The Scariest MTO

You know you've felt this way when you don't get your MTO in! Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You know you’ve felt this way when you don’t get your MTO in!
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

is no MTO at all!

So now that you have your children ready to go trick-or-treating, costumes and all, have you thought how you are going to take care of yourself this week?

I am planning on having my Mommy Time-Out with my friends by going to a “no kids allowed” Halloween party. To get ready for it, I am going to get my nails done with my stepdaughter, getting colors to match the long, gorgeous dress I bought for myself, as well as a cute ghost or spider to be in the spirit of Halloween.   I am really looking forward to having a wonderful and in depth conversation with my daughter to hear what’s going on in her life and see how things are going for her.

I can’t wait to go to the Halloween party with my friends. It’s been forever since I’ve been to a party with an adult crowd! I will be able to relax and have fun, enjoying some adult conversations about current affairs, the hottest fashions, and the latest movie releases. I am also looking forward to eating good food, having a glass or two of wine, and enjoying the delicious treats that are going to be served!

So before you become the live version of a Halloween nightmare, calendar yourself into your busy Halloween week and make a conscious effort to take care of yourself this week!

Your MTO and YOU

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the biggest things I get out of my Mommy Time-Outs next to having some stress-free down time, is the opportunity to get back in touch with the woman I was before I became a mom.  What I’ve noticed, however, is that it doesn’t happen quickly, much less automatically.  I kinda have to work at it, at least right now.  I have literally forgotten some of the things I used to enjoy doing, and the things I do remember, I have forgotten how.

Case in point, I used to write fictional short stories in my notebooks every night before bedtime. It wasn’t meant for anyone else but me, I just loved doing it.  With three kids, that’s a lot harder to do, mostly because I just pass out at bedtime, with no energy much less creativity, to spare.

Yet on my Mommy Time-Outs, I am starting to get the hang of just relaxing (vs. worrying or feeling guilty about my kids) and doing certain mental exercises to reconnect with my creative side.

Now, instead of writing for myself and by myself, I am working on a fictional book with my husband, and I have dedicated my MTOs to working on the chapters.  I am very excited about this, because it is what I used to do way back when, before kids, marriage and all that goes with it.  Except this time, it is with my husband, and I love that.

 

So many wonderful things come out of having consistent MTO’s.  What about you? Have you promised yourself to do a certain something on most of your MTOs to get back in touch with your old self?  If not, what long-term plans do you have for your MTOs, if any?  We would love to hear from you!

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!

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!