Mothers Need A Time-Out Too!
That’s it, you’ve been bad and you’re on your way to time-out! That phrase is an all too familiar one if, like me, you’re the parent of a toddler (or 2). This time though, you’re the one who gets the break – what I would give for a few minutes of sitting quietly in a corner with no one talking to me! Busy moms need breaks too, and I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with sending yourself to time-out. I have found this to be one of the best self-care relationships you have – is you!!!
How many days during your week start with taking the time to cook a breakfast no one will to eat (besides you because you’re starving)? Or attempting to be fun and spontaneous and plan a picnic lunch in the park, only to have it end in stares from other parents as your kids lay down in the parking lot in protest as you try to leave to get on with your day?
You’re not alone, and you deserve better. As parents it’s our job to wear multiple hats. We are, among so many other things, personal chefs, a chauffeur, referees, maids, and nurses.
Day in and day out we answer to our little bosses without hesitation, we are paid in smiles, and we have yet to ask for a raise.
Various surveys identify from 90-94% of us mothers feel guilty, from not loving motherhood every minute of the day, to not doing everything right. Part of the problem is that today our busy obsessed culture has become so child-centric. While we might intuitively know that not everything has to be entertaining to be valuable — and you don’t always have to give rapt attention to your kid, we feel guilty if we don’t. Thankfully, authors like Debra Rosenberg (Motherhood Without Guilt) tell us that even very young children can learn from having time to themselves.
So, if your days go anything like mine, you too have more than earned those few minutes of silence that await you on the couch or sitting on that bottom step.
Give yourself the gift of guilt-free silence and turn on the TV. In all honesty, there have been days where I look for a show that’s longer than the typical 30minutes, just to ensure I “serve” all of my time. Some of my girlfriends have gone as far as putting on a movie, and I have recently taken their advice and have absolutely zero regrets. What is so rewarding after these time outs that I actually am much more ready to go and clean up spills, wipe sloppy hands, and kiss smudgy faces after my time outs.
I truly believe that no matter what you do, you get out of it what you put into it – but when it comes to parenting there are so many things that are out of your control (yes, this includes your kids). My youngest daughter was obsessed with a certain book. It was my “go-to sure thing” to get her to settle down or switch gears. Then, one day – she hated it. She apparently hated every book ever written and nothing but the only book I didn’t have was going to please her. So, after 25 minutes of crying and pulling and hanging on my shirt (this was all after I cleaned blue crayon off the walls, vacuumed for the second time in the same day, and fished her doll out of the toilet) I said, ‘that is it, I’m going to time out.”
I put on the movie version of the book she (now) hated but it was enough of a distraction for me to slip out of the room and catch my breath.
Don’t get me wrong, not all days are hard – there are far more days where all I want to do is hug my girls and never let them go…and that these are the days I am going to look back on and wish I had a time machine.
But sometimes being a mom is hard, like really hard. I am a mom, and I wouldn’t change my job title for anything in the world – but I am also human and sometimes I require personal space. So, from one busy mom to another, embrace the chaos of life, turn on the tube, and go to your corner. You and your child will be much better for it!
I’d love to hear your favorite time-out stories!