Top Ten Allowable Reasons for Interrupting Mom While She’s Working


I was discussing on Twitter last week about how many times my children interrupt me when I’m trying to write.

This gets worse during the summer when I hear the refrain “I’m bored” far too often.

I’ve heard Nora Roberts say in presentations that she told her two children during the summer not to interrupt in case of blood or fire and, when they got older, it had to be arterial blood and an active fire.

My four minions are certainly old enough to fend for themselves for several hours a day, being 17, 15, 12 and  12 (twins.)

Yet somehow, they do not seem to be able to go fifteen minutes without speaking to me.

So, I decided to expand on the “blood or fire” rule and make a list of allowable reasons for dragging Mom away from her writing (which helps pay for all the non-boring stuff like movies and trips to Gamestop.)

With one of these handy, kids should have no need to interrupt Mom

1. There’s a zombie apocalypse. One or two zombies do not qualify. Children should be able to handle a couple of slow-moving zombies with shovels and axes.

2. In case of alien invasion. In this instance, the invasion is only worthy of interrupting Mom if the suburbs are being attacked and New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. have already been destroyed. (If you live near a cornfield, you might want to specify that any unusual activity in the field is worthy of interruption, unless it’s Shoeless Joe Jackson.)

Definitely buzz Mom if this appears…

3. A blue police box appears in the middle of the living room. It doesn’t matter if the inhabitant is wearing a bow tie, scarf or a fez. Please interrupt.

4. Time is altered. In some instances, this may erase either the child or Mom’s existence, in which case the problem solves itself. However, if any of your siblings or your father have been erased from the time stream, Mom needs to know right away.

5. Dr. Henry Jones appears at the front door, asking for help in finding the Lost Ark of the Covenant. You must interrupt Mom for this and, no, it doesn’t matter if it’s Dr. Henry Jones Junior or Senior. (Though Junior is slightly preferable. It’s the Fedora.)

6. You find a strange ring with foreign writing on it that can make you invisible. Probably the best thing to do in this case is alert Mom, who can then tell you to toss the ring aside. I would recommend also booking a cruise to the Western shores if this happens.

7. A Vulcan appears wanting to make, um, First Contact.

Yes, yes, I’ll make time for these two, from Indiana Jones and the Last  Crusade, photo copyright Lucasfilm Ltd.

8. A duplicate of you or your siblings appear from an alternate universe, complete with goatee. Mom certainly doesn’t want two of you around, especially since the duplicate will be more evil–or, more to the point, more likely to interrupt her work.

9. An extra-terrestial rocket ship crash lands in the backyard with a baby inside. Tell Mom to bring milk and some blue and red blankets.

10. For those living on the shoreline, interrupt Mom if a chunk of ice with a handsome blond man in a military uniform floats by.



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31 thoughts on “Top Ten Allowable Reasons for Interrupting Mom While She’s Working

  1. What does it say about me that I am seriously considering printing this out and handing it to my kids? Because, seriously, the peanut butter is in the same place it’s always been for the last 15 years, no, I won’t get up to make you a sandwich, you’re old enough to do it yourself, and you’re bored? I have a WHOLE ENTIRE LIST of thing that are within your capabilities of doing.

    And yet, they still constantly interrupt me from my writing!! GAAAAAHHH!!!!

    1. … and read over your shoulder, right? Or just… hover. And does not understand that he is interrupting the creative process.

      But at least he feeds me at regular intervals, so I guess I’ll keep him around!

  2. Great list! I would also add that if any package or letter arrives by owl post it is important to interrupt Mom’s work

  3. Would more than one or two zombies qualify either, really? I mean, if there is a zombie invasion, we’re pretty much screwed anyway…

    My daughter is not capable of being quiet for any length of time. But I do try to also use the rule
    “do not talk to mom unless there is blood or fire.”
    When I added zombies (after the conversation on Twitter) her response was,”Timmy the Zombie? From ThinkGeek? Mom, he’s a monkey, he’s not real!” *sigh…5 year olds…

      1. Darn, I was hoping it was a reference to the third season of seaQuest.

        Excellent list anyway. Especially the Doctor and Doctors Jones. 🙂

  4. Also, people in robes brandishing sticks of wood. If they’re wearing scarves, let Mom know the specific colour.

  5. I just remembered one I should have put in.

    If a naked man appears just after a severe influx of lightning and says “Come with me if you want to live,” I will believe him.

  6. Hilarious, Corrina.
    I’m fortunate that my boys are all grown up and my husband has his own projects to work on so I get all the time I want to work on my writing. It doesn’t stop me though, from being distracted on any given day by butterflies out my window,the urge to make another cup of tea, or checking e-mails and reading blog-posts. Oops, I’m doing that right now. Eeeek, back to work! And be patient with me–THE AMULET is still to be reworked into a YA romance.

    Thanks for the giggles.

  7. Seriously funny!!! That must have been a blast to write. And I will be printing for my kiddos.

    1. I must admit, I asked my youngest son for help with this one. We brainstormed on a walk. And then he was tired and went off by himself. Whew. Walks are good.

  8. I used to tell my son not to call me at work unless HE was on fire. And I should be the second call, 911 the first.

  9. I do not work at home, but there have been times I have told the kids, “Unless there is a bone protruding from your skin, do not interrupt me for the next 10 minutes.”

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