Remember those pre-parenthood days when you could pee in peace, without a child protesting or banging on the door? Or, for that matter, when you could pee alone?
Many young kids love to be with their mother every second possible, and while it’s obviously flattering to be the center of someone’s tiny universe, a mama can use a break now & then.
Separation anxiety can be challenging, especially when you’ve got things to do. I remember army-crawling out of my oldest daughter’s room at bedtime, hoping she’d be sleepy enough not to notice.
Spoiler alert: She always noticed.
One mom has figured out a genius way to steal a few minutes alone while keeping her toddler from freaking the hell out, & it shows that when it comes to separation anxiety, the struggle is real.
A Japanese mother came up with the idea of leaving cardboard cut-outs near her toddler son’s bedroom to stop him from crying when she leaves the room, and it works like a charm!
Fuki Sato is a mother of a one-year-old son. Like most mothers of young kids, Fuki’s son would immediately start crying if his mother left the room that he was in. He needed to see her at all times, which as we moms know, can be really inconvenient.
Fuki’s husband explained on his Twitter account how separation anxiety has been taking its toll:
It’s hard because my one-year-old child cries as soon as mom disappears.
We feel you, guy. Many of us moms have been there, and many dads have felt the struggle of trying to console a wailing toddler who only wants MOM.
So they came up with an experiment:
‘As a countermeasure, I experimented with what would happen if I set up a ”life-sized panel mother”.’
Enter “cardboard Fuki”:
The couple had a life-sized, color photographic print of Fuki made in sturdy cardboard, & placed it near the gated entrance of the family’s living room.
Her son was distracted by a television show for a moment, & Fuki took advantage of that very moment to make her make the “bait and switch’.
When their son turned around to check for mom -surveillance in full effect- he was apparently satisfied that “Mom” was right there. He happily played for 20 minutes.
20.Whole.Minutes. Imagine the possibilities, mothers.
Here’s your chance to make a phone call, pee in peace, hell- POOP in peace-, eat a snack, or to just sit down and not move for one blessed moment.
Fuki’s husband actually filmed the debut appearance of cardboard Fuki, and posted the footage on his Twitter account. Check out cardboard Fuki in (in)action:
— ??????????? (@sato_nezi) December 8, 2019
Now granted, the gig was up after 20 minutes, but it was still a good run. So Fuki and her husband decided to throw a little variety into the mix.
They created another print, this time of Fuki kneeling down.
The kneeling one seems a bit trickier to me, because if I was anywhere near my oldest child’s proximity when she was little, she’d be on me like glue. And no matter how life-like cardboard Fuki looks, she obviously doesn’t feel life-like.
But in a pinch, it seems like a realistic cardboard cutout, or “mother panel” is a pretty nifty hack when separation anxiety is hitting its peak & you need an occasional diversion.
The video has been viewed over 2 MILLION times, which clearly indicates that there are a lot of curious parents out there pondering this hack.
And no, it’s not meant to be a replacement for necessary mother-child bonding. Little kids near to be near their mothers, & to trust them. We get it.
But moms need to be able to pee, dammit. And if a cardboard stand-in will let a child play contently for a few minutes so Mom can squeeze in some private bathroom time, then all I can say is “wish I’d thought of this back then!”
Toddler sometimes just need a quick glance at “Mama” to make them feel that all is right in their world, so Fuki’s experiment is pretty damn clever.
If only they could create a cutout that could absorb a teenager’s whining… then we’d really be onto something!