When we become parents we should get a free upgrade on our cell phone plans to unlimited texting, because telephone use during which real back-and-forth conversations take place are no longer an option. As soon as we pick up a phone and start dialing, someone starts playing with knives, poops, falls down the stairs, starts throwing things, needs to be driven somewhere, or simply increases the overall volume of our general vicinity one-thousand-fold. This begins at infancy (okay, maybe not the knife-throwing—that starts around toddlerhood), and I can tell you from my experience that it continues at least a solid decade or so.
This is why when we are feeling optimistic and decide to give a phone call the old college try, we moms no longer bother with pleasantries or polite good-byes: We ain’t got time for that. The last thing we say before clicking off is never, “It’s been nice catching up with you! I hope to talk again soon—goodbye!” It’s usually a quick explanation (if we’re lucky enough to even blurt that one out) and the expectation that the person on the other end completely understands our total lack of manners/social graces.
Common things moms say to end their phone conversations:
1. “Oh, sh*t—.” *CLICK*
2. “I guess I need to feed them.” *CLICK*
3. “She is literally giving me a pain in the neck. I gotta g—” *CLICK*
4. “I SAID I’M COMING!” *CLICK*
5. Indecipherable mumbling in the midst of children screaming, then *CLICK*.
6. “I think one of them got out?” *CLICK*
7. “STOP THROWING THE—” *CLICK*
8. “It’s time to wipe his a*s.” *CLICK*
9. After many, many interruptions: “Ugh. Sorry, I tried.” *CLICK*
10. “I SAID GET OFF THE TABLE.” *CLICK*
11. “Someone might be bleeding this time.” *CLICK*
12. Crying and footsteps in the distance getting louder and louder, then… *CLICK*
13. The house alarm going off. *CLICK*
14. The sound of someone vomiting. *CLICK*
15. “I think I smell smoke again.” *CLICK*
16. “Seriously? Fighting over LEGO? What the f—” *CLICK*
17. “OH NO THAT’S THE TIME? SOCCER STARTS IN FIVE MINUTES.” *CLICK*
18. “Go tell your brother I’ll be right down to punish you both.” *CLICK*
19. “Either someone fell down the stairs or they’re throwing furniture again.” *CLICK*
20. The splashing of tub water in the background, then, “Get back in there—the floor is slippery! STOOOOOP!” *CLICK*
21. A maybe somewhat normalish sentence then a *CLICK* when some small person or moody tween simply disconnects the phone.
I have heard rumors that someday the kids will be old enough to not want to be underfoot always, maybe even interested in borrowing the car and leaving us in a quiet house every now and again. When that day comes, let’s agree to give each other a little leeway when it comes to learning how to talk on the phone like a normal person again, not mentioning bleeding, shouting about the time, or just hanging up mid-sentence. It might take some time and practice, but maybe we’ll even get back into the habit of saying, “Goodbye” again?
Hey, a girl can dream.