Makeover At Mommy Time-Out

Hello to all of our Mommy Time-Outers!

Feli and I are excited to tell you that we will be changing things up a bit over here in the next few months.

Our blog articles will still have a tinge of our personal experiences of being a mom, but we will now be adding content that will help guide you through and support you in taking better care of yourself.

There are three specific areas we will be expanding upon: Cornerstone Content, Scientific Research and Professional Authority.

It’s one thing for you to know that WE know how difficult it is to be a Super Mom (impossible, actually). Now it’s time we share with you what we have learned, through trial and error and trial again.  A Step-By-Step guide, if you will, on taking and having a successful, weekly Mommy Time-Out.

 

There are so many obstacles and negative thinking, misconceptions and financial constraints, internal battles and external influences that keep us moms from taking care of ourselves on a regular basis.

Well, we want to start addressing these things head on, as well as some outright push back from moms and non-moms alike that don’t ‘get’ why we believe that taking a weekly Mommy Time-Out is SO important for the health and well-being of mom AND her family.

It’s a matter of education and awareness, of research and studies that support our assertions, of observations and comments from you the reader and the experts we will interview.

Then, to present all of this information to you in one place, taken together to create a community, a place where moms can go for guidance and support.

Some of the articles will include taking a look at some of the Mother Myths that are out there and the Mom Truths they overshadow, who benefits from Mommy taking a Time-Out (hint, it’s not just mommy!), and an Introductory Course on How and Why you should take a Mommy Time-Out.

Library Building

Over the next few months, will be building a library of materials for all of you to have FREE access to (you’ll just need to give us your email address – really, that’s it!) on the why’s, where’s and how’s of the successful Mommy Time-Out.

Interviews

IN ADDITION, we will be interviewing experts in the field of Family, Child and Individual Therapy and Psychology, as well as  medical doctors, all of whom support what we have been telling you over the last two years – the importance – nay, the NECESSITY – of mom taking care of herself first so she can better take care of those that depend on her.

Three Mother Myths That Are Slowly – But Surely – Hurting Mom

Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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“Find some time for yourself.” “Take a Mommy Time-Out.”  “You deserve some me-time.”  No matter how it’s said, when a mother hears it, taking time all to herself rings of pure fiction.

Of course, what mother wouldn’t agree to getting an hour-long massage, going to a movie with a friend or just taking a long, uninterrupted bath?  The thought is nice, really nice, but it is fleeting and as you might expect, interrupted by someone tapping on her leg or shoulder asking for time, money, attention or all of the above.

So, filled with guilt, anxiety and, dare I say, embarrassment at the thought of being so self-concerned, overwhelmed moms everywhere once again put themselves on the back-burner and deny themselves yet another opportunity to recharge, re-center and rediscover themselves.

Of course, this mindset isn’t anything overt.  Rather, it’s a quiet, general acceptance – based on a series of Mother Myths – that moms, in spite of themselves, should always look and be tired, stressed, harried, and always too busy to take care of themselves.  Otherwise, well, they’re just not doing their jobs as moms.

In other words, it isn’t for lack of desire of mom to take care of herself that’s keeping her from taking a Mommy Time-Out.  It’s the million and one reasons that appear out of nowhere that are the ultimate villains.

And they aren’t really reasons, as that implies “reasoning” and rational deduction.

Which is why we call these reasons, ‘Mother Myths’, because in our estimation they are based in legend; a legend handed down through the generations and supported by societal thinking.  They are an illusion that has been given substance, but once looked at closely, disperse into the smokescreens they are.

Which is what we are going to do here today.  We are going to pull back the curtain and take a closer look at three of these Mother Myths (there are more, believe me!) that are keeping moms from finding time for themselves.  See if any (or all) of them ring true for you.

Myth #1: More Important Than You 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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There is always something more important that has to be done.  Something else you should spend your money on.  Everything is more important than you.

This is the biggest Myth that needs unraveling, because if you don’t realize the impact your mental, physical and spiritual states have on your family, you will never even bother addressing the other myriad of Mother Myths that are out there.

By buying into this first Myth, you go into motherhood with this mantle of being Super Mom.  You believe that as Super Mom, you should be everything to everyone all the time, always putting your needs last.  But what ends up happening is that Super Mom crashes because, after all, she is only human.

And when mom crashes, everyone suffers.

That crash can be anything from going ballistic over spilled milk, to withdrawal and depression, to such total exhaustion and unclear thinking that you make a mistake that you can’t take back.

Everyone suffers because, let’s face it, you are the hub of your family, whether you want to be or not.  Everyone and everything does revolve around you: your children, your spouse or partner, your pets, your household, your career…the list goes on.

So if there is anyone that should be put first in the, “I must have my needs met” department, it is YOU.

Which is where having a consistent Mommy Time-Out comes into play.  Taking regular me-time is vital to combat what we consider a highly underrated epidemic of overwhelmed parenting that directly affects the well-being of every member of the family.

So the next time this thought creeps into your head – that there are more important things that need to be taken care of before you – stop and change that thinking right away.  Ironically, by putting yourself first, you are putting your family first.  Yes, you get the shiny new painted toes, or delicious scoop of ice cream, but when you return home refreshed, present and balanced, who also wins in the end?

Myth #2: All Time Is Quality Time 
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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You are robbing your children of quality time with you if you take a Time-Out.

This Myth is fueled by something that comes far too naturally to mothers – guilt.

Spending quality time with your children is probably one of the most important things you can do for and with them.  It is an opportunity for them to get the tools to grow into well-rounded, socialized adults.  It’s a chance for you to share all of your wisdom with them, tell them your stories, teach them lessons wrapped in fun, and an excellent occasion to get to know each other.

So why would you take what little time you have in your schedule and spend it on yourself and not them?  Goodness knows you don’t want to be that absentee parent who has someone else raise her children while she’s out getting a manicure or sunning herself poolside.  Neither do you want to miss any of those moments of their childhood, and all the possibilities that go with them.

So you dig in your tired, overworked, worn down heels and you give them some “quality” time.

Yet how is it “quality” when you are too tired to throw the ball or splash in the mud?  What benefits do your children get when you don’t hear their fabulously made-up stories or teen angst because you are so burned out and short-tempered that all you tell them is to “be quiet!”

How are you building a strong relationship with your children when you lack the focus and patience to sit for hours (literally) playing their games and getting to know them better?

The time with your children is “quality” when that time revolves exclusively around them and what they are saying and doing.  It’s quality when you are present and aware.  Quality time with your children requires energy, focus and patience.  And guess what?  You’ll have none of that if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Taking time for yourself allows you to regain all of these things and more.  That’s why having a Mommy Time-Out is so vital not only for your health and well-being, but that of your children as well.

Myth #3: Can’t Spare A Square
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you may recognize Elaine’s cry for help in the bathroom stall with no toilet paper and the woman next to her refusing to share what she had, claiming “I can’t spare a square!”  Needless to say, Elaine spent the rest of the episode wanting to know who this woman was.

Do you feel like that woman sometimes?  Yet another person is tugging on your shirt asking you if you could spare some time for them.  Yet unlike this woman, you say, “Okay” and before you know it you have given away all of your “squares” until you have none left for yourself.

But we aren’t talking about a potty break here.  If you’re not taking that specific time out, you need to read a whole different article!  I’m referring to those little squares that denote the days on your calendar.  Within those days are blocks breaking down every hour of every day.  Do you notice how every one of these blocks seem to have something in it?  Even if it’s not written down, you know it’s not free.  Your squares are time, and they are all taken.

So the mere suggestion of adding to that crazy schedule by blocking out some time for yourself can seem overwhelming – you can’t spare that square!  Yet we are telling you that you can and you should.

We go into a little more detail in our article 3 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Time For Yourself, but until you get over there, here’s a brief summary:

  • Stop saying “Yes” every time someone asks you for something – be it a ride to the store or to help host a party.  Sure, occasionally is fine, but stop being the Yes Woman that everyone counts on and eventually takes advantage of. Just say “No!”
  • Don’t be the Go-To parent or person in everyone’s life.  Delegate!
  • Give your kids a break – from you!  Drop them off at this weekend’s birthday party (only if you know and trust the parents there, of course.  And definitely ask them first, even offer to return the favor for the next party!)

Not only will you have more opportunity to take a consistent Time-Out, but by lightening your load you will feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

We’ve talked to hundreds of moms, read as many comments on various blog sites, seen interviews and experienced it ourselves first hand.  These three Mother Myths, among endless others out there, are at the root of our misguided rationale of putting ourselves consistently last.

Which is the thinking that needs to stop in our society, because if everyone is going to depend on mom, if we are going to be the proverbial center of everyone’s universe, then it is contradictory that we are not taken care of first and foremost.

Once you understand how vital a Mommy Time-Out is to your health and your family’s well being, it will become the priority it deserves to be.  Which means it will actually happen and it will no longer sound like the fiction you were led to believe it is.

 

 

Images:
*Image courtesy of sattva / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
**Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
***Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
****Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Time for Yourself

mage courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

mage courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the Mother Myths hanging out there is that we just don’t have the time in our crazy calendars to take care of ourselves.  When exactly are we supposed to sit for almost two hours while we get a mani/pedi?

Wait – go out at night with a girlfriend and let the rest of the family fend for themselves with a frozen pizza and popcorn?  Heaven forbid!  Besides, when will you get to do the laundry, go through coupons or organize that Tupperware cabinet you’ve been meaning to get to?

Well, we’ll discuss priorities in another post, but suffice to say, there is a nice, bright light at the end of your crowded tunnel.

First, however, before you read any further, you must do one important thing.

You need to have a paradigm shift in your thinking of who controls your calendar.  If you have given that control over to other people in your life, you must take it back – immediately. This is more of a mental exercise than anything, because unless you are in control of your time, these “3 Simple Things…” will become significantly more difficult.

So just close your eyes for a moment and take back control of your time and calendar.  It may be a bit of a tug-of-war at first, but know you are more powerful and take it back!  It’s okay, I’ll wait until you return…

Okay, ready?  Now that you are in possession of your time and calendar, these 3 Simple Things will help you to open up time on that calendar.

1. Just say “No”

Stop trying to be everything to everyone all the time.  When you limit your commitments, time will suddenly appear on your calendar that you never realized you had.

For example, don’t volunteer to host or co-host every friend’s party, neighborhood BBQ, or holiday family gathering.  The party may not be as fabulous as if you had planned it, but chances are good you will enjoy it more because you are the guest and not the host for the umpteenth time.

2. Delegate! 

Delegating your chores to your children and spouse is another way to start seeing daylight in your schedule.  Of course, the laundry won’t get folded just right and the dinner may not be as gourmet as if you did it (or maybe it will be!), but it will get done.

There is an added benefit to this as well, and that is the fact that you are teaching your children invaluable life skills.  We know of a mother whose two daughters are heading off to college in the fall and neither of them know how to cook, clean or do their own laundry.  Their mother is quite literally scared for them.  When we asked why she never taught them, she said what we have all said at least a dozen times ourselves, “I didn’t have the patience to teach them.  It was just easier and quicker if I did it.”  Well, that may be true, but now her children are not prepared to live on their own and she has lost years of opportunities to have some personal time.  It would have been a win-win situation.  Yet hindsight being what it is, all we can do is learn from her well-intentioned mistakes.  So delegate, delegate!

3. Go Away!

Don’t feel you have to stay for every play date, birthday party and family visit your child goes to.

Now don’t freak out, but we are here to tell you that, even though your kids haven’t seen you all week, they may still want to hang out and play with their friends on the weekend for a couple of hours.  Birthday parties and play dates are their opportunity to go crazy with their friends for a while.

And here is your perfect opportunity to sneak in a Mommy Time-Out.

If your children are old enough and you know and trust the other parents, ask if you could do a drop off/pick up for this party or play date and you will chaperone the next.  Chances are real good the other parents will take you up on the offer.

Play dates and parties not on your schedule?  How about a couple of hours to visit with grandma or auntie?  What a great opportunity to bond with other family members.  It’s only two hours out of a week, and again, the benefits you and your children gain far outweigh the alternative.

The Impossible Becomes Possible!

Opening up time in your schedule is not impossible; you just need to remember that you have more control over those blocks of time than you think.

You’ll also find that it will become easier with each “Me-Time” you schedule, because not only are you training yourself, you are training everyone else in your life.  Setting a good example of being in control of your time and your sanity will impress your children, spouse and friends alike.

More importantly, by lightening your load you will you have more opportunity to take a consistent Time-Out, and as a result you will inevitably feel less stressed and overwhelmed.

My Children’s Point B

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I guess as a Mom I sometimes lose perspective of the importance I hold for those in my life, so when Seth Godin sent out a link to Sarah Kay’s “If I Should Have A Daughter…”, in remembrance of his mother, I was moved.

And when I heard Sarah Kay recite her poem, (which is relevant to both daughters and sons, as evidenced by Seth) tears came to my eyes.

I keep forgetting it’s Mother’s Day this weekend, probably because I have an unconscious desire to put off any attention on myself – it’s felt weird ever since I had my kids.  I guess I am living proof of what Jessica Lang once said:

The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness.  When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to you children.

So enjoy Sarah’s poem, and know your place in the universe of your children, your spouse and everyone else in your life.

Then take your Mommy Time-Out and KNOW that not only is it important for your health and the health of your family, but it is JUSTIFIED.

We need you, Mom!  We need you healthy and happy and here for a loooong time to be our Point B!  Love, Your Family.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

 

 

Let’s Conspire To Inspire

mage courtesy of ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

mage courtesy of ponsulak / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What – or who – motivates you to take time for yourself?  We’ve discussed getting behind the idea of taking time for yourself.  Once you understand the importance of taking a Mommy Time-Out and agreeing to make it a priority in your life, you then have to take that first step to make the Time-Out happen.

Proper motivation – or inspiration – will help you take that first step, so what is yours?  Is it your children?  Or maybe your sanity?  Your health?  Your overall happiness?  All of these are excellent sources of inspiration.  If you stop long enough to figure out what yours is, you are all the more likely to take your MTO.

Your inspiration is the life saver you throw to yourself when you are drowning in guilt.  It is your strength to say “no” to other things so you have time on your schedule for your me-time.  Your inspiration is your war cry when you forget and don’t believe you need or should take time for yourself.  Your inspiration will get you through to the other side, where you are actually on your MTO, reconnecting with yourself, de-stressing, and re-centering.

Which one fits you?  Is it one more than the others? Or all?  Maybe it depends on what is going on in your life at the time, it changes as things around you change. Or maybe it is one that isn’t listed?

Your inspiration. Let’s discover it together.