Thursday, May 12, 2011

I was going to liken reading to a gateway drug but I didn't know how. It's not like you start with novels and end up homeless witth encyclopedias.

I was thinking back to when I was single, and how afraid I was of always being alone. Being alone in the now meant I was going to die alone down the road.

Alone was nice in small sips, but generally feared. Now I long for huge gulps of alone. I guzzle it when I can.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, which is good and bad.

Good, in that curling up in a big chair with a book is one of my favorite things in life. And I had set reading aside for a long, long time. It's so easy to let it drop from the priority list. Because there are so many things to DO, and if you're reading, it doesn't seem like you're doing anything.

You know what I mean?

Bad in that my husband sometimes feels ignored – mainly because I am ignoring him - plus I personally am more interested in reading than preparing or eating dinner. But I can’t exactly read while Jordan is playing because believe me, I have tried. Whatever Mama is holding that diverts her interest from him is to be targeted, and if possible, absconded with.

I thought the Kindle, being grey and without flashing lights, might be subtle enough for me to get a little reading in here and there. Not a chance. He knows where my attention is, even if he’s on the floor next to me playing with blocks.

So, I start the reading after he goes to sleep, and then Nick comes home and I’m still reading and sometimes he wants to chat and I want to read. Sometimes I put down the book and spend some quality time with him. And sometimes I try to engage while still sort of reading, which satisfies nobody. Sometimes he has work to do, and so we are both in the same space, doing our own things, and it works out nicely.

Monday I was in a hell of a mood, and when Nick called on his way home, I didn’t even give him a chance to ask what I thought about dinner. I said, “I’m sitting in the red chair. I’m eating popcorn and reading a book and drinking wine. It is exactly what I want to be doing.”

He had empanadas on the way home. He later commented that I was difficult to interact with that evening. Perhaps because I did not want to be interacted with.

I cannot save the reading until we are going to sleep. I am dead tired when it’s bedtime. And anyway, I could be compulsively gambling or having Internet sex instead so really, in the scheme, this is mild.

Actually, I’m not sure why I’m justifying. I suppose because doing something just for yourself, when there are chores you could be doing (because when are there not chores you should be doing?), seems so very indulgent. And when you don’t see a lot of your spouse during the week, it seems like you should just want to drop everything when he comes in the door.

But how often do you get to be alone? Like, all alone? Do you miss it?


  1. I'm basically an only child, so I LOVE alone time. Thankfully, my husband does too. However, he's a chatterbox, and often he'll whine like a toddler "pay attention to meeee" when I'm reading or internet-ing. I ask for 10 more minutes of ignoring him and then I'll give him my full attention. Since I follow my word, he gives me the 10 minutes and we're both happy :)

  2. I always feel guilty about reading or watching a show when I do have time alone. Because I feel like that's when I should be emailng someone or calling someone or cleaning or doing laundry or going for a run or something else productive.

    I think, though, that since I've started to take writing more seriously, I see reading as more of a productive exercise, because it is helping me figure out what I do and don't want to do. So I feel less guilty - that, and I do it on the Metro, when I couldn't be doing much else anyway.

    And yes, I miss it.

  3. The husband has different interests than I do, and neither of us have super demanding jobs (we're lucky that way, I guess), so we each have our own alone time. He may go on a long bike ride while I stay home and do yoga or knit. Or maybe I'm reading blogs while he's watching some random baseball game. I think that our divergent interests allow us the luxury of alone time.

    HOWEVER, when the boy is born, I am going to make damn sure that I'm not the one who is constantly taking the baby while he goes out and has his alone time. All baby and no sanity makes me a very dull (angry) girl.

  4. Perpetually single, I recently started dating someone for the first time in a long, long time. He's great and I like having a companion to explore life's adventures with. And I require - absolutely require - a few evenings each week at my place, by myself.

  5. I get giddy when I get to go to the grocery store by myself. Or anywhere, really.

    At night, I really should read. It would be better than what I do, which is veg out in front of the TV. Me in one room, hubby in the other.

    Honestly, I SO covet my 1 hour after Jess goes to be that I am VERY cranky if hubby tries to get some attention. I know this is bad, and I'm trying to change it, but after dealing with Jess in the morning, working all day, dealing with the princess in the evening, plus all the other stuff I have to do (laundry, dinner, dishes, making sure homework gets done, bath, etc.) I'm pretty much toast. I want 1 hour where no one WANTS anything from me. Not so great for the marriage (I'm working on it) but good for my sanity.

    Also, FYI -- My daughter is almost 6. So, it's not a baby thing, it's a kid thing too.

  6. I really miss my reading time on the Metro every day. I hardly ever read anymore, and I used to constantly be reading at least 2 books at a time, plus the newspaper. But alas, no Metro commute anymore plus an almost 2 year old means mama doesn't read. Well, except for books like Goodnight Moon and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

  7. i need more all alone time than any person i know...
    people are exhausting to me...
    so theres that

  8. Monique Esselmont5/12/2011 3:21 PM

    I live for my alone time. I'm home all day with the kids, and by the time they go to bed, I'm completely "done"... I need the me time to unwind and become human again. Don't ever feel guilty about taking alone time. It's good for a mommy to have. I love the fact that my daughter can play alone in the afternoons before my son comes home. It gives me a little bit of a break before the insanity of after-school madness happens! A mother's job is never done, so enjoy the small moments of sanity. xoxo

  9. I get 20 minutes or so when I walk the dog. Since we count
    The dog as part of the family, I am not sure this totally qualifies as alone time.
    Other than that, I get alone time in the shower, at least most days.

    I miss reading so much.

  10. Right now we work different schedules - I'm Monday - Friday and he's Tueaday - Saturday so I have all day Saturday to be alone. I *love* it. With the new job, his schedule changes to Monday - Friday so I only have 3 more Saturdays alone left to enjoy.

  11. I have a friend that is a compulsive book collector. He has 13,000 books. He is currently unemployed and eats food in dented cans purchased at the Dollar store. He is one Mother's rent check away from homelessness, but all he cares about are his books and "The Collection."

    We keep trying to encourage him to become a panhandler - he would make so much more money!!!

    But in any case, be careful... reading can be a gateway drug to homelessness. Although, I think he would choose a selection of Architectural books, or maybe some Art coffee table books to be homeless with, rather than Encyclopedias.

    It's kind of a twist on the classic "What book would you be stranded on a desert island with." heh.

    Oh, and your "Post a Comment" thing wasn't working yesterday (FYI)

  12. Reading is my number one escape. And I must have it or I die. However, it has been brought to my attention that I am neglecting friends and family to read sometimes and that's when I have to step back and think about it.

  13. Reading is vital. That's all. So I say keep right on keeping on, and give Nick a lot of extra special attention between books!

  14. I am so glad this is back up. I tried to comment before but it had already been taken down. It is so important for me to get my alone time. I get incredibly crabby after a while. I love being around people but I also need time to read or bake or just be still. I know I am going to miss it once I am married.


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