A No Brainer Mommy Time-Out

Closing yourself down for a day is an amazing MTO

Closing yourself down for a day is an amazing MTO!

Today was by far one of my best MTOs I have had in a long time. I started my day by having a good meditation and prayer. I woke up my two daughters, fed them and took them to school.

After I dropped them off, I went for a two-mile walk. The weather was perfect – not too hot and not too cold. I came home and had a cup of coffee and did nothing but allow my mind to rest.

It was so nice to sit in silence, without any distractions at all. I felt so relaxed and rested not having to worry about the next thing on my to-do list.

I then called one of my good friends and we talked for an hour or so. She was having a difficult time in her life and she was able to express all that she was feeling. She was so thankful I was there to listen to her and that she was able to get it all out in the open.  I realized when I hung up with her that so many times in my life I get so busy and just assume that all my friends are doing well because I don’t hear from them. I was so glad I was able to give my friend the support and love she needed.

By now it was noon.  Instead of having a good nutritious lunch, I had hot Cheetos, a turkey sandwich, a diet coke and some chocolate. I usually don’t eat like this, but I just felt like being bad and I wanted to enjoy the junk food and not worry about my kids trying to taste my food or take it from me.

I then took a nap for an hour. After I woke up, I decided I was not going to shower until I picked up the girls from school. I paid a few bills and returned some business calls and then it was time to pick them up.

I have to say the whole day felt like a MTO (versus just a couple of hours) because I did as I pleased, when I pleased. As a result, I came to realize that I could choose and control how busy my days are by the mood I am in.

I was also reminded of the positive people and things I want to surround my children and myself with. I refuse to feel overwhelmed and tired all the time because I am constantly going, trying to be super mom and help everyone along the way.  My MTO was awesome because I allowed myself to feed my soul, my mind and my body. I will make an effort to have one of these days at least once a month.

I encourage you to take a “No-Brainer MTO” this week and please, let me know how it goes!

Mommy Time-Out Anniversary!

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wow! It’s been just over a year since we launched our Mommy Time-Out website and newsletter, not to mention Facebook and Twitter. The year passed so quickly we didn’t even realize it until a friend brought it to our attention last week!

So we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you our journey – the good and the challenging – over the past year.

I have to admit Colleen and I were afraid to put ourselves out there in the beginning (read our first blog article!).  All the usual negative thoughts and paradigms came rushing to the surface because we wanted to do something great.  Yet with all that, we decided to ignore the voices in our heads for one main reason – we really believe in what we are doing.  Let me back up a bit.

The whole idea was born about 5 years ago. We knew that as mothers we were overwhelmed and if we were feeling this way, how many more mothers were experiencing the same feelings of quiet desperation? Our purpose became about getting mothers to take care of themselves first so that they can take care of their families.

By last year, we had invested so much love, late nights, tears, time away from our loved ones and the few pennies that we could spare from our family budget that giving in to our fears was no longer an option.  So we overcame our insecurities quickly and set about bringing Mommy Time-Out to the world.

When I say that this past year we were blessed with our investor, Mony, I do not say this lightly.  It is because of him and his belief in us that has allowed us to get to where we are today.  We also had our good friend and attorney Jay, willing to provide pro bono work when we had no money and an excellent legal team when we had only a few dollars to spare.  Then there was the support from all the mothers in the book, our family, friends and of course Marcus our IT man, who helped us get our social media and website out to the world.

I mentioned our book, which had been in the making for the last five years in one form or another.  It was finally published Mother’s Day of this year.  The support and advice we received from friends like Andre and Nora told us we had the backing of some wonderful people in our lives.

While all this was going on – creating the LLC, launching the website, getting the social media up and going, the book being designed, written and published – Colleen and I had plenty in our personal lives going on that should have made us quit, but really just made us work all the harder.

I was going through a very painful divorce. We had been having marriage problems for the past 6 years and had been separated for a time.  I knew it was time to get out of my dysfunctional marriage, even thought the grieving process was very difficult on not only me but my children as well.

All of last year Colleen was pregnant, and we all know the stress and fatigue that goes with that! In January, the same month my divorce was final, Colleen gave birth to her baby girl.

Yet with all of this we didn’t allow our personal lives to get in the way of our purpose. We had plenty of challenging days where we spurred each other on.  Luckily, on the days that Colleen was having her good days, I was having my bad days and vice versa.

Our books were delivered and went on sale on Mother’s Day. I attended a Women’s Conference in northern California and Colleen I were interviewed by some radio stations. We have since hit the pavement and have our book on consignment in many stores and OB/GYN offices. Earlier this year we were approached by Glimpse Magazine to be contributing writers for the magazine and we are approaching some major organizations and companies in the hopes they will get on board with the Mommy Time-Out Movement – we will let you know how that goes!

I was also fortunate to find my soul mate during all of this.  He has supported me, loved me, and picked me up when I was doubtful. He and his children complete our family unit.  Colleen has increased her family by one and her workload by 10, and has the support of an amazing husband who has supported us through the years as we developed Mommy Time-Out.

Through all of this, our main focus has remained the same: to take care of our families and ourselves all while building Mommy Time-Out.  We love that we have been able to start the Mommy Time-Out Movement and feel extremely blessed for all the obstacles that we have overcome.

Yet we know there is so much more for us to do and learn, and here is where you come in.

We want to – we need to – hear from you!  In the next week or two, you will see a survey from us asking you what we can do to improve our website, our newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, our articles, and so on.  We want to know what you want and need from us.

So take a little time to think about it and know that we are so very grateful for your support, participation and interest in Mommy Time-Out this past year and hope to continue as long as there is an interest and need for us!

Moms Helping Moms

Image courtesy of Craftyjoe at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Craftyjoe at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have a very good friend named Sally who become a parent all over again because her son and daughter-in-law could not get their life together.  I ran into her while I was grocery shopping and she looked very tired and overwhelmed.  She caught me up on what had happened in the last year of her life.  Sally said her grandson came to live with her when he was two weeks old.   She told me she felt she was not prepared to take on the responsibility but she also knew this was the right thing to do.

She admitted to me that she had forgotten how much work it was taking care of an infant, from changing diapers to feeding at all hours of the night. I asked her who was helping her or at least giving her a break once in a while?  She said she has nobody, it is only her.

I offered my services and told her I had two daughters that would be great company for her grandson.  She could drop off the baby for 6 hours while she went and had a Time-Out for herself.  She was in tears, “You would do that for me?”  Absolutely, I told her, anything I can do to help.

Sally said there was only one problem – she had no idea what to do with herself for 6 hours.  I can help with that, too, I told her.  I then called my friend, Cindy, who is a masseuse and asked if she were willing to give a free message to a friend that was in desperate need.  Cindy readily agreed and plans were made.

When she came to pick up her grandson later that day, Sally was so encouraged that now she is taking her MTO’s on a weekly basis.  She saw the importance of it and how good it made her feel to take care of herself and in doing so she could be a better parent.  Mommy Time-Out in action!

What friend or family member do you feel needs an MTO and how can you offer your services?

We’re All In This Together

Coming in August 2013, Mommy Time-Out will be publishing extended articles in a new and amazing magazine – Glimpse California.  Be sure to subscribe at http://www.glimpsecali.com/ to read more in-depth Mommy Time-Out articles and get the latest Glimpse California updates.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

“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 a family member to help watch the kids while mom or dad are 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!

Enjoy Pre-School

My sisters told me once that I would be so happy when my daughters start pre-school.  I thought they were insensitive for saying that.  Just the thought of my children going off, alone and independent, scared me.  What would they do without me?  All the “what if’s” came rushinBench Relax RGB copyg into my mind until the day I suddenly had four hours to myself.  No longer did I have to fit a Mommy Time-Out during nap time or a chance visit by family.  I  realized I now had time to do the things I wanted to do without little ones tugging at me or crying for my attention. I was able to take an online class once a week. I met with friends for lunch, and practiced yoga.  I loved every minute of those four hours because I knew how much I needed to take care of me and get back to doing those very things I did before I became a mother.

My sisters remind me once in a while of the look of shock on my face when they first told me how happy I would be to get my MTOs once the girls were in pre-school. I thought it was insensitive of them to suggest I would be happy my children were away from me so I could selfishly do things for myself.  But what no one told me was that it is NOT selfish at all.  It is for my own good, and the good of my children, that I have my Mommy Time-Outs and get back to who I was before diapers and bottles.

To this day, I appreciate my Mommy Time-Outs more then ever.  And then, as now, my daughters love school. They are able to develop socially and independently, make and keep friends, and discover oh so many interests and hobbies.  And you know what?  So am I!

What are your children doing when you are on your Mommy Time-Out?