I love Mondays. I’m probably going to catch some shit for this, but I do. SO MUCH.
I didn’t always love them the way I do now. The love started right around the time my youngest kid went off to kindergarten.
Monday is the day after Sunday which is the day after Saturday which is the day after Friday night. While I love weekend time when everyone is home together doing weekend-y kinds of things, that’s a lot of togetherness for me and by Monday morning I’m ready for them to get back to work and school. I also tend to need a vacation after our family trips. I love our time together AND I love the Mondays after we get home. Don’t get me started about the first Monday of the school year.
Mondays are my favorite and they are the days I most need to be alone because, as I said, they follow an intense time of togetherness over the weekend. Mondays set the stage and tone for the rest of my week. If I ever go back to work, Tuesday-Friday is the schedule for me.
I’ve come to heavily rely on the 5ish hours I have to myself on most weekdays. I carefully guard that time and I’m very deliberate about how or if I share it because if I don’t have enough of it, well, that’s bad for me and for everyone else who has to deal with me. My dedication to my alone time should probably be viewed as a service I provide for the common good at this point. It’s another in a long line of reasons why I’m reticent to go back to work.
I didn’t know how much I needed time to myself until I got it. A few years ago, I was reading Quiet to better understand my introverted daughter and funny thing happened during my reading of that magnificent book…I found another layer of myself on those pages too.
I especially love being alone in my house. It’s not something I want or need all the time – not at all – but definitely some of the time, preferably on a schedule I can count on. That’s a big thing with me, knowing what to expect. I’m not really great with surprises or changes.
My idea of a perfect Monday goes something like this:
I return from school drop-off and I breatheeee. I soak up the quiet. It’s my favorite kind of quiet too. The Monday morning, everyone is out of my house kind. I feel the space around me. I feel myself relaxing. I don’t even care that the place looks like a total hell hole, because it always does on Mondays.
I pour another cup of coffee and I sit in my thinking spot. Don’t mind the unfinished bookcases with missing shelves, and don’t mind the still unfinished, undefined front room either…
But hey, would you look at that rug?! The colors! Here’s a close up:
You might want to stay tuned for an early December episode of Kristi and Friends Reality TV when my best friend and I wrestle over our mutual friend’s divorce moving sale rug. Those are our friend’s bookcases too which I may or may not paint and/or move to Husband’s office, but there will be no wrestling over those.
Anyway. I sit. I’m quiet. As in NO TALKING. The very best Mondays happen when I don’t utter a single word to anyone in those 5ish hours and I don’t have to listen to anyone else talking either. I breathe. I pray. I try to do something resembling meditation or mindfulness because it’s supposed to be beneficial, but I suck at it so I could definitely use lessons .
I make lists and I try to get organized for the week.
I typically jot down some notes for various essays I’m working on. Inspiration and thoughts that have come to me during my thinking spot time. I always do some focused writing too. There have been a few Mondays when I spent nearly the entire day writing. Post-weekend. Post-thinking spot. Lots of material.
I visit the internets to catch up on the news of the day.
And to stalk my daughter who is away at college.
I get up from my chair and putter around my house. Survey the space. I go from room to room and scan the entirety of the area, observing from different angles, figuring out what I need to do. I know this is heavily symbolic of my need for order. I’m planning a huge purging and reorganization project but I’ve been a little intimidated by the enormity of it because, frankly, we have a lot of crap. But hey, the plan looks good on paper so far! I like home design. I move things around a lot. One of the simple pleasures of my life is periodically moving around furniture or accent items and seeing how long it takes Husband to notice. Yes, I’m easily entertained. Sometimes he asks, “when did you buy that?” in reference to something old that’s been relocated to a new spot. I consider that a big WIN. I plan. I sketch. I take mental photographs, sometimes real ones. And I’ve become slightly obsessed with learning about color and also painting/distressing furniture. It will be interesting to see if I actually DO what I’ve envisioned to some of the pieces in our house.
I start tidying up the joint. I get laundry from the weekend going. Start a food shopping/meal plan list. That last one is a struggle for me but that’s material for an entirely separate blog post, seriously.
I always go out to walk. We have a great neighborhood for taking long walks. What is it about walking? I don’t know right now but it’s another activity I tend to do alone these days. Not that I don’t enjoy walking with others because I most certainly do – sometimes. But it’s definitely another marble collecting opportunity for me while I also get some exercise. Two birds with one stone and all that. I always jot down notes after my walks and sometimes even DURING, which is a total pain, but if I don’t, my menopausal short term memory issues guarantee that those walking generated ideas are gone forever.
I come back all sweaty and cleansed of the junky stuff that tries to take up permanent space in my head and I prepare to move into deep cleaning mode. I’m trying to stay on top of keeping this joint clean myself and it’s so very far from perfect, but it’s GOOD ENOUGH. I have cleaning zones, I just chip away at them a little at a time. Springsteen blasting while I’m on my hands and knees scrubbing my kitchen floor makes it manageable.
Depending on the weather and the need, I might pull some weeds, trim the bushes. What is it about having my hands in the dirt or wielding a power trimmer? Again, I don’t know but I’m pretty sure I can connect the dots straight back to meditative, ALONE.
I grab a shower and something to eat.
I might go back to my thinking spot. I might write a little more. Outside of Monday morning’s more focused writing, the rest of it happens in fits and starts, here and there. Wow, that sentence makes it sound as if I have some sort of writing process, which I don’t.
I read some more. I research. I’m an obsessive and thorough researcher. Most of the research I do is related to something that’s currently applicable to a family member or friend or an issue I view as interesting or important or relevant. Want or need to know about something? Let me know and I’ll get you the information. I’ll suggest action steps if you want. And I’ll even break up the big picture into more manageable pieces.
You know, if I ever go back to work, I’ve thought about trying to find a job involving research of some sort, preferably from home. Alone. As in not with people.
But anyway, all of this is to say I’m not completely sure what I do in my few hours alone, but I DO KNOW IT TAKES ME ALL DAY TO DO IT. And the time races by. And I need it, dammit, ok?
Once I do school pick-up, our busy afternoons/evenings start with play dates – mostly at our house – and various other activities and homework and Husband’s return from work and dinner and blahblahblah and I love those times too. It’s just that I’ve learned I don’t manage it all as well if I don’t have enough time to myself. So I make sure I do.
Sometimes situations or people interrupt my alone time. The oven needs fixing. A mattress is getting delivered. There’s a field trip. Someone gets sick or decides to work from home. Sometimes I actually plan to be with people for one reason or another. LOL. That’s called life which includes being in relationship with people to one degree or another which is beautiful and important and gives life it’s true meaning and all that.
But oh God, please not on Mondays. Because this is what happens when, for example, I see a car in the driveway that isn’t scheduled to be there:
Actually, this is more accurate:
I can be intense. Shocker. Usually, I get over my initial reaction and conduct myself like a mature, flexible, caring adult, but not always. Ensuring that I have ample doses of time alone minimizes the risk of me acting like an asshole. Plus it’s just plain necessary for my soul, especially on Mondays.