Last week my daughter attended gymnastics. Six hours a day for four days. For the first time in over five years, I had kid-free time and no idea what to do with it. It was simultaneously glorious and weirdly stressful.
I posted on Facebook asking friends for suggestions about what I should do and the overwhelming response I got was to nap. While that was a viable option, I knew it wasn’t the right choice because I hate to feel like I’m unproductive. (Don’t get me wrong…I love a good nap. But I need them to happen organically rather than be planned.)
Here’s what happened:
Tuesday: I took our 85-pound mutt with me to drop the kiddo off, then decided to try some hiking trails I hadn’t done before. After driving the wrong way over a tiny wooden bridge that had a sign on the other side saying “no vehicles on bridge”, Dog and I found a parking lot and, eventually, a trail.
We trail-hopped a little that morning, then I took Dog home so I could shop for warm-weather pajamas for the kiddo (who keeps trying to wear long PJs despite it being 80 degrees overnight). I discovered my new favorite treat– Reese’s Big Cups with Pretzels (if you haven’t tried them, DON’T! They’ll be all you want to think about!). I took over some Pokemon gyms (don’t judge me– it’s a fun, cheap, harmless activity that I sometimes use to bond with my kid). And then I took my book with me to eat lunch. I’m telling you, every mom should be gifted the opportunity to eat alone in a restaurant monthly, maybe weekly. (Daily?) It was pure heaven. I didn’t have to cook, I didn’t have to clean, I didn’t have to talk to anyone except to tell them what *I* wanted!
Wednesday: I decided to stay home and try to prepare for my new position as a preschool teacher. I spent most of my day browsing through Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers and binge-watching old Big Bang Theory episodes.
Thursday: Since I didn’t spend nearly enough money on Wednesday, I decided to make Thursday all about ME! I got my first ever Jamba Juice and then enjoyed an hour or so of shopping at TJMaxx without having a tiny human complaining the whole time about being ready to leave. I got brunch (again with my book) at J Christopher’s and took the same book for a walk at the park, where I sat in the sunshine and read. Again, with no one whining THE WHOLE TIME! A friend met me to get pedicures, then I bought myself lots of snacks at Trader Joe’s. It was another marvelous day.
Friday: By Friday, I felt a little guilty about all the me-time, so I started the day off by going to the gym. After an hour of sweating and (mostly under my breath) cursing the instructor, I decided it was definitely a good idea to pick up donuts on the way home. I finished off my last afternoon of freedom with a few more episodes of Big Bang Theory, a few more chapters in my book, and a little time tending to my garden.
Amazingly, after the first day, six hours really didn’t feel like that much. Maybe I got spoiled a little too quickly. What would you have done differently?
I had a kid-free week and it was glorious. It was way too quiet at first, but then I embraced it. I finished up some tasks that were too difficult to do with kids, but then I made time to rest, too. All about balance.
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