Honest Mum

I used to hate my own company, mostly because I felt ‘going solo’ was somehow synonymous with seeming unpopular and/or finding myself alone, both things I’d sadly experienced as a tween during most painfully when a group of new friends I’d made in the first week of high school and unequivocally trusted, deserted me a week later, leaving me friendless for what seemed like forever (it was a term). Those experiences are formative though, and it took years to rebuild my trust in friends and feeling worthy of friendshop. Rejection is hard. No more so than aged 11.

Life inevitably changed and evolved of course, as did I, and I felt popular and most importantly, valued, at Sixth Form and University with lots of interesting and kind friends, yet despite feeling secure in those friendships, I rarely spent time alone.

I lived in shared accommodation (halls) at Uni, hung out with close mates at every opportunity (or colleagues, thanks to my weekend jobs in a shoe shop and waitressing) and then after graduation, found myself working long hours in the TV and Film industry with events doubling up as work. My professional life saw me graft but also party, harder than ever.

Alone-time wasn’t easy to harness back then with a flat-share and then moving in with my boyfriend now husband Peter, but I don’t remember actively seeking it out, either. I’m a real people’s person and love the company of others but kids have seen a huge turnaround for me, probably because alone-time is harder to find than ever. The good news? When I get it, I flipping love my own company!

I now regularly carve out and relish being on my own.

I think the initial turning point for this was during my recovery from a traumatic birth. I forced myself to walk as much as possible with Oliver in the pram to help both my body and mind, and discovered that my own company (and that of a toddler’s) was actually more fun than I’d thought it would be. It helped that I was now living in Leeds and felt supported by family and friends after experiencing excruciating loneliness in London as a first-time mum and the first of my friends to have a baby too.

Now, I adore hanging on my lonesome whether that’s watching  a movie solo at the cinema, heading to a restaurant or gallery, or my cheeky favourite, shopping solo. It’s not that I prefer to be alone (I live for those kids and adore my husband and friends), it’s just I no longer fear it and more so, I genuinely enjoy it.

My big dream is to have the confidence to go abroad solo again. I moved to Rome for a short time in my 20s but since having kids, I’ve never holidayed alone. My good pal Jacqui Paterson, journalist and blogger at Mummy’s Little Monkey has travelled solo and many times at that. She wholeheartedly recommends it,

‘My first solo trip was completely unplanned – my travel partner backed out at the last minute and I decided I wasn’t going to miss out too. I was really nervous beforehand, and very nearly changed my mind, but sheer stubbornness got me on that flight to Milan. And I’m SO glad I did because it sparked off a real passion for solo travel. Since then I’ve travelled extensively on my own – everywhere from Oxford to Finland, from Croatia to Montenegro. The freedom is amazing – I do what I want when I want, without having to worry about keeping anyone else happy. The solace of solo travel gives me time to clear my mind and clarify my thoughts, and I always return feeling excited and energised.

‘To successfully find your way around a strange city, or communicate with someone who doesn’t speak English gives you a real sense of achievement. The confidence I’ve gained from travelling on my own has transferred to all other areas of my life – it no longer fazes me to dine on my own, or walk into a room of strangers, or go to the cinema alone. Yes, I get some curious stares, but more often than that I get people telling me how envious they are, and how they wished they had the courage to travel alone too. I always encourage them to give it a try, as it truly is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.’

Yes to that. I’m off to plan a trip!

Do you like your own company?
 

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22 Responses

  1. Lisa Pomerantz

    I wake up purposefully, a good 2-3 hours before anyone in the house, to have a hot cup of coffee, read, write, do tai chi and energize for the day ahead. It is amazing, and I like being with me. Like you, that took a while to understand and reach that place. Glad I did, and you did too! #brilliantblogposts xo

    Reply
  2. Sophie Le Brozec

    I think we are becoming the same person 😉 I have been dealing with something like this for the last few months / year. I have always seen myself as an extrovert, people’s person, who wants and needs people around. But as I get older I find I’m needing more and more time for me – I call it retreating into my cave. So much so that my present for my upcoming birthday is a solo and silent retreat this weekend – I’m going away, by myself, putting my phone on aeroplane mode and I’m aiming to see and speak to nobody for 48 hours. Hurrah to enjoying our own company 🙂
    Sophie xx
    (also I had a funny dream the other day about you – you were here on holiday and we were laughing about how similar we are!)
    Sophie Le Brozec recently posted…My Story. Warts and All.My Profile

    Reply
  3. Katrina

    Yes to loving your own company – go you! 8 years ago I left everything I had ever known to start again. From living with my boyfriend of 11 years to living alone (with my cats). Ever since I have been on a journey of self-love and love my own company. Like you, I love going to the cinema alone – it’s my thang and when people ask to come with me I have to be truthful and say it’s my downtime. Occasionally I will do cinema dates with friends so not always alone. I remember a time I wouldn’t walk into a bar alone and would be filled with anxiety, now it’s no biggie at all. I am still most definitely a people person like yourself but I do really enjoy my own time and company – I always think of things I can get done within that time too! xxx
    Katrina recently posted…How Genuine is “The Sisterhood”?My Profile

    Reply
  4. Natalie Brett

    Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed reading it. I think spending time on your own is really important. As much as I love being with my friends, I absolutely adore time on my own too. Part of it is probably the fact that I am an only child – I NEED my own space sometimes, and am perfectly happy in my own company. It doesn’t need to be for long, just enough time to clear my mind and feel refreshed and revitalised. I’ve never travelled on my own though. I spent a year in Canada but went with uni friends. I imagine it feels very freeing! xx #BrillBlogPosts

    Reply
  5. Clare

    Gosh yes – solo travel I love as long as it’s balanced with trip with fam and friends. Over the past 18 months I’ve spent a lot of time alone. I guess getting the balance right is key! Cx

    Reply
  6. Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies

    Yes, I’m very comfortable being on my own. I have filled my life to the brim and struggle to fit in anyone other than my family and a couple of long term friends. I am a happy bunny being alone with my dogs most of the time. I’m not that confident however about travelling alone. I’m sure it’s one of those things the more you do it the more natural it feels. Good luck with your trip lovely xx

    Reply
  7. Chloe

    Hi, I treasure my little episodes of me time. It is often spent going for a nice week in the fresh air. A great way to think things through clear the head and feel relaxed. The idea is travelling solo sounds quiet exciting #FabFridayPost

    Reply
  8. Naomi

    I love time out on my own… I just wish that I got more of it! #BrillBlogPosts
    Naomi recently posted…Me Becoming Mum’s Gift Guide for Baby’s First BirthdayMy Profile

    Reply
  9. Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie

    Oh I so identify with this post!!! Much as I enjoy spending time with other people, I really, really need alone time to rest and recharge. I really crave it when I don’t get enough of it…and I actually really love it. For me it’s one of the huge advantages of being a blogger – I don’t have to sit in an office full of noise and buzz…and far to many distractions. Instead I get time alone to focus and concentrate…and actually get stuff done! It’s definitely when I am at my most creative. Eb x
    Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie recently posted…Warm Lamb and Halloumi Rice SaladMy Profile

    Reply
  10. Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food

    My goodness—I relate so much to this post! I also had a traumatic (lack of) social life in high school and only really started to make friends in college. I’ve never seen a movie by myself, but I shop solo ALL THE TIME. I’m not sure I could do the solo travel thing: my hubster and I are attached at the hip, after all, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. That said, I do love my alone time, whether it’s reading and sipping tea or enjoying a quiet meal.

    Reply
  11. Moonsparkle (ZM)

    That’s great that you like youe own company and especially that you went abroad on your own. 🙂 I get nervous doing things on my own because of having anxiety but I do need my own space sometimes.

    Zania
    xx
    Moonsparkle (ZM) recently posted…Winter DrinksMy Profile

    Reply
  12. Katelynn|hampersandhiccups.com

    Great thoughts. My “company” right now is running our household while starting a blog. I enjoy it to the most that any SAHM does, although there are tough moments when I wish I hadn’t given up my career. Looking forward to putting my all into my new blog and creating something I can be proud of.
    #brilliantblogposts
    Katelynn, hampersandhiccups.com

    Reply
  13. Susan Mann

    As an only child, I really don’t mind my own company. But only in my own home, I’m not keen going out and about or travelling on my own x #brilliantblogposts

    Reply
  14. Jo Allison / Jo's Kitchen Larder

    I have always liked spending time on my own. Growing up I was a bit of a geek and didn’t always fit in which I didn’t really mind as I preferred reading books to socialising too much lol.
    I grew out of that to certain degree but still cherish my alone time which these days is mostly spent cooking or blogging which I love! Spending time on my own is my little break, escapism I wouldn’t like to be without and the plus side is that it makes me appreciate time with family and friends even more! xx
    Jo Allison / Jo’s Kitchen Larder recently posted…Instant Pot Ragù Bolognese (Batch Cooking Recipe)My Profile

    Reply
  15. Emma Peach

    I enjoy my own company, always have, but my husband doesn’t like being on his own so doesn’t really understand. When my daughter was a baby I started running and relished the time to myself, just listening to music. I’m not that keen on travelling on my own but I have done it – I had to fly back from New Zealand on my own and leave my husband there (before we were married) because I didn’t have enough annual leave! He’d already booked the trip when we got together and I didn’t want to be apart for over a month. If I go more than a week without any time on my own I get really crabby. When you have kids having time to yourself is precious!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    Reply
  16. Enda Sheppard

    I kind of get the best of both worlds — working from home a lot and working sub-editing shifts occasionally in newspapers. I love being in my home office, reading other’s blogs, communicating with them, and getting feedback on my posts.

    Reply
  17. JENNY KAKOUDAKIS

    After taking up blogging and starting to go to events on my own, I finally realised that I don’t mind it in fact I sometimes thrive when I have time to myself like this!

    Reply
  18. Morgan Prince

    I love being alone. I spend most days on my own at my computer while blogging and it’s so relaxing. Despite working it is just me, just my thoughts – I’m not mum, I’m not referee, or cook. I’m me, and it is the best feeling ever. xx

    Reply
  19. Karen, the next best thing to mummy

    When my family were growing up and I was working as a registered child minder, I ,too, would relish any time that I was on my own, it was usually taken up with housework though!
    Karen, the next best thing to mummy recently posted…Give teenagers a chance!My Profile

    Reply
  20. jodie filogomo

    As an only child, I’ve always loved alone time. Except for travelling. I’m also somewhat shy, so I totally enjoy being with others for that venture. But I can see how it could be so uplifting!!
    XOOX
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    Reply

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