11 Things Every Mom Does When She Finally Has The House To Herself

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As I write, I have the house to myself (not counting the dog). My son and his dad went fishing with my son's grandfather, giving me three solid hours of free time; the most cherished currency in all of motherhood. Yes, you can bet I'm prepared to fully indulge in some of the favorite things moms do when they have the house all to themselves.

An empty house is kinda like a cup of coffee you can actually drink and enjoy before it turns cold and pretty damn gross: it’s rare and special and glorious, but if you try too hard to make it happen you’ll probably get nauseous. These kinds of unicorn situations simply can’t be forced. They happen when they happen, so the best thing to do is enjoy them while they last.

Any time my family returns from a trip away that leaves me to my own devices, I'm always very ready to see them again. A few hours of alone time at home, while glorious, can also feel a little weird. Like, I may or may not experience a few moments of existential crisis where I'm like, "Who am I, where am I, and what is the meaning of life?” OK, I also eat ice cream and read magazines, but still. Motherhood is nothing if not a series of extremes. Here’s a bit more on what those moments at home alone are like:

She Immediately Plops Down On The Closest Piece Of Furniture

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Every so often, when my husband and son are about to head out for the day, my spouse will run back inside to grab something he’s forgotten or something our son needs. Usually, when this happens, he finds me in the exact same spot he left me, whether or not that’s at the table or in the kitchen or sitting at the top of the stairs, staring off into space. Seriously. It takes a few minutes to transition from mom to me.

She Wastes A Few Minutes Browsing The Web Or Playing A Game On Her Phone

I envy people who can harness motivation at the drop of a hat, or, in this case, the sounds of a door closing and her family driving off. Sometimes I have moments of greatness, but most of the time there are at least a few minutes of doing nothing of significant value before I'm ready to be productive.

She Snacks On All The Things

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My spouse has joked that I have the palate of a toddler, and it’s true. My favorite foods are pasta (OK, macaroni and cheese) and french fries. I also love sweets, to the point that I have very little self-control when it comes to cookies. These preferences can be problematic, because anytime my toddler son is in the presence of pretty much any of these foods, he asks to have some. Like mother, like son, apparently. So, it feels particularly luxurious to indulge in a few of my favorite treats when he’s not in the room and I know I won’t have to share.

She Catches Up On A Couple Chores...

Mom guilt is very real, so even though I have the house to myself, I will usually deal with a few household obligations so I don't feel bad for doing "nothing." Usually, that means a load or two of laundry or a pass at any dishes in the sink. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, there may even be some living room decluttering, depending on how long the podcast I’m listening to lasts.

...But Ignores A Few Others

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One of the joys of having the house to yourself is that you can take full ownership of its state, and if that means ignoring the piles of mail on the kitchen table, so be it. It’s cool though, because when my family gets home I can still be like, “Oh hey, I totally did some laundry while you were gone!”

She Indulges In Whatever She Normally Doesn’t Indulge In

For me, it’s often juicy internet browsing or napping. For some of my friends, it’s books and movies. Really, it’s whatever strikes your fancy that you like to do for more than three or four minutes at a time (depending on the age of your kids and their propensity for interruptions, of course).

She Use The Bathroom In Peace

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If I’m feeling really sassy, I may even leave the door open.

She Gets A Little Misty Going Past The Kids’ Room

However, at some point during my window of alone time, I’ll usually pass by my son’s room and get a little mopey. Not full-on '90s Sarah McLachlan mopey but, like, maybe mid-aughts Sara Bareilles mopey. Although, it usually passes when I remember that we have cookies in the house.

She Takes The Most Glorious Shower

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If I’m being totally honest, I may admit to hanging out in my bathrobe for a ridiculously long amount of time, too. Plus, if I close my eyes and inhale deeply while holding a few of my favorite body washes, it’s almost like I’m at a spa. Almost.

She Hides A Few Of Her Kid’s Most Obnoxious Toys

“No, I’m sorry son, I haven’t seen your loud-ass lawnmower. Have you checked your closet?”

She Ponders Her Existence & Her Place In This Vast Universe

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Nothing like a quiet living room in the middle of the afternoon to really make you think. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some philosophical thoughts to entertain.