The person in the above creative commons photo looks very sad, sitting on that swing. They clearly do not have small children living in their home. As much as I love my kids, since I spend most of my time with them at the moment, I have come to really appreciate time by myself. Especially if it is quiet, like a library should be.*
On Mother's Day, this past weekend, I went to the grocery store by myself. While it was a grown-up chore that needed to get done, it was also amazing. No one asked me for 18 different kind of fruit, candy, cookies or ice cream. No one pulled on, drooled on, or otherwise messed with my clothing or hair. No one chatted at me about random non-sequitor topics. There was no commentary on any of the items that went into the basket. I got myself a fancy cheese, and no one did dances of impatience while I sorted out the coupons before getting in line to pay. I did not hear the phrase "I have to go pee!" once while shopping.
I had a lovely, and oh so quiet, walk home from the store when I was done.
It was great, despite all the usual annoyances of grocery shopping, with the bonus annoyance of getting rained on for part of the walk home.
Then, my lovely partner kept the kiddos entertained long enough for me to make a pie (lemon meringue, for the record).
So, if you have small children in your home, I hope you have another adult who regularly helps you get some quiet alone time.
In closing, here is Celine Dion singing "All By Myself".
* The library, contrary to expectations, is not quiet when you are accompanied by small children. While they do use their inside voices, there is a constant refrain of "What is that book about? Will you read this to me right now? How many books can I take home today? What are you getting from the hold shelf? Tell me about your grown-up book! What is that person over there looking at? Is there story time today? I have to pee!" etc, etc, etc.