And I believed her. Until it happened to me.
When I load my three beloved children onto the bus in two weeks, I will be juggling a lot of feelings—sadness, apprehension, anxiety and fear of letting go. Many of the parents are like me: They look sad and overwhelmed (except the ones who are barely containing their glee). It’s very hard to say goodbye to my kids for three weeks. I feel rootless, like I have lost an important part of myself. It’s a tough, tough day.
But then I wake up, and I remember my husband and I have the house to ourselves—for three weeks. And it is amazing.
You know what happens when the kids are not in the house? Incredible things like these:
1. The house stays clean: You don’t find socks in weird places or piles of glasses of half-drunk orange juice.
2. You have sex with the bedroom door open. At whatever time you want.
3. You never go to the grocery store, like ever. But you do become a frequent shopper at the liquor store.
4. All those hot restaurants you read about? You go to them. You can go out early and stay out late.
5. Pajama and movie nights: Don’t feel like going out for dinner? Make some toast and pick a movie from your wish list that the kids would never agree to watch.
6. You can clean out closets, and no one cries when you throw things out. That rock they collected from the beach four years ago? It hits the garbage can with a satisfying thump.
7. Your day does not end at the school bell. There is no hard end to your day, so you can work as late as you want and get things finished before the next morning.
8. There is no excuse for skipping a workout. You can crash those evening yoga classes you wanted to try. You can go for runs in the morning, but not so early that you want to die. You really can work out any time of day.
9. Your day does not begin with yelling at people to get up. You can even sleep in if you want.
10. Dinner is not a negotiation. It’s very freeing to make a meal that does not involve cheese, or copious whining.
11. You can travel with your husband or even a group of friends without making a checklist worthy of a military invasion. Just lock the door behind you and go.
12. It’s like being 25 with no kids, but you enjoy it more because now you know how good it is. It is true—youth is wasted on the young.
13. You can indulge a hangover. A hangover is a lot easier to handle when you can sleep in as late as you want and you don’t have to schlep to hockey practice at 7 a.m. You can even have a Big Mac for breakfast, and the kids will never know.
14. No musical beds. Unless you want to (if you get my meaning).
15. You go to the movies at night, and you get to choose the film and the snacks.
16. You stand in their bedroom doorways getting wistful. It’s not all good when there is no happy chaos around the house. Some days you are sad and your heart feels heavy, but then you scan the restaurant reviews and head out on the town.