A 2018 study that found dads frequently use the bathroom to hide for their families and sneak a little bit of me-time on their phones. The research quickly went viral as the mums of the world collectively sighed “well, duh.”
And while the old 45-minutes-on-the-loo trick might be more of a dad-focused behaviour, we have to grudgingly admit that all parents have developed these kinds of sneaky tricks to grab a little chunk of me-time in an otherwise responsibility-packed day.
An informal study of parents I know has yielded some fabulously creative ideas – so if you’re looking for a way to palm off the parenting for a 15-minute reprieve, feel free to make use of the following examples.
1. The ‘I’ll nip to the shops’ dance
Personally, my favourite sneaky trick is the faux-considerate “oh we’re out of milk – I’ll go and get it!” Best used during Witching Hour when the kids are going absolutely feral, it buys you 15 minutes in the car to nip down to the servo for milk, where you can blast the music or a podcast and even nab yourself a sneaky chocolate bar for guilt-free eating on the way home.
2. The leaf-sweeper
My husband’s favourite get-out-of-parenting method is the leaf-sweeper (once he’s exhausted the phone-on-the-toilet move for the day). Our back deck gets obliterated by leaves every single day, and if we don’t keep on top of sweeping it, it quickly becomes a nightmare. My husband’s generous “I’ll sweep the leaves, honey!” is often accompanied by a sly grin as he puts on his headphones and drowns out the world for a while.
3. The strategic haircut
This one is more for the long-haired among us: we all know a cut and colour will take a couple of hours at least. Why not book it to coincide with dinner time one night? Not only can you relax in heavenly calm as you have that bliss-filled head massage, but you buy yourself one free ticket out of the dinner/bed/bath rush. SO satisfying.
4. The sporty sneak
No one can begrudge you the benefits that joining a local sporting team can bring, right? Quite a few parents I know have openly admitted that the casual soccer/netball/touch footy league they joined was fuelled by the desire to get out of the house weekly without the kids in tow.
5. The one-child wonder
Remember when you just had ONE child, and it used to seem like a handful? Now you have three, and getting out and about with the oldest one feels like a holiday in itself. Volunteering to take a child to their swimming/music/dance lesson every week while the other half keeps the rest of the brood is a double-win. It has to be done, but you’re the one who gets to sit on the sidelines scrolling your phone while your partner holds down the fort at home.
6. The errand snack add-on
You’ve got a list of things to do while you’re out and about, and you know you have to get home to your other half. But really, what’s the harm in adding on a quick coffee in a cafe or a drive-thru chips from Maccas, where you park in blissful silence and gobble them all without having to share with little hands?
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