I’ve had the feeling before, but I didn’t know if, or how, I should write about it. That feeling of freedom, of knowing that your time is yours and yours alone, and YOU get to choose how you spend it. There’s no consulting with your husband, there’s no taking the kids into consideration, there’s nothing to think about except yourself, and the sweet chunk of hours that lie before you.
Whenever I drop off Sam at preschool, I feel like this huge weight has been lifted. Granted, he’s usually attached himself to my leg and it takes both me and his teacher to pry him off, so both figuratively and literally, less weight. CJ is already in school and I know Sam will have a fun morning, despite his antics when I leave, and this sense of peace comes over me. Like I can breathe again. Like I’m not allowed to feel bad about it even though deep down it feels like I should.
I work three evenings a week, so I feel guilty about going out at night. Not that I do a lot of “going out,” but even coffee with a friend or a Target run sometimes get pushed down the list in favor of staying home with my family. I enjoy making dinner and having my husband come home to the sounds and smells of cooking. I like hearing my kids’ interpretation of their days, each of them talking over each other as they try to tell their stories. I like how Chris and I take turns cleaning up after our meal, and when everything’s done, how we settle in for popcorn or ice cream and cartoons on the couch. Now, not every evening is so cookie-cutter perfect, but even in the midst of the disciplining and the arguments that inevitably occur when we tell the kids to turn off their devices, I’m happy.
This weightless feeling, this sacred alone time, is something I’ve only been able to achieve this year, with Sam in preschool. Going to work doesn’t cut it—while I can listen to my audiobook in the car and treat myself to a coffee if I want, I still have responsibilities when I get to my job. My time isn’t my own. Tuesday and Thursday mornings though…bliss.
A friend asked me yesterday how I spend my kid-free days and truthfully, they’re not so glamorous. Yesterday, I wrote thank-you notes, made my grocery list, and took a nap. Thursday I’ll go to the bank, get some coffee, and go grocery shopping (alone! blessedly alone!). But it doesn’t matter. I could spend three hours scratching my ass and I’d be happy. Because the time is mine. I’m free to do what I want with it, no strings attached. And what I’m finally realizing is, that’s OK.