10/21/2014 12:45 pm ET Updated Dec 21, 2014

Parents, Do You Suffer From This Awkward Problem Too?


You know the scene. The kids are quiet and there is nothing pressing demanding your immediate attention. No one appears to be doing the pee dance or starving to death. Toys are not being fought over and complaints are not being lobbed across the house in your direction.

And then the phone rings. And all hell breaks lose. Why? Because kids are crazy, that's why. The second mom or dad has a distraction, the kids will likely view this as a challenge to their ability to hold mom or dad's FULL attention, no matter what the circumstance. And believe me, they will accept this challenge and it will be awkward for the parent.

This is how phone calls happen in my house now:

Me: Hey, kiddo, Mommy needs to make a quick phone call so don't interrupt, K?

Kiddo: Uh... yup. Ok, Mom.

Me: Ok, here I go... making my phone call... so... on't interrupt... remember that... K?

Kiddo: not listening

(74 seconds later)

Me: dialing...

Kiddo: Thinking the following to himself: I wonder what my mom is doing RIGHT NOW? I wonder if she knows how fast a gazelle runs. Maybe right now is the best time to run through the house screaming my head off. Or maybe I am hungry. Am I hungry? Totally... I should go ask mom about gazelles, an apple, tell her I have to poop, jump up and down, and start making loud siren noises.

Me: Hey! Hi! I have two minutes! MMmhmm... uh-huh... oh yeah?


Me: (To the person on the phone) Ack! Hold on... (Now whisper screaming at Kiddo) HEY! I AM ON THE PHONE! STOP RUNNING AROUND THE HOUSE SCREAMING LIKE A FIRE ENGINE! (To the person on the phone) Ha! Sorry about that! What were you saying?

Kiddo: (Quietly walks out of the room, but returns with no pants) Mom! MOM! MMOOOOMMM!!!! MUM, MOM, MMMMMOOOOMMM!!!!

Me: (Giving the biggest eye roll followed by the worst impression of a mean face you ever saw.)

Kiddo: (Laughing at me)

Me: (Turning red with frustration and now mouthing silent threats while pointing wildly at the door) GET OUT!!!

Kiddo: I have to poop.

Me: (Most annoyed sigh ever) HHHhhhh... do you mind if I call you back? Thanks... I know... me too... Ha! OK... two minutes... Uh-huh... OK... Yup... Bye.

(18 seconds later in the bathroom with Kiddo)

Kiddo: I don't have to poop anymore.

Me: (Blood pressure just rose to 6,574 points)

And that is why you can't call me on the phone and expect any modicum of adult conversation. Unless you like spontaneous absurdist theater, in which case call me anytime.