About Colleen Phillips

I'm a writer working full-time as a stay-at-home mom to my three girls. I love developing and keeping the Mommy Time-Out movement going and writing scripts and novels with my husband. Oh yeah, and fit my MTO in there somewhere! :)

Mad Support for Your Mommy Time-Out

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“It Takes A Village”, “No Man (or Woman!) Is An Island”, and my personal favorite “Together We Achieve That Which No One Can Achieve Alone.”

These are all slogans that emphasize the reality of raising children – we all, every one of us, need other people if we are going to have consistent, quality Mommy Time-Outs so that we can be better parents to our children.

Can you make things happen by yourself?  Of course you can. You do it all the time.  And single parents out there know all too well what it means to “go it alone.”  But I bet even they have a babysitter’s number handy, have at least one child registered at a daycare or community group, or have a family member waiting in the wings, ready to help watch the kids while mom or dad is at work.

In other words, while we can definitely get things done by ourselves, we can get a LOT more done, and be more effective, when we have a support group around us.

And the great thing about support groups is that they go both ways.  Yes, the other parents/friends/family are there for you, but guess what? You are also there for them.

Now, I know that to some of you this may seem like a big commitment, but surprisingly it isn’t, especially if the person(s) supporting you have kids of their own.  When I started trading kid-watching time with other parents, I found it was actually just as easy – if not easier – than when it was just my own children I was watching.  Why?  Simply put, automatic playdate!  Their kids kept my kids busy, they all wore each other out, and I was able to have a bit of peace and quiet while they played in the next room.

What if they don’t have children of their own to trade time with?  Often, believe it or not, just time with your kids is payment enough for some – like grandma, aka “Oma” in our house.  Other times I have given back by watching a friend’s dog while she was out of town, or simply just paid my single, financially struggling friends some money.  Regardless of who I reciprocated with, I always felt better knowing they were getting something they really needed.

I think it goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway, that whomever you decide to ask to watch your kids, make sure it is someone who has proven to you time and again they can be trusted around children, are responsible, and are healthy enough to manage your child(ren) while you are away.

So make a list of all the people in your life that you trust to watch your children, give them a call, and start setting up a support group with this simple narrative: “Hey, you want to get some time (or money) for yourself? Let’s help each other out!”  Tell them your idea of trading “playdates” or babysitting for x, and then start scheduling.

We can raise our children by ourselves, yes, but having a trusted support group to help share the burden will go a long way in making you a more balanced, effective, patient and rested parent because that support group will help you take your much-needed, well-deserved Mommy Time-Outs.  Just as important, you will give to your friends and family something they really need, whether it’s money, time with your kids, or an overdue “me-time”.

Do you have a support group already in place? How did that happen?  If not, what obstacles are challenging you to be a part of one?  We want to hear from you!

Love Yourself Like You Love Your Children

Our apologies – our weekly post is a day late. Technical problems on our end. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past!

 

A love letter from my oldest! :)

A love letter from my oldest! :)

Imagine how much easier taking regular Mommy Time-Outs would be if we loved ourselves like we love our children: unconditionally, with selfless attention, and sometimes even a decent amount of patience!

For example, I can work all day long cleaning, doing laundry, playing with them, playing taxi driver, and at the end of the day, when I can finally put my feet up, it is inevitable that one, or all three, will pipe up and ask me for something – a snack, help with something, or just plain conversation (to be clear, this is not a scheduled Time-Out I am taking, just end of the day winding down!).  Sometimes, yes, I get short with them and tell them mommy needs some time to herself, which inevitable leads to either pouting or all-out crying.  Other times, however, I stop having my down time, get up and shuffle about the house getting them what they need/want.

Now, if I can only treat myself regularly with the same amount of love and thoughtfulness as I treat my children! My Time-Outs would be second nature to me!

So let’s all make a goal to, at least one time each week, love ourselves with the same determination and wholeheartedness that we love our children and make sure we take our much needed – and deserved – Mommy Time-Out!

Let us know how well you do, we love to hear from you!

What IS A Mommy Time-Out?

Do what you ENJOY doing on your MTO

Ahhh, time away from the kids!  What a great time to catch up on that pile of laundry, or go to Costco and think through carefully what you are buying and how much you are spending.  Or better yet, just sit and make your grocery list and go through your coupons uninterrupted.

Except NONE of that qualifies as a legitimate Mommy Time-Out!

A Mommy Time-Out is exactly that – time out from all the household-related chores: shopping, doctor appointments, cleaning, laundry, dusting, and so on.  Your test measurement? If it isn’t selfish, it doesn’t count.  That’s right, I said ‘selfish’.  As moms, that’s a curse word far worse than any sailor could ever say, but it’s necessary if you are going to have an effective Mommy Time-Out.

Think back to those things you loved to do before you became a mom and set your sights on doing them.  Take yourself to a movie and buy a large butter popcorn and drink; go to a concert; listen to live music at a local bar.  Take a two hour nap.

And they don’t happen just once, or in a vacuum.  It’s a goal to have a Mommy Time-Out at least once a week.  That may seem like a lot to you right now, so ease into it.  Start with once a month, then twice a month, and so on.  It takes several consistent Time-Outs to notice a difference in your demeanor, patience, and overall sanity.

A true Mommy Time-Out has everything to do with you and nothing to do with the household.  You will always have household errands and chores, so leave them until tomorrow.  Today, just take care of yourself.

Go from Crazy To Lazy

 

Enjoy being lazy!A lot of moms we’ve talked with have a knee-jerk reaction to the thought of taking time for herself:

Who, me take a Time-Out?  What would I even do?  Exactly when am I supposed to take a Time-Out with my crazy schedule?   Where would I even go?  Why is it so important for me to take time for myself every week?

Even after having all the answers to these questions, the overall question of HOW do I make a Mommy Time-Out happen, still lingers.

There are schedules to keep and other people’s needs to be met.  There’s a rhythm – a pattern – to your daily life.  Adding another weekly “thing” feels like you’d be throwing a wrench into a finely tuned piece of machinery.

But your not.  Really, you need to see it as adding oil to that awesome machine you’ve got running.

So HOW do you make a Mommy Time-Out happen?  Like all great endeavors, one step at a time.  And here they are, briefly summarized, to get you going on the path to personal time:

Lighten Your Load - don’t be afraid to tell people “No” when they ask for your time.  And don’t over-volunteer, either.  It’s great to be involved in the PTO, neighborhood watch and bake sales, or hosting family and friend celebrations, but you don’t have to be the go-to person each and every time.  The same goes with chores and errands around the house.  Delegate to your spouse and children (if they are old enough/capable enough) so you aren’t the only one doing the laundry, dishes and dusting.  You’ll be teaching your children some great life skills and opening up your schedule for some well-deserved me-time!

Work backwards - what would you LOVE to do for yourself this week?  Once you know what that is, you will know how much time you need and what day you can do it so when you call your trusted sitter you know exactly what to ask for.  You will also know what ‘supplies’ you need to bring/purchase (open-toe sandals, paint brushes, candy).  Finally, it will give you something to look forward to as you go through your hectic week.

Ask for help - if it’s another mom at the birthday party or playdate, or a family or friend that you trust to watch your children for a couple hours, pick up the phone and ask.  Offer to do the same for them.  That way you won’t feel bad for asking and two moms instead of one will get her Time-Out in!

TAKE your Time-Out!  - Don’t wait for someone else to offer to make it happen for you, or suggest it.  Believe me, it is rare to have someone in your life actually suggest you leave for two hours.  And when you say you are going to disappear for two hours?  Watch the quiet panic ensue.  Don’t let that stop you, though.  Take the Time-Out and know it’s as much for them as it is for you.

Be part of a Mommy Time-Out support group - whether formal or informal. On line or in person.  Just talk to other moms and make a pact with each other that you will each make sure the other will have a Time-Out at least once a week.

Download the Free Forms on our website - to help you stay organized.  Our goal is to do as much of the work for you as possible so you can concentrate on having a great Time-Out!

These steps should get you started.  And remember, whenever you feel like you can’t be bothered with making time for yourself, look at your precious babies and remind yourself why you have to do it.

Loved Myself

Kellie and Julie enjoying the facial!

Kellie and Julie enjoying the facial!

On Saturday I hosted a Mommy Time-Out/Love Yourself Spa where I invited all my mom friends, as well as my own mom, and we got pampered for almost two hours byMelissa McKinnon and her amazing team, Sara and Jessica, and their Mobile Spa!

It was both relaxing and refreshing! These ladies were SO much fun and attentive to our needs and comfort. What I think I love more than anything is that they, too, are moms and wives who want more for their families!

They tested our skin first to see who had sensitive skin and who didn’t.  Then they put a warm neck wrap on us – LOVED IT!  We then went through the steps of doing a facial on half of our face so we could see the results – it was very noticeable!  We eventually moved into the family room where we had our lips and feet pampered and our scalps massaged – ahhh!Relaxing at the Spa!

Melissa then gave us all an opportunity to buy the product she used, and as the hostess I got 50% off of some things, took full advantage, and spent $100 on myself!  I would definitely recommend them (they are based here in Austin, TX) should you ever want to get pampered!

Now I can’t remember the last time I spent $100 on just me, which is one of the reasons I did it.  Normally, I don’t have that kind of money, but between pay day and tax return, I decided in the grand scheme of things, and since I rarely do it, I was going to treat myself!

Yes, there was a bit of guilt nagging at me in the back of my mind, but I reminded myself what we tell all of you – sometimes you just need to spend some money on yourself toward the greater good. Every product I bought I will use, and what I got for free definitely offset it (I basically got almost $400 worth of product for $100!).

This is the first time I have hosted something like this, and I realize now that it’s a great opportunity for us as moms to 1)pamper ourselves, 2) have some quality time with friends (and our moms!), and 3) get some real cool things that we can use for and on ourselves for free or less than what we would normally pay.

A couple of my mom friends even urged me to host again every season – Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter!  I told them that was a GREAT idea, and if they want to play Hostess for the discounts and use my place, I was all for it!  We moms gotta look out for each other!

Is this a normal Mommy Time-Out for me, where I spend $100 on myself, kick my hubby & kids out of the house for 3 hours, and get pampered?  Ha! No, which is all the more reason why I am glad I did it!

I guess what I am trying to say to you is this: while every MTO doesn’t have to be about spending money or organizing an event – sometimes it’s nice to do just that. Once or twice a year?  You deserve it, and so do your mom friends! Not to mention YOUR mom!

Have a fabulous week and a relaxing Mommy Time-Out!