It Gets Their Attention
©Lisa Barker

I’ve said it before and I will say it again.  If you want your kids’ attention either sit down with a good book, make a phone call or put on some headphones. Sure enough, they’ll be at your elbow hollering at the top of their lungs in no time.

It never fails.  I’m on the phone and calamity strikes.

“Is this a good time for you to talk?” the caller asks, as what sounds like a stack of dishes dropped on the floor thunders through the house.

“Just as good as any,” I reply.  She proceeds while I interrupt several times asking her to repeat what she said.

Finally, I bark, “Go to your room now!” right into her ear.  I wonder why so many people hang up on me.

Recently I discovered a new way to get my kids’ attention.  Try sleeping in.  It’s still summer vacation so I don’t have to get up early and rouse everyone out of bed.  You would think they’d appreciate an extra hour in bed, but no.

From the first week or two the two boys were up at the crack of dawn, drawing swords and launching right into the battle they’d suspended the night before when I sent them to bed bickering and screaming at each other.

“QUIET!”  I yell down the hall.  I might as well be a substitute teacher in an band class.  It ain’t happening.

Finally, I trod down the hall and read them the riot act.  I go back to bed.  There is no way I am going to get up to that noise so I pray for just twenty minutes of quiet.  Five minutes later they’re at it again.

Did you know that cussing in children is proportionate to sleep deprivation for their parents?  I just don’t know where they get their potty mouths.

At last they learn what I mean by reading quietly until I tell them they can get up.  It’s a new morning and no one has uttered one word.  Then the door slams open and my oldest son screeches in his nasally high-pitched pre-pubescent voice, “Momma, am I doing a good job today?”

The odds in favor of spontaneous human combustion are directly related to the number of kids one has, especially if they have kids that are prime candidates for the Darwin award.  Even the teens have had enough.  What’s worse?  Hearing your little brothers shouting at each other like they’re in a wind tunnel or your mother going off like a sonic boom?

I’ll tell you what’s worse.  It’s finally getting that extra twenty minutes I wanted and the phone rings.  The bedroom door slams open again.  “Momma, it’s for you!”

Jelly Mom™ is written by Lisa Barker, author of “Just Because Your Kids Drive You Insane…Doesn’t Mean You Are A Bad Parent!” and syndicated through Martin-Ola Press/Parent To Parent. To publish Jelly Mom, buy the book or leave comments, please visit

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