When my kids were teeny-tiny, alone time was a near impossibility. The mere thought of peeing without an audience seemed like a dream, and a couple hours alone in my house felt like an impossibility.
In recent years, however, I’ve had more and more alone time. And by “alone time,” I don’t mean the hour spent wandering Target aisles at 11 at night while the rest of my family sleeps or the time alone in my office frantically trying to meet a deadline. I mean honest-to-goodness alone time—at home, no kids, no spouse, no work.
At first, alone time felt strange and foreign. I would wander from room to room, aimless, and confused while humming “This is not my beautiful life…” in my head. Now that my kids are a little older, I’ve become a little more efficient at the art of spending time alone. Sure, it feels like an indulgent luxury, but a well-deserved luxury.
Whether you’re a newbie to the world of alone time or need a quick refresher, below is your step-by-step guide to spending an hour alone at home:
1. Walk into the house without children or spouse.
2. Wonder what that strange noise is.
3. Realize it is the sound of silence.
4. Decide you hate the sound of silence and crank up the music. Loud. Really loud. Stomach pumping loud.
5. Sing along to the loud, loud music for about 30 seconds until you realize that your throat hurts from scream-singing and your head is starting to throb.
6. Decide you can’t handle loud music like you used to.
7. Turn off the music and flop on the couch.
8. Reach for the remote.
9. Realize the remote is not where it should be.
10. Search for the remote under the couch, in the cushions, and even inside the fridge while cursing your kids for losing it.
11. Find the remote next to the television.
12. Flop back on the couch and turn the television on.
13. Breathe a huge sigh of relief.
14. Start flipping through channels before you realize that you need to pee (even though you just peed like 20 minutes ago).
15. Heave a frustrated sigh as you pull yourself up off the couch.
16. As you pass the clock on the way to the bathroom, calculate how much time you have left before your house becomes Grand Central Station of Chaos again.
17. Pee as fast as you can—with the door open!—and flop back on the couch.
18. Mindlessly flip through channels before settling on 90210 reruns.
19. Doze while the students of Beverly Hills High chant “Donna Martin graduates!”
20. Wake up in a panic about “wasting time” and consider doing something “productive.”
21. Wonder whether you should clean the pantry, organize your closet, or vacuum the minivan.
22. Decide that there isn’t enough time to finish any of those jobs before the kids get home so it’s not worth even starting the job.
23. Grab your phone instead.
24. Scroll through Facebook, liking cute photos while simultaneously rolling your eyes at the oh-so-annoying status updates.
25. Text your BFF to gossip about the humblebragg-y posts on Facebook.
26. Think about calling your mom.
27. Decide to take a shower instead.
28. Stand in the shower until the hot water runs cold.
29. Stay in the shower for two extra minutes with lukewarm water pelting your back just because you can.
30. Realize that you only have five minutes more before the kids will be home.
31. Throw on yesterday’s yoga pants and a clean-ish shirt.
32. Race around the house cleaning up any evidence of your time alone, including an empty coffee mug and contraband candy bar wrappers.
33. Ponder why time alone without kids in the house moves so much faster than time with kids in the house.
34. Remember for a moment what your life was like before kids and realize that you actually miss those little rascals who make life so noisy and busy and chaotic.
35. Open the door with a smile and open arms, ready to hug your kids.