Today I’m sharing a brand new resource: Free printable do not disturb signs — so couples with kids can stop being so sneaky.
Have you ever noticed how secretive parents can be when it comes to doing the deed that made them parents in the first place?
They wait until the kids are asleep and the house is all quiet or everyone’s away for the weekend. Whatever it takes to avoid suspicion that Mom and Dad do, in fact, still have a sex life.
Time to Stop Being So Sneaky
Parents take these extreme precautions because nobody wants to risk what happened to Kelly Ripa last week happening to them.
The popular talk show host was mortified when her adult daughter popped the bedroom door open early Sunday morning and found her parents celebrating Father’s Day a little early.
And this, despite the fact the family was entertaining houseguests at the time.
Some fans rolled their eyes and suggested Ripa and her husband should get a lock for their bedroom door — or at least make sure the lock they have is actually working.
While I agree that what happened was far from ideal, I still admire the intentionality with which Ripa was nurturing her marriage and commend her for prioritizing her husband in that way.
Having a child barge in during a time of intimacy is embarrassing. But it’s not the end of the world.
Put the Incident in Context
Which is worse? For a teen to glimpse proof that her parents still love each other? Or for her to grow up under the impression that being married means living a life of celibacy?
I can almost guarantee Ripa’s 18-year-old daughter has seen more flesh in movies and TV shows or on beaches and billboards than she spotted when she accidentally walked in on her parents, who were undoubtedly scrambling for cover the moment they heard the door crack.
As for locks preventing such embarrassing situations, I can attest from experience that locks sometimes fail. It’s rare, but it has been known to happen.
That was the case at our house a few years ago when our adult children came home for the holidays. My husband and I got up at 5 AM to do a little early morning celebrating ourselves on Christmas Eve. (Maybe that was a little sneaky… but we’re both early risers.)
Like Ripa’s family, we had a few houseguests at the time. But not a creature was stirring in those pre-dawn hours, so we thought we’d be in the clear.
No sooner had we gotten down to business than we heard a knock at our bedroom door. “Who is it?” my husband called in a whispered voice, a question our 23-year-old son mistook for “Come in.” So he did.
Doing What Married Couples are Meant to Do
As is our habit, we had flipped the trusty latch on our bedroom door beforehand. These flip-locks are the first things I install whenever we move to a new house. We like the fact we can tell from across the room whether the door is locked or not. The little brass hinges have served us well for over three decades now.
Unfortunately, the lack of light in our bedroom that morning kept us from noticing that the locking mechanism wasn’t properly engaged. So when our son leaned into the door, it immediately gave way.
My husband and I yelped in surprise when the door popped open and sought refuge beneath our quilts.
In the dim light, it’s unlikely our son spotted anything too disturbing. As a fourth-year medical student in the middle of his clinical rotations, he’d already examined far more naked bodies far more closely than he glimpsed ours in the 1.5 seconds we were exposed.
But it was embarrassing, nonetheless.
And the experience prompted me to tuck an extra gift into my husband’s Christmas stocking the following morning. An insurance policy of sorts.
In an effort to prevent any future interruptions, I painted a door hanger to forewarn potential intruders. It reads simply: “Please do not disturb. Mom & Dad are at it again.”
5 Advantages to Being Candid about Your Love Life
Maybe you aren’t ready to give up your sneaky ways. Perhaps you think it crass to let your children know what goes on behind closed doors by using a Do Not Disturb sign. But consider the benefits we’ve enjoyed as a result of being more candid about such matters with ours:
It allows for greater spontaneity
No more clandestine rendezvous so nobody will know what you and your spouse are up to. With one of our free do not disturb signs, the two of you can stop being sneaky. Retire to the privacy of your bedroom whenever the mood hits, and your children will know to leave you alone.
It nurtures marriage relationship
Don’t let your marriage languish from neglect. It requires time and intentionality to nourish your relationship to your spouse properly. Our free “Do Not Disturb” signs can help you carve out time to reconnect regularly.
It maximizes energy reserves
Lock that bedroom door while you still have the strength to do something behind it. Waiting for the kids to fall asleep is not a sustainable strategy. The older they get, the later they stay up. Even if you’re able to outlast them, once they finally do turn in, you’ll be too exhausted to do anything but go to sleep yourself.
It minimizes feelings of resentment
Never make your mate compete with your children for your affection. Focusing on your kids 100% of the time isn’t good for anybody. So hang a sign on your door, throw the latch, and give your spouse a daily dose of your undivided attention.
It encourages kids to wait for marriage
I want the kind of marriage that makes my children want to get married themselves. The kind of happy, loving, mutually supportive relationship that convinces them sex really is worth waiting for — because it is.
Study after study has shown that married, religiously devout couples have the most frequent and satisfying sex. That has certainly been true for us. Why would we hide that fact from our children?
So, parents, are your ready to stop being sneaky? One of the best things you can do for your children is to let them know how much you love them and love one another… then lock them out of the bedroom to prove it.
Would you like some FREE “Do Not Disturb” signs to hang on your own door? We have ten different printable designs to choose from. Get yours today by clicking this link:
Hi. I just recently found your blog when I went searching for “do not disturb parents”…looking for ideas for what to do about “getting away” during the day without having to allow more screen time every time (that’s the go-to since no one’s napping anymore!).
My husband’s work schedule has shifted earlier, so “after bedtime” he’s just too tired. He works from home and we homeschool…and he’s often interested midday/afternoon which is just tough.
My children are just 6, 8, and 10 and screen time or a beloved show will keep them busy…but I just can’t stand to think that they will “know” what’s happening when we disappear behind the closed door. It’s very distracting for me.
I’m not sure if they “get it” yet (they do all know about sex and God’s plan for marriage!), but I’m starting to think maybe I could/should get over it. I’m psyching myself up to make up a door hanger and embrace it! I appreciate your encouragement.
Jennifer Flanders says
I’m glad you found us, Katy, and hope by now you’ve psyched yourself up enough to prioritize intimacy, whether you ever print a door hanger or not. Try to banish the thought “my children will know what I’m doing” from your mind. It really is not that big a deal, even if they do.
Your children likely know what you’re doing when you disappear behind the bathroom, too. But that thought doesn’t stop you from using the toilet or taking a bath or shower when you need to, does it? Try to move sex into the same mental category. Treat it matter-of-factly, as a normal, necessary a part of life.
Also, it is perfectly acceptable for you to enjoy sex, just like it is okay for you to enjoy soaking in a hot bath. In the same way that bathing, brushing your teeth, and washing your hair are vital to your health and hygiene, regularly setting aside time for intimacy is vital to your marriage.
Your kids are fully capable of accepting that fact. If you don’t act mortified or embarrassed when the topic comes up, they’ll be less likely to do make a big deal out of it, too.
As for keeping them occupied while you take time out to spend with your husband, giving them a little screen time is acceptable — especially if they don’t spend a lot of time on digital devices during the rest of the day. You may also find some suitable distractions in this printable: Encouraging Creativity in Children (judge for yourself which of these activities your kids could handle without close supervision).
When ours were little, we didn’t want them roaming the neighborhood while we were occupied with one another, but neither did we want to turn them loose in the house with paint or permanent markers. Legos, building blocks, puzzles, and coloring books were our go-to supplies that allowed them to be creative without our having to worry they’d make a mess they couldn’t clean up.
Reading this has brought a lot of LOL and joy for me because I am one of those who waits until our young adult children go to bed. And sometimes we are tired, because they sit up late, too. So, yes I did enjoy this reading. Thank you soooooooo very much for the information. May God bless you. Keep on doing want God has laid on your heart.
Jennifer Flanders says
Thanks for those encouraging words, Alicia.
I loved your part in this documentary! That was fantastic!
Those doorknob hangers are too funny, love them. But I still don’t think I could use them. Your take is interesting – I was wondering about that now that my son is a teen. I still want to sneak around, but my husband pretty much said what you did. Thanks for your take!
Jennifer Flanders says
Ha, my kids just discovered that post tonight. Some of the younger ones didn’t actually know the story behind why we even use such a sign, but when they heard about their brother walking in on us, they all agreed they’re glad we hang notice on the door. They looked through all the designs and each voted on the one they’d be most likely to use some day when they’re married. My 9-year-old daughter favors “Keep Out or Gross Out.” Her 19-year-old sister prefers the “Biology Lab in Progress.” And our 14-year-old son thinks the “Don’t Come A-Knockin'” sign is hilarious (although he may have trouble talking his future wife into using that one). Ha!
Jennifer Flanders says
Although I knew our little sign would serve a practical purpose, I intended it to be more of an inside joke. Something for our family to wink at in the privacy of our own home.
But then a BBC camera crew spotted it while filming in our home the following summer and questioned us about it. The star of the documentary, Miriam Margolyes, was scandalized by the thought that we’d hang a sign on our bedroom door to let the kids know when and why to refrain from knocking. Such candidness left her “bereft of words.”
That special aired in the UK long ago, but is sadly unavailable in the US.