I have a confession. Sometimes when I’m in the bathroom for 30 minutes pretending to have food poisoning, I’m really just messing around on Instagram, texting friends and avoiding my children. During one of these fake-outs to avoid parenting, it occurred to me that I have developed a ton of these totally fake events when I’ve just had it. I chatted with some friends and it turns out that I’m not alone. Here are some of my top hits currently in rotation.
1. I have diarrhea!
OK this is better than I have to “go No. 2” (my kids always ask “Are you going No. 1 or 2?” They are perennially fascinated by this). Diarrhea means you can't get up or be interrupted. And not only will you not be getting out any time soon, you will also be running back every 10 minutes. It’ll buy you a ton of alone time.
Just tell kids you are shopping for them and need to do it in private to make the surprise even better.
2. I need to walk the dog.
Yes, I will take the dog out a lot. Damn, that dog has a lot of energy! Sorry kids, mommy will be right back!
3. I have to throw out the garbage.
I throw the garbage out a lot. I mean a lot. Even five minutes can feel like a trip to Bali. Add a quick convo with a neighbor and check the mail and I just scored 15 minutes. Do this twice a day for optimum effect.
4. I have to make a private call.
I have to make this sound really serious. Then I close my bedroom door and do nothing. I add some deep breaths and close my eyes so I don’t have to look at the piles of unfolded laundry that look like dead bodies on my unwashed sheets.
5. Mommy is sick.
Because when I think about it, I really am. Sick, as in .... sick of it. Sick lets you lie down for five minutes with an ice pack on your head for no reason other than it prolong the bluff. If you are as good of an actress as I am (I did get a SAG award for best ensemble cast once, so don’t play) then you can massage this so that your kids are soon waiting on you hand and foot. Use this one sparingly so your kids don’t grow up needing to add 10 more years to their requisite therapy regimen.
6. I’m ordering surprise presents for no reason for the kids on Amazon.
This is a great one when I need a half hour to zone out and spend money I don’t have with the Amazon Credit Card I received after pressing some random “yes” button on Amazon. It’s really great for online shopping meditation. Just tell kids you are shopping for them and need to do it in private to make the surprise even better. They will forget this by tomorrow. If they do bring it up, say they were out of stock and you're waiting to be notified so you can go back and purchase it (when you need another online shopping therapy sesh).
7. Pretend to have laryngitis.
This one can only be pulled out when all else has failed. And while you may think that not being able to tell your kids to do this and that will be stressful, it actually has a soothing reverse psychology effect. When you can’t talk, your kids somehow get quiet by osmosis. This won’t excuse you from parenting, but if you can’t scream at them, it’s basically the same thing.
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8. Mom's doing yoga to get in a good mood.
Pretending to do anything where my kids think it'll "put me in a good mood" is always a great way out of parenting responsibilities. Truth is, if you can come up with a few of these (besides wine and pills) then you really are doing your kids a service.