Just Me

I’ve always been the kind of person who needs her space. I’ve never lived with anyone outside my family for more than a year because I inevitably drove away every roommate I ever had. I’m not proud of it, but it’s part of my personality, and I’ve learned to accept it. I’m an introvert.

Unfortunately, life didn’t always cater to my need for privacy, and thus growing up has been a series of compromises I’ve had to make.

In college, I learned the perils of the shared dorm bathrooms, and also where on campus to find the bathrooms that locked. It was that or wake up at 3:00am to poop.

When I got married, I still had to share a bathroom, and suddenly I was responsible for cleaning it too. This wasn’t in the brochure!

As if sharing the bathroom with a boy wasn’t bad enough, I also had to share my bed. I don’t mean that in the sexy, euphemistic way either: I mean the snoring, hogging, farting, cover-stealing way. I’ve considered, on more than one occasion, getting the scissors and cutting the blankets right down the middle. Of course, my husband would probably just throw his half off the bed in the night and still come after mine.

Once we had children, I pretty much gave up any hope I had for “me time” for the next ten years. I now share a bathroom with three boys, sometimes at the same time, and I can’t remember the last time I peed without an audience. Even my husband follows me into the toilet to talk because he knows it’s the only place in the house where I’ll sit still for more than 30 seconds at a time.

I love my boys, but sometimes that love can be suffocating. It’s too easy to lose yourself in your family and forget the little things that made you who were before.

Last week, I snapped. My in-laws had been staying with us for two weeks and the tension was running high in the house. I put the kids to bed one evening and found myself laying in my son’s bed, pinned under his arms and legs, sweating from his body heat and my own discomfort but desperate to avoid the painful social situation waiting for me downstairs. I was paralyzed, and I couldn’t take it any longer.

I extricated myself from my son’s death grip, got dressed, kissed my husband goodbye and ran out of the house like it was on fire. My heart was thumping from the intoxicating mixture of excitement and guilt I felt for completely shirking my familial obligations for a night. I had no idea where I was going, but the idea of freedom was too delicious to resist.

I drove around for a while listening to loud music and singing at the top of my lungs, completely off key, but I didn’t care because there was no one around to hear me. Eventually I went to a movie by myself, which is something I never do. As I sat in the theater, soaking up the atmosphere around me, my body started to relax for the first time in weeks. I was hooked, and like any new addict, I thought to myself:

I want more.

I’d grown so accustomed to putting everyone’s needs before my own, often quite uncomfortably when it comes to bathroom and meal times, that I forgot how freeing it is to do something completely selfish. Now that I’ve had a taste of forbidden fruit, there is no going back.

My head swirled with thoughts of the other little indulgences I wanted to allow myself: The things I don’t often do, but I should.

I want to wake up to mimosas one morning, even though I’m not on vacation. I’m a responsible adult and I can drink at 7:00am if I want to.

I want to take the long way while driving so I can listen to my favorite song for the fourteenth time in a row. This time I’m going to sing it just right!

I want to get dressed up for absolutely no reason and then have a dance party in my living room. I don’t mean the casual bopping from side to side that you’d do in public. I mean the full on diva, fist pumping, head banging, Flash Dance moves you only break out in your wildest dreams.

I want to buy myself something I don’t need, even if it’s something as small as a new shade of nail polish or sparkly lip gloss. Lingerie only counts if you would be embarrassed to let your father fold your laundry.

I want to leave the house a complete disaster and go to bed early. Maybe the cleaning elves will visit while I’m asleep.

I want to stay out late, go to a restaurant and order nothing but desert and drinks. What’s the point of being a grown-up if you can’t occasionally eat cake and ice cream for dinner?

I want to be me sometimes. Just me.


And that’s ok.

Related post: Becoming Invisible

About the writer

Once a cognitive psychologist in the field of memory, Mary Widdicks now spends the majority of her time trying to remember if she fed all her children each morning. The irony is not lost on her. She started writing about her life as the only girl in a house full of boys in January 2014 and has since been featured on sites such as The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and BluntMoms, and in several parenting anthologies. She has also been honored as a Voice of the Year by BlogHer in 2013 and 2014, and a 2014 Badass Blogger of the Year by the Indie Chicks. In February of 2015, she gave birth to her first daughter and is now happily drowning in a sea of pink. Follow Mary on Outmanned and Facebook.


Jennifer Bandy 2 years ago

Love this.

Katie Spencer 2 years ago

Your articles are literally all spot on with me!! I needed this, thank you!

Cara Wortmann 2 years ago

I can relate big time! I love my me time and I don’t like to share it! Girls nights are great, sometime you need to be by yourself!

Linda Roy – elleroy was here 2 years ago

I am right there with you. In fact, I have never lived alone in my entire life and I wish I had so I could know the bliss of it. lol I do like my own space.

Carolina Guntenaar 2 years ago

I relate totally. I love beeing by myself and really REALLY need some alone time on a regular basis. Thats the only time i can actually relax have my mind to myself , no destractions. We took a friend in ones , after two days i tought i would climb off the wall. That is just not for me.

Sheena Bensing 2 years ago

Love it!!!

Rachel Ann Termini 2 years ago

I just got back from an overnight-out-of-town-take-a-bath-drink-too-much-spend-some-money-eat-nacho-fries-sleep-in vacation with my sister-in-law. Sometimes it is nice to not care what’s for dinner, where the toddler is, or even what time it is! The house was trashed when I got back but I had a great time!

Elaine Grant 2 years ago

It makes me sad and pisses me off all at once reading that Mums are feeling guilty about the need for “me” time. When you become a parent you do not lose the right to be an individual person. We All need time for ourselves, to decompress, veg, or whatever you wish to call it. Its (to me) a Human right…otherwise we can’t really be happy as a Person.

Cheryl Schmitz 2 years ago

I hope this writing helps some young moms to not have mommy guilt when they just want to escape at times–doesn’t mean you don’t love those you share your life with.

Joelle 2 years ago

Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!! I have a 19 year old and a 3.5 year old. I’m 42. Every single day, I think to myself….Am I going to get through this without becoming an alcoholic or drug addict or going absolutely mad????? I HAVE to “make me time”… or I will lose it!!! Thank you for making me feel normal!!

Krystal Adame 2 years ago

Definitely hit the spot where iam at and fighting for me

Carrie Myles Miller 2 years ago

Love this so much!!

Stephen Deeann Allen 2 years ago


Tracey 2 years ago

Great article! I gotta say one thing, and yes as I have gotten older have children going off to college and small ones still in my life as well I have learned a few things..in your case? ….GET SEPARATE BLANKETS! Both me and my fiance are sausage rollers, meaning, we roll up like sausages in our blankets and both have our own which we figured out was going to be necessary weeks into our relationship being fully committed. It truly and utterly makes a HUGE sleep altering difference. :)

Kate Woods 2 years ago

I can so relate to this. Loved it.

mommyof3 2 years ago

hahaha I love this story. I never like bathroom. restroom (at home) I do my business and done. out. but since my three girl’s . I learned to like my bathroom. its my place to breathe. relax. read my magazine. all I have to say is “mama go peepee” and close the door. and I’m peaceful for good for 20 to 30 mins. everyday (wink)

Kristin Graf 2 years ago

I so have been there! Glad it’s not only me and yes we do as mommas need to take time/ownership of our own mental health and get a break alone regularly! Thank you for the post!

Renea Rucker Poole 2 years ago

This read my mind. I am a stay at home of 3 kids and my husband is well no help. I recently took 2 hours to myself to attend my 10 yr high school reunion and I felt lost being around my classmates and not hearing ” Momma” a billion times. I felt guilty.

Stacey Manning 2 years ago

Couldn’t agree more!!! THANK YOU for saying it :-)

Amber Westberg Neubauer 2 years ago

Wow love this, I had no idea that I felt this same way until I read this. Thank you for sharing I may have to follow in your footsteps!!

Gina Palermo-Ries 2 years ago

I felt EXTREME guilt for wanting this then resentment toward a husband who couldn’t understand and disagreed w my need for autonomy. In the end kids are happy with a less stressed and re-energized mom and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about. The only perceptions that matter is ur kids.

Morgan Govindasamy 2 years ago

Love this! I recently went to the grocery store to pick up a couple things after both of my babies were in bed. It was the first time I’d left the house childless in months and it was so freeing to just be me for 20 minutes.

Mariana Mendez 2 years ago

I loved reading this!

Elizabeth Garza 2 years ago

I can relate

Sandra Cooper 2 years ago

I freaking love this article. It’s everything I’ve felt but never put into words. Way to go!

Melissa Simmons 2 years ago

I had fed everyone, changed the kids, done bathtime, taken care of the dog, and put on a movie(Frozen if anyone cares).
So I was all excited because this meant I could finally go to the bathroom in peace. 20 seconds after sitting down, the bathroom filled to the brim with my husband, two toddlers, and the dog.

Stephanie Berrys 2 years ago

So very true.

Drama Queen’s Momma 2 years ago

Me too! That is why once a month I go out with my girl friends. No ifs, ands, or buts. And I love every single second of my freedom! Some might say I am being selfish…but I am pretty sure I am doing what I need to do so that I can be a better mother. And if that makes me selfish…so be it!

Susan Sincavage Sawyer 2 years ago

Been there!

Lucy Krumba 2 years ago

I dunno. What about the Earth mother’s?

Catherine Noblitt Keating 2 years ago

Ahhhhh yes. I was saying this exact thing through clenched teeth this morning, as I continued putting off things I wanted in order to take care of everyone else.

Tara 2 years ago

Thank you for this.

Amy Gage 2 years ago

I have taken up paddleboarding in the last year and it has been my saving grace for alone time.

Life Inside Out 2 years ago

So hard to make time for ourselves and feel okay about it.

Juli Collier 2 years ago

So True. Perfect

Aleccia Lin Shaffer 2 years ago

I relate to this so much.

Christina Elston Gallagher 2 years ago

I was getting there-I ended up going back to school mostly just to get my brain on something other than poopy diapers and Thomas the Train and it was the best decision I ever made. My hubby’s happier, I’m happier and by extension, my kids are happier.

Ashley Allen 2 years ago

Love this and as i prepare for ds2 in 1 month (ds1 is 11 months old) im realizing I need to make this a reality

Lauren Johnson 2 years ago

I hear ya! I rack myself with guilt every time I go out without the kids in tow, even with my husband. I make myself believe that I am inconveniencing my parents when they have the kids. I hide items I buy for myself so that if my husband does see the new skort I just bought for $13 at Walmart, he won’t think I am spending all this money on myself- not that he ever would. I am a stay at home mom and i don’t bring in a paycheck. But I do these things and make myself believe that I am selfish because, how could I ever put myself first with 2 kids under 5? It’s not all about me anymore, right? Well, maybe sometimes it should be, damn it!

Meg Hissam Lail 2 years ago

Amen :) too often we sacrifice who we truly are on the altar of motherhood. Making time to be ourselves is soooo important!

Joan Boylan 2 years ago

balance and whatever works

Maeve Rhuad 2 years ago

I so relate to this!

Hanna Danicka 2 years ago

U are not alone

Bonnie McLaughlin 2 years ago

Yes !!! Looove my alone time 😉

Kari Tuttle Duke 2 years ago

OMG I REALLY needed this this week. Thank you! Us mother’s forget that we are individuals who need alone time and need to do adult things!!!

Denise Martin Zadeh 2 years ago


Jennifer Josephsen 2 years ago

Me too. I stay home with my 3 kids, I even work from home. I don’t have a car. I’m an introvert and enjoy being home, but I’m going completely insane.

Kathy Berry Trusik 2 years ago

You’re also a very centered person when you enjoy your own company.

Melissa Christiana McDermott 2 years ago

Why is it that we, as mothers, feel guilty putting ourselves first, treating ourselves to something new or just wanting alone time?

Crystal Sirois 2 years ago

This isn’t me at all, I take me time all the time. Even if I force my kids out of the bathroom because I want privacy! There is nothing wrong with that, their needs can wait while I poop. Alone. My theory is a happy mother = happy husband & a happy family = a happy childhood!

Crystal Ponti 2 years ago

Love this and can feel every word. <3

Linda Jones 2 years ago

Moms maybe can do some of these things in bits and pieces — Before you know it those little guys are grown and gone and you can do whatever – but they will be missed – greatly.

Elicia Hays Ross 2 years ago


Jamey Quinto Lemieux 2 years ago

My husband and 2 sons follow me in the bathroom all the time..

Leah Thompson 2 years ago


Tanya Turner 2 years ago

Awesome post :)

Ashley Neuhofel Burnsed 2 years ago

Mom of 3 boys and wife of a bigger boy. An extreme introvert married to an extreme extrovert, so this hit every nail on the head!! Thank you for that!

Amanda Eastham-Burford 2 years ago

Love this!!! X

Michele Willis Andrade 2 years ago

I often feel guilty for wanting me time.

Virginia Pendleton 2 years ago

I agree! (~_~;)

Sian Deveson 2 years ago

I feel guilty and a bad mom if I say I just want me time, but yes I am suffocating big time!!!

Sheri Chan 2 years ago

Yes. This.

Karina Ketelsen 2 years ago

Me.. who is that??

Christina Ruyle 2 years ago

Thank you for the read. My house feels entirely too full with my husband, 2 boys under 2, father-in-law upstairs and my sister-in-law living downstairs. I feel like I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown most days and it’s nice to see that I’m not alone. I could use some “me” time for sure. :(

Bradi La Fleur Willich 2 years ago

This is fantastic!

Casey Thebodo 2 years ago

My goodness, so much this

Amy Paschal Keister 2 years ago

I don’t even remember what it feels like to have time for just me.

Brenda Lawrence 2 years ago

Soo glad I’m not alone in this feeling!!

Amanda Dotson 2 years ago

Wow, this could have been written about me. I am the woman that needs lots of space or I start to go insane. I love my family but I have to have me time in order for me to be a good wife and mother.

Megan McMacken 2 years ago


Ashley Nicole Zetamora 2 years ago

Oh yea

Emily Humes Milovich 2 years ago

I can totally relate! Love this article!

Trisha White 2 years ago

Love this!!!!

Tiffany Starr Pafford 2 years ago

Perfect!!!! Love this article!!!

Amy Moorman 2 years ago

I feel such guilt at wanting “me time” because I am a single parent and working full time so I feel I should spend every evening and weekend with my son but omg sometimes I just want to go to the movies by myself too!!

Erin Fallat 2 years ago

I can definitely relate.

Caroline Daily 2 years ago

There is a balancing act in any sort of relationship between your two needs and wills. The key is keeping it balanced. Sometimes that means alone time, or your husband makes dinner and cleans up afterwards. Demand happiness!

Amy Snipes Jennings 2 years ago

I am this woman. I have to have space or everyone suffers. I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself either because it really does make everything more tolerable for me.

Jennifer Firestine 2 years ago

Minus the husband and plus my mother, I could have written this.

Tricia Attina 2 years ago

so, so true

Rebecca Coffey Schugg 2 years ago

I flip out occasionally and it’s all about me! I wish I were better at recognizing my need for space before I turn into a volcano!

Jennifer Lutz Zepp 2 years ago

Love this!

Heather Stahl 2 years ago

Ahh the bliss of alone time it never lasts long enough !

Teresa Magarity 2 years ago

Having young children it feels like your suffocating.but the trick is to always keep your husband the mist important one.you have those children because you fell in love with your husband.

    Mary Schneider 2 years ago

    Absolutely- as long as it’s mutual. We’re sometimes taught to put our hubs first… but there’s not enough said about the hubs putting his wife first, too. That doesn’t mean we always have to be pampering and spoiling each other (though that doesn’t hurt), but it does mean we should both be aware of the others’ needs in the relationship and sharing responsibilities with the kiddos and household.

    Ashley Neuhofel Burnsed 2 years ago

    My husband and I totally agree on this. Our marriage is our priority and our kids will benefit from that. Seeing 2 loving parents is more important than making them the center of the universe.

Alisa Aaland 2 years ago

I’m so glad I’m not the only one!

Janet Solesbee 2 years ago

I couldn’t agree more! It’s nice to know there is someone out there that’s shares my feelings!

Katie Schmidt McMurry 2 years ago

Started putting purple streaks in my hair at the age of 34. Took up kickboxing at 35. Never felt better. A vacation is getting to sit at a coffee shop with a book for two hours. I come home feeling more “me” than ever. I also wish we could have separated bedrooms… I seriously believe there would be more romance and better sleep this way! Alas, our tiny house wouldn’t allow for it.

    hbombmom 2 years ago

    I’ve been asking for Mother’s day for years to be able to take a book, find an awesome tree in a quiet playground, and read by myself, uninterrupted, even for just a few hours. Oh how I miss reading time that didn’t entail late nights with one eye open fighting sleep.

Shannon Bradley Williams 2 years ago

This is so me lately. I’m 4 months from 35 and feel like I’m having a full on midlife crisis. 12 yrs of motherhood, and mainly the 4years of marriage have left me feeling suffocated. I feel like I have forgotten who I used to be. Its the little things, like realizing I can’t remember who was president the last time I went dancing. I was taught that moms only live for their children, but that leads to miserable and lost women 18-20yrs later. I don’t want to end up that way.

Lindsey Aubuchon Jones 2 years ago

I can relate big time! I was asked recently by someone what my hobbies/interests were and I swear I could not really remember or think of much. How sad.

Niff Dee Davlop 2 years ago

Favorite line: “I’m a responsible adult and I can drink at 7:00am if I want to.” Sign me up!

    hbombmom 2 years ago

    Right?! Totally doing this! :-)

Sabina Parsons 2 years ago

Totally agree!

Samantha Kerkstra 2 years ago

That’s why I run OCRS ..no kids allowed, just me time :)


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