The Necessary Alone Time

I need space to decompress at the end of the day.

Anna Burgess Yang
4 min readApr 9, 2019


Photo by Logan Nolin on Unsplash

My days are very regimented. I prefer it that way — it controls the chaos of a house with two adults that work from home and three young children. My kids know when to do homework, when to start and stop screen time, and what day of the week is designated for a fierce Mario Kart battle, parents included (affectionately referred to as “Throwdown Thursday”).

For myself, the day includes making my bed before I’ve even had coffee, applying a carefully selected oil to my face that varies depending on whether it is a shower day or a dry shampoo day, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc every evening while dinner is prepared — regardless if I am the one doing the preparing. Dinner is at the same time every night, followed by an early bedtime for the kids, and then I have the rest of the evening to myself.

For years, my husband — who goes to bed much later — comes into the bedroom and says a “last goodnight” to me before I go to sleep, usually around 8:00 pm. He then heads back to his office and computer, but we rarely skip that time together. We each say three things that we are thankful for that day, and then the conversation varies between serious, pragmatic, or sometimes simply recapping the day.

Last week, he started coming into the bedroom around 7:30, shortly after we say goodnight to our older kids. I would be sitting on the bed, usually with a notebook and pen, book, or my Surface (sometimes all three). He would begin talking and I found myself antsy, ready for the conversation to be over, and anxiously hurrying him along.

He finally asked me: “Are you trying to get rid of me?”

I found myself hurriedly responding “No, of course not.” But in my mind, I thought “YES.”

A few more days passed and I finally realized what was happening. His previous “last goodnight” time was 8:00. He had inched it back to 7:30.

I had lost the time to myself that I needed at the end of the day to decompress.

From the moment the kids get up in the morning, it is one thing after the other. Getting ready for school and day care, followed by a workday where I am constantly responding to emails and phone calls. The kids arrive home…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •