Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shhhh....Mom Needs Five Minutes of Peace!

Life with three is harder than I anticipated.   My four year old is endlessly asking me to watch her attempt a cartwheel, color with her, admire her letter-writing, show her how to write a 3.   My two year old wants a snack, a potty break, another snack, a wrestling session, a high-five.   My infant needs a bottle, a diaper change, soothing (from another sister-attack), eye contact.

(I think I chose the two hardest roles in the world:  teaching and mothering.) 

A past-favorite blogger of mine had once posted an idea:  quiet boxes.  She bought shoe-box size tubs and put quiet activities in them for her young ones.   Things like beads and string, felt, etc. 

I adapted this idea for my own kiddos, taking quiet toys (puzzles, beads and string, a few stuffed animals, dolls with snap-on clothes, action figures, board games, and pop-up books) and dividing them between two tubs, each containing age-appropriate toys for each girl.   I put the toys in under-the-bed tubs and stored them away for a "rainy day."

The other night I was making dinner.  My girls were bumping into me, yelling, demanding that I play their favorite songs on the IPod (of course, they cannot agree on that favorite song).   I was trying to cook on three different oven burners.    I could feel the heat rising, both off the burners, and within me...I needed quiet.  Just a few minutes of quiet.  

My friend and I were discussing the 5:00 curse.  The clock can show 4:59 p.m. and all is well.  Kids are happy, mom is patient, smiles, butterflies, and lollipops.   Clock turns to 5:00 and all the sudden milk spills, baby cries, toddler hits, preschooler whines, dinner boils get the picture.

So we were having our 5:00 moment, and my four year old, who is very in-tune with my attitudes and mindsets, says, "Hey!  I've got an idea!  Let's get out our quiet boxes!"

Um.  Brilliant!

So the girls go to their separate bedrooms, slide the boxes out, and play quietly for 15 minutes.

I finish dinner and put food on their plates.  As it cools, I tell them, calmly, that once they pick up their boxes, they can come to the kitchen to eat.


So, do not walk.  Run.  Run to the store.  Buy the tubs.   Spend a few minutes finding quiet toys to fill the boxes with.   And then use them.  ASAP.

Have a glass of wine.

Call a friend.

Lay on the floor, the couch, whatever flat surface you can find, and take a deep breath or two.

Paint your toenails.

Read a trashy celeb magazine.



  1. The 5pm curse hits here too. My son though is really antsy then and doesn't sit quietly well during that time. Our latest distraction is lego races -- I give him a lego task to build, set a timer and yell "go" with as much enthusiasm as I can muster. Still interruptions but tasks can take 5-10 minutes each. I even keep a list of lego tasks on the fridge so I don't have to think on my feet.


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