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30 Minutes of Solitude

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One thing I know for certain from reading blogs, Facebook comments, and Twitter tweets is that moms, especially moms of kiddos with special needs, don’t get much time to themselves.

Can I get a witness??

The smart and sassy Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, from Autism Wonderland, wrote an awesome guest post about her quest for some quality alone time.  I think we can all relate to the need to eek out a few moments in the day to get our thoughts straight.

Don’t forget to leave her some comment love, and visit her site, where she writes about her beautiful son, Norrin.  She’s a very active autism advocate, especially within the Latina/Latino community (I hope I phrased that right).


30 Minutes of Solitude

I knew when I became a mom that I would never be alone.  And as much as I love my husband and child.  I miss having moments of solitude.

My alone time consists of my subway commute to and from work.  But I guess that doesn’t really count. I may be alone, but I’m in a crowd.  And it usually smells.

There are days when I go into the ladies room and go into a stall and just sit.  And its quiet and no one can find me or bother me.


Unless a coworker follows me in the ladies room and decides stall to stall conversation is okay.

It’s never okay.

But I need something more than a few fleeting moments of ladies room sanctuary.

That’s why I’ve been waking up at the crack ass of dawn, lacing up my running and heading out to run in circles. (There is a circular walkway in front of my building.  Seven times around equals a mile – or so I’ve been told.)

Well…I’m not really running.  I’m walking at a very brisk pace.  I’ll start running next week.  It’s part of getting my sanity back.

It’s just me and the squirrels and maybe a few other people running.   And people leaving to work.   But they do not get in my way.  I can think.  Or not think. I can clear my head.  Gather my thoughts.  I can just be alone.  And I think I deserve that time.

Someone else thought otherwise.

On my second morning as I was walking back into my building I saw my neighbor, in her cute pink short running shorts.  A mom of 3 NT kids under the age of 7.  She knows everything.  And she’s quick to tell that “all kids do that”. She is her pre-baby weight.  She likes to give me advice about my kid.  Even though she has no experience with special needs children.  I avoid her like the plague. But at 5:45 am there is no avoiding her.

“Oh are you running now?” She asks.

“Uh..yeah trying to.”

“What time are you out here?”

I know where she is going with this.  She wants us to be run buddies.   She has tried this before.  Wanting us to be work out pals.

I tell her I am out at 5 am and say goodbye before she can say anything else.

I don’t want her interfering in my alone time.  I don’t want to have a conversation before I’ve had my first cup of coffee.  I don’t want to run in circles and feel as if I’m jumping through hoops trying to make polite conversation with a woman I have absolutely nothing in common with.

On my third day she came out earlier and I’m still running. I wave hello and pick up my pace. I think she wanted me to stop.  I walk a few more laps around the circle and went into the building.

On the fourth morning I see her again around the same time.  I am relieved to see she found a friend to keep her company.  We said hello and I had no choice but to run behind her and her friend.  (I could have passed them but that would mean I’d have to exhaust myself running.)  And the two of them talked the whole time.

I may need to start heading out at 4 in the morning.

What would you do for 30 minutes of solitude?


About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

12 responses »

  1. It’s 5:59. My solitude for the last 30 minutes was contorting my body around my son’s nose while he was sleeping to give him a nebulizer treatment while he sleeps and try to read blogs while waking up. Now I will do household chores And try to pee in peace before he wakes. That’s about all I hope for!

    Awesome that you are getting your exercise in and taking care of you! If Ms Perfect goes one direction regularly hide around the corner in the opposite direction- that’s all I got! Hope you get away!! 🙂

  2. Wow! Thanks Flannery for that great intro and for letting me guest post 😀

  3. I would have brought a soft mallet and clunked her with it if she bugged me while I was running. No, seriously?? I had someone do that and I turned up my music and started singing every time they got close. Now they give me a really wide berth. I don’t care. I need my me time and I’ll not give that up for anyone…..

  4. LIzbeth’s on to something. A sock with marbles in it. “WHACK!” as you pass her.

    with summer school in session, i get my 30 now–but that break was killin me. but now i can hole up in my studio puttering about, without neighbors all up in my binnis. you know–the good life.

  5. Get some earphones and next time you see her, give her the 1 one second glance with a smile and quick wave and be on your way. There is no way I’d let anyone intrude on my “me” time. NO WAY.

  6. I get up before the kids to work on the computer. I stay up a little after they go to sleep in order to relax and unwind. Once they wake up, I’m theirs. This morning, though, before they got up, instead of hopping on the computer to do my work, I just laid on the couch and enjoyed doing nothing. For the first time this summer, they both slept in late. It was really nice.

  7. I was able to get quite a bit of solitude during the day while my kiddos were in school, but now that summer break is on and we are all just kind of lazing around the house, I am REALLY missing those moments of quiet when I could read a chapter of any book and not be interrupted by the words, “Hey Mom, guess what?” Don’t get me wrong, I love my children and spending time with them, but I am counting down the days until they go back to school.

    As for the running partner situation, I am not the one to come to for that kind of advice. I am still working on my “thanks, but no thanks” response and would either wind up running with her every day and being miserable or switching my running area to avoid her altogether.

  8. My solitude is after my son goes to bed. I’m supposed to spend that whole time, from 9pm-ish until whenever I’m too tired to go on working, but lately, especially these past several months, I’m so worn out from the day that I spend a chunk reading Autism blogs, checking FB & mindlessly eating cheese & crackers, with wine on weekends. I also do run and/or stationary bike now about 2 or 3 times per week whenever I can squeeze it in, with the knowledge that it means I’ll be up later working & more tired the next day – and fighting sleep while driving to & from the office for my afternoon work. But that time of running, biking or blog-reading is my time to unwind & lord knows, I need it.

  9. I mow the lawn. Seriously, I HATE yardwork with a passion. But I mow the lawn once a week with my MP3 player blaring. I place the kiddos in front of whatever is on Disney, lock up the puppy and mow the lawn. It is my one time during the 45 minutes of week I achieve some fiction of solitude.

    I also convince myself that it is exercise and balances out the glass of wine afterwards!

  10. I stay up after my son and bf go to sleep and do what I want which usually is playing facebook games, reading my email, and watching shows. Now I know why mom did the exact same thing and was up all night. It’s the only time I get alone. My bf used to tell me to go to bed but I practically screamed his head off a few times and broke down crying about needing some alone time so he backed off and lets me be now. I can’t wait until my son goes back to school in fall. He was in summer school for the autism program but that is only two hours. It ends next week and then he will be back to driving me crazy all day.


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