Seven Hours Alone–*Update*

May 25, 2010

I had seven whole hours alone this weekend. I know.

Actually, the circumstances were complicated and awkward and not nearly as awesome as you think, but I was, indeed, alone for seven hours.

My alone-time began shatteringly early for a Saturday morning: 5am. Oddly, I didn’t mind it though, because nobody was begging me for coffee or pancakes or a fried egg or Spongebob. All was pretty good, even at that hour.

I opened the paper, sipped my tea and then realized: I get to think about what I want for breakfast. I’ll be damned.

Now I don’t know about you, but even on weekends, my mornings are a freakshow. The kids need food NOW and they certainly don’t want the same thing, and the cat’s meowing for his milk, precariously underfoot, and I need to make the coffee and AIEEE! She’stouchingmemommymakeherquittouchingme…

You know. Like that.

Breakfast is usually someone’s leftovers, shoved quickly down the gullet, as I’m running to make sure Miss M. really did hit the potty this time. I always eat breakfast of some sort–I’m ravenous in the morning–but it isn’t really something I choose for myself, consciously. At this point in my life, breakfast=fuel. The quicker it gets into the belly, the better. No time to think.

But on this sunny Saturday, I got to choose.

Then I went for a long walk around a nearby lake, keeping company with geese and cows and large canines dragging dogged and harried owners. I walked fast. No need to stop to tie small shoelaces or take a dandelion-picking break or clap for spontaneous cartwheels.

Walk finished, I began the drive home and noticed that the Farmer’s Market was open again: a sure sign of impending summer. I detoured, wandered around, found some cute little heirloom tomatoes and bunches of sharp-smelling herbs.

Back home, I realized something. When you’re up at 5am, a mid-morning nosh is definitely necessary. Again, I was struck by the notion that I could actually put some thought into this. Eat exactly what I wanted to. This rarely happens.

As I’ve confessed before in this post, what I eat when I eat alone is usually shameful stuff. Leftovers, odds and ends, cereal. This food is not what I want to eat. It’s food eaten out of desperation or laziness–food I don’t have to think about, much less take the trouble to cook.

Oddly enough, I’d just thoroughly cleaned my refrigerator, so there wasn’t the usual drek sitting in there, begging my parsimonious self to put it out of its misery. Yet again, I was able to stop, consider. I chose some of those little heirlooms with some fresh, creamy cheese and sharp basil. A snack was never nicer.

By the time 1pm rolled around, Awesome Stepkid R. was on his way home, there were weeds in the garden calling, and I didn’t want to tarry, so I grabbed a heel of baguette, some herbed butter, and called it lunch.

The point of this story? I dunno. ???

I guess I was just struck at the notion that I no longer really feed myself. I cook, but with others in mind. I rush through my day and never stop to ask, “What do I want? What’s going to nourish me, at this very moment?”

And I don’t do that because…well, I can’t. There’s a family to consider. Just feeding myself seems rather selfish. But it made me wonder. What, at this moment, would you eat, if you could, just for you?

And p.s.: Lest you think I was virtuous all day, I will confess to my afternoon snack.

But you know what? Triscuits, lettuce, pepper jack cheese and mustard? Exactly what I wanted, trashy or no. Sometimes a girl just wants what she wants.

**Hi friends, a little more awkwardness and not-awesomeness going on here, so please forgive me if I don’t check in with you for a bit. Nobody’s diseased or dead, so don’t worry about that. I just have some figuring out to do. Thank you, dear readers. You mean the world.**

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Phoo-D May 25, 2010 at 3:43 pm

At this very moment? It would be a ball of burrata, a few slices of sourdough bread, and a bottle of chilled vouvray. Glad you got to have a slow morning for once! It is so nice when the routine gets a jolt now and then.


Jen May 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

After three years I often wonder what it would be like to have 7 hours alone. I have gone out a few times for a few hours but I know I am not there yet where I am comfortable leaving that long. I start to get jitery.
ANd its a good thing I like pancakes because I haven't really thought about feeding me in a while. :)


Ink May 25, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Congratulations on meeting yourself again. Hello, wonderful you. :D


Christine May 25, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Oh to just make something yummy that I want. Oh, I hardly remember what that is.


Jennifer May 25, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Well I just finished eating a yummy grilled chicken breast for dinner so I'm not hungry right now. But I take triscuits and cheese for a snack to work almost every day. I love the rosemary ones.


Gibby May 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm

At least you sort of fed yourself. If I was up at 5AM on Sat (which wouldn't happen), I would have just hit Starbucks and called it a day.

(But seriously, is there anything better than tomatoes, basil, and cheese? I think not…)


WizzyTheStick May 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Feeding you. Remind me, what is that again? Oh right you mean the thing I did before children when my husband and I would sit like regular people (not like the cave people we are today) and consume a thoughtfully prepared meal:-) You are not alone in your alone time left over consumption


Maria May 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Yeah for you! You got to eat what YOU wanted, without having to yell while you ate!!!

For some reason, I am on Thai kick. I would love wonderful Thai appetizers; spring rolls and what not…consumed with some fabulous wine that cost a small fortune…

But seriously, there is nothing better than a baguette with butter, or tomatoes with basil and cheese. YUMM!


Anonymous May 25, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

Way to snack out with your bad self!


Fresh Local and Best May 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I realize the same thing when I'm home alone. I end up eating out a bag and scraping down every last leftover in the fridge. I actually feel a bit lost when I'm alone. I discovered that because I give extra effort to making everyone happy when cooking I actually end up with something better than I would do for myself. And that may be the great part of never being alone.


becca May 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I recently thought the same thing… that I make food for others but never make what I feel like having. Never. And the fact that it applies to our lives in general, is a great metaphor. How often do we moms feed ourselves? Not often enough unfortunately. Which is probably why I'm so damn cranky half the time. Thanks for this reminder to make something/do something for ME. I'm so glad you did!


Bryan May 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I hope that your morning was as pleasant as it sounded. My shameful snack Liverwurst and Mozzarella cheese… at least I give Triscuits and pepperjack a run for its money ;-)


WackyMummy May 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Those heirloom tomatoes are just like candy! I love those.

I do the same. I've seen incredulous looks on people's faces when I "clean" Evan's plate after he finishes, after hardly having anything to eat during the "meal". I'm just frugal, I guess. No point making "2" meals for me. I mean, I have enough experience to know that Evan's going to leave quite a few leftovers that won't go in the fridge… you know what I'm talking about.

Anyways, yay for you! Food you want AND time alone! It's like a vacation! With a circus! Okay, I'm going overboard. Later.


theUngourmet May 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

When I find myself alone, it always feels strange. It's so rare. I don't know what to do with myself! Those tomatoes look divine! I can't wait to get my hands on some over this way and I have to say that your snack is right up my alley! I think I'll pick up some Triscuits and pepper jack tomorrow!


From Belgium May 26, 2010 at 12:28 am

Alone time is such a rare thing for a mother that she should always enjoy it, any way she can.


Corinne May 26, 2010 at 4:27 am

7 hours… heaven!
I totally forget to eat or eat the kids stuff all the time. Or they eat my food before I get to it, so I figure, what's the point?
But its good to feed yourself. Glad you did :)


Pines Lake Redhead May 26, 2010 at 4:57 am

You even make your snacks look pretty!
I usually cook to feed others as well. Sometimes on the weekends I even forget to eat. I need to pay more attention to that. thanks for the reminder.


Lindy May 26, 2010 at 5:11 am

5 AM – as in the MORNING?

I'm with Gibby on this one, I would've gone to Starbucks, came home and took a nap.


Maureen@IslandRoar May 26, 2010 at 5:29 am

Very interesting, that we rarely have time to FEED ourselves. But it's so important to stop and do that from time to time. I'm glad you were able to grab these hours and tell us about it. Those tomatoes and yes, even those Triscuts and cheese, look amazing! I've been bringing Triscuts to work lately. They have just the right mid day crunch.


JennyMac May 26, 2010 at 6:18 am

You are awesome enough to make triscuits and mustard look fabulous.


Wendi May 26, 2010 at 6:33 am

Glad you got to enjoy some quiet time. What would I eat right now if I could? I'd have to say a BLT on white toast. Funny how when I can pick absolutely anything at all, I go with something simple.


elizabeth May 26, 2010 at 6:35 am

What a wonderful way to savor a sunny Saturday–on so many levels!

I'm so happy that tomatoes are starting to taste like tomatoes again.


suzicate May 26, 2010 at 6:37 am

Nothing wrong with a girl getting what she wants, especially when it comes to food. Just my opinion!


Tiffany May 26, 2010 at 6:54 am

You are so right…I don't do that either. Can't. Glad you had 7 hours…even if it was awkward! ;)


Cathy May 26, 2010 at 9:50 am

Interesting. I'm not sure what you mean by "awkward circumstances", but I know that when I have time alone in my own house, it's just plain weird. I stress out a little bit wondering if I've forgotten one of the kids somewhere!

As for food, we periodically do "fend for yourself" night. That's when I eat what I want.


SoccerMom May 26, 2010 at 10:50 am

That sounds like an awesome kind of day to me.


michelle May 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

On my days "off", I pretty much don't eat. I feed the kids, and eat their leftovers.

But, when I "work" and get home from a 12 hr day and the kids are asleep and hubs is still off cooking for other women, I treat myself to dinner in bed.

buffalo hot wings, tater tots, and an avocado
tater tots get ketchup and the wings and avocado get maries bleu cheese dressing. and i catch up on Weeds and Big Love

how gross is that?


Aging Mommy May 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

I had not really thought about this but you are so right, I do the exact same. I bake muffins so that I can grab one in the morning and eat it on the go – I used to make oatmeal but it took too long to do and then to eat and even ordinary cereal seems just too much effort.

As an ex-foodie type (i.e. pre-Motherhood) I'd have to think a while about the perfect meal, but it would involve total silence, a wonderful view and a glass of perfectly chilled white wine for sure!

Great post


Justine May 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

I used to make elaborate meals for myself. Not anymore…When I had the 5 hours to myself, I cringed at the fact that I ate cereal but just the idea of having to clean up a mess in the kitchen during the long-coveted time to myself seemed absurd to me.

Oh you can make even cheese/tomato/basil look divine. THAT'S a gift.


Gale at Ten Dollar Thoughts May 26, 2010 at 11:34 am

Sounds like a marvelous day. Even the Triscuits!


Amber May 26, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Shoot. You have described my day exactly. My breakfast usually includes toast with either butter or cream cheese and a small glass of orange juice. I think of it this way–I am saving all my calories for a delicious dinner!! Or something like that.


C. Troubadour May 26, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Triscuits and cheese? Hardly trashy.

I'm so glad you had your seven hours to yourself. Raising a glass to you-time and farmer's markets reopening. Ours too! I can't believe I'm going to have to miss two weekends in a row of wandering the stalls while I'm out of town. I know, this shouldn't be such cause for grief, but it is.


Cheryl May 26, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Sad. So sad, yet true. This is why goldfish crackers were invented. Not for the kids, but for the moms, dying for something to tide them over in between school pickup and dance class and swimming lessons and picking up dog poop and loading the dishwasher and folding (as if!) the laundry and, of course, feeding the inmates.


Leslie May 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I've always seen Triscuits as the sophisticated cracker. But that might just mean that there are too many Ritz and Wheat Thins in my life.
Wishing you more awesome, less awkward.


J. Harker May 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm

My own apologies for not commenting in what feels like forever.

For what it's worth, I hope all goes well, or at least as well as it can.


merrilymarylee May 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I like a cracker, pickle round, and cheese–broiled for a bit.

Think fast. I'll miss you.


mo.stoneskin May 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm


How about a pancake and a coffee? I'm starving.


faemom May 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I would have something with chocolate.
I'm a bit jealous of your 7 hours alone. Lucky.


Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point May 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I'm wild about heirloom tamatoes but I love your afternoon snack even more.


Barbara May 26, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I spend most of my life alone now….and I love every minute of it! I have friends, but I don't need to spend every minute with people. It really is a pleasure. I love my kids and I loved being a wife and mother, but this time is mine.
So take all the time you need to figure out what you need to. We're here if you need us!


theycallmejane May 26, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I'm so jealous! 7 hours? In your own home? Pure heaven! It's what I ask for every year for my birthday and never get. Glad you enjoyed yours. :)


WhisperingWriter May 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Your snack looks delicious.

I'd love 7 hours of quiet time. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


ck May 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

xoxoxoxoxo, TKW. You know I'll be here when you get back, probably dressed up in those 7 hours, pretending they were mine. (Along with that food.)


Maria May 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Hope you are okay…thinking of you and wishing for a quick overcoming of the awkwardness and not so awesomeness….HUGS


biz319 May 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Isn't it weird how women never have time for themselves, never alone, yet the husbands seem to come and go as they please?

And I am a working mom, but my husband works from home. He's always here. My daughter comes and goes, and my step-son is a fly by night visitor.

To have seven hours of myself would be heaven!!

And that being said, take all the time you need, we'll be here when you get back!

Um, and your triscuit, mustard thing? HEAVEN ON A PLATE!


Bryan May 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm

You know that we all love ya. holler if you need anything.


Rachel @ MWF Seeking BFF May 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm

The thing where you said it seemed selfish to feed yourself really struck me. I don't want to sound like Jillian Michaels (clearly you don't need her) but I can't drown out her voice in my ear as I think about that. She, of course, would say it's more selfish NOT to take care of yourself. That that's how all those people on The Biggest Loser ended up there. AGAIN, not that that's you… just trying to say that you should allow yourself to eat what you feel like you need! You deserve it.

I know I know… says the girl with no kids.

Hope all is ok…


~Laura May 28, 2010 at 4:44 am

I'd love that morning snack you had. Bruschetta is one of my all time favorites. I'd love a crusty baguette, toasted, rubbed with garlic and a light mix of the tomatoes, basil and a little cheese. Yum!

Awkwardness sucks. I'm a little worried about you, Kitch. Hope things are alright over there. Thinking of you and of course will be here upon your marvelous return- all awesomed out!


Nicki May 28, 2010 at 5:55 am

Great way to have a few hours alone! Feed your soul and your body.

Hope the awkwardness goes soon.


terry May 28, 2010 at 9:12 am

I'm glad you told me no one was dead or diseased. I would worry. I will still worry a bit. But at least your eating well.

My youngest loves to cook. I can't just throw crap at him. No he wants truffle salt on his eggs.

His biggest thrill in life is cooking and eating and he is great at both.

He eats slowly, savoring every bite. When he is with his friends and they have finished dinner and run off to play video games or whatever, you can still find Will enjoying his dinner. And he is perfectly neat. Never a crumb on him or the table.

And it has to look right on the plate. Presentation! Are you sure the two of you aren't related?


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