I haven’t always had one of these on my door. When my bigs were littles, we lived on a very busy street and no one stopped by unannounced. When they were littles, their playdates were scheduled.
Once we moved to Colorado and they lived in their first real neighborhood with kids, the need for a sign became apparent. In fact, I created it out of desperation. I was exhausted. It was my first year homeschooling more than one kid, there were TONS of kids in our on-post neighborhood, and apparently some moms didn’t realize that while we were home during school hours we were mostly likely doing school. Making that sign was a way of setting a real, defined, boundary in my life. It was the first boundary I remember clearly setting, in fact. And it wasn’t until a few years later when I read Boundaries by Drs Cloud and Townsend that I realized that it was, in fact, a boundary.
I still have that sign. It’s in my dresser drawer, saved forever as part of my growing process. And as a part of our schooling process. While we were in Columbia earlier this year, I found a new need for a sign, as our house was beside the playground. On one side I wrote, “Shhhh… we’re doing school” and on the other, “Shhhh… the baby’s napping. We should be able to play around 4:00”
This told the neighborhood kids that the boys were unavailable and when they would be able to play.
Fast forward to our time here in TX and our sign has been mostly unused. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I’ve even needed it. I dug it out yesterday and put a Command Hook on the front door so that, while we’re doing school or resting, we can display the sign. And I’m THRILLED about this!
Why? you ask. Because it means my boys have found and made friends in the neighborhood! Kids who like to stop by and play! These kids weren’t coming by at awkward times or ringing my bell during naptime or anything… the sign, in this case, is just a clear boundary to prevent any issues.
As I type this there are 7-8 kids outside in my driveway playing some form of basketball on Ripsticks. They get along great, the kids are all well behaved and polite, and I’m so thankful we met them.
The story goes…
One day we were sitting outside in my driveway, hiding from the heat when a very nice, respectful young man walked by walking his dog. He commented that he liked Parker’s Duck Dynasty shirt and I knew our families were meant to be friends. He actually went home, got his mom and sisters, and brought them all back to meet us. How thankful I am for this family as we are no longer “alone” in this ultra-quiet neighborhood! They just happen to live on the far side… close enough for the bigs to causally stop by and see if they can play, yet too far for Parker to go alone… although he has attempted it. (And I will not tell you here if he managed to get away and find his way on his own, because that might implicate me in some form of toddler-neglect.)
So while some “Do Not Disturb” signs are placed in windows out of a desire to be left alone, ours is actually just the opposite… an invitation to play… as soon as school and rest times are over! I am so thankful for the need to display our sign again!