Q: You’re a mom who rarely has a solid hour of time to yourself, but by some miracle you’ve got an entire night alone without another soul in the house.
So… how do you spend it?
Watch a dumb movie on TV?
Read the last chapters of a good book?
Talk to your bestie online?
Cry from loneliness?
Go to bed early?
Me? I did IT ALL.
I was alone in the house for the first time in almost 9 years. 9 YEARS. Well, let me clarify – alone in the house overnight. I’d had time alone in the house before, but it was always during the day and always with a finite time limit. But this was different – I was home by 7p, with no hubby and no girls. I didn’t have any set time to get the girls the next day, and Jay wasn’t coming home until late the following night. I was F-R-E-E. Free. Free.
This crazy event all happened because I had found out about a killer once-in-a-lifetime 5K happening the same weekend Jay had planned to take his dad to Nashville for his birthday. Since Jay was to be out of town, I needed someone to watch the girls. I reached out to my mother-in-law, who was (ironically) going to be spending the evening alone at her house, and asked if she’d be willing to let the girls sleep over so that I could be out early the next morning in time for my event. Thankfully, she not only agreed but was also excited to spend an evening with them. She’s awesome. 🙂
As I headed home after dropping them off, I realized that I had mixed feelings about being home alone. I’m kinda used to the general feeling, since Jay travels a bit and I’m used to spending an evening alone here and there after the girls are in bed. But somehow I knew there would be a big difference between watching TV while the girls slumber upstairs and watching TV while no one slumbers upstairs. Turns out I was right.
I came home and ate dinner on the sofa, my Boston Market meal balanced on a pillow-turned-table on my lap. I finished the last book on my reading list while I ate and then stared at the blank TV screen for a few minutes. I turned it on and chatted online with my best friend while watching a really bad Lifetime movie. I went to bed early since I had a 4:30a wake-up call for my run the next morning. I had exactly the low-key night I’d hoped for, with a few unexpected lonely tears thrown in. Yeah, I cried a little whenever I remembered that my girls weren’t sleeping like angels upstairs in their beds. Wasn’t expecting that. But maybe I should have been.
The situation brought to mind one of my all-time favorite quotes on motherhood by Elizabeth Stone:
“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”
It never felt more true to me than that night as I sat alone on the sofa. I knew my girls were in good hands, but I missed them so much that every time I thought about them a few tears would fall to my cheeks. And missing them made me miss Jay even more than usual too.
The funniest part of all of this is how often I wish I could just be left alone. The day-to-day chaos can drive me bonkers – the neverending meal prepping, the homework checking, the teeth brushing, the boo-boo kissing, the errands running, the house cleaning, the laundry folding, the attempts at noise quieting – in the middle of it all I find myself wishing I could just have a few hours where no one needs me. Where no one has made another mess the second the previous has been cleaned up. Where I can just shut down. It’s great in theory, but in truth it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Well, apparently not for me, anyway.
Thanks to another upcoming running event I’ve got another one of these all-alone-in-the-house weekends happening again soon. I’m just hoping I handle it a little better than I did this time… and I’m relieved that the Empty Nest Era is so far away. 🙂 ❤