Life is ironic. Just when my kids are at the age where I feel they have nearly out grown the time out, I’ve started to take them. As my kids and stepkids get older and their problems get bigger, I have found that the mommy time is a must do for many reasons.
I remember my first mommy time out well. We had all piled out of the family van after a long drive back from my mom’s house during the summer. My son shut the side door so hard that the door came off the hinge. We don’t have one of those fancy vans where the door slides open and closed at the touch of a button and, to be fair, my van was 10 years old at the time, but it was paid off and it ran well. Now, I must mention that I had asked my son countless times not to slam the door so hard, but apparently that repeated request fell on deaf ears.
In the single moment where I heard the clunk and turned around to see my son’s startled look and my van door hanging awkwardly off to the side, a hundred thoughts raced through my mind: When will this get fixed? My husband is out of town, rain is imminent, the garage is full of crap and I’m gonna have to clean it out so I can pull the car in. What am I going to do? and most importantly,How am I going to handle this with my son?
I believe in consistent parenting and always following through on a consequence. In the past I had issued consequences that, after they came out of my mouth, I wished I could have stuffed back in because I knew they had to be carried out. Yet, I also knew I didn’t want to do it. Like when I told my “bouncy son” that he can’t go outside for two days and I end up climbing the walls because keeping him inside is tougher on me than him.
As I was glaring at the broken van door, my first urge was to turn to my son and start the “I told you so” lecture. However, in my budding fury, I turned to the kids and said “mommy is going upstairs to take a time out to figure out how to handle this. I’ll be down soon.” I don’t know where that idea came from. It certainly wasn’t premeditated. I know it was a God thing and in following His divine intervention, I calmly walked up the stairs and into my room, shutting the door behind me.
My initial thoughts as I walked up the stairs was to pray for guidance on how to handle this situation during my time out. I wanted to be mad at my son, but there was something tugging at me and saying that wasn’t the way. But when I got to my room, I heard the silence and saw my comfy bed, I threw myself on my stack of pillows and closed my eyes. As I lay on my bed in silence and felt the anger diffuse, I started to relish the idea of my mommy time out and the peace it brought to my heart. I stayed in my room for 15 minutes and I felt great when I came downstairs. I had a clear picture of what to do and I made the decisions with a calm mind and no distractions.
Now, any time something happens with one of the kids that is out of the ordinary, I give myself a mommy time out to come up with a solution. My kids love it because our talk afterwards is much more productive than it was when we would talk “in the moment.” And I like it for that reason, also.
But I also enjoy the time for just me. Alone. In my room. No distractions. Why don’t kids love their time outs? It’s awesome getting sent to your room. I think I’m going to give myself mommy time outs for more than just thinking about consequences and solutions. Mommy time outs just help me refocus, and that’s a good thing. Isn’t that why we give our kids a time out, to help them re-focus? Yet they don’t seem to relish the time alone like we do.
Just yesterday I read a tweet by @RebeccaVerkerk of The Sierra Home Companion: “Some days I find it’s just easier if I just put myself in ‘time out.’ I don’t know why they hate it so much…I myself enjoy it :)” I smiled when I read her tweet and could totally relate. Yeah, her words pretty much summed it up for me.
Mommy time out is great for many reasons. If I’m putting on my “good mom” hat, I have to say that I love what it models for the kids … to calmly and rationally think through things before you make a decision. While I’m not thinking of consequences the whole time I’m in my room, I initially go to “time out” for that reason. I figure the time I spend flipping through a magazine while laying on my bed is a perk for mommy and something I’ll keep to myself.
Have you ever taken a mommy time out? Do you think if our kids see us taking them that they’ll look at time out differently?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/HeatherWebBio.jpg
[author_info]About the Author
Heather is the Prime Parents’ Club regular parenting and stepparenting contributor. She keeps busy as the Founder of CafeSmom, an online resource for stepmothers, where her passion is to inform, encourage, support and connect stepmoms. She is a married mom of six–four biological children and two stepchildren. Read more of her here on Prime Parents Club, or on CafeSmom. [/author_info]