The Quest For Solitude

I love my kids. They’re funny, entertaining, and oh, so sweet. But I am learning that I need at least a few quiet minutes to myself each day in order to be at my best. Whether it’s reading my latest win from Goodreads, writing a bit myself, or just pondering the day ahead, I am a more sane better person if I can get it done without having to remove a lego from a nostril or referee World War Sibling. So I make a point to carve out some quiet time.

Barkeep, I'll have a half-caff latte with fat-free whipped cream and a whisper of cinnamon.

New game for Milton-Bradley called Don't Wake the Squish. It won't be so much a fun game as it is combat training.


My first thought was that I would stay up after they go to bed. And that worked until the oldest hit her teen years. I am not exactly a night owl, and most nights I give up and go to bed before she does. Say around 9:30.Did I mention that I am not a night owl? And if I do stay up past ten or so, there’s not enough caffeine in the world to keep me all wakey-wakeys the next morning.

All those “If you want to be your best you” people recommend getting up an hour earlier each morning.  And who doesn’t want to be their best me?  But in my house, I run an early morning gauntlet. I must first turn off the alarm clock before it wakes anyone else.

If I manage to silence the alarm without stirring anyone who might want to keep me company, I can still be thwarted by a squeaky door. The hinges are all oiled now, so my next challenge is to pray that everyone can sleep through the cat. When she first hears me thinking about waking up (through a wall, I might add), she begins her Siamese serenade and continues at about 120 decibels until I pour her some fresh water. Don’t think I can get all clever and pour the water before I even let her upstairs into the living room. If she doesn’t see me set the bowl down in front of her, she doesn’t believe it is clean and will continue to scream until I pour some more. I did discover, though, that she’s not as picky as I thought. If I pick up the bowl and put it down again, she is satisfied.

Okay, I'm loud but not a genius. I am about 430 in cat years. Sue me.

If I have managed at this point to sneak into the kitchen without rousing the troops, I am not fool enough to risk the solitude by making coffee. If I’m not smart enough to grind the beans the night before, I’ll just have to hold my own eyelids open for a little while. And I certainly cannot ponder getting anything to eat. I don’t care if it’s a bowl of high-fiber air, at least two of my kids will be starving and want to share. They are boys and thus at the mercy of their biology.And don’t turn the pages too loudly or Squish will think it’s story time. And hope that I set the volume on the computer low so that it doesn’t rattle the windows when it first springs to life. Get it? Windows? I’m just so witty on four hours of sleep!

Please excuse any typos. It’s five in the morning, and I’m writing this from inside the dirty clothes hamper. They will never think to look for me here!

thirty seconds later: I hear Squish. He’s awake. But I did it! I got my blog post written! I win! It’s going to be a great day! Oh. Maybe not for my husband. He’s awake now, too. And he was praying the coffee would be made.



51 thoughts on “The Quest For Solitude

  1. Amen sister! And the kids wonder why I take hour long baths on Saturdays. I am a night owl, but life keeps demanding I get up earlier and earlier and I don’t function well on minimal sleep. I totally commiserate!

  2. You are the BEST. Your blog is my favorite to read; your sense of humor is my favorite kind. Favorite, favorite, favorite!! (Sorry, having kids has robbed me of the brain cells that used to contain those words that have similar meanings to other words? Isn’t there a word for that, too? Poo. [Yes, and all my ‘grown-up’ words consist of ‘poo’, now. I’m SURE you understand.])

    Seriously. Favorite. n_n

  3. I think I need to start carrying my laptop on the bus, because there is no “me” time left in the evenings. At best there is “sitting down” time–but that is sitting down with a toddler on my lap, watching Sesame Street.

    As for those who recommend getting up earlier, well, I’m already getting up at 5:30 after getting to sleep around 10, so I’m just not willing to give up even more sleep.

    The bus is great reading time, but a laptop would give me more options. (What I’d really like is a tablet. And the money to buy one.)

    • Some days, I would covet a long commute! When I used to run, I’d come home and sit down in the floor to stretch quietly, which is apparently toddlerese for “Climb on me like a jungle gym!”

  4. Hampers are wonderful. When my son got older I stopped hiding my body in it and instead hid his gifts in there. He never once thought to look there, and truly looked EVERYWHERE else. Plus I kept ahead of the laundry.

    Good luck. You will survive it!

  5. Hi,
    Finding time for yourself is always a challenge, but we do seem to manage. 🙂
    I had a bit of a laugh about your cats bowl, picking the bowl up and putting it down again, that is brilliant. 😀

  6. I too remember the days of no privacy. I thought I had it all together when I became an empty nester – but now if I stay in one place too long, my husband comes looking for me! Aargghhhh!

  7. You truly do make me laugh and thankful, somewhat, that my 3 are grown and have kids of their own. I do miss your madness at times though but not badly enough to want it back. You can keep it and I’ll enjoy my grand kids for now. 🙂

  8. LOL…The rear-guard actions you take make me wonder at your skill for living an artful life…I think you’ve succeeded, m’dear ! Your little tike looks like a character full of curiosity about his surrounding world and the people/animals in it, his open face tells me this! As for your cat miaowing in Siamese, where did she/he learn that since she’s not a Siamese….LOL!! Much humour here….

    • He really is a delightful little kid. And he makes me laugh.

      The cat has Siamese somewhere in her background. She has the voice and the coat texture. We’ve always said that if she was full Siamese, she’d be speaking actual English and bossing us around.

  9. That is exactly the reason I don’t bother sneaking around in the wee hours of the morning. If I risked getting up and someone else got up and I had to entertain them and it was dark outside…this would be one grumpy momma. And if momma’s grumpy, everyone’s grumpy. Since I work from home, ANY computer time is considered work. I just say, “Go away, Mommy’s working.” Beautiful, isn’t it?

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