Children are always keen to know what is going on, even if it's something you want to keep private.
Children are always keen to know what is going on, even if it's something you want to keep private. laflor

'You need to block your ears'

A COLUMNIST confessing she has trouble keeping things to herself probably isn't an earth-shattering revelation.

But when you have children, there are undoubtedly things that must be kept under lock and key, and I don't just mean the medicine cabinet.

Things like where Santa lives, where mummy keeps her chocolate, and that's if you're lucky. If your life is more complicated, you may be keeping secrets from them like where daddy goes at night, why mummy takes so much medicine.

I found myself in the precarious situation recently of keeping a secret that I desperately wanted to spew forth to the nearest available ear. For my own self-care more than anything.

And if you're a regular reader, you'll know I'm a big advocate of open communication and transparent relationships with our children.

But for this, for their wellbeing, I duly waited until the kids were asleep to begin the venting.

No sooner had I began hissing into the phone than a child appeared, bleary-eyed, in the hallway. I sent him to sleep in my room, always a sure-fire way of cutting short his nighttime sojourns.

Except for this night.

No, his spidey senses must have been tingling because he lay wide awake. Listening.

I went out into the backyard to continue my private conversation.

But, lo and behold, when I next looked up, two children were at the glass door, watching their mother out in the dark, her phone clutched between her hands while she mouthed at them, "GO TO BED!!”

I remember seeing my father and nana discuss a private matter once. They exchanged a look when I came out - you know the one - and stopped speaking.

It didn't help that it was in the local newspaper and I, even though young, could understand a court story.

While this was not newsworthy, and probably not even interesting to most, I am acutely aware of my children's uncanny knack for unearthing facts. They're mine, after all.

One is stealthy and skilled at going unnoticed in a room. The other is a tremendous interrogator. The third, straight up, has a spooky ability to cut straight to the chase.

So, despite my years on this earth and significant time spent as a journalist, I am well and truly outnumbered here.

Send help.

Peta Jo is an author and single mother of three. Visit her on Facebook.