Too Stressed to Plan Your Mommy Time-Out?

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti /

The thought of me planning my MTO this week was making me feel stressed because it was yet another thing I needed to plan.

Are you feeling this way now?

Well, I am happy to tell you there is hope!

I did have my MTO this week, but I didn’t plan it like the other MTO’S I have had.

In the past, after I drop the girls off at school I run my errands, come home and take care of the house chores. Well, not this time, I told myself!

This time, I decided that after dropping off the kids, instead of running errands or going grocery shopping I was going to come home and watch a couple of movies and take a long nap.

Yes, there were dirty dishes to be washed, laundry to be done and the house to be cleaned, but I didn’t care, it would eventually get done!

I was able to overcome the guilt of not doing my house chores by telling myself that my dirty home is not going to control me. So, I got myself a cup of coffee, made myself an omelette and put on the movie “Monster-In-Law”.  I tried seeing it the other day, but I was interrupted too many times, so finally I got to see it from beginning to end. That movie had me laughing so hard! I hope I never become a mother-in-law like that when my children decide to get married!

Then I went upstairs and took a two hour nap. I woke up feeling refreshed and wonderful.

My MTO was planned spontaneously which was awesome because very little planning had to be done.

So if you don’t have time to plan your MTO, just look for those moments when you can take it in the moment. And yes, it is possible! I’m living proof of that!  You just have to decide what is more important at any given time.

I was good to myself because I knew if I did not take care of myself, my family would suffer in the long run.

So, if you haven’t planned your MTO this week, don’t stress out, just do it when you can! But DO take care of you before you start snapping at your love ones!

Can I Really Be A Good Mom to My Teen?

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Image courtesy of Vlado /

I have been married now for 3 months to my second husband, and we are now a blended family with five children. Three of the five live with us, my two daughters (ages 6 and 9) and my step-daughter, who is a teen, and who, of course, knows it all.

She and I got along pretty good in the beginning, when Daniel and I were dating.  Then, when my daughters and I moved in, we started disagreeing about, it seemed, everything.  She became snippy many times so I gave it back to her. (I know, who is really the adult here?)

We went on like this for 2 months, and it was emotionally difficult and draining. I felt like a boxer hit one too many times. I kept telling myself I didn’t sign up to raise a teen that was going to be disrespectful and I didn’t want the responsibility. Why me? Then my good friend, Colleen, made me see that it was not about me. She reminded me that I was a teen at one time, and to think about the emotional roller coaster that it is being a teenager.  She also pointed out that I had moved in and had taken over her house and father. I was taking her dad’s attention. Now my stepdaughter had to share him with me and my two daughters.

I was not considering my step-daughter’s feelings. I disliked Colleen for sharing what I didn’t want to hear even though I knew she was right. She allowed me to see things from a different perspective and to see that I need to be a good role model for my stepdaughter.

Just like Daniel took up the responsibility of taking care of my daughters, I needed to do that for his children. It was a hard pill to swallow because I knew it was going to take work. I stopped thinking about me and gave 100% to my stepdaughter. I have also apologized and we have had heart-to-heart talks about what we were both feeling and how we can work on our relationship.

I may not be the coolest step-mom, know much about current music or the latest fashion, but I do know that being a teen is part of growing up. I know when my stepdaughter is older we will have good laughs and talk about the past and how immature we were. I am now committed to loving, teaching and allowing her to be who she is without trying to change her. She is my responsibility and I need to treat her as my own daughter and not a ‘friend’ because I have been entrusted to teach and mold her to be a respectable young woman.

I must say through all the stress and challenges, I was not able to consistently take my weekly Mommy Time-Outs, especially recently.  Now I am back on track and taking care of me regularly. I want to be a good example to my children on how to take care of me.  I also am sure it would have been a lot less stressful had I made the time for my MTO, with some time to myself to think through things, find peace and strength to face my challenges.  I still got through it, but I imagine it would have been a bit less stressful had I given myself my regular MTOs.

What challenges have stopped you from taking your MTO’s?  If you have not been consistent, let it go and start today!

A Mom’s Confession

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Spring break for my daughters was last week and they went to go visit their father. I had a whole week to myself!  The thought of not seeing them for a whole week made me very sad, yet there was a part of me that couldn’t wait to have a LOT of me-time to do as I pleased (well, more than usual!)

But in the weeks leading up to Spring Break, my old tapes kicked in, and, thinking I wouldn’t know what to do with all this extra time on my hands, I actually picked up an extra shift at work!  Crazy!

Yet even with my extra work hours, I STILL had more time to myself than I thought I could handle – boy was I wrong!

As much as I missed them (and I did!) I have to confess I really enjoyed my time to myself. Every day was a Mommy Time-Out for me. On Monday and Tuesday I worked and both days I came home and took bubble baths. Wednesday I went shopping at the mall and had lunch with my 16 year-old step daughter. We had great quality time and bonded as we moved in and out of the stores at our pace. That night my husband and I went on a romantic date.

On Thursday I went to Santa Monica beach with my husband and step-children. We spent most of our time on the beach listening to the waves and walked to Venice beach. We went to dinner to a really good seafood restaurant and drove home that night.

On Friday and Saturday I worked, came home, watched a movie and was able to go to bed earlier than usual. Sunday rolled around and it was time to pick up my daughters from their father.

I have to be honest, I was so used to being alone for a whole week that I had to do some adjusting all over again.  Yet as much as I loved my time alone, I was so glad to have them back home, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to refuel myself so that I could be a more present mom for them.

How was your Spring Break with your children? Were you able to squeeze in an MTO?  If not, what are your plans for this week?

The Dust Has Finally Settled

I mentioned in the past that I am a newly wed. I’ve been married almost 2 months now. I came into the marriage with two girls and my husband, Daniel, has two children. We became a blended family.

I have to admit that transition has been great because the children were around each other while Daniel and I were dating.  In the span of two months we got married, went on our honeymoon, got through the holidays, moved in to Daniel’s place and painted four rooms from the previous place I was living.  We also opened a restaurant and managed to spend quality time with our children, friends and family.

Image courtesy of Jomphong /

Image courtesy of Jomphong /

I look back at these months and can honestly say that, despite the craziness, I have enjoyed everything we have accomplished. We have had a lot of support from our friends and family. Our children are all awesome and are well behaved and respectful, that has been a plus.

I am not super mom so I would be lying if I told you everything went smoothly.  I still have a few boxes in the garage from my move into my new home.  My new home is about 80% organized and I need to tie up a few loose ends with a few others things. We did hit some other obstacles but we were able to overcome them by accepting that some things are just out of our control. You do what you can and by stressing or worrying about it doesn’t change the situation.  All in all, I am so grateful the madness has finally settled down.

The biggest reason I am so ‘zen’ about all of it is that at the beginning of every week, as I map out my schedule, I make sure my Mommy Time-Out is on my planner. I have made it a point to take my Mommy Time-Out at least once a week. One week I went to a coffee shop and read a book about blended families, another week I had lunch with a close friend, a few days later I called my best friend in LA and talked for an hour. The whole time we talked, laughed and shared our struggles.  I love all my girlfriends, they give me a good balance because they also have the same struggles I do.

I made sure I took care of myself every week so that I was sane for all my loved ones.

I can’t complain about anything because I feel so blessed that I have received so much.  I count my blessing and I am grateful for all the challenges and opportunities I have been given to grow. My favorite quote sums it up for me:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human adventure.”  - Pierre Telihard de Chardi.

How are you planning your week? Are you making sure your Mommy Time- Out is penciled in your planner?


My MTO and the Balisage Bistro Grand Opening

I am going to start off with a shameless plug, because I am both a proud wife AND it will help you understand why I am once again convinced that Mommy Time-Outs are THE most important thing a mom can do for herself and her family!  Here’s why -

Balisage Bistro in Palm Springs, CA

Balisage Bistro in Palm Springs, CA

I am happy to say my husband is so awesome. He has been a chef for 25 years and two weeks ago he has been fortunate enough to open his own restaurant – Balisage Bistro in Palm Springs, CA.

Talk about our lives being crazy and stressful. Since the opening of the restaurant has been in the works, I have stepped in where Daniel used to help me at home.  I work full-time in a hospital, maintain the home and drive our three children to and from school. I have also jumped in to help Daniel with all the administrative duties of the restaurant, so needless to say, the last few weeks have been a challenge.

However, I did manage to get my Mommy Time-Out in yesterday. After another stressful week, I was able to take a long, candlelit bubble bath. It was very relaxing, emerging my so exhausted body into the warm water.

It was really difficult to relax at the beginning because my brain would not stop thinking of all that I still needed to accomplish this week and the things planned the following day.  Eventually, I was able to turn my brain off and allow myself to enjoy my “Mommy Time-Out”.

After about an hour sitting in such a peaceful environment, I started to fall asleep, so I knew it was time to get out and go to bed. The flame of the candle in the bath put me in such a relaxed state that I lit a candle in my bedroom before going to bed.

Before I knew it, the sun was shining bright in my window – it was time to get up and face the day. However, this morning I woke up rested and ready to take on the world. I know myself enough to know that if I don’t get the rest and Mommy Time-Outs I need I am not a pleasant person to be around, you can ask my husband and children. I need to refuel my mind, body and soul. I truly believe and will stick to my motto “If mommy is not happy, nobody is happy”!

How was your week and did you have a Time-Out for yourself?