Before I had kids I never did anything by myself. I’d call a friend to join me at the grocery store, for a lunch date or to go to a movie that my husband wasn’t interested in. The idea of dining alone, or sitting in a movie theater with no one to whisper to just seemed strange to me.
Until I had kids.
After a full day of carpooling, changing soiled diapers, and being a maid and personal chef, any quiet moment I can get is a welcome escape. Once my husband comes through the door in the evening and the children clinging to me let go to run to him I can finally breathe. I use those few minutes that the kids are occupied to get dinner to the table.
I have to admit, I am a little spoiled. My husband puts the kids to bed 95% of the time. As long as he’s home, he supervises the teeth-brushing, reads the bed time stories in silly voices and makes sure there are no monsters in the house. Of course the trade-off is that I get to use that time to tidy up the dinner mess and the result of having three boys at home.
I never dreamt that I would enjoy doing housework, but when you’re a parent you look at things a lot differently. I relish stolen moments, even something as mundane as running to the store becomes a little getaway. I take my time strolling down the aisles, with a cart that seems incredibly light due to the lack of occupants, and I can hear myself think. I can even remember the thing I went to the store to get – a feat that sometimes seems impossible when you have a few extra people tagging a long.
It’s not that I don’t like being a mom, not at all. But being a stay-at-home parent isn’t easy, and it can be easy to lose yourself among the piles of laundry and toys. I love my boys more than anything, but sometimes I just need a little break. And while a vacation or night on the town would be nice, realistically a few minutes by myself whenever I can get them will work just fine too.
Some days I wake up a little early so that I can get a shower in before the little people in my house start invading my personal space. I’m able to wash my hair, shave my legs, and even just stand there under the running water a bit too long before I have to tackle the day. It may sound weird, but I get a lot of creative thinking done in there. If only I could bring a notepad in with me too.
Those few moments – those stolen moments – they’re not much. But they’re a little bit of peacefulness in my awesomely crazy life, and they help me stay – mostly – sane.
How do you find time to yourself after having kids?