Friday, June 27, 2008

Me, alone at home

I took today off in lieu of some overtime owing to me... it's not exactly policy, but it's something my office has always allowed us to do... the overtime money is so heavily taxed & I'd much rather have the time off anyway.

I didn't do much (I never do wind up doing half the things I think I'm going to do)... I slept in & read the papers leisurely over a cup of tea. I wasted some time on the Internet, did a few loads of laundry, did the cleaning (so I won't have to do it tomorrow, which is when it usually gets done). Watched Oprah at 4.

Some days like this, I will decide to scrapbook all day. Or I'll sit on the couch or out on the front porch with a good book or stack of magazines & a cup of tea, or glass of iced tea. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being "productive," but I figure I work hard five days a week, six if you count the cleaning & laundry I usually wind up doing on Saturday (dh mows the lawn & does the vacuuming while I do that). It's nice to give yourself permission to be "lazy" sometimes.

Much as I love dh & being with him, I also love my "me" time, & "me alone at home" time in particular. I try not to talk about this too much in front of my friends with children. I imagine that, in their eyes, ALL my time is "me" time, because I don't have children to be constantly monitoring or ushering off to soccer practice or Guides.

But as I wrote several months back, parents don't have a monopoly on being busy. And while I will agree that I have more discretionary time at my disposal than most parents, "me alone" & "me alone at home" time is rarer than you might think.

Dh & I, I think it is safe to say, spend a lot more time together than the average couple. (We actually get kidded about it sometimes.) We work in the same office tower, albeit several dozen floors apart. We get up at the same time, commute to work together & then meet up again at the end of the day for the return trip home. We generally don't see each other during the work day, but we call each other a couple of times a day. Once in awhile, if he's going to be working late & I'm going to head home by myself, we'll arrange to have an afternoon coffee together.

On a typical day, we're up at 5, leave the house by 6:30, in the office between 8 & 4:30, & don't return until around 5:30. By the time dinner gets cooked, eaten & cleaned up, it's mid-evening, & usually we're too tired to go out (although on the occasions when we do drag ourselves out, we find reserves of energy we didn't think we had!).

Most of our friends & family don't live very close to us anyway, & of course they're all busy themselves, so we don't get out much on weeknights. I have a couple of girlfriends I will meet for scrapbooking once a month or so, & during the winter, I take a weekly yogalates class. And we facilitate our pg loss support group together, two evenings a month. Dh doesn't have a lot of guy friends that he spends time with. He used to meet up with some of his cousins for golf now & then, but as everyone has gotten married & (yep) had kids, those golf games have fallen by the wayside. I used to travel a little for business, but with technology & budget cuts, etc., I haven't been asked to do that in 10 years.

So it's actually quite rare for me to have some time to myself alone, at home. Maybe not as rare as a mother with toddlers, but still not very often. And I enjoy it. I spent a lot of time by myself growing up & as a young adult at university. I'm not afraid to be alone (although the few times in our marriage when dh had to be away from me overnight, I didn't sleep very well...!). When there's two of us in the house, even if we're not in the same room, we're very much aware of what each other is doing. If the cleaning is done & we have an entire day to ourselves -- say, a Sunday afternoon or a statutory holiday (as we'll have on Tuesday -- Canada Day) -- dh gets bored quite easily, & doesn't like sitting around the house too long. So we usually find ourselves looking for some excuse to get out of the house for awhile, even if it's just for a coffee at Starbucks.

If I'm home by myself & I've decided that it's going to be a cleaning/organizing day, I do a much better job than when dh is looking over my shoulder & making comments about what I'm choosing to throw out (or, more likely, what I'm NOT throwing out, lol -- I'm the packrat of the family). I can go full speed ahead with whatever project I'm focused on, without having dh asking when we're going to have lunch. If I've decided to be a couch potato, I finally get to control the clicker!! (even though daytime television seems to be a total wasteland these days). Sometimes it's just nice to turn it off & enjoy the silence. (Hmmm, and parents think our lives are so different...)

And when you spend a little time apart, even for just a few hours, you have the fun of coming back together again, & talking about the different things you did that day, and appreciating the other person even more. ; )

Do you feel like you get enough "me time," & how do you like to spend it?


  1. so funny that I should go online and read this right now, just as I exhaled when my hub left for a long run. it's funny, we spend a lot of time together too, not at work, but we talk during the day, and when one of us is away we talk every day too, sometimes more than once.

    he described it once as a healthy co-dependence that we noticed after our son died. it brought us together in every good way, and we realized how WE were really all we had...

    but yes, even though I worked at home all day, he came home and I wasn't quite ready to hang out with him because there were still things I wanted to do. we carve out bits of each day for ourselves, and and one morning weekend usually.

  2. I need some "alone time" to recharge my batteries. I love getting together with all the family over holidays etc. but even then I end up staying up late or making a quiet retreat when I can, just to have that space. When DH travels for business, I actually don't mind it (as long as he isn't away too long or gone too frequently).

    I once did an 8 day silent retreat at a retreat centre. What an amazing experience! I did meet with a "spirtual director" once a day so I got to talk for that hour. There were extensive grounds, part forest, part farmland - so I could get out at least twice a day and wander about. Meals were prepared for us - it's so strange to sit & eat at a table w/ others and not talk - and snacks, tea, coffee etc. available at other times. AFter a couple of days I was sleeping so peacefully and felt very calm & still - it was such a wonderful feeling. I also got very curious about my fellow retreatants! At the last meal we were able to talk and it was neat finding out more about them. Going back into "the world" was a real shock. I'd never realized how much static there is - constant bombardment, from radio ads to billboards, etc. I couldn't handle it at first.

    Someday I'd love to make the 30 day retreat they offer (30 days silent, 40 days total I think). But that may have to wait until I'm retired!


  3. It's funny - I used to be so busy before Gabriel. I cut back dramatically before he was born, knowing I wouldn't have time after he was here. Then, after he was gone, I spent months not able to do anything.

    I have to force myself not to pick everything up again, to remember that I should be ok to be still. I keep feeling guilty that I should be doing much more, because I don't have a baby to keep me at home.

  4. Sounds like a lovely day - just what I need after a week of house guests!

    I was thinking last night of checking myself into a hotel so that I could be alone.

    Your daily routine with your DH sounds very nice - traveling back and forth to work together. I would like that.

  5. today is my me day and it's been a loooooong time in coming....i can relate to almost every word of this post including not talking much about this to those with children who, i agree, mostly seem to think it's all 'me' time for shlomit...i've been out of town on business for three days each the last two weeks and with a million other things going on I just haven't had time to recharge my batteries...i realize more and more just how much i need that...

    you also made me laugh when you wrote:

    I didn't do much (I never do wind up doing half the things I think I'm going to do)... I slept in & read the papers leisurely over a cup of tea. I wasted some time on the Internet, did a few loads of laundry, did the cleaning

    i would consider that LOTS!!! LOL!!!!!!

    congrats on your me day and enjoy Tuesday, I know we are delighted to have the whole day free with no plans -- yippeeeee!!!!

  6. I get plenty of me time, at least for now, as I work from home. I'm an only child, so alone time is a necessity for my sanity. That usually means a walk or run or some other activity that takes me away from my guy's orbit briefly.

    However, my guy and I are a lot like you and yours: We spend way more time together than many couples. We're best friends, and I just don't have as much fun with anyone else. I love being able to hang out with him nearby, doing his own thing, while I do mine. It's the best of both worlds...

  7. I LOVE a good day all to myself, just me and the doggies. There's something so refreshing about it. Like you, I tend to find cleaning/organizing projects to do. There are few things as satisfying as clearing out some space and feeling like you've got a little more breathing room.

  8. I was thrilled, just thrilled when my husband decided to take up golf. That meant more "me" time for me. When he is gone is when I am really motivated to clean the house.

  9. I think I should have my alone time taken away from me - lately, every time I have a full day to myself, I start some home improvement project that then turns into a total disaster that Hub has to help me fix and my two hour project then drags for a month and a half. Today's quick coat of paint on the bathroom now requires a wall full of drywall mud. When I can resist the urge to pick up a paintbrush, I love just lounging on the couch with a pile of newspapers, a good book and a pot of coffee.
    Hope you enjoy your alone time!


  10. In a word: "No!" I swear to god our couch is less than 3 years old and the place he sits is already sunken in. The man doesn't leave the house. I have to go out to get away from him!!! It drives me insane!

  11. Andie, my dh often says he wants to go on a silent retreat at a monastery, lol. The nonstop noise & flow of people during the day (especially when commuting) drive him bananas sometimes.

    Alacrity -- I can imagine that if you travel on business regularly, it can get to be pretty tedious. I've never done a lot of it, & although I never sleep very well in a hotel, I LOVE all the "alone" time. Especially when there's room service involved, lol.

    Shlomit -- I guess I did do something, didn't I?? Thanks for pointing that out!