“But I have a headache from all these words bouncing around in my head, so I couldn’t do my schoolwork!” That was the response from my seven year old last week when I asked why her story was not written yet. At the time, it seemed like a clever excuse, but now it sounds more like a perfectly reasonable argument. After all, I’ve been staring at a blank screen now for fifteen minutes while words are “bouncing around” in my own head and I can’t seem to make them make sense. What is typically very easy for me suddenly is nearly impossible. Since I never have a lack of things to say, I’m certain I’m long overdue for a mommy-time-out.
For some reason, we moms think it’s selfish when we take fifteen minutes to drink a cup of coffee and read a magazine or take a much needed nap. We even say we’re “sneaking in a break” or “stealing a nap”, but time-outs are not a selfish way to spend our time. Trust me, everyone in my house (and community) benefits when I take a break. As a matter of fact, evidence shows that taking regular breaks actually boosts creativity and productivity, two things I’m in short supply of right now.
Whether for you or your little ones, time-outs are simply a way to settle the mind and the body. It’s a chance to take a step back, breathe deeply, and recharge physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. That’s exactly what I intend to do (as soon as I chat with you). I’m tired. I’ve had a rough week that ended with an even rougher weekend. I’m hormonal (chocolate is not helping), I have a headache that caffiene wouldn’t touch, a cold sore up my nose (REALLY!), a friend in the hospital, and a to-do list that looks the same right now as it did when I woke up fifteen hours ago.
For me, a time-out means I’m much less likely when my husband asks about my day to give “that look” and say through clenched teeth, “How do you think my day was!” It means that my children are more likely to hear me laugh again at the joke I’ve heard for the 187th time. And it means I won’t terrify the pizza delivery boy when he comes with two cheese pizzas after I burn the stir-fry because the phone rang at the same time the cup of juice spilled down the heater vent and the toilet overflowed–and yes, that has really happened. Taking regular breaks puts everything into perspective which means I realize that my husband’s not the enemy, my children aren’t trying to annoy me, and the pizza boy really did get here as quickly as he could.
So when the mere sound of the word, “Mommmmmm” makes you cringe, it’s time to kick your feet up, read a good blog post (hint, hint), or just lock the bathroom door for five minutes. You’ll find in the end, you’ll have more energy and more patience, and find a great deal more joy in all areas of your life.
Now, I’m long overdue for a cup of green tea. Thanks for spending your time-out with me.