I spent the weekend at a swim meet on Long Island with my 10 and 12-year-old.
It’s nice to be back at swim meets.
It’s nice to see the kids having fun on deck with their friends.
It’s nice to be able to sit in the stands and actually see your kids swim in person.
Yesterday I was down on deck timing the meet.
But today I had no volunteer responsibilities, and I was able to sit in the stands and just watch.
I’m friends with a few of the moms and dads on the team.
And just like in school, there are parent friend groups at meets who tend to sit together.
I didn’t sit with any friends at the meet today.
I sat all by myself, far away from everyone.
I don’t get a lot of alone time.
So when I have the opportunity to be by myself and not talk to anyone, I TAKE IT.
I love being alone.
It’s not that I don’t like other people.
Okay some people I don’t like.
But the reason I like to be alone isn’t because of someone else.
It’s because of me.
My 12-year-old asked me about this today when the meet was over.
“Mom, why didn’t you sit with the other moms on the team?” she asked me.
I told her exactly what I just explained.
I just wanted to be alone.
It’s not because I don’t like the other parents – like I said, I’m pretty good friends with a couple of them.
It wouldn’t have mattered if Ted Lasso himself was there.
I still would have sat by myself.
Okay, maybe I would have sat with Ted.
But the point is this…
I did what I needed and wanted to do for myself today.
I needed to sit alone. I needed some quiet time. I needed to just be by myself.
And I wanted to be by myself.
There may have been a few parents who were wondering why I sat alone.
There may have been a few parents who thought I was being stand-offish or a bitch.
And you know what?
I DON’T CARE.
I am no longer interested in making other people feel comfortable at the expense of my own comfort.
My number one repsponsibility is to myself.
For me, self-care often looks like solitude.
My 12-year-old is a more social person than I am. She probably can’t fathom sitting alone like that.
But maybe one day she’ll want to.
Maybe one day she’ll just need some alone time.
Or maybe one day down the road she’ll need to do something else to take care of herself that goes against the norm.
And when that happens, I hope she remembers this lesson, and rather than worrying about what other people are going to think about her – even if that other person is her mom – I hope she remembers that her number one responsibility is always to herself.