Step-Mommy Time-Out

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

I feel that Step Mothers most definitely need a Mommy Time-Out more than ever when they are raising children that are not their own.  My cousin, Lucy, is currently married to Mike, who has two children, ages 15 and 7, from his first wife.  Lucy has two daughters of her own, ages 6 & 8 years old.

For the past 6 months Lucy has had some tough dealings with her husband’s 15 year-old daughter. She has recently found out that the daughter doesn’t like her because she feels Lucy is taking her father away from her.  Not only is the teen feeling neglected by her father, but she is trying to find her own identity and all the challenges that come with being a teenage girl.

Most recently the girl has tried to run away from home twice in one month, though she doesn’t get very far because she is not old enough to support herself and really hasn’t any where to go.

Needless to say, Mike’s blood pressure has gone thru the roof and there has been so much more tension between Lucy and him.

Probably the biggest challenge is that they both have two different styles of parenting and they cannot agree on a common ground, much less see each other’s view.  In the meantime the 15 year old girl is out of control and has been trying to run the household.

Now if all of this doesn’t scream “Take a Mommy Time-Out!” I don’t know what does.  And that is exactly what Lucy has done.  She told me she would leave the situation behind her as she took her Mommy Time-Out, even at times when the teen girl couldn’t be trusted to stay put or behave.  She knew that if she didn’t get her me-time in, her frustration, lack of patience and anger would only make matters worse.  Of course, she took what measures she could to protect all the children involved, having people she trusted to watch over them while she removed herself, but the point is, she made it happen.

Lucy told me that if it wasn’t for her me-time to think things out and clear her head, she would never have been able to go back to Mike with possible solutions and at least more patience.

Finally Mike took control of the situation and altered his discipline technique with the teen girl, which  she has responded well to. The household is now as close to normal as it has been in a long while.

We have to be present for our children and the only way is to take care of our mind, body and soul. Mothers, step or otherwise, should have a consistent MTO at least once a week, preferably twice if possible.

What direct benefits have you seen coming from taking your Mommy Time-Outs?  We would love your feed back!

Guilt-Free Mommy

Waterfall Soft 2 sml

Find peace with your Mommy Time-Out

There’s guilt-free ice cream, guilt-free desserts, even guilt-free McDonald’s french fries (okay, maybe not that last one, but a woman can dream!), but is there such a thing as a guilt-free mom?

Always second-guessing a discipline choice, a school, or the amount of TV watched.  When the child is away, there’s guilt he or she isn’t home.  When the child is at home, there’s guilt he or she isn’t somewhere else doing something more interesting.

Add to all this guilt the suggestion that you, mom, should take a Time-Out away from your kids and do something just for you.  Is the guilt so overwhelming that the room is spinning as you read this?  Well, hang on to your seat and read on!

Imagine the guilt when you yell at your child because he or she just climbed on your last nerve.  Or the guilt when you go to bed tonight, rethinking your day and realize that you didn’t give your undivided attention to your child who was trying to share with you something so very important to him or her, simply because you were mentally exhausted and thinking about your grocery list or the dirty dishes in the sink.

Now compare that level of guilt to the guilt of taking a minimum of thirty minutes (hopefully longer) to do something for yourself that does NOT involve errands of ANY kind, while your child is having fun on a play date, having quality time with dad/grandma/family, or sound asleep in bed.

When you return from your Time-Out, you are more likely to give that focused attention, respond more calmly, even play longer with your child than if you didn’t.

I’m here to tell you that you can’t escape the guilt, but you can mitigate it.

So, which is the lesser of the two guilts for you?

Renew Your Body

Changing old habits can lead to a healthier you

Changing old habits can lead to a healthier you

Our bodies carry us through this life we have been given.  If our body is not working well, our lives in general are negatively affected.  We all have heard “you are what you eat” and I am here to tell you it is  absolutely true.  I was married for 13 years and the last 5 years of my marriage, not realizing how depressed and unhappy I was, gained a lot of weight, eating to cover up my depression.  I am 5’2 and I weighed 140 pounds.  If you ask any health professional, that is slightly obese.

I did not feel good carrying this extra weight and was tired a lot of the time.  My knees were starting to bother me and my children would say that my stomach was their pillow. Carrying all that extra weight placed me in a category of heart attack, stroke and other health issues, and I did not want to be in that category any longer!  Not to mention the fact that I want to be there to see my children get married someday and be able to meet my grandchildren. To be able to do this I needed to replace my old habits of eating with new ones.  So I finally made a conscious decision, joined Weight Watchers, and committed my weekly MTO to attend Weight Watchers’ weekly meeting.

I loved going there and learning about proper portions, not eating my children’s leftovers, and better choices in food.  In the process I made many new friends, learned self-discipline,  and was continually supported by the others there.  Every time I lost a little weight I was encouraged to continue.  I reached my goal weight in 3 months by losing 25 pounds!  At the end of it, I promised myself I would be in the best shape of my life in my 40’s.

Taking care of my body has allowed me to see that I am important and my children see me making healthy choices for myself as well as for them.  My friends and family were so encouraging and saw all the weight I had lost that I inspired them to join Weight Watchers.  So much good came out of me taking a weekly Mommy Time-Out committed solely to better my physical health.

If you are carrying extra weight and would like to lose some of it, do you have a plan? Have you thought of using your Mommy Time-Out as a time to work out with a friend, attend a weight loss class or start to build a regular exercise regime for yourself?  What challenges do you face in pursuing these goals?

Love Thy Spouse As Thyself

Showing love for your spouse comes in many forms.  It can be the obvious – gifts, massages, the occasional card – or the less obvious, such as letting him/her have their “me-time” by escaping into their ‘cave’, their video game, a beer with friends, etc.

Then there is that third way, the way not many of us are aware of until it’s too late.  It’s in how we take care of ourselves.  Keeping ourselves attractive, healthy, and mentally and spiritually balanced, instead of constantly tired and irritable.

I used to think my husband should take me however I am, and yet I had a double standard. I still wanted him to take care of himself, not let himself go, stay attractive, and be healthy so he could live to watch our children get married.  And yet I didn’t have the same requirement for myself.

But when I stop caring about how I look or how healthy I am, isn’t that a reflection on how I feel about us as a couple, or him as my husband?  I think it is.  I think it means I am taking him for granted, assuming he will always find me attractive no matter what (my husband says he finds me attractive at times when I don’t, and proves it constantly! How’d I get to be so lucky??)

But even still, I shouldn’t take our relationship for granted, and I shouldn’t assume my good health will hold out as I do nothing to pursue a better way of eating and living.  I do love my husband.  He’s my best friend, my partner, my most honest (and kindest) critic, and someone I definitely don’t want to take for granted.

So this begs the question: exactly when am I supposed to pursue these goals?  Well, my Mommy Time-Out of course!

So to show my love for him this year, I will re-enforce my commitment to take regular Mommy Time-Outs that will feed my mind, body and soul, because the more I love myself, the more I am showing him how very much I love him!

Love Yourself Like You Love Your Children

One of many loving pictures my daughter draws for me :)

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 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 in this month of Love, 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!