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Welcome to The Smart Mom Manual. I'm Winnie Yu, mom blogger at CompletelyYou.com. My daughters, Samantha and Annie, are 14 and 12. Like most moms, I'm still trying to perfect the balancing act that we all know as motherhood in the modern world. Please don't hesitate to write to me as you read my blog. You can also tweet me @Completely_You. I look forward to hearing from you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Every Mom Needs Time Alone

By Winnie Yu for Completely You

When I was young, I hated doing things alone. I was afraid I’d look like a loser, a sad sack with no friends. I always wanted companionship and would seek out others to join me, whether it was for a quick trip to the mall or a walk in the neighborhood. But these days, I’m learning that sometimes my own company is all I need and want.

Being by myself gives me time to collect my thoughts and ponder life’s challenges. Sometimes, I use the time to plan my day, come up with story ideas and create shopping lists. Other times, I use it to meditate and clear my head. Still other times, I’ll bring along a book or some music and allow myself the pleasure of some entertainment.

Some of my time alone is dictated by the work I do: I’m a writer -- perhaps one of the loneliest vocations there is. To ease the isolation, I often seek out friends to eat lunch, go shopping or take a walk. But even these activities are often done alone these days.

Doing things by myself gives me total control of my outing. Take shopping for instance. I love shopping with my daughters or my mom, and I enjoy the occasional jaunt with friends. But when I go by myself, I can move as fast or as slow as I want. I can choose which stores to go into, and when to eat lunch or stop for a snack. I set the entire agenda and get to come and go as I please.

I also tend to walk alone more often, with the exception of my favorite walking companion, Loki, our Yorkie. Walking with him is almost like walking alone, except when he refuses to budge and makes his case by holding his ground with his 5-pound body.

Still, I’m not a complete loner -- yet. I haven’t seen many movies by myself, and I still rarely dine alone. And I’d probably never go on a serious hike or long bike ride by myself for safety reasons. I also like to think of those events as social occasions that are best enjoyed in the company of others. What’s different now, though, is that I no longer worry if I’m alone somewhere, and I certainly don’t feel like a loser. I’ve learned that sometimes the best company is my own.
Photo: @iStockphoto.com/kupicoo

Winnie Yu is Completely You’s mom blogger. She has two daughters (Samantha, 14, and Annie, 12) and is the author of seven books, including New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding and What to Eat for What Ails You. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Woman’s Day, AARP Bulletin, Prevention and WebMD.com.

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