I Just Need A Moment Here

I love being a stay-at-home mom. Really, I do.

But some days, I would give a great deal of money just to have a moment alone.

Take today, for example. I only had one item on my to do list: write my post for 5 Minutes for Parenting. Straight-forward. Simple. I even had some topics swirling around in my brain.

But when I sat down this morning to sort my thoughts, Natalie was bored, Connor was picking on his sister and the baby wasn’t happy unless she was being entertained.

So I set the computer aside. I found a project for Natalie, warned Connor that annoying his sister is not an acceptable activity, folded some laundry while making silly faces at Teyla and then put her down for a nap.

Finally. A break.

But ‘twas not to be. The kids stormed in. “We’re bored! No one’s home! We can’t play outside! There’s nothing to do! We’re hungry!”

I could feel the frustration in my shoulders, but I figured it was best to tackle this thing head-on. So we trooped downstairs, ate an early lunch, brainstormed the menu for Natalie’s birthday dinner this weekend and cleaned up the kitchen.

All was quiet. I started my post.

Then, “Mom, I’m still hungry! Mom I want a treat! Mom, Connor’s hitting me! But Mom, Natalie started it by acting like she was hitting me!”

I shut the laptop and herded them outside. “I will come out with you so you can play. But I need 30 minutes of time ALONE. Do not bother me. Do you see the steam coming out my ears? It’s not because it’s hot today. Mommy needs to THINK!”

I set up my chair, they got out their bikes. Two minutes later, the cries began again.

“Watch me, Mom! Look what I can do! I’m thirsty! Can we have a juice box? I want a Popsicle. There’s nothing to do! I’m bored! I need to go to the bathroom! Will you come with me?”

Rinse, recycle, repeat.

Times like this make me wish for family that lived nearby. How lovely to be able to call someone and say, “Please come watch my children, lest I beat them over the head with my computer.”

I’d settle for a babysitter, but ours lives 90 minutes away (one-way), which means it takes a tremendous amount of coordinating (and money) just to get her here once a month for a date night.

And Corey, bless his heart, works like a fiend and has been on the road this year almost as much as the Presidential candidates. I can’t dump the kids on him when I need a break, because I know he needs a break just as much as I do.

So then. The situation, as I see it, is fixed. It’s me and them, them and me. No matter how you toss the dice, it’s meant to be. The only one for me is them and them for me. So happy together.

(Sorry. Since I wasn’t allowed to listen to rock and roll as a teenager – clearly, the beat had Satan in it – I listened to a lot of oldies music. It comes out at the most inappropriate times.)

I’m not one to throw a huge pity party. I’m an optimist. I like to fix things, to move on, to find a solution. (Which means I might not be the best friend to call when you just want a listening ear. I’m really bad at that.) Onward and upward, pip-pip, cheerio and all that rot.

If I can’t get away from the kids – legally, anyway – and yet I need to get away from the kids to preserve my sanity, I will probably have to take drastic action.

I will need to start getting up early if I want some guaranteed alone time, maybe even arising by 6:00 AM.

You have no idea how horrifying that is to me. I am NOT a morning person. Not. I was happiest when I worked on the 11:00 PM news. I got up around 10:00 AM, went to work around 2:00 PM, got home around 12:00 AM, had ice cream around 12:30 AM, went to sleep around 1:00 AM. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

So getting up – on purpose – around 6:00 AM?!? It hurts. Ow. Ow.

But I see no other solution. (Do you?!?) And my sanity will thank me. (Right?!?)

*Forgot to add: Staying up late isn't really an option, since my husband likes it when I go to bed with him, and I'm trying to respect that. But maybe he and I can work something out.


  1. I think if you are doing him the favor of not dumping the kids on him, he can bend a little by not grumbling if you go to bed a little later! Because even if you do start getting up earlier, the baby senses it and after a bit will get up earlier, too.

  2. Oh I can relate, I love staying up late, once the house quiets. And I nearly always have someone needing something, 4 kids, but getting up at 6 - it seems a bit drastic! It maybe in my near future too, school will be starting for my 3rd grader in a month, and to get the rest (under 4) ready to drop her off I will need to be awake :) Quiet time in the morning does feel nice sometimes . . . a shower before noon. . .

  3. My days always go better when I am up well before the kids. I used to make a point of it, but then summer arrived. If I come downstairs to milk slopped all over the counter, Spongebob blaring on TV, and the dog doing the pee-pee dance by the back door? Grrrr. These are my tweens, BTW. My preschooler and toddler usually like to hang out in bed with me or are still sleeping.

    The Proverbs 31 woman rose before the rest of her household. If it's good enough for her, I should make the effort...but it is hard!

  4. I do the rising earlier thing most days. Although this year I realized my body was groaning a little louder about it. I do give myself one sleep in day.

    If I don't achieve the alone thinking time in the morning, then I know I have it built into the day through the office of "room time". It's the phase after quiet time which followed nap time. I figure if I keep changing the title of the time that they must be in their room occupied with their own activities, then I will still get my alone thinking time.

    So far, it is working. Maybe I'll do a post on this since my comment is now extraordinarily long. Grin.

  5. Too bad you don't live next door to me. My older kids could entertain your older ones, and I'd love on that sweet baby of yours.

    I do understand your frustration though, and empathize with your disdain of early mornings.

    I'm sorry. And I so want to fix this for you! :)

  6. OHMYGOSH. I am so right there with you. Mine won't even let me sit in a chair by myself lately. NOT EVEN FOR A MINUTE may I be by myself. (And then of course there's the kid that lives INSIDE ME, but that's a whole nother story.) And mine gets up at 5:30 AM, so if I want time along, I have to get up in the middle of the night. I have no solutions, but tons of commiseration! :)

  7. It took me 10 minutes to read your post because of having to get up 3 different times to break up fights...I may just let them maul each other like animals today.

    This post made me feel better...because in my misery I certainly love me some company :)

    Thanks Kelli!

  8. I feel your pain. I went through this last week when my kids were 3 and 5. Now they're 13 and 15. Sigh.

    It's totally impossible when you're in the middle of it. But it will pass in the blink of an eye.

    I'm with you on the getting up early. I never could. And I always had an early riser kid too.

    I always made the kids have quiet time in their room for an hour after lunch. Non-negotiable. When they outgrew naps they could read or play quietly but they needed the separation from each other and me.

  9. Compromise with hubby. Pick 3 or 4 nights to go to bed with him and have the other 3 or 4 to yourself!
    Why is your babysitter 90 minutes away? Couldn't you contact a local church for some high school/college person to help out - even if you are home and just getting stuff done? I hope it works out...

  10. oh this pains me to read....only b/c I just posted at 2 this morning about how I dread going to bed b/c late at night is my only "me" time and peace and quiet time. For me, there is NO WAY I could get up that early. None. They would hear me and be up in no time. I feel for you. I really do. My head hurts thinking about all of the questions and complaints that comes with three kids. *sigh* Been there, doing that, in Minot North Dakota. ;-)


  11. I feel your pain. I am trying (& not succeeding very often) to get up early. Yuck. I know it will get easier as it goes on, but it is NOT easy now.

    I think you should ease into it slowly. Maybe get up early a few days a week, but still allow yourself a day or two to sleep.

    When I need to do a little work, we head to our local library. They have nice glass walled rooms that you can "rent" in the children's area. I can do my computer work and my daughter can wander around the library.

  12. sorry. i should probably be alleviating some of that stress. i suck. worst uncle ever. if you had a bigger house i could live with you and babysit for free... hmmm... interesting... and you should probably move somewhere else anyway now that starbucks is closing.

    but let's wait till diaper changing is no longer a part of the process ;)

  13. I so sympathize with your husband- I am the same way, and my husband thinks I am crazy but he does it anyway. Since he is good about this, I am usually willing to give him one night a week that he doesn't have to go to bed the minute I do :)

    We are not great about this, but one thing we have done is to have a split night... basically we divide the night (usually in my favor since hubby gets to stay up late as part of the deal) and meet for an hour in the "middle". We both get some free time and yet nobody feels shortchanged...

  14. I also have a hubby who goes to bed early (he is out the door by 4:30am each day) and wants me to go to bed with him. We usually compromise and I go to bed with him about half the time and stay up a bit later the other half of the time. My daughter is up at 6:30 at the latest each day, so I've been trying to get out of bed at 5:30 for some added alone time. My days are usually much calmer when I'm up early, but if you're going to spend the day exhausted it's not necessarily worth it!

    I hope you find something that works for you!
    Take care,

  15. OK. this getting up early is assuming you will actually FUNCTION if you get out of bed at 6:00. There is no amount of coffee I could put in my body that would do that. we enploy quiet time in your room for E and henry still naps. That gives me 1 hour in the afternoon that is mine to do whith what I will. Sometimes Evy wants to stay in her room longer than an hour because she's engrossed in whatever it is she found to do. Maybe you could do a book time for Natalie in your room and Conner in the bed room?

  16. I hear ya girl! I'm going to have to get up earlier too! As I type, my little baby is letting me know she'd like me to pick her up please!

    BTW, have you tried the Munchkin Fresh Food feeders for your baby girl? So great! They're at target by the passies! There's two to a pack. If you haven't, you should get them. She'd love it. Then she can suck on that while you work!

  17. My kids are driving me crazzzzeeee right now. So yes. I hear you.

  18. You are a much braver than I am, because you stay home with the kids. There are days that after work I don't even want to be around the kids, and then there are days where I can't wait to see them.

    I hope you get a break soon, besides getting up early early!

  19. Oh, I feel your pain, I really do. I really hope you get a break soon.

    I've been trying to figure out the break thing. My children are up by 6 and my husband also like me to go to bed when he does. Nap time rarely coordinates, etc., etc., Guess it is the season of life, huh?

  20. The other day I told my family they were not allowed to talk to me because I was trying to have a thought. Interruptions interrupted by interruptions. That to me is the worst part of being a mom, is not being able to complete a thought or a sentence let alone a project.

  21. I have that very same problem. I work full-time outside the home and have three boys: there is NEVER quiet in my house (unless they're gone or sleeping!)

    I get up at 4:45 am to b at work by 7 am because it's the only way to get my quiet time with God. But it's not early enough to be able to write, too. Finding that time is giving me fits right now!

    Good luck!!

  22. Kelly - I'd be happy to babysit everyonce in a while. I charge $20 an hour, but really, can you put a pricetag on sanity? Serioulsy though if you need a break let me know, or a pool to swim in...my mom lives right by you and her and her complex has a pool. If you ever want to visit...

  23. I am not a morning person either! I do love those mornings when I get up just 30 minutes before my litle one! Most days though that doesn't happen.
    I'm not attempting it either.. so you've already got me beat with that! I am 35 wks pregnant though... I know my sleeping will be crazy in a few weeks so I'm getting all I can right now! :)
    I do hope you can find some time to yourself. I think the 'quiet time' that Linda suggested is a great idea.

  24. I've got to start getting up earlier. By at least 6:30, because the little one is up by 7:00. I haven't had a quiet time in so long and that's about the only time it will get done in some quiet alone time. I am NOT a morning person, either. Ugh!

  25. I wrote a weekly humour column when the twins were 1 and Elliot 3. (Life was so funny then) Donn likes me to go to bed with him, too, but he'd relent for deadline night. I remember many nights typing one-handed at midnight while nursing a twin. Hang in there! It gets better.

  26. From one night owl to another, I understand the pain of 6 a.m.! I do. I think almost every mom can relate to this post and the constant needs of our kids when we just... want... A ... MINUTE!!!!!!! Oh my gosh, I'm getting all riled up thinking about it and it's only 8:00 in the morning.

  27. So glad you posted that. I almost feel bad for needing a break sometimes.

    Kathrin (Germany)