The weekend is upon is again. A long one, at that. Despite my initial excitement over three glorious days in which I will not have to go to work, I already find myself wondering what I should do with myself.
There are the usual things that I enjoy doing on weekends: reading, cleaning (yes, I am one of those weird people that enjoys cleaning), baking, dance practice, perusing the bookstore, and going to the craft store. Those are the things that I consider “down time” on weekends. They’re the the things that keep me busy but, at the same time, keep me feeling relaxed and at peace. Being “busy” on a weekend means going out to dinner or brunch, checking out a brewery, hanging out with friends, or finding a show to attend in addition to the other things I mentioned. Needless to say, I am not one of those people who likes to just sit around the house in their underwear, staring at their phone all weekend.
Even though I like keeping busy, I need my quiet time, too. Personal time. That’s where reading, the bookstore, and crafts come in handy. These are all things that keep me occupied (and keep my depressed/anxious brain from thinking too much), but also feel like “me” time. I like having the time and space to do things by myself. It’s what keeps me sane and balanced enough that I can hang out with other people later, when necessary.
So, what’s the problem with all that? Technically, nothing. On a perfect weekend, in a perfect world, this is how things would work out all the time. But as we all know, there is no such things as a perfect world.
Since moving in with Boyfriend I have found that I struggle to maintain that balance between quiet time and not-so-quiet time. Having lived on my own for a while before moving in with him, I got used to a certain type of routine. Even prior to that, when I was still married, I still had a good deal of alone time, given that my ex and I had drastically different work schedules. Now, being here, I find that I am often at a loss for what to do with myself. Part of this is due to the fact that Boyfriend and I are different in terms of what we like to do on weekends. The other part of this is due to the fact that there is now a child in the mix, which is something I have never had to deal with before.
I guess I am just still trying to figure out how to adjust to the lack of personal space that I now have. Whether it’s just the two of us or all three of us there’s always somebody around. There’s no more coming home from work on a Friday and having an hour to myself, with nobody else around, to just take a bath and unwind. There’s no quiet Sunday mornings where it’s just me, a cup of coffee, and a book. There’s no Saturday afternoon working on crafts, with nothing but Gilmore Girls on in the background to keep me company. Of course, I can and still do all of these things. There’s nothing preventing me from it. The problem, however, is that it’s just not the same as it used to be. If I sit down on the couch to read a book now there’s usually someone else already there in the room. When I experiment in the kitchen there’s often a child creeping behind me, asking what I’m making, why I’m adding [insert ingredient], or just watching me in general. The people who know me well know that this kind of things drives me insane. Having an audience when I do things makes me incredibly anxious and stresses me out.
I get distracted very easily when I am doing things. For example, if I am taking a bath and trying to just chill out for a few minutes then someone starts slamming doors or stomping their feet loudly, that’s all I can focus on. The same thing happens when I am reading. Even if the other people in the room are being quiet for the most part, I get distracted by the fact that they are simply there.
I find myself relying more and more on activities that require me to leave the house, just to get some personal space. (Unfortunately, I don’t have a “she cave” or my own room that I can hide in.) Last weekend, I took myself on a date to the bookstore, just so I could read for a few hours and get away from all the chatter, questions, and general activity happening in the house.
I don’t blame anyone else for this situation. I am smart enough and self-aware enough to know that this is entirely my problem to deal with. Nobody else in the house is doing anything wrong, nor are they trying to take away my personal space. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is when you co-habitate with others and there are children involved. (I really wish I was better at the kid thing, but it’s really hard sometimes. How are you supposed to not get irritated when they’re following you around all the time trying to butt into whatever you’re doing? If anyone has any insight on this, I would really appreciate it.) But still, even knowing that it’s nobody else’s fault, I am not sure how to adjust. How do I keep myself from feeling like I need to escape on weekends, lest I go completely insane?