The Cost of Alone Time

Every time I meet a mom, the conversation somehow migrates into the importance of alone time.


"You should get some help." "You need to get away." "Alone time is necessary."

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I don't mean to sound like a mid-90's tween, but duh! Of course I need to be alone, not only for me, but the kid as well. However, saying it is easier than getting it.


I am a single mom of 1. I have one friend that I talk to regularly. My closest family is about 2 hours away. It's just me and the kid. Getting time alone is few and far in between, but when I get the chance it's not really enjoyable. If I'm not worried about the financial costs, I'm stressing about trying to relax knowing my time is limited. At the end of the day, I think, was that worth it?


Making It Make Cents


The cost of childcare according to singlemotherguide.com, is more than 40% of their income for center based childcare. Personally, I spend a scosh less than 40%, more like 38%. That is a lot of money each month, plus the additional if I need childcare for "me time." I take my kid to a local drop off childcare center and or 12 bucks an hour, I get some alone time. But how much alone time do I get?


The last time I used that service, I went out with my one friend to brunch, pedicures and to just hang. I think we were supposed to do something else, but you know, time.


After I dropped the kid off around 11:30 am. I drove 37 minutes to the restaurant, we left around 2:15 pm to go get pedicures. 20 minutes later, we get to the nail salon and are seated right away. An hour and some change later, the pedicures are done and I need to go get my kid because now I'm calculating the amount I have to pay when I pick him up. This is adding up and I'm doubting the decisions I've already made.


Let's recap:


​Cost of playcare

​Cost of brunch

Cost of pedicure

Total

​$100.80 (+$40 annual membership fee)

35.20

$63.25

​$199.25

The monthly cost for some sanity, is $200 ($160 if I only eat and pedicure.) That's nearly $1000 per month for childcare. And I only have one child.



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Never mind the amount I spend when I have my alone time. Could we have eaten somewhere cheaper, sure. Could I have gotten a cheaper pedicure package? Absolutely. I don't see the point in depriving myself of what I want especially since I don't do this every month. This experience was 2 months ago. It may be 3 months before I do this again so I'm going to get what I want.


The Mental Grip


I am a person who truly likes to be alone. I get to process my thoughts, explore my creativity, and self-reflect when I'm alone. My thoughts are my own. Not being able to have that time when I need it most, affects my mental health which in turn affects my relationship with my kid.


Once every few months when I get those five hours to myself, I have to plan properly so that I'm not rushed and stressed that I won't be able to enjoy myself. Even though I don't get out much, I do try to allot at least 5 hours so that I don't feel rushed. The anxiousness of knowing that this is my only time to relax plus being on a time crunch ahs made me cancel plans. Sometimes it's not worth the stress.


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When it becomes too much, I just lock myself in my room and regain my mental stability while watching 90's sitcoms.


Ah, the 90's.


I know that it's important to get alone time, but sometimes the planning and stress that comes with those 5 hours is too much for me. I take my moment where I can and until I can come up with a better plan, this works for me.


What do you think, is your alone time worth it?


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