I am trying hard—very hard—not to hate my husband. When I fell over the flip flop he abandoned in the middle of our kitchen floor, it took a tremendous amount of restraint not to hurl it at him.
I have also kept my temper in check when my teenage daughter blasts TikTok videos on her phone and the dog whines for me to give her a treat. The noise and untidiness in our home is on constant replay, and although I love them all dearly, I’m sick of being surrounded day and night.
I need some alone time
What I desperately need in this strange, quarantine-induced confinement is just a little “Me Time.” I feel like the walls are closing in, and sometimes I actually struggle to catch my breath. There were nights these past four months when I woke up gasping for air, terrified but not sure why I was gripped by such a sense of panic.
The answer has become increasingly evident: I’m trapped and I need to get away.
Here’s the thing: there is truly nowhere to go. It’s not like I can run off for a spa weekend or even hide out in my favorite Starbucks. I can’t engage in retail therapy (the few stores that are open don’t let you try anything on), or stuff my face with buttered popcorn watching a shameless chick flick at the cinema.
These days, it’s all about family togetherness—24/7 with no relief in sight. We eat together, we watch TV together, we walk in circles around our townhouse complex together. My dog is underfoot and my spouse is ever-present: when I needed to talk to my book agent yesterday sans interruption, I had to bribe him with a batch of freshly baked cookies. The aroma enticed him downstairs long enough for me to take a 10-minute call.
I locked myself in the bathroom just to get some me time
I had to lock myself in the bathroom just to call a mom friend. “Do I hear water running?” she asked, confused. “I’m scrubbing toothpaste off the sink,” I admitted. “I’m multitasking.”
Stress cleaning aside, I yearn for a little fun, a carefree hour or two of blissful zoning out. Yet every time I try to needlepoint, page through Vogue, or (heaven forbid) sleep in till noon, I am guilted into getting up, changing the sheets, making tuna casserole from scratch, helping with online college history homework.
It’s been 30+ years since I studied the French Declaration of the Rights of Man, but I’m actually intrigued and hijack my daughter’s course pack. Those philosophers make a damn good point: all people (moms included) are imbued with natural rights. In their case in the 18th century, it was to practice free speech and self governance.
In my case, it’s to spend at least 60 minutes a day doing nothing—and by nothing, I mean something for me. That might entail polishing my toenails bright blue, getting lost in a trashy new beach read, or simply shopping online for a little splurge (the weekly Fresh Direct order doesn’t count).
I treated myself to a pair of sexy, straps sandals the other day. I have no idea where or when I will wear them, but I don’t care. They’re cute, they were on sale, and they make me happy.
We moms don’t have to be martyrs
As mothers we need to remind ourselves that we don’t always have to be selfless martyrs even in times of a pandemic. Just this morning, I saw the laundry waiting on my bed to fold, and I cheerfully shoved the pile over to my hubby’s side.
“What are you doing?” he protested.
“Going on strike,” I replied. And I mean it. If only for a few precious minutes, I will take a rain check on all activities, chores, and thankless tasks just to regain my sanity. I’m totally over trying to be superwoman; in these troubled times, any woman who doesn’t have a complete mental breakdown and hurl herself down on the ground in a hysterical fit is a super-hero.
We all need an antidote to the everyday that our lives have become. But It takes tremendous self confidence and strength to cease and desist the barrage of daily demands and allow yourself time to reboot. When I do, I find myself screaming and complaining less. I practice loving not loathing, and I appreciate the moments my family and I spend together wholeheartedly.
All it took was a trip in the kitchen (I’m pretty sure I didn’t bump my head but you never know) to knock some sense into me. I deserve a break, a respite, a quiet moment so I can hear my own thoughts or just revel in the silence.
I’ve discovered that my favorite Me Time involves writing down my thoughts in the “Notes” folder on my phone—a quarantine journal of sorts where I can contemplate and vent. It’s a lovely, relaxing pause in my day, even if the dog is now scratching at my door to take her out for a walk.
“Mom! I need your help!”
“Honey, what time is dinner ready?”
I shrug. At least it was nice while it lasted…
More to Read:
My Family Has Not Become Closer During the Pandemic – Some families are doing puzzles, watching Netflix, cooking means together but others….not so much.