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Once every 10 to 12 weeks, something wonderful happens.
I get to hide in a hair salon for an hour and 15 minutes.
No one there needs to be fed or helped onto the potty. No one treats me like a waitress, makes a mess or hits their brother. There’s no pressure to mop floors, fold clothes, pack lunches or give baths. And there’s no incessant “Mommy, mommy, mommy.”
It’s an hour and 15 minutes just for me. I sit in a chair, settle into a stream of easy chit-chat and have my hair cut and highlighted. After that, I move to some other chair, under a hair dryer and read mindless celebrity gossip. Then, to another chair, reclined, where someone else washes away the dye and, somehow, 10 to 12 weeks of self-neglect.
I protect this time. It’s my time.
It takes a little planning to pull off. My husband and I have to meet at our children’s preschool and swap vehicles — only my car accommodates two car seats. Then he heads home with the boys and I am alone. Alone, alone, alone.
Really, this is all I’m asking: Be in the preschool parking lot at 5:15 p.m. That gives me time to get from Ring Road near North Miles Street to Lakeshore Plaza on U.S. 31W by 5:30 p.m., a coveted slot in a stylist’s appointment book.
When my husband called me at 5:08 p.m. on the day of my last appointment and was vague about being “somewhere on the Blue Grass,” I felt a little annoyance and panic rising up.
Apparently, an employee needed something from him at work. Someone with a need that might or might not have been more urgent than mine cornered him on his way out, and it seems this person isn’t into the whole brevity thing.
Consequently, there I was, trading cars seven minutes behind schedule. I know, it’s just a few minutes. But consider it was almost 10 percent of my time block. Plus, to get the most out of an hour and 15 minutes of peace, you can’t start it with anxiety and the guilt for being late. Recovering from the stress easily eats away the first five minutes or so.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a time miser and I love the time I spend doing things for my family. I don’t mind washing a kid’s hair a second time because I forgot to “do spinosaurus” and picking the peas out of chicken casserole and fetching apple juice. No, milk. Strawberry milk. Actually, apple juice. In the Batman cup.
But once every 10 to 12 weeks, I’m taking my own timeout. I’m not going to be satisfied with going to the grocery store by myself, as much as I relish going to the grocery store by myself.
In the end, I got most of my time that night. And my post-appointment dismay was only the mocked sort. Yet, I wondered if co-workers appreciate family commitments and I thought back on the times my own co-workers had them and I worried I might have caused delays.
So, before you dismiss someone’s casual mention of a family commitment, remember there very well could be a woman at her split wits’ end in waiting.
Sarah Berkshire can be reached at (270) 505-1745 or email@example.com.