I’ve said before how much I enjoy being on my own. But that’s only in the daytime. In the evening, I hate it. Needless to say, I’m not actually on my own, anyway. I’m on my own with three kids.
My husband works long hours at the best of times. He travels quite a bit with work. It’s not unusual for him to get in at 10pm or even midnight. Sometimes he stays away for the night. I worry about him if he’s driving long distances. He’s usually been up very early too and is almost certainly tired. I don’t worry much when he’s on the train, although sometimes he cycles home from the station in the dark. So I worry about that.
When he’s at home I often hardly see him (despite our somewhat small house). He might be working or he might be watching telly. I will probably be doing jobs and resenting him for ‘lazing around’, but his presence is comforting. I don’t need to talk to him to know he’s there.
I try to get the kids into bed at a decent hour, which is always a battle. I’m stricter than usual. They need to hurry up and co-operate because I’M ON MY OWN. Never mind the fact that I am on my own putting them to bed even when my husband is actually here.
I read one story and then the other. Then the house is quiet and lonely. All that’s left for me to do is pick up the last school uniforms off the floor, sort out the washing, tidy the kitchen and empty the dishwasher.
Suddenly I wish I hadn’t been quite so efficient in getting them to bed. Yes, they are noisy and untidy, but they are good company most of the time. Of course they need their sleep and it would be selfish of me to keep them up just to keep me company. My daughter’s teacher says 8pm is a bit late for year 1 children. Whoops! The day my daughter gets to bed before 8pm will be the day hell freezes over.
A silent house is surprisingly noisy. The sounds make me feel on edge, but I won’t drown them out with music in case there’s an emergency and I don’t hear the kids. What emergency, I don’t know. I don’t think there ever has been an emergency when I’ve been on my own with the kids in the evening.
Apart from to myself. Once I fell down the stairs and once I cut my forehead on the shower cubicle door handle. You couldn’t make it up. The cut was surprisingly deep and surprisingly bloodless.
When my husband is home we, particularly he, have no qualms about the noise. The telly is on, he talks loudly, clunks around in the kitchen loudly and runs upstairs loudly. It doesn’t disturb the kids.
I have a shower, but I even worry about that. Not hearing those theoretical emergencies again. The shower is possibly the noisiest room in the house. All those strange sounds that you nearly hear, but not quite, over the sound of the shower. They sound like children coming up the stairs, or children crying. Sometimes they are, but mainly they’re just noises.
At 10pm, or midnight, or sometime the next evening, my husband comes home. I relax and everything is back to normal. Until next time.