Sometimes it feels like I don’t get much time to myself, what with taking care of the baby and all. We have several busy months coming up–Mother’s Day, birthdays, trips out of town, summer engagements, social outings to organize, possibly getting ready to move. I steal a few moments here and there, and I have a babysitter for a few hours two days a week–though when she’s here I mostly have to work or run errands. In the evenings my husband and I usually spend time together. I’m certainly not unhappy, but I do sometimes feel a bit hassled.

I lived by myself for a very long time before I got married. And even then, of course, I had a lot of time on my own–during my commute home from work, during the day when I was walking dogs. Before I had the baby I spent a lot of time running around by myself while my husband was at work. I never had trouble finding solitary time. But now–there’s always the baby. He’s always demanding my attention. He wants to play, or he wants me to lift him up to the sink, or he wants to go outside. And when it isn’t him, it’s my husband who needs dinner or conversation or something. I never realized until I had my son how much I really needed, and cherished, my time alone.

But every Friday night my husband goes out to play poker, so assuming the baby goes to bed at a reasonable time, I get this one evening a week completely and totally to myself. Hooray! I don’t have to work, I don’t have to call anyone, I don’t have to do anything for anyone during this time. Except me.

I don’t do much of interest during these nights. I can’t leave the house, but I can…take a bath, read a book, watch DVDs of old TV shows (at the moment I’m rehashing “Remington Steele”). I can cuddle with my cats or cook or play video games. I can watch cheesy teen movies on cable–I’m addicted to the Disney Channel. I can listen to music I like. I can dance around in my pajamas if I feel like it. I can eat things that are bad for me. Sometimes it feels wonderful just to wander around the house with no responsibilities and no one to please but myself. I know it’s just an illusion, and it’s just for one night, but I feel free.

Helen, 34, in Glenview, Illinois, USA