Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Time Out for a Little Fun

Years ago I wrote a humorous column in the vein of Erma Bombeck, and recently I compiled many of the columns into a memoir. This is an excerpt from the book, A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck, titled for the wonderful Mother's Day gift I received one year. Enjoy....

If anybody ever bothered to ask mothers of pre-schoolers what they would wish for if they could have anything in the whole world, I’m sure the unanimous answer would be, PRIVACY!

The privacy to be able to close the bathroom door and know that it will stay closed until she opens it again.

The privacy to be able to take a shower without the kids and any number of their friends coming in to see if they can have a snack.

The privacy to sneak a piece of candy without having to swallow it whole because one of the kids just walked into the room.

The privacy to be able to talk on the telephone without someone picking up the extension and yelling in her ear. Or without someone jumping up and down and waving his arms to get her attention. Or without someone disappearing in ominous silence.

The privacy to be able to have a neighbor over for coffee without someone climbing all over the table, or the neighbor, or both.

The privacy to have a glass of water, or pop, or milk that she can call her own.

A private place where she can leave a pencil on a table for a moment without worrying about who’s got it and what they are doing with it.

A private place where no one else will sew on her sewing machine, or type on her typewriter, or take the last page of her story for scratch paper.

A private place where she can dream of better days, or think, or write without someone asking a million questions, or screaming and fighting, or wanting a cookie, a drink, another cookie.

The privacy to be able to do something, anything, ALONE!
Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Information about her books, her editing services, and her blogs can be found on her Web site at  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

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  1. So true, Maryann. Last year while I was completing my novel I had to insist on a half-hour or so of "space" so that I could write, but that by no means came uninterrupted or with any degree of privacy. I had to learn to write while partially tuning out my toddler's chatter and play noise, but ready to drop everything and leap to attention before something or someone got broken. Surprisingly, I actually did manage to finish that novel.

    HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

  2. I so remember my "mommy days." That one about swallowing the candy whole made me laugh out loud. And now I'm doing the whole thing again with grandchildren. I'm much more candy-savvy now.

  3. I'd love to comment, Maryann, but, unfortunately, I can't relate.

  4. Some of these happen with my dog! Never can eat or drink anything without her giving me the soulful eyes!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Very cute. I don't have kids, but I do work with preschoolers and I totally get how their parents feel. I have a kid attached to me all the time.

  6. Elle, I never tried to finish a novel while the kids were really young. But once when I was working on a story about parenting for a national magazine, I locked my kids out of my office so I could finish. I looked out my office window after a half hour and saw them pressing their faces against the window. The oldest who was 11 at the time was supposed to be watching the younger ones, but she had gotten too involved in a television program. I thought I should not be writing an article about what a terrific parent I was. LOL

  7. Very true Maryann. Every woman can relate to this post, even if her kids are 30 years old. She remembers.

  8. Maryann, I was just talking about this today with a young mother at our gym. She has four kids; my mom had five. Her husband stays with the kids in the morning so she can have a workout by herself and I was wondering how much better our childhoods might have been if my dad had done that for my mom. It isn't a lot, an hour to yourself, but it's something. And maybe, just enough to get by with your sanity intact.

  9. So true, Kathryn. Young couples today do each other a favor by giving alone time now and then.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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