Alone Time: The Holy Grailby Debbi Baldwin
When you become a parent you gain so many things. A smaller version of yourself to love and care for, a new family life, a sense of pride at the life you have created. But it is hard not to mourn aspects of your child-free former life, and one thing that there is never enough of is time. Time to do all of those little jobs around the house, time to see friends and family and time to reconnect with your partner.
The one thing that I personally miss (and I’m sure a lot of other parents find this difficult too) is having time to myself. Alone time. That Holy Grail that we all strive for but that more often than not gets overtaken by family life. It’s not that I don’t like spending time with my son and partner, of course I do. But I also value solitude and the freedom to do my own thing, and that is sorely lacking.
I find myself nowadays being grateful if I can have a shower without being interrupted, or being allowed to cook an evening meal without having to field a million questions. As much as it is nice to be left to my own devices for a short amount of time, it isn’t the same as having time to recharge and be away from everything. It’s when I’m away from the noise and the stress and the constant needs of everyday life that I can put things into perspective and realize how much I would miss it if it wasn’t there.
My son has recently started school, and I have been desperately trying to use some of the extra free time I now have outside of work to do more for myself. It hasn’t been easy, and I still find myself sticking another load of washing on or running the vacuum around the house before I feel comfortable taking some me time, but when I do allow myself to relax just for a little while I feel so much better for it. Just taking the time to get a haircut or sit in a café with a coffee and a book and watch the world go by can have a massive impact on my outlook for the rest of the day.
I am currently expecting my second child, so I know that this new-found alone time will again be taken up by new routines and endless planning, but I am going to try and remember that having time for myself is a necessity, not a luxury, and that I need to embrace whatever amount of it that I can get!