Six and a half hours

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling this summer. Some days are better than others. It’s been a year since I started taking antidepressants and I alternate between thinking they’re the best thing in the world and wondering if they’re working at all.

I’m a severely introverted mother and wife who desperately needs daily time away from her family, and I’m not getting enough of it these days. Even though it makes sense on paper (or in pixels, in this blog window), it still feels shameful.

School starts in one week for our oldest, and the week after for our youngest. I can’t wait. I seriously CANNOT wait. (Again, more guilt.)

I feel like we’ve been on top of each other all summer and I can’t breathe. Ever. Whenever I do manage to get a bit of time in my office, my back tenses up when I hear footsteps coming towards the door. The sound of the doorknob turning instantly fills me with frustration, no matter who it is or what they want.

I was interrupted twice in the three minutes I took to get dressed this morning. (“Whatcha doin’ Mom?” “What are you doing, Mummy?”) and I had to bite back screams. “Just getting dressed,” I replied. I could hear the tightness in my voice. Both times, they started to say something else and I had to cut them off with “I’ll just be a minute. Please.” I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t.

I’m dreaming of the time I’ll have alone, all alone in this house, to work and think and write and breathe.

It’s not a lot of time, of course. Precisely two hours and 10 minutes, three days a week. Six and a half hours a week. It sounds like a lot when you think of it as six and a half hours, doesn’t it? That’s almost one entire workday in my old life, if you consider taking time for lunch.

I fantasize regularly about freezing time. Moving around the house, completely alone, and picking up the piles of crap accumulating on the stairs. Tackling the disastrous utility room. Sorting through the junk that piles up on the floor of my office/studio. Doing all of the little annoying tasks that there is never time to do these days — tasks that would make me feel so much better. Tasks I’d even enjoy doing if I was listening to a podcast and not stopping every two seconds to deal with someone.

I need summer to be over. I need more moments when I’m not listening to squabbles or Netflix or yells for me to check a wiping job (shudder) or lay out clothes or hand out snacks. I need more moments to work without my heart pounding too quickly, trying to get an inhuman amount done in 30 minutes.

Most of all, I need to ignore the guilt that clogs my throat every time I think about how much I just want to be alone.

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