Why A Mommy Time Out WIll Save Your Sanity

Take Charge on 02.06.12
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My husband and teenage son have been at each other's throats of late -- too much ego and ire and not enough common sense, I guess. Though their arguments are (thankfully) short, what they lack in length they more than make up for in intensity. And without fail, they both look to me to sort through it all.

A few weeks ago, I told them I was not wearing the black and white stripes anymore and that any sort of issue between them would have to be worked out by them. Now, as any parent knows, when you throw down the gauntlet like that you have to follow through. So when they started in this weekend, I left. Yes, I did and I took my daughter Casey with me. It was time for a mother-daughter trip anyway and this was as good a time as any to head out.

After booking a cheap hotel, we jumped in the car and headed into Manhattan. We hit up a sale at a favorite teen store, ate some street food, and then headed back to the hotel for our "girls only" slumber party. Things looked a lot better by the light of day the next morning, and we headed back home. I have no idea what the boys did this weekend, but I doubt they had as much fun as we did.

Some of you may think I'm running away from my problems and I guess, to some extent, you would be right. There's no question we, as a family, have some work to do on the communication front. But from a health perspective (mental and otherwise), this is about self-preservation. Obviously Casey and I are not going to be able to run into the city every time the elk lock horns. So I've decided that when they do, I'm putting myself in Mommy Time Out.

This is a very simple concept that even small children can understand, especially if they've experienced it themselves. Here's how it works: First, make it clear to those involved that this is not your problem and they will have to come up with a solution on their own. Then remove yourself from the situation. You don't have to go far, either;  I use my closet, which has seating for one (which also discourages visitors). I take my peppermint tea and a book in there and shut the door behind me. Make it clear that this is time for you and you are not to be bothered.

There's no harm in taking a moment for yourself to get grounded, centered and focused. It doesn't make you a bad mommy; to the contrary, I think it makes us better. Guess what else? When I emerge (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours later), the warring factions have worked out their differences and moved on.

So do you do when it gets to be too much? Do you give yourself a Mommy Time out?

Photo: Ally Mauro/Creative Commons

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