Something strange happened when I had a baby. Something I never actually calculated into my visualisation of what motherhood would be like. The thought that I may never be alone again hadn’t ever crossed my mind. I didn’t ever consider that I may never spend a moment in my house without someone else being there. It was quite an abrupt and unwelcome revelation. Time to myself is now the most valuable thing I have. And the rarest.
Many mothers don’t yearn to have their own space, or to be free of everyone around them. I’ve always loved having people around but didn’t value my self time so much as I do now. I crave it. I defend any ‘me time’ like it were a 4th member of my family. It’s the one thing my husband and I bicker over the most: My absolute need and desire to be alone occasionally.
I can’t simply be alone at home. Home has changed. It’s not the sanctuary it used to be, where I could make my bed, breathe out contently and sip a cup of tea. It’s lost that status to the looooong list of need that I am confronted with when I walk in the door. The chores. The toddler. The responsibility. The endless to-do list. It breaks me to recall it all. Home now represents the overwhelming cascade of events that leave me exhausted at the end of each week.
When I DO get time to myself, I have a banked list of things I could use that time for. Most of them rather simple, but I do have a few indulgences that allow me to escape, just enough to revive and re-energise. Here’s a snapshot.
Coffee. I love to have a good coffee in a cafe. To drink it in a relaxed manner, not worry that it will be spilt or fear my dear son will arc up and annoy my fellow relaxers. This particularly pretty one was made by a nice young, er man – Ok, I’m gonna say it how I thought it: ‘Hipster’ – at Double Roasters in Marrickville www.doubleroasters.com
I get my hair cut. This is like my best, most favourite thing to do alone since I had my son. I make appointments for the evening, like 8pm. I have ‘stylist’ and she is all mine. I get a generous glass of wine or 2 at every visit and have been known to leave the salon a little after 9 and more than a little tipsy. I remember the first time I went to Dirty Girl, I had a 3 month old at home, it was my first ‘night out’ and I was giddy nervous. Admittedly, the place can be intimidating at first. The shop front presents tinted black windows and, once inside, you are confronted with a ‘bar’ like layout, it looks quite industrial and everyone is hot and wearing black their own way. The music is pumping 90’s house (i think) and occasionally they have tequila shots lined up, complete with cut lemon and salt. It’s not your average hair salon. I have had a few friends note a less-than-happy experience but I’ve been going there nearly 3 years and loved every haircut I ever walked out with (or maybe that was the wine…).
Dirty Girl by Daniel Mostyn | www.dirtygirlbydanielmostyn.com
I adore a pedicure. A real one at a place where you are in a room alone with the staff member and they massage your whole foot and calf and know you are there to pretend there is no laundry. This particular day I got one at M and M Beauty | www.mandmbeauty.com.au
I have a proper cafe brekky alone. A little solitude in the morning can really pep me up. I prefer my solitude with infused tea and pepitas, or whatever they are called. Seriously, I love to eat breakfast on my own, it gives me the space to plan the day without looking at all the things that are likely to get in the way – like the dishes. This photo was taken one morning after a gym session. Probably a Saturday because hubby gives me sat mornings most weekends | Cornersmith in Marrickville do a reliably colourful breakfast.
I browse my favourite shops at a leisurely pace. And try not to buy things:
Pentimento Papeterie | At first it was the smell that lured me in, now it’s just a habit. There is a magnetic force that drags me inside this little design/paper/craft/art/book retreat. A nest full of beautiful things that make you yearn for more. Pentimento has been one of my fav stores in Newtown since I moved to the area more than 10 years ago. It represents a slice of lux that I can never quite reach. Guaranteed to help me find inspiration, which is what I’m there for right?
Made590 | A funky store with giant novelty head mannequins, Made590 is a shop I rarely leave without a parcel. This place is full of clothes and accessories that sing to me. Lots of quirky, imaginative pieces, graphic dresses and skirts with vintage cuts. Lots of popping colour and cute, friendly staff. I feel happy in this shop. My latest purchase is some gift tape. No, I didn’t need it. But I wanted it. So there.
The Flying Penguin | Hilariously, one of the things I do have to share my me-time with is getting things done. This toyshop is amazing, perfect for gift buying in between pedicures and coffee. The staff are wonderful – like, they actually know about the products they sell – and the toys are mostly ethically sourced and have a sound eco footprint. I have bought so many presents here, not to mention the odd Sophie. Their gift wrapping service is also pretty rad. And free. (I think!).
I also love to go for a walk sans-pram, or go to the gym. Yes, me-time is so important. I’ll do whatever it takes, even exercise.
Where do YOU go to be alone?