The dreaded task of making a phone call with children present


For the life of me, I’ll never understand why it is so difficult to make a phone call with children around.

All of us mothers have been there. That dreaded moment when you have to actually dial a number and talk to a human or deal with an automated voice prompt. I will go to any extreme to avoid making a phone call to a service provider. Can I do it online? Let me try that first. But sometimes they make you jump through hoops to set an account up, so it isn’t worth it. I don’t want to get emails from them and then there is that whole pick a user ID and password and try and remember it that I don’t want to deal with. Because I have so many stored in my brain as it is.

So I take a deep breath and face the task at hand. First step typically goes smoothly. But once the automated voices come on, all hell breaks loose. Son starts getting needy in some way or talking loudly, distracting me from hearing the menu. The agitated woman (I swear they record the voice with emotion) repeats the options, so I quickly decide it’s number 3 I need. Hoping I guessed correctly. Onto the next step. Son starts playing far from me and, indeed, I chose the right menu option. I breathe sigh of relief. Next round of choices are going but all of a sudden I hear him calling for me. I try and stay silent, knowing the chances of it picking up his or my voice are high which will reset the entire process back to the step 1. Please, son, please pipe down. But he keeps calling for me. I quickly make my way to him, making sure I don’t speak, but alas, the recording picks up his cries once I’m close to him. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what option you would like,” she says, clearly annoyed. I assess the boo-boo he got while playing. Seems fine, time to move on. And then I hear it: “Your call is being disconnected.”

Are you kidding me? I usually laugh at this point. I have to go through this again?! Why, oh why, is this so hard.

I get my son settled down and interested in another toy. I begrudgingly go back to step 1 and dial the number again. Time to repeat subsequent steps. This time my son is really over it. The attention has been off of him for ten whole minutes now. He comes up and pulls my arm from the phone as I’m trying to press the number I need. He then does everything else in his power to interfere with me completing the phone call.

At this point I feel out of options and start throwing food out as a distraction. You want a snack? I’ll give you anything. How about that sucker I have in my purse from the bank last week? Done. You win. I’ve bought myself some time and finally get through the remainder of the call in the next five minutes. Time to write down the 15-digit confirmation number. Hmm, now where is a pen? Seems like one is never handy. But they’re telling me it’s imperative I write it down. Hang on. Son has lost interest in lollipop and is into something he shouldn’t be doing. I hear him cry and run to manage the second boo-boo, while simultaneously scanning my house for a pen. In the meantime, I miss the confirmation number in its entirety. I vaguely hear the woman’s smug voice saying, “Goodbye.”  Sure hope I didn’t need that number.

I take a deep breath. It’s over. You made it.

We decide to celebrate with a Netflix show. Wait, the internet isn’t working now??  It’s okay. I’ll sweat it out a few days. I’m sure it will start working again on its own.


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