“I Made My Family Disappear” :: When Mom is Home Alone

It happened. The stars aligned. In what feels like an occurrence as odd and spectacular as the passing of Halley’s Comet, my husband ended up taking all four of our kids away for the weekend. He wanted to go to the football game of his alma mater, Louisiana Tech, on Saturday but then found out that the football team of the high school where he works would be playing nearby the night before. He shrugged and said he’d take all of them to both and booked a hotel.

I couldn’t go because I had committed to going somewhere on Saturday evening. This meant that I would be home alone. I admit I got a little panicky. I wasn’t worried about the kids — the hubby knows what he’s doing. He packed the kids and remembered the cough medicine and diapers and loveys and books and toys. I was more worried about what I would do with all that time to myself!

My husband is gone often. He’s a Navy reservist, so for one weekend a month and two weeks a year, he’s gone. Most of the time it sounds like a miniature retreat weekend. I’ve always longed for a similar experience, and, to be fair, he’s offered for me to go stay in a hotel for a weekend. But I hate the idea of having to go away. I don’t want to go away. I want to enjoy the comfort of my own home with my agenda. I don’t want to have to pack a bag and sleep in some other bed. I don’t want to have to worry about catching up when I get back home. I want to be at home. And for the first time maybe ever since I became a mom, I got to be!

And it was glorious.

They were gone for maybe 30 hours total, and it was exactly what I needed. I relearned that I am extremely productive without distraction: I wrapped every present, did multiple loads of laundry, cleaned the toilets, washed innumerable dishes, cleaned the kitchen, filed the kids’ work that had collected on the counter all semester, washed the sheets, bathed the dog, got groceries, and even shopped local for the holidays! I sat on the couch and ate leftovers. I baked dozens of cookies. I bought myself lunch and new fuzzy holiday socks. I listened to my Jazz Christmas Pandora station and burned a Balsam Fir candle in all of my waking hours. I yelled at the tv during football games as loudly as I wanted because no one was napping. I fussed at and cooked for no one (ok, I may have cleaned a bit for everyone). I stayed in the bed until a gluttonous 9:15 AM.

I’m realizing I may need one of these rare weekends at least once a quarter. Maybe more. I don’t want to go away. Going away feels needlessly expensive, wasteful, and ironically exhausting. And I miss my people when they’re gone. But staying in while the kids make memories with Dad at his alma mater? Let’s make this an annual tradition!

My mental health needed those 30 hours. It may be odd, but productivity is relaxing for me. I caught up to my house and everything I’ve put off so far this semester, including myself. I’ve never felt so rested or collected. And there’s the bonus of having the house decorated and the gifts done before December even begins.

Maybe you’re like me and need some time to yourself. Consider staying in rather than going away. This year I stayed Home Alone. Maybe next year I can get lost in New York!

Megan Southall
Megan is “Mommy! Mom! Mom-Mommy!” to four: Carson (9), Atticus (7), Evangeline (4), and Bo (8 months). She is from Port Allen and went to high school and college in Baton Rouge, getting her Bachelor’s Degree in English with a concentration in Secondary Education from LSU. Megan then moved to the ‘burbs in Zachary. She and her husband of 9 years, Ryan, are teachers, Ryan at Zachary High School and Megan at West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, where she is also the Instructional Specialist. Megan is Nationally Board Certified in English Language Arts and has a Master's in Educational Leadership. She adores her job, as it gives her awesome opportunities: working with teenagers, gaining perspective on parenting them, and getting to pretend she’s a SAHM over the summer. When she’s not learning piano or reading, Megan can be found on the couch, talking to episodes of “Real Housewives of New York.”


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