As a mom, it’s rare–perhaps impossible–to get the house to yourself for an evening, let alone a few days. The first time I was supposed to have one free night to myself, I spent it working (as a doula, that meant it was an all-nighter at the hospital while I assisted a birth). Since I have been on-call and unable to travel recently, my husband and son decided to visit grandparents a few hours away without me. That meant I had the house to myself for four glorious days. Sure, I missed them and loved catching up on Facetime. But if you, too, find yourself home alone some time in the future, here are ten tips for making the most of it:
1. Clean in peace
If you have more than just a day to yourself, I suggest getting the cleaning over with first. Because it’s just you, and not a tornado of family, you can enjoy the sticky-free surfaces and toys staying where you hid them. Cleaning might sound like the antithesis of your stay-cation, but there is beauty in cleaning by yourself. During my time home alone, I folded laundry… once. I didn’t have to refold the clothes after a child rolled in them or drove his cars through them. There weren’t dirty dishes piling up because someone couldn’t put them in the dishwasher. A mostly clean house was a rarity that I really enjoyed.
2. Get take-out
Why cook for only yourself? It just makes dirty dishes. So order up your favorite place, the one the kids don’t like, and enjoy eating in peace. Without requests from children, you might even get to eat hot food.
This also includes eating from your hidden stash of junk food without fear of getting caught. Let the wrappers crinkle as loudly as you want. There’s no one to steal your chocolate bar!
3. Pour a drink
Serve up a nice cup of tea or coffee to be enjoyed warm, yes, warm. I’m the queen of forgetting about my giant mug of green tea each morning until it’s practically iced tea in the afternoon. Parenthood will do that to you. You could also enjoy a glass of wine or two!
4. Watch TV
Watch great movies and guilty pleasure TV, all day if you want. I love crime shows (mostly non-fiction), which encourage you to double-check your door locks. To balance that out, there’s nothing better than a cheesy, romantic chick flick. I even enjoyed catching up on the new Bachelorette without apologizing to my husband for watching the ridiculous spectacle (it’s like a scripted train wreck). Bonus: you don’t have to pause a show because it’s time for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Batman. I’m a sucker for TV, so binge-watch away!
5. Take a bath
That’s right, relax! Bath salts, essential oils, candles… the works! Soaking in a hot bath can melt away stress. Put that green mask on your face and paint your nails. Revitalize your spirit in peace.
I don’t care if it’s self-help books for dealing with your child’s tantrums, an award-winning novel, or the latest celebrity dirt magazine, you get to read without interruption. Reading a paragraph in its entirety without hearing “Mom, Mom, Mom!” is a beautiful thing.
7. Go Places
Go anywhere! It is nice when we can run errands without a child or children in tow, but it’s exceptional if it’s some place we want to go, like dinner with a friend or a much-needed massage. You can even leave the house without packing a large diaper bag or backpack of snacks. Perhaps you’ll even be on time!
Sleep in. Wake up and go back to bed. Sleep in the middle of the bed. Steal all the covers. Use two pillows. Take a nap without fear for what your child might be getting into. Whatever you want! Sleep is one of the best modes of self-care, so soak it up, for your health!
9. Dance around in your underwear
Or walk around naked. (I’m just kidding, though I am flashing back to the Friends episode where Rachel has the apartment to herself and bursts out into naked singing…anyone?) I think never getting out of my pajamas would be more likely for me. I’m all about comfy clothes at home, but if you’re home alone then you get to wear whatever you feel like, even if that means nothing.
Writing is a great way to catch up with your thoughts. It gives you time to put problems on paper and let go of them. It allows you time to problem solve, plan, and exercise gratitude. But most importantly, it gives you time to focus on your mental health, so you can be ready to tackle motherhood full force when they return.
If you were home alone, what would you do first?