I love my children, I really do, but sometimes I need to have just a moment to myself. How can I get some time alone without hurting the kids’ feelings?
Just a Moment, Please
It’s time to think outside the box you so desperately want to crawl into. If you don’t want to hurt the children’s feelings, employ other tactics. The easiest way, of course, is to tell them you very much want to play dolls or zombie fighters or Hell’s Kitchen in their room so as soon as they have cleaned it up, you will be in to play. You will never see them again.
The other issue is when you are at your computer, say, desperately trying to get your weekly advice column out and the children have elected that moment to pepper you with the most inane questions that range from “why does Dad’s toenail look like that?” to “but if I have to learn to love spinach, why can’t you learn the dog’s language?” How do you rid yourself of these little morsels of joy then? I have a few ways that have proven effective:
1) When the child comes up to ask you a question, stop what you are doing and turn to face them. A moment after you face them, look over their shoulder and make a face of abject horror. When they ask “what” and turn, say, in a shaky voice “Nothing. Nevermind.” Continue to glance nervously to that same spot and when they turn to look again, grab their arm and say, “don’t turn around.” They will leave track marks trying to get out of there. And possibly never walk in that room again.
2) Keep the phone cradled on your shoulder and when you hear footfalls, start speaking into the receiver as if you are talking to their teacher, “Why yes, Mrs. Schoolteach, I am available to listen to what Kid X did today.” That should keep them hidden until they get hungry… or remember they had not actually gotten in trouble that day.
3) Take the time to listen to them and answer their questions. When they are done, say that you really enjoyed this and feel like you should communicate more. To promote this, you, also, are going to talk about things that interest you. Proceed to discuss a variety of subjects in depth, like how the Constitutional Congress came about or how many different varieties are apples there are. It doesn’t matter, you could speak of the latest Superhero movie but the minute you show interest in it, they will find it the most boring subject ever put forth. And leave, which is all we are looking for.
If all of this fails, as the child is speaking, perk your head up, smile and exclaim “Oh – Dad’s home!” It works every time.
Thank you to Suzie J. from Boston, MA for the email. If you would like to write to Supermom, email her at AskSupermom@placedeplume.com or click the button below: