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?

Mad Support for Your Mommy Time-Out

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at

“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!