12 Dads on What They Do to Get Away From Their Family For a Little While

"I spend a good 20 minutes taking out the garbage. Sweet, sweet garbage.” 

Kids are a precious gift and, man, we’re so lucky to have them and every moment is a memory and blah blah. All the statements here, including the thousands inferred via the blahs, are true. We really mean them. But that doesn’t meant that dads don’t need to escape every once in a while for their own well-being. Sometimes it’s because of stress. Others it’s because of restlessness. Or because we need some air because, my god, this song about farm animals that’s playing sound exactly like the song about farm animals that just played. It happens. And this need to get away, translates to everything from volunteering for errands we’d otherwise ignore or taking, um, longer than usual in the bathroom. We’re definitely not alone in that respect, which is why we asked a variety dads their go-to methods for carving out chunks of alone time.

“I just do all the house work so when I want to do something, I get the okay. Like playing in a work sports league or scheduling poker games and stuff when baby goes to bed.” — Pat E., Syracuse, New York

“Bring an iPad, go to the bathroom. Pretend to go but just play a game.” — Bill B., Queens, New York

“I used to take 10 minute dumps, but now I take, minimum 25. They’re more like an event, now and I look forward to them. I check sports scores, social media, and even my work email. It’s the little things” — Peter R., Louisville


“I head to Home Depot. There’s usually something that I need to get there anyway. If not, I go to my office or spend a good 20 minutes taking out the garbage. Sweet, sweet garbage.” Darren F., Baltimore 

“I go walk the dog. Get a dog. One of the best parts is that you have to go out and walk it. That gives you at least 10, 15 minutes of you-time.” Mark B., Knoxville

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“Grocery shopping. I like cooking because I like cooking. But one of the perks of that is meal planning and that I can head to the grocery store and spend an hour loading up the cart and chatting with the butcher. Funny how that’s an activity now.” — Kyle S., Chicago

“Grilling. I go outside and put some meat on the fire and stare blankly up at the trees, absently clicking my tongs together and sipping bear. Pure dadding.” Patrick C., Cleveland

“I go to the co-op near my apartment. I volunteer to get anything we need. It’s a zen place for me; plus, they sell a lot of beers and I just find myself staring at the beer rack for an obscenely long time.” — TyBrooklyn

“I take long showers now. Like lonnnnggg showers. Minimum 15-20 minutes with music on. Before, I’d be in and out in five minutes.” — Chris T, Greenville, South Carolina

“I go to pick up things at the drug store, grocery store, hardware store — wherever. Usually, I just sort of sit in my car for ten minutes before leaving the parking lot, spacing out listening to music.” — Jason K., Dallas

“Before becoming a dad, I hated yard work. But now? I’m always out in the yard. No, I’m not ignoring my family. But when I need ten minutes to gather myself? I’ll head out and rake some leaves or pull up a few weeds. It’s good for mental healthy” — Travis L., St Louis

“I talk extra-long shower now. I also like going to work — that’s a failsafe excuse. I mean, I like what I do, but I could probably get home earlier some nights, you know? But I will say this: If I want to play video games by myself, I usually pick up an inordinate amount of housework or baby watching to bank up some social currency. I mean, if you let your wife out of the house for a bit, it’s good karma for when you need a break. If you’re in a good relationship, the give and take usually happens naturally. Extend yourself and you’ll get it back.” — Lawrence P., Chicago

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