and Marg-Time gives me the chance to re-charge. My hub is *awesome* about letting me get that re-charge, too.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      My husband has always been great about it too! He used to take the kids out on Sundays to the pool and let me stay home and paint.

  3. Name *
    January 19, 2011

    ditto to Victoria’s comment—this is why I’ve been getting up early. to read, write, think, have “me” time. Even though my twins are 5 now, I still have a hard time taking advantage of “me” time. Funny though, my husband seems to have NO issue with his me time! LOL

    erin
    @erinlynn76

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      My husbands me time is his workouts and watching sports. I don’t worry about him though as he is a pretty stable fella!

  4. Ash
    January 19, 2011

    Alone time is key to my being a half-decent mother. Key!!

    (she types this on day six of kids being home thanks to MLK holiday and the flu. Send help.)

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      A love how you say half-decent. Ugghhhh…I used to hate when my kids were home sick! That was never in my plans…good luck!

  5. Carla E. Knight
    January 19, 2011

    I used to get up an hour earlier than Bud (actually I still do) just so I would have that time. I always arrived at work a half hour early so I would have time to get ready for the day without interruptions. Now I have all day, every day, and to be honest, most of the time that’s fine with me.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      I can totally relate to that. I never get bored by myself and don’t understand people that do.

  6. Lori
    January 19, 2011

    I always stuck to a bedtime just for this purpose of giving myself “me” time but have not ever entertained the idea of carving out me time on purpose, until just recently. It’s taken me almost 30 years of being Mommy to see that I am worth taking this time. I work outside the home 2 days a week but on the other 3 days from 1-3 is quiet time at my home.

    The little’s have to stay in their rooms during this time and no longer do I work or try to get things done during this time. Instead I actually sit down and watch The Talk show, reading or writing on the computor, then I walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill and then get to take a shower in quiet.

    At first I felt completely guilty and selfish for doing this. But I’ve come to realize that it’s for my sanity and well being that I do this and this benefits everyone around me. Since I am new at doing this (just started doing this about 2 weeks ago), reading this post was just the encouragement I needed to continue doing this. Thank you!

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      Good for you! It’s amazing to me how many people think that “taking care of themselves” is actually selfish. I would have been a lousy mom, wife and person without me time. Good luck with your blog!

  7. Rebecca
    January 19, 2011

    I definitely agree with this and it’s something I REALLY need to work on.

    With a 3 year old, a 4 month old and a husband that works out of town often, me time is very hard to find.

    I took a bubble bath the other day while my husband ran to the store with both kids – was like a tiny piece of heaven!

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      Yeah for you! I’m all for some time alone!

  8. myevil3yearold
    January 19, 2011

    God knows I need it.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      Hahaha…we all do!

  9. julie
    January 19, 2011

    I think we were separated at birth (besides the blonde hair and all…)
    Whenever a friend of mine has a baby (which happens much less frequently now as I grow older) I tell her “DO NOT DO LAUNDRY WHILE THE BABY SLEEPS!”
    And guess what?
    They do the damn laundry while the baby sleeps.
    I felt like I was the only mother on the planet who took naptime and bedtime as a break for me. In fact, I would have all the laundry, dishes, chores, housework done by 7:30 PM so that when I put the rugrats to bed, I could sit on the couch and relax – whether that relaxation took the form of reading or mindless television or staring into space.
    Every other mother I knew waited until the kids went to bed and got stuck doing crap until midnight.
    I thought I was selfish.
    But really, I think I am a better mother for it.
    My kids are 11 and 13 now, so they stay up later and require less of my constant attention.
    But still. I hit a moment in the afternoons when they’re doing homework and eating snacks and picking at each other – and I say,”I’m going upstairs to read. Meet me with your book when you’re done with homework.”
    And I take in the solitude. And then they join me and we read silently together.
    I hope I’m training them well.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      Ha! I love that…i always tell people my philosophy and they look at me like i’m crazy or something. But they’re always running around looking harried and i’m always pretty relaxed. I say that OUR method is better. True that!

  10. Lady Estrogen
    January 19, 2011

    I LOVE being alone.
    I would crack if I didn’t get my dose of it every day. :)

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      You and me both. It was actually much easier when my kids were younger than when they were older. THey NEVER go to bed and they’re always in the family room. Oh well!

  11. Kimberly
    January 19, 2011

    When I was in grad school (the majority of which was online coursework, thank God!), I figured out that I had to have a break from my children at least ever 6 weeks. They were 4 and 7 at the time and I could seriously sense (even without a calendar) when we were nearing 6 weeks without a break. I had them as my sole responsibility 24 hours a day for 365 days a year….now, I love solitude. Hours without any noise…no tv, no radio, no anything = bliss!

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      Yep…I’m right there with you. I thought Christmas break would NEVER end!!!

  12. Stefanie
    January 19, 2011

    This is truly brilliant. I strive for it, because like you, I need my solitude. Otherwise I become very bitchy and am no good to anyone in my family. But? I find I fall short too often. My husband is very respectful of my need for me time. And? I reciprocate. He needs his time too.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      Thank you. I appreciate the compliment. My husband usually plays basketball with the guys as a stress reliever on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings. I would NEVER plan anything during those times. Now he has weekend lunches with one of the kids. So yeah, we both work it out!

  13. Name *
    January 19, 2011

    I require quiet, alone time. To the point where I tell my very extremely loud, quiet-time-busting kids, “Use your inside voices!,” which is my least favorite mom saying ever.

    If I can’t decompress by reading or even by just sitting there…I am a raging lunatic. My favorite thing to do? Eat out alone. And when I was in my 20s, I NEVER thought I’d say that.

    • Lynn
      January 19, 2011

      I know. The first time I traveled and ate alone it was weird, but I eventually enjoyed it. Me time is important!

  14. Theresa Sonoda
    January 20, 2011

    Have to have my alone time, and have always been that way. It’s easy now as an empty nester, but I used to have to be sneaky about it. Alone time is important. It gets us back to our center (sounds deep, huh….but seriously, it does). Important.

    • Lynn
      January 20, 2011

      Yeah…I can’t function without it. I love when no one is in the house except me.

  15. Catch the Kids
    February 19, 2011

    I too can’t believe that people get bored by themselves. There are so many possible things to do and although my family isn’t always happy about it, I have to keep some of my day for me. Your piece was spot on.

    • Lynn
      February 19, 2011

      Thank you…sometimes you just have to be selfish

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