Magazine article Working Mother

"All I Want Is a Little Quiet Time for Myself"

Magazine article Working Mother

"All I Want Is a Little Quiet Time for Myself"

Article excerpt

I've clocked it. As a high school English teacher, I speak with more than 130 people on an average day, most of them adolescent students, which, given their fibrillating hormonal/emotional state, should count extra. As soon as I walk into the building, I'm bombarded by the cacophony of hundreds of kids chatting and laughing loudly in the hallway, not to mention their constant knocking on my door with questions about why they didn't get an A on a paper and whether I can write their college recommendation. My raucous school day is capped off by the joyous pandemonium of horseback riding or rock climbing with Poppy, my 11-year-old daughter, and London, my 6-year-old son. After being accosted with so many acoustics all day, I barely have the energy to discuss redesigning the patio with my wife, LaIa. I was starting to feel like a short-circuited Max Headroom, so I decided to take a break from all the hubbub with a vow of silence.

My forty-first birthday had just passed, and I told LaIa that what I wanted more than anything was a few hours during which I didn't have to talk to anyone. An artist who works from home, she knows my life outside our four walls is considerably more hectic than hers, so she agreed, but advised that I better pull that kind of stunt outside of the house.

I rose the next Saturday morning eager to greet the day with closed lips-and to get out of the house before the kids woke up, since we thought they might not appreciate the plan. But as I tiptoed out of the bedroom, London stopped me and said, "Dad, I want breakfast." I went into the kitchen and slapped together a peanut-butter-andjelly sandwich. When I handed it to him, he leered at me. He could tell something was off. My mouth was not making up silly songs about bread or asking about the life cycle of the colorful paper animals he saw on TV.

"You okay?" London squinted like Clint Eastwood with an itchy trigger finger. I nodded, but I could feel him eyeballing me suspiciously as I darted for the door, and I knew full well that any more time spent at home would defeat the purpose of my vow.

As soon as I got into my car and shut the door, I felt a sense of immense calm. I wasn't answering questions about a homework assignment or explaining why you don't put ice cream in your nostrils. Instead of being surrounded by a din, I listened to the welcome sound of silence. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.