Our home is 1,144 square feet. I always have trouble visualizing just exactly what those figures mean, so let me put it another way—my house is smaller than your average two-bedroom apartment. The house is one story, has no basement, no attic, no garage…no place to hide.
This works well when I call the family to dinner—they’re only a few feet away, or when I ask the kids to do their chores—they can’t claim they didn’t hear me. The problems arise when my husband and I need privacy. Whether we want to discuss the budget, hide Christmas gifts or be intimate, the kids are often right there looking at us, and if not, at least listening in.
Somehow, my husband and I still manage to escape little eyes and ears and have time together each day. Here’s how we do it, in case you’re facing the same challenge.
KNOW WHEN YOU’RE AT CAPACITY
Before bringing any more people into your home or your family, ask yourself if there’s really enough space for them. This goes for babies, extended house guests, pets, and especially your mother-in-law. The more people, or even animals, that you add, the more conflicts will arise and the less privacy you’ll have.
ESTABLISH A BEDTIME FOR THE KIDS
A consistent bedtime is excellent for kids, but you benefit too. Once the children are asleep behind closed doors, you and your spouse have the whole shared living space all to yourselves. The kitchen, the dining room, the living room—it’s all yours! Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy.
Read Related: No Time For Sex? Make Time!
TEACH YOUR KID TO RESPECT CLOSED DOORS
A door shouldn’t even have to be locked, (although it’s recommended depending on what you’re doing—just in case!). Teach your children to respect a closed door and a Do Not Disturb sign becomes unnecessary. In our household, the kids do not open closed doors without knocking, asking to come in, and then being granted permission. As our boys have gotten older, we’ve begun to extend the same courtesy to them, too.
JUST BE HONEST
I know it may be awkward but sometimes honesty just works best. When the kids knock on our locked bedroom door with something unimportant that could have waited, we explain the (for us) uncomfortable truth: “Mommy and Daddy are a husband and wife, and husbands and wives need private time together. You are interrupting our private time together. If it’s something that can wait, please wait and talk to us when we come out.”
When our children were really little, they were only annoyed. Now that they’re older and they’re starting to understand what “private time together” means—they´re a little grossed out—but at least our method is working. The kids have begun to steer clear of our bedroom door when it’s closed and we are very much enjoying our privacy, thank you very much!