Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Every single mom needs one... (part 8) (every single woman too!)

Downtime/Me time.

I've come across so many posts in the blogosphere lately where women are beating themselves up because they lose their temper with their children or they feel guilty for wanting time alone. I started this series on the blog a while back as I realized the value of a wide range of things in the life of a single mom. I think these things are pretty valuable to single women too! (check the links for older posts at the bottom of this one.)

Growing up, I had moments of alone time but they were rare. In the house where I grew up, there were 5 of us, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. We were together all the time and even referred to our bathroom as the 'family room'.

When I moved away from home and 200 miles away at age 19, I lived with my cousin briefly and a roommate for another month or so. Then, I was on my own. Alone. Well... except when my boyfriend (whom I later married) would come over. But he never spent the nights there. (that's a story for another blog post.)

Needless to say, it was a very lonely existence. I didn't enjoy spending time alone. Thus, a few years later, I met my friend Marie and we moved in together. I lived with her until I was married. And then... my husband was gone a lot of the time traveling with work.

I had NO CHOICE but to learn to enjoy alone time. I had no choice but to make the most of my time alone. I actually started enjoying time away from my husband and responsibility. I began taking vacations without him. Then, when I began traveling with work, I enjoyed spending alone time in my hotel room. Room service and a movie that *I* wanted to watch made it so worth it.

After having 2 children and becoming a single mom, I find that alone time, "me" time, downtime... REFUELS me. I can tell when I need it because I do get short with my children. Or I find that I simply don't want to answer the phone to talk to anyone. I can still get lonely when my me-time tank is full but it's so enjoyable to me in the meanwhile.

It's all about balance, people!

Still, when I can have a day to do nothing, ignore chores (or better yet, have my house cleaned!), get in a good workout or yoga class, have a nice quiet evening and a dinner that I'd never cook for my kids, it's the most refreshing feeling. My brain rests. My body rests. My mouth rests! (I am a talker!) And I feel soooooo spoiled.

Then I'm ready to face the world, my life and my kids again. I am renewed.

Like last night... when the ex had the kids, and I got in a bubble bath, complete with floating glass of wine.

I say enjoy it! Learn to make the most of it. It is a must!

Don't you agree?

What do YOU do in your alone time?

Have you learned to enjoy your own company?

Every single mom needs one... (part 1), (part 2), (part 3), (part 4), (part 5), (part 6), (part 7)


  1. I absolutely enjoy it, although I guess I've never had a problem just being by myself (up to a certain point). When I get the chance I putter around the house in silence (or not), and curl up with a good book...without ESPN on in the background! What I need to work on is putting the chores aside when everyone is gone and just focus on relaxing. Those opportunities are so rare, and I tend to try and get caught up on tasks instead of taking full advantage of them.

  2. Downtime. Really, really, really hard. And the fact is, some of us don't get any. Sleep - when we get that - that's it.

    Those who say you have to "make" downtime no matter what don't like hearing the reality that it isn't always possible. They say we exaggerate or we don't prioritize, etc. etc. etc. So we shut up and don't speak of what others (including women) don't want to hear.

    My downtime? Sleep, when I get it. And fortunately, usually rich in dreams. My sanity? And that is different from downtime because it is work - my hour of writing daily.

    My desired downtime? Away - somewhere. Even a bath or shower wouldn't do it because my head is ticking through everything that must get done. But away - on those very rare occasions (every 2 years perhaps) - that does the trick.

  3. Now that you mention it, it has been soooo long since I have had true alone time. My daughters dad is not in the picture so I always have her. When I do get a babysitter, I go out with my friends. Really I should get a sitter and do the bath, floating wine deal. Sounds nice for a change!

  4. Me time - mot just for single mums (or single women)!

  5. I learned at a very young age to entertain myself, so I don't have a problem with alone time. I often crave it but my situation is different than yours. I'm single and childless, so I never ever have a problem getting it. I have to guard against too much of it.

    And I totally agree that it's all about balance.

  6. I LOVE alone time. I always have. With the kids, it's a very rare thing to have alone time anymore, and even more rare to use it for something other than chores/errands. But on those exceptional days when I get a few hours to myself without a list of tasks to complete, a book and a hot cup of tea make me happier than almost anything in the world.

  7. I do enjoy having my downtime, my nights when I don't have to be a mommy, or a girlfriend or anything. Although I do feel lonely sometimes, I am the kind of person who needs a certain amount of alone time to refuel. And I sure as heck didn't get enough of that when my girls were little, that's for sure. So even though I battle lonely feelings sometimes, I do also appreciate having time just for me. I know that many people aren't as lucky in that regard.

  8. Alone time is glorious. Sometimes you just need to regroup mentally. I wish I had a big ole tub to soak in. That would be awesome. Hopefully one day I will be a homeowner and can do just that. I love to catch up on blogs in my downtime (of course!) and also just read a book. In silence. Bliss.

  9. One of my fondest memories is the long weekend I spent in Chicago almost two years ago. The girls were with their dad and I took myself off all on my own. I didn't have to talk to anyone if I didn't want to - I took myself out to a lovely restaurant, to the art Institute, swam in the hotel pool, went to movies... ahhh... such a peaceful feeling!

  10. Everyone, even men, no especially men, need downtime. Quiet solitude. To quiet our minds. it does wonders.


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