I have a confession: I sometimes create ridiculous distractions to safely occupy my children long enough to buy me ten measly minutes alone. I suspect that all moms—from June Cleaver to Peggy Bundy—are guilty of this too.
If you are like me, then you have also likely attempted one of these bamboozling techniques to score a few minutes of you time.
1) Fake cramps: No one wants to be in the same room with a person who thinks she might shoot lava from her south end. This one works like a charm, but be careful because if you begin to suffer from diarrhea-like cramps every day, your cover will be blown.
2) Bribery: Popsicles or chocolate are the usual payment at my house. Tell the kids to play quietly and the sugary loot can be theirs. When that fails, because it usually does, try number three.
3) Wild Goose Chase: Did you hear that? That sounded like a SNIPE! Wait…shhh…listen! Here take this flashlight and go into your room and when you hear the snipe start flashing the light like crazy!
4) Caillou: I hate that sniveling little turd and my kids know it. This is a tricky card to play because you might get stuck watching it too. But, if you are lucky then you can earn yourself 30 beautiful minutes of quiet time.
5) Drive: Sure, you aren’t really alone, but your kids can’t go anywhere since they are strapped into seats. If they complain loud enough, you can turn up the radio and sing along in that embarrassing way that only a Mom can pull off until they quiet down.
6) Lost and Found: Did junior lose a toy and ask you to find it? Great! Take forever looking for it. Try scavenging through the attic or the garage, maybe even the basement. Once you find it, feign concern and keep looking. Also, get the kids in on the hunt and send them looking in the wrong direction.
7) Nap Time: This is the holy grail of alone time for me. I have two high-energy boys who are apparently allergic to the concept of napping. Getting them both to lull off for an hour at the same time would be a feat of serendipity that I totally lack.
8) Timeout: No, not for your kids. Put yourself in time out! The kids will find this absurd and will likely mimic whatever the timeout routine is at your house. For us it generally means that the unlucky participant must sit in a chair until the oven timer dings. That’s three minutes of sitting! Woo hoo!
9) Bait Your Partner: My husband gets super annoyed when I do this one. I tell him to watch the kids for two seconds while I just go to the laundry room to toss in a load of towels. Then 20 minutes later I return having to rescue him from child inspired shenanigans.
10) Crowd Sourcing: When my four-year-old is driving me bonkers, I load him up in the car and take him to the park to join the local pack of wild kids. As long as he isn’t in physical danger and stays within my view, I’m off duty for a bit while my kid learns how to socialize with other hooligans.
More from parenting