Mommy’s Time Out – A Reflection on Before, During and After

When our kids are not following directions, arguing and in general acting cranky – sometimes I use a time out to help them reflect on their bad behavior. Often On occasion I’ve noticed that quite possibly, I’ve been in need of a time out too…

The following (for better or worse) is based on actual events over the past few weeks.

~ Before ~

9:15 a.m. and STILL no sign of the babysitter. This was my last straw (and it was only 9:15 in the morning!).

Yep, the babysitter forgot that she was scheduled to come over.

How dare she? I thought.
Doesn’t she know that I NEED to work?!

Not only did the babysitter not show up, but she forgot to show up on the worst of days – a late start school day, when all three kids were home, with only mere days remaining before we left for a week long family vacation to visit my parents. (And – as I am sure you know – preparing both personally and professional for a family vacation is HARD, timely work!)

Really. I’m not joking. This happened.
To me.

And I subsequently freaked out.
(See last weeks post: Conversations with Myself)

I was tired, I was overwhelmed and I was ridiculously frustrated. And what is a stressed out, freaked out, not-enough-hours-in-my-day mom to do?*

a.) Yell at my husband. Vent to my husband.
b.) Cry.
c.) Give up and go play Wii Rock Band in the basement with my kids.
d.) All of the Above.

*Correct answer is in bold.

Except, the whole time I was supposedly playing with my children, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was accomplishing absolutely nothing, while also obsessively worrying about everything that I still had yet to complete as the drama that was my day continued to unfold.

I did managed to get everything done (barely) only to begin our trip unrelaxed and with a plane ride that didn’t land at our destination until 11:30 P.M.

The Beginning of the Plane Ride

Don’t let this picture fool you. Our 2-year-old did NOT sleep, did NOT stay one bit quiet and did NOT sit nicely for the flight. I promise.

(Okay, have I painted the “before picture” well enough yet? It was ugly folks…)

~ During ~

I was in definite need of a “mommy time out.”

A time out from my work. A time out from the stress (that ultimately I had created and allowed into my life). And some time to relearn how to play again doing …

A little bit of this…

Easter bunny and Disney

Visits with the Easter Bunny and one-on-on time with our older kids during a day at Disney World.

And a little bit of that…

Vacation ImagesEgg hunts, walks on the beach and fun in the sun.

And involving a whole lot of ice-cream.

You can't buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream. And that's kind of the same thing.

~ After ~

During the flight home (which departed at 6 A.M.) our 2-year-old decided that he did not want to go back to sleep. When we did finally arrive home we were ALL very tired. And by early afternoon, the kids got a second wind and were very full of energy.

Back to the same-old, same-old…

What’s a mom to do?

My first thought was that I probably needed to play a little catch-up.
Catch-up on work, catch-up on emails, catch-up on Facebook other important details.

Yet instead I decided to play a little…
with my kids.

  • Not worrying about the pending week ahead.
  • Not stressing about the exorbitant amount of grading I have coming up over the next week.
  • Not thinking about preparations for my other (exciting yet a little nerve wrecking!) upcoming trip.

Not thinking about anything, especially things I didn’t have control over.
Not thinking about anything except playing with my kids.

And it felt good. Because for the first time in a long time, I was again in my home doing something with my whole heart.

Sign: Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

I now realize afterwards, that I had been wrong during that dreadful day before – when the babysitter didn’t show. I could have gotten some really important things accomplished if I had just let myself break to play because play can be important work.

Sometimes we all need a time out.

Time out to re-prioritize and reflect on what’s truly important. Don’t you agree?

Leave a Comment: Do you ever look back and notice that there are days that you might have behaved nearly as bad as your own children?


This week I am linking up with Seven Clown Circus and Parenting by Dummies for their Wordful Wednesday, a link-up that is like “Wordless Wednesday,” only WITH words. 🙂 (It’s for those of us that can’t contain the chatter, but in a good way!)


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12 Responses to Mommy’s Time Out – A Reflection on Before, During and After

  1. Justin says:

    This is me every day, it seems 🙂 It’s HARD to be a working mom (part-time or otherwise).

    This is a very hard week for us (for me) – it’s only been two days, and I miss my kids horribly (not that I haven’t seen them at all, just not 24-7), and yet I LOVE to be productive and to be just me for a change. But I yell and I gripe and I complain and say the inevitable “Just give me a minute!!” (my poor, poor daughter).

    I hear ya, I feel ya – but it’s all very normal and natural, and you can’t learn if you never make mistakes.
    Justin recently posted..What I did (and did not) learn at the bar…

    • Kate says:

      I know. I know. Sometimes I just feel like I continue to make the same mistakes over and over though… with that being said, the mistakes made do seem to be fewer and farther between when it comes to learning to take a “mommy break.” Breaks (and ice cream???) are now often a necessity, not just a luxury 🙂

  2. I need a time out! I was not a nice person today & this was exactly what I needed to read. Thanks, Kate!
    Missy @ Wonder, Friend recently posted..Accidentally Sharing My Feelings

  3. Susi says:

    It seems we are all running out of steam. I feel like I’m barely getting anything done but I’ve been spending a lot of quality time with the kids…going swimming, playing, just hanging out and I tell myself, everything else can just wait … the kids are important and they need me. Of course, I don’t work so it’s a bit easier. It just seems like a busy time of year.
    Susi recently posted..Time to join the party…#UBP12

    • Kate says:

      That sounds like my summer… swimming, playing, hanging out. I NEED to do that more often.

      It’s funny, because work has “slowly” crept up on me. I used to consider myself more “stay-at-home-mom-ish” and then volunteering led to something paid, which lead to other opportunities (and of course I have always taught as an college adjunct, but lately I have seemed to pick up more classes.) Sometimes I look back longingly on those day – and then I think: Whatever! I was JUST as busy then! Just in a different way.

      It’s hard sometimes to juggle it all… I’ll admit. Spring IS busy!

  4. Yep – pretty sure this is going to be MY self talk the rest of this week and then next week while we’re having a MUCH needed vacation. Glad you had such a good time. 🙂

    Thanks for being my cheerleader the last week or so!
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..Spring Party Season – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

    • Kate F. says:

      You bet! Have SO much fun on your vacation. The weeks leading up to them are so hard – but worth it in the end I think!

  5. Luke says:

    The Sabbath is a command, not an option. Great reminder to take time just to be. I didn’t on my vacation… this weekend I will!
    Luke recently posted..Typology: Rational Mystics

    • Kate F. says:

      Even though the week following our vacation continues to be be crazy, I am handling all the “craziness” so much better because of my own self-inflicted time out. Go. Rest. Relax. It is so worth it!

  6. dumb mom says:

    Oh my goodness I need a vacation. I don’t even care if it’s poorly planned and shoddily executed at this point! The Disney pics look fun!
    dumb mom recently posted..Dumb Mom’s Guide to Blogging for Good.

    • Kate F. says:

      Disney was great! (Especially because we got to enjoy it with our older 2 and leave the 2-year-old with grandma and grandpa!) It is nearly 2 1/2 weeks later and I STILL feel relaxed from the vacation! I say, if you can, make it happen. Vacation was SO worth the struggle to get there!

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