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I’m starting this post with a letter to my son explaining all the reasons why mommy really needs a timeout.
It’s not you, it’s me. I’m overwhelmed by the mess in the living room, Daniel Tiger on the TV, and the endless amounts of energy you have.
Energy you should have and use. Energy and excitement I wish I had right now. But I don’t.
Mommy is tired, overwhelmed, sorry that I need this break. So I need to find a way to stop time for the next 10 minutes so mommy can have a breather.
You see because mommy doesn’t want to miss a single moment of your happy, rambunctious self but mommy really just needs a minute.
I need a minute to not think about the dishes in the sink, what I’m going to serve for dinner, a minute to calm down from work, a minute to breathe and have silence.
I need a minute to be just as excited about life as you are. A minute to embrace the kid in me and forget about the responsibilities and just enjoy it.
Because, I’m only going to have you like this for a little while before you grow up. Before you lock yourself away to play video games. Before you become interested in relationships. Before you move on, away from me and all I have are the memories of this day.
So let’s stop time for just a few minutes so mommy can breathe and come back from it all. So mommy can realize the dishes can wait. Because I need a moment to just stop and collect myself and come back to enjoy the rest of this day.
I have wanted to write this letter so many times. So often I feel overwhelmed by it all that I just need a moment to myself. This doesn’t make me a bad mom.
Mommy timeouts are something my mother actually taught me. Kids are naturally energetic and excited about everything. So when I was just being obnoxious my mom would say, I’m going on time out.
Mommy timeouts are about recognizing that your child is not the actual cause of your frustrations. Then moving to a place where you can work through those feelings. They are a way for you to not take your frustration out on your kid.
Frustration In Motherhood Is Common
We’ve all been there. Dinner was bubbling over on the stove, while your hands and arms are elbow deep in sudsy water, just as your kid spills juice all over the floor.
Spilled juice happens and it’s something we expect in parenthood. In that moment though, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and you yell. You didn’t mean to yell at your kid, you were yelling out of frustration, but your kid doesn’t know that and you know your kid doesn’t know that. Now you feel guilty.
Recognizing frustration in our lives and calming ourselves before that frustration turns into yelling is an important step to being a calmer and happier mom.
Recognizing Building Frustrations
What I didn’t talk about in our spilled juice story is everything that happened before that. At work your boss decided to jump down your throat over a mistake that your coworker actually made. The fast food joint got your order wrong for lunch. Finally, you had an unusual amount of traffic coming home today and was late picking your child up from daycare.
By the time you get home your patience for holding in your frustrations was completely gone. But just like every other “good mom” out there you got started on cleaning up the house and making dinner.
Recognizing your frustration builders and coping with them before anything else frustrating happens is essential to keeping your cool in stressful situations.
If you had a frustrating or stressful experience before arriving home from work you need to take a mommy time out at that moment. Deal with your frustration from work in a healthy way by learning how you can address these situations in the future.
Speak up for yourself when you boss tries blaming you for something you didn’t do. Be more understanding of mistakes that happen during busy lunch rushes in fast food places. When stuck in traffic turn the radio up and car dance and sing it out, while still watching the road.
Handling stressful situations as they pop up in a healthy or productive manner will make your whole day feel less stressful and lead to a happier evening routine.
Mommy Time Out Ideas
Once you recognize that you need a mommy time out go ahead and take it. Set a quick timer on your phone for 5-20 minutes. Then pick something that will help you to relieve your stress.
Dance It Out
I’m a big believer in the dance it out. This is a great one for a 5 minute pick me up if you are running short on time.
Physical activity releases endorphins which make you happy. Happy people don’t just yell at their kids. I still love Elle Woods and apply her lessons in my life.
More than just getting physically active the act of listening to music for a song or two can actually completely drown out the negative thoughts that are flooding your head. Especially if that song ignites a powerful positive emotion in you.
So if you need to listen to Beyonce or Lizzo to lift your mood and make you feel strong and powerful after a demoralizing day, do it.
Write It Out
Take 10 minutes or so to write your day down. What frustrates you, how you responded, how you wish you responded, and what you can do to solve a particular situation or how you can react if it happens again.
This is a fantastic way to work through frustrations and grow to not let them frustrate you so much in the future. Having a plan of action for dealing with the stressful moments in your life can give you more confidence in the future.
Meditate It Out
Close the door and lay down on your bed. Just embrace the silence for a few minutes. Use this time to meditate on the positive things that happened today.
Your kid gave you the biggest hug and it warms your heart. You finished that project at work. Maybe you are having a really great hair day. Whatever positive thing happened that’s what you want to focus on.
After about 5 minutes of focusing on that positive thing spend the next 5 minutes being grateful. What are all the things you are grateful for in your life. Spending time focused on what you are grateful for helps to boost your mood and make you happier.
Finally, in the next 5 minutes you are going to focus on a big dream. Focus on something you really want to happen, imagine a year from now how your life will look if your dream happens. Giving yourself time to dream actually helps to decrease feelings of anxiety and stress.
After The Mommy Time Out
When the time out is complete go give your kid or kids a big hug. Kiss them on the top of their heads. Then go and ask your husband to give you a long hug, at least 3-5 minutes.
The act of physical affection has been proven to improve your happiness levels. This is not just good for you, it’s also good for your husband and your kids.
At this point make the decision to either cook the dinner you planned or to do something fun like sandwiches or take out for dinner. Making the rest of your daily tasks easier or saying it’s good enough is a good way to end a stressful day.
Perfection Is Not Necessary
I used to be a bit of a perfectionist in a couple of different ways. While housekeeping has never needed to be perfect for me I took heavy pride in my work and always strived to be perfect. I stopped going after perfect because it’s too demanding.
The fact is perfect equals stress. Making things good enough, or making good enough decisions, actually help to stop stress in its tracks and increase happiness.
Good enough is not a bad thing because it allows you to do less which actually means you are less stressed. It doesn’t mean you’re doing the bare minimum, unless bare minimum is your good enough, in which case is fine too. It just means you are doing less stress inducing activities.
Take Your Mommy Time Out
I know we don’t want to miss any moment of the precious time we have with our kids. But, if you are not taking time to right your attitude in dealing with your family, it’s not going to be a precious moment.
As moms we have to understand the importance of taking time for ourselves so that we can be better for our families. So take that mommy timeout and get some time to right your attitude so you can have more precious moments with your family.
Do you take mommy time outs? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite parenting boards.
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