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Do Mother’s really need a time-out or is it all just hype?
This conversation has come up a lot lately in my life. If you asked me, I would say absolutely, moms need time for themselves to rest, recharge and have balance in their lives, all for the greater end of being more present and aware mothers to their children.
The MTO Dissenters
However, if you asked a friend of mine, Kathryn, she would disagree. I have been going crazy trying to figure out why she feels so strongly that mothers should not spend any time away from their children. That mothers, especially “this generation” as she puts it, is already too selfish and self-involved, so to encourage these mothers to take time away from their kids so they can have selfish time to themselves, only perpetuates poor parenting.
I wanted to interview her, ask her why she feels the way she does (I respect her opinion even though I disagree with it) but she doesn’t feel she needs to explain herself, saying she won’t have anything positive to add to our Mommy Time-Out Movement.
So I decided to take an unofficial survey and ask mothers around me how they felt about mothers needing a MTO. After a month of questions and picking everyone’s brain, 95% of mothers agreed that they DO need a Mommy Time-Out.
Without a doubt, they all agreed that a regular time-out from their mom duties is how they are able to hold their family together and not lose their sanity.
Then I took a closer look at the 5% who were not in agreement with the need for an MTO and here’s what I found. They had one major thing in common – they had been trying for years to conceive and when they finally did, they had no desire at all to take time away from their child. One, Jennifer, had been trying to conceive a child for years. She shared with me that her child literally cost her and her husband $100,000.00. She went through rounds of fertility and years of disappointments because she was not able to conceive. Then finally she was able to give birth to her son. When he arrived she felt no need to take time away from him. However, soon after, she was able to conceive her second child without the fertility. Though she was very ready to be a mother with the first child, the second child was definitely a surprise. Jennifer agreed that after the second child she did need her Mommy Time-Outs.
Kathryn, on the other hand, was only able to have one child and because she had been trying for years, she insisted there was no need for her to have Mommy Time-Outs.
Other Interesting Results
As an aside, I also learned from my survey that the mothers in their 60’s (grandparents acting as parents) do take what they consider regular MTOs but did not have a title for it. However, their MTOs consisted of going grocery shopping or running errands. It did not occur to them that their MTO should be only about them and not the household, so when I asked them how they felt about taking regular Mommy Time-Outs, they told me running errands is all they did because they did not know they could – or should – take care of their mind, body and soul.
I realize how much more in depth this survey could be, and Colleen and I are in serious discussions about doing something more complete and official. However, for the sake of trying to understand my friend Kathryn I wanted to ask the mothers in my life what they thought about the need for moms to take Mommy Time-Outs, mostly to see if I was crazy for feeling so strongly about it. What I have come to realize is that, while a majority of moms, myself and Colleen included, believe strongly in the need for consistent Mommy Time-Outs, not every mom feels that way. That just being a mom doesn’t mean you feel the need for an MTO. And that’s okay.
For myself, and for Colleen, we will continue our movement to encourage mothers to take time for themselves. As a matter of fact, we feel so strongly about it that we want to expand our audience to dads, too. There are more dads today than twenty years ago who are single parents or the primary caregiver while the wife works full-time.
We would love to hear from you and how you feel about whether or not moms need to take a Time-Out.
Where do you sit on this subject. Do you think mothers need a MTO?