Tuesday, May 13, 2008

when the mice are away...


Suffice it to say, we all need breaks from parenthood now and then. And I think I might be scalped if I don't cop to getting more than my fair share of time out, compared to my friends. This is not a rant about needing to get away. This is a strange confession that I am likely to regret. Thankfully, I have a pretty thick callous where shame and regret are concerned. The thing is, I have marginal anxiety about being away from my kids, we all know this. I am hugely fear-driven, and thusly worry endlessly about their safety, plus I just like having my little monsters around. Nevertheless, I do permit them to spend time with others, quite frequently actually, and I do derive pleasure from the chance to do some chillaxin with my grown-up homeys. This is especially true if there is alcohol involved. So I've learned to trust in the kids' security so that I might enjoy my adult time.

The nature of this confessional is that I am almost completely incapable of being in my house without them. So consumed with nerves when faced with having the house to myself, I go to absurd lengths never to be in that position. Sometimes I'll come home from errands and Todd will be loading Quinn and Reilly up in the truck to go bike riding or something, and they'll screech away before I have the chance to ask if maybe I could strap myself to the ski rack. So my eyes well up and I mope my way inside. I swear this time I will revel in the silence, take a hot bath, read, listen to my music, loud, with no guilt. Alas, I pace. I turn on iTunes, and immediately every tear-your-own-throat-out David Gray and/or Tracy Chapman song will play. Even though I put it on shuffle, it only plays songs that test my will to live. You know it's bad when Elton John's Sacrifice affords a little lilt. You're probably thinking one of two things: A) Shut up you fucking bitch for getting the house to yourself, or B) Shut up you fucking bitch for getting the house to yourself; why don't you just leave? I never leave because I always think this will be the time I can appreciate the moment. Typically I crank up some of my suicide prevention playlists, and start cleaning. Yes, when I follow my bliss, as Gabrielle puts it, I always end up holding lemon-scented Lysol. Now, if I truly follow the bliss, I might drink some of it, but that's a whole different post.

So I'm scrubbing away (things that are already clean, B will tell you), and my heart is racing because my kids are gone. The house isn't quiet, it's empty, and deafening. I'm okay laughing at Starbucks with you primo ladies, but stick me in my house with nary a soul and I am liable to freak right out. Invariably, B calls to ask what I'm up to, and I tell her I drew the short straw and wound up alone at home. She pauses (undoubtedly to curse the stupid ungrateful bitch who refuses to appreciate the time alone), and then gives thoughtful, helpful suggestions, such as, "Turn off Tracy Chapman, go to Borders, or come over." I'm usually too immersed in disquietude to understand her, and refuse all reasonable ideas in favor of scrubbing the bathtub, all the while knowing I am one second closer to my kids coming home to me.

Is this weird? I think it is.

Last night Quinn and Rei spent the night at my mom's, and for the first time ever, I awoke to an empty house. No competition for the shower (Quinn), no requests for cartoons (Reilly), no nothing. At first I was really panicked, but it occurred to me I could slip some flip flops on and drive to Starbucks, which I never do because, as you may have noticed, I would ever leave my kids for ten minutes. So I kicked off my solitary confinement with an Americano and a scone. Not too shabby for an unappreciative bitch, right? I proceeded to languish online, not something I'm prone to doing, fold nine (count 'em nine) baskets of laundry, clean the kitchen, post this blog, all the while blasting my music. Shuffle was decidedly kinder to me today. Not that Tracy doesn't hurt. She does.

So that's it. I just wanted to vent this, another oddity in the sea of oddities that is Cheyenne. I'm also curious if anyone else has a problem being home alone? I pose the question, in spite of fearing the onslaught of readers chomping at the bit to put me in my place. But go ahead. My music is too loud for me to hear you.

7 comments:

gabrielle said...

i am alone SO rarely that i never know what to do with myself. i sit there and think...ok, i can do what I want to do, and then i sit some more. sitting. waiting. wondering.

B Kinch said...

I have been home alone for seriously like two times in the last three years. I slept both times. I'm not sure what I'd do if I wasn't sleep deprived. I would never go so far as to clean something that is already clean but then we all no we're at no risk of that in this household. I'm guessing I'd settle in with some Jane Austen (on the tube) and some hand embroidery, and overeat.

Hennifer said...

I find it hard to be in my house alone. I am rarely without my kids (they spend one night a week with their dad, every other week). And when I am without them I am seldom home. You are right, my house feels absolutely still without their life in it. Sleeping is what I often do but I'm a sleeper and a napper and I know that doesn't work for everyone. My therapist is always asking what I do for down time and I say shopping, going to this person or that person's house, the library, hair cuts... on and on. But just sitting at home? It is a double edged sword in my opinon. And then at the end of it all... you guessed it? I'm bitching at myself for squandering the time and not organizing this or decorating that. boo.

adam said...

I thought you were going to say there was a mouse in your house. I read the entire thing, anxiously anticipating your encounter with this little rodent, but it never came.

So sorry, I don't remember what your post was about now... Let me go read it again.

gail said...

i like being alone, for about an hour, then i start watching the clock for the family's return, all the while wondering why the hell i can't just relax and enjoy my time. it's ok if you don't want to be alone.

pchp said...

I guess I might be the lone voice in support of being home alone. I love it. LOVE it. I love the quiet, the freedom to not have to make conversation with anyone, to turn the music on without having someone yell above it to talk incessantly (hello, teenager!).

I'm also, I guess, not a very attached mom. I used to be, but I've let go quite a bit because I don't want to have some serious rebellion happen in the near future. Every day of mothering is another day of releasing your child, or so I've heard. I believe that.

I'm fine with kids. But I'd much rather be alone or have the house quiet. For me, it's not just a matter of recharging batteries - it's a necessity for sanity.

mamakendra said...

I LOVE being home alone, especially if the day before I was around a lot of people, then I HAVE to be home alone or my family repels me. The introvert just screams "leave me alone!". I also love time to work around the house uninterrupted. No hobbying for me, just work work work. That is zen for me. I absolutely love my boys, but being a Libra, I swing from 24/7 with them to total aloneness (while Mark takes them to the Gilbert House).