A tragedy can immobilize us, frighten us, redefine us, and then, as in our case, inspire us.
After watching an episode on Oprah in 2008 in which an overwhelmed mother had accidentally left her child in the car with fatal results, Feli’s life changed, as did her focus.
Feli, herself a mother of two small children, was redefined, because she felt she could so easily have been that mother on any given day. You see, Feli had had her own close calls with her children, too. In 2004, Feli’s first daughter, Sofia, was born. Feli had gone to the doctor for her six week appointment. She was so sleep deprived from nursing every 3-4 hours. When she arrived at the doctor’s office, the ladies in the office took the baby out of the car seat and Feli went in to see the doctor. By the time she was out, the baby had been returned to her car seat with a blanket covering her body. Feli drove home on the freeway for about 20 miles. When Feli took her daughter out of the car seat, it was only then that she realized she had not been snapped in. Feli felt like the worst mother in the world and could not believe she allowed this to happen.
After seeing Brenda Slaby’s story, Feli was immobilized with sadness, her heart going out to this mother – and all mothers – that have experienced this type of trauma in their lives because of the same circumstances – being overwhelmed. She was frightened, wondering how many more women feel this way and struggle to find a balance in their lives, or maybe never do. And again, she knew that could have been her on any one of her overwhelmed days.
And then she was inspired.
She wanted to write a book, a simple, photo-driven book that would give us mothers ideas, encourage us to act on them and, ultimately, give ourselves permission to finally take a Time-Out so we could find balance in our lives; so we could be more focused and energized around our children. So we could be present.
She called her sister-in-law Kelley, a gifted amateur photographer and mother as well, who agreed to shoot the photos. Then she called me, Colleen, also a mother of three small children (one a newborn!), and told me what she wanted to do, and what inspired her, and asked if I would put her vision into words.
I did, because I, too, had had my own close calls with my girls. I remember one time being so upset and distracted by something my older daughter had done in the store that I forgot to strap in my infant and drove almost 5 miles only to find out when I got home of my serious mistake. To this day my oldest reminds me of that. And more than once I have forgotten as I was driving if I had a child with me, that I had to look behind me to see. It got to the point that I now habitually look at their seats every time I get out of the car.
Did I think there was a need for this book and movement? Absolutely! Did I think it was possible to make a regular Mommy Time-Out happen? No, not in the beginning, but as time went on and as I wrote and researched for the book, I realized not only how necessary it was to have a regular Mommy Time-Out, but that it can be done, with a little bit of organization and a lot of support. And it was all going to begin with this book: “Mommy Time-Out Means Mommy Can…”.
Now, four years later, this amazing book has evolved from a print-only book, to an e-book, to a blog site and now a movement that we invite each of you to join in building by sharing your thoughts and experiences about your own Time-Outs and challenges in taking them.
We have created this blog site, as well as a Facebook FanPage, with one goal in mind – to fill these digital community centers with mothers like you, challenged to take care of yourselves after everyone else has been taken care of (is there really anything left by then?) and encourage, remind and help you to take a regular Mommy Time-Out (MTO) so you can be more centered, balanced, relaxed and rejuvenated to tackle, and actually enjoy, the day-to-day challenges of being a mother.
By its very nature, a tragedy can inspire. We have started a movement, a conversation in the public arena, a habit, a way of life for mothers everywhere.
And we invite you to be a part of it.