When I was a little kid, my brother, sister and I would trail my mother everywhere. Mommy, I’m hungry. Mommy, where is my doll? Mommy, Bart won’t stop biting Cynde! Mommy, I need a hug! It’s not that my dad wasn’t around and couldn’t be helpful he just, well, he wasn’t my mother. Even when Mom was taking a shower, we kids would park our toys nearby and wait for her to emerge. There was only one place my mother would shoo us out of – the bathroom.
Now, it took me years to realize that my mother didn’t have some kind of chronic intestinal disorder causing her to spend inordinate amounts of time on the toilet. Rather, the bathroom was the only place she could truly be alone. When I think back on it, there were always magazines and books in her and my dad’s bathroom. I know now that my mother would use that time to catch up on her reading, make phone calls and or just grab some alone time. Never once did she scream, “Leave me alone!” though I’m sure she had to be thinking just that every now and then.
Before having D2 two years ago, I really never gave much thought to how much alone time I had or didn’t have. As professionals with busy careers, Dr. D. and I gave each other space knowing the other needed down time to recoup from the stress of work. Now as the mother of a toddler, I am struck by the fact that I am NEVER alone. Like I was with my mother, D2 is with me all the time, when I’m not at work. This really hit me last week when we were traveling to see my in-laws.
We were visiting Dr. D.’s aunt’s home in Florida and there were so many kids and adults in the house that I was able to sneak off and read the new Steve Jobs biography that I’ve been plowing through at a glacial pace. D2 was being thoroughly spoiled by his nieces and nephews, safely occupied thus allowing me to totally relax and not worry about whether he was sticking a chop stick in an outlet somewhere. It was heaven. Then I felt guilty about being happy I was alone.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I worship my little boy. Adore him. But that brief moment of respite reminded me of how little time to myself I actually have these days. My neighbor, who has two active little boys, warns me that once you have more than one child your chances of ever having any alone time go down to negative zero. I’d like to think that I can avoid that fate by communicating better with Dr. D. about needing more time to myself.
What do you think? Do you ever wish you had more time to yourself? How do you do it?