Moms, You Need A Time-Out!

If you are anything like me, you are running on next to nothing day-by-day. It’s only mid-week, but it feels like the Monday-est, Monday of all weeks. So many diapers and potty-training accidents. So many nights of interrupted sleep. Soooo many tantrums for “reasonable” reasons such as “Mom won’t let me run with scissors!” and “Mom said I cannot eat candy for breakfast!”… you know, the important things in life.

If you are anything like me, I take days and weeks like this with sleeves rolled up and lots of deep breaths. I remind myself what a beautiful blessing these small human-beings I birthed and am privileged enough to raise are… and I Just. Keep. Moving.

But my temper has been shorter lately… surely I am not the only one. And my patience has been running way too thin. And in my career of choice, I live and thrive off of my abounding creativity,  but I have found all creativity and inspiration waning as of late. What has been the cause of these things? Where has my gumption gone?

Then it hit me. It came to me simply when I was giving my four-year-old mister a time-out for something he did that I did not approve of. He was given this opportunity to disconnect from the situation, evaluate his choices, be alone to calm down, and then he was invited to return from his time-out only when he felt ready to join us peacefully.

That’s when I thought to myself… I NEED THAT!

I need a time out! I need an opportunity to step away, be ALONE, and calm myself down from the constant demands of the days and hear myself think. As moms we prescribe this reasonable dose of quiet to our children to help them descend the tantrum meter from hysterical to sane… but we allow ourselves to run on empty and circle the drain for weeks and months before we think about what we need to come up for air.

I was wondering if I was alone in my lack of self-care as a mom, so I posted a poll on my Instagram. And as expected, the vast majority of moms that participated in the poll said they did not take a moment away like this for reasons like, schedule, too hard to arrange, what to do with the kids, did not make it a priority, or simply did not think it was possible as a mom. And the moms who do get some kind of “break” from mom-ing even confessed that they considered their break time as going to work or the nap times for their children.

This idea that, as moms, we have to stuff ourselves into the margins of the day, making our need for a mental-health moment as convenient as possible, just should not be. We need to carve out personal time intentionally and consistently. When we prioritize ourselves, we show our children that we value mental-health, that our interests and needs matter too, our children are not the center of the universe, and we as moms don’t run off of air.. we need rest and help sometimes too, like anyone else.

Let me free you… it is not selfish to ask for a time-out. It is necessary. And it needs no explanation or apology. You give and you give, but you need to take a moment of rest to refuel, my friend.

How do you accomplish this? I suggest that you pick a time once a week that works for your family schedule. If you are a two-parent home, ask your partner to take over the household duties during your designated time so you can have the much-deserved/needed time-out you require. One hour minimum- two is even better! And take this time to go OUT… leave your home. The place of much joy, but also many chores, and with a list of to-dos sky high I am SURE! Leave that beautiful home you have built one day a week and run to a coffee shop or a friends house or a nail salon… or Target! Just get out… (No, grocery shopping does NOT count ;)) And reserve this day and time for a minimum of 1 month. Get into the habit of choosing yourself for this one sacred moment each week. If you are a single-parent home, you may need to invest in a sitter or employ the help of a close friend or relative to help you accomplish this task of granting yourself a time out. You, single-mama, are not exempt from self-care. If anything, you deserve that time all the more. Mom-ing with help is one thing… Mom-ing solo is a great feat and you need an applause and a hug… and a serious time-out!

And if you need a few more reasons to give yourself permission to walk away for a few moments a week, here you go:

  1. Mental health is such an important thing. We think everyone else has it together, and that we are the anomaly, but that just isn’t reality. We all need to take practical steps to maintain mental health. We cannot do this if we are constantly berated with noise and needs. And it is also okay to take that time-out by going to counseling each week. There is something deeply healing about seeking professional help to talk things out and to be both listened to and heard. Truthfully, it is something we should all do, at least in some seasons of our lives. It is truly cleansing.
  2. We need to model for our children what we value. Ourselves, being one of those things.
  3. Moms need to have fun too! Get out, hang out, enjoy your time off… you deserve it, mama!
  4. In case you didn’t hear it before… You don’t need permission. You just need to make yourself a priority.

I hope you are encouraged… I am even as I am writing this. I am telling myself to add my mommy time-outs as a regular part of my weekly rhythm, something I have not done up to this point. I hope to begin immediately so that I can put into practice what I preach… and also, just because I really REALLY need this if I am going to do anything half-way well. I feel myself reaching a burn out rate. Pregnant, parenting two little people, and running a business is enough to test anyone’s sanity, but I can give myself safeguards to ensure I am taking care of myself and, in turn, taking care of others that I am responsible to. Mommy time-outs will help me to do that.

Soooo, I cannot wait to hear from you about your time-outs! I hope they are refreshing and life-giving. Because, there are no more amazing humans walking this earth than moms! I am convinced of that 😉