JACKSONVILLE, FL – Amanda Witherspoon, a 36-year-old mother of three, was finally found Friday afternoon after experiencing a rare moment for mothers of small children: a full 13 minutes of peace and quiet. Her son Carson, age 3, was the one who located her.
She was found shut inside the family’s kitchen pantry. It was initially unclear whether this was accidental or intentional.
“Totally intentional,” Amanda says. “I needed time to shame-eat some store-brand toaster pastries and scroll through social media without someone needing something from me.
Carson located Amanda after vigorously opening every cabinet door in the kitchen and checking under the couch before finally sticking his fingers under the pantry door and screaming, “Juice!” at the top of his lungs. Amanda returned to her family and her seemingly never-ending to-do list late Friday afternoon.
This is just the latest in a bizarre string of similar, yet seemingly unrelated, situations that have occurred throughout the country this month. According to Dr. Janet Gable, a professor of motherhood sciences currently studying the effects of free time and mothers’ sanity, “Through countless hours of observation, I’ve found that mothers everywhere are going to extreme lengths simply to get some time to reset. It’s more prevalent in February when kids are cooped up inside.”
They’ve even secretly coined the phenomenon as “Momuary.” Just ask Carol Kirkland, a Wisconsin mother of four. She has an unusual location she uses to celebrate Momuary. Carol’s master bathroom is stocked with everything from e-readers to indulgent desserts because “it’s the only room in the house with a lockable door,” she says.
Another mom, who chose to remain anonymous in case her children ever find this article online, had this to say: “I’m a mother of twin girls, both 2 years old. Sometimes I check my phone’s map app before leaving work and purposely take a route that I know is full of construction, just to add an additional half hour before making it home. Sitting in a massive traffic jam is literally the most relaxing half hour of my day.”
In the midst of her studies, Dr. Janet Gable realized she wasn’t immune to experiencing Momuary bliss firsthand.
“I ran out of hiding spaces inside my house a while back,” she says. “However, my kids do think it takes 20 minutes to get the mail.”
“I think moms everywhere can relate,” Dr. Gable says. “Momuary isn’t something to be ashamed of. It recognizes all the selfless hard work moms do each and every day. We all deserve a break, no matter where or when we can find it.”