Sometimes, I just need time by myself.
This need isn’t something that happened when I got married or when I became a parent. I have always been very fond of “me time.”
When I was newly married, carving out alone time was easy. My husband, Peter, knows it’s important to me and has always been very supportive of giving me some space. But once kids arrived, carving out some solo downtime became a little tricky.
Most children don’t enjoy being alone, and I would guess about 100 percent of those little social butterflies prefer the company of their parents. They don’t want a break from us, so the idea of us wanting a break from them is unimaginable.
As parents, we have, at one point, hidden from our kids in the bathroom for a few minutes of solitude. I’ve heard of moms and dads hiding out in the laundry room, the garage or taking extra long showers or baths just to get a little distance from the pack.
I have the most humble admiration for all the single parents out there, who keep all the plates spinning and the balls in the air without a partner to help shoulder the load. My escapes into solitude are, in large part, a benefit of being in a co-parent situation. When I need to tap out for a breather, I’ve got my husband there to fill the breach.
However, I recently came across another woman’s answer to getting some alone time.
I belong to an online mom group where we share stories about our lives, funny memes with kids and whether it’s wine o’clock yet. Sometimes, women reach out with questions or ask for support, because parenting isn’t all cute baby photos and pinot grigio.
It was in this online group that I saw a post by a woman who was playing hooky from her family.
One morning, this mom got up, got ready and headed out the door as if she were going to work like any normal day. In reality, she had taken a vacation day and hadn’t told anyone in her house. She posted all of this to the private group while seated at a restaurant waiting for her breakfast order to be delivered to her table. She billed it a “mental health day.” Just reading it made me long for a stack of the pecan banana pancakes she ate and the virtual silence I imagined her enjoying while eating.
The comment section to her post — which featured a photo of coffee nestled next to a mimosa-filled glass — was an avalanche of positivity. One lone commenter posed the question of whether she was going to tell her husband. She said she planned to keep the free day to herself. She would return home, presumably from a long day at work, looking oddly refreshed and still smelling of Prosecco and maple syrup.
All of this sounded undoubtedly divine — up until the point of not cluing in the husband.
Parenting requires a low level of duplicitous behavior. We all do our fair share of play-acting when the holidays roll around or another tooth gets put under the pillow. To a certain degree, hiding out pretending to use the bathroom isn’t exactly on the up and up, but when it comes to my marriage, I believe in keeping things on an even level.
Don’t get me wrong: This woman had me at solo dining, but the idea of taking a day to myself and pretending to Peter that I had been hard at work feels a little underhanded.
Plus, where’s the fun in not being able to send taunting texts about what a marvelous time I was having without him and the kids?
Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM’s “Big Party Show” in Omaha is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for Momaha.com.