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!

The Fall & Rise of the MTO

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Image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You should know from the onset that while Colleen and I have learned the value of taking a Mommy Time-Out, we are not above falling in to old habits and routines.  Case in point:

I recently noticed that I have been on edge with my coworkers, friends and love ones.  I asked myself, “where is this coming from?  Is it that time of the month or am I just too busy taking care of others and not me?  Have I once again become the mother that says ‘yes’ to everyone and wants her children to be in extra activities because she’s afraid they will lose out?”  Well, yes, I have.  I fell back into thinking my children have to attend every birthday party and, of course, I have to be at every church function and attend parties with my friends as well as immediate family.

It got to the point that my mind became so fogged that I could barely remember what I did last week.  And if you asked me what I’ve been doing to so occupy myself, my honest answer would be “I don’t know.”  It was all just ‘stuff’ that in the end just used up my time, wore me our mentally and physically, and turned me into an irritable…woman.

At least I knew enough to see all the classic signs of being overwhelmed and Mommy Time-Out deficient.

As soon as I realized I needed to take care of myself before I had a nervous breakdown, I went on a break at work and put myself in a mental Time-Out.  I meditated for 20 minutes, and in so doing I inspired myself to stop leaving myself out of the equation. I needed to fill that void of having my Mommy Time-Out and do something I wanted to do for myself and not what others were expecting of me.

I then called my sister and asked her to meet me at the local nail shop for a mani/pedi.  Little did I know that she was also in need of her MTO.  We had a great time, laughing and talking about  how we want to do it all without any help because nobody will do it as good as we will.  Of course, we think this is a very silly way of thinking because not only have we not given our families the opportunity to help around the house, we were robbing ourselves of some great MTO times.  Needless to say, we left there fixed on getting back to our Mommy Time-Out agenda!

What inspires your MTOs?

MTO Guideline: Set a Timer

Here’s another one of our “Mommy Time-Out Guidelines” we like to suggest:

Set A Timer: Set no less than a half hour aside, more if you can, depending on what you plan to do that day.  Schedule it at least a day or more ahead of time so you can not only arrange for the sitter, but be both mentally and emotionally prepared for the “me-time” to follow.

I always know exactly the time I plan to be gone on my MTO.  I can’t say it was always like that, though.

In the beginning, I started with half an hour and spent most of that time feeling guilty for being gone that long from my children.  I then started to plan my MTO a few days in advanced so that I would be mentally and emotionally ready.  It also helped me stay respectful of my babysitter’s time by planning it beforehand. And I especially appreciate the support group we created among family and friends because we each give the other plenty of time.

My MTO now consists of 2 hours minimum.  I know that I need at least that time to return renewed and ready to take up the mommy role again.

It might be less for you, or more, but whatever time you can set aside every week, realize that a good part of the time in the beginning is spent unwinding and settling in to your “me-time”.  That’s why we suggest a minimum of 30 minutes to really make a difference, with the goal of having longer ones as you get used to your Time-Outs.

We’d love to hear from you!  How long are your Mommy Time-Outs?  How long does it take before you stop feeling guilty or worrying about your children and start relaxing and getting in to your “me-time”?

MTO Guideline: Play Well With Others

In our on-going series of breaking down our “Mommy Time-Out Guidelines”, here’s another one:

Play Well With Others  Create a support group with friends and/or family that you trust.  If they have children, trade babysitting times.  If they don’t, watch their pets or their house when they go out of town.  At the very least, have a reliable babysitter listed among your contacts that you can call when you need that Time-Out.

Many times we try to be “Super Mom” by taking care of the whole family without any assistance.   We tend to forget that family and friends are willing to help if we allow them to.  I myself have created a support group with friends and family that I trust.  But that wasn’t easy at first.

I felt guilty asking them to help me take my Mommy Time-Out (MTO), “Hey, watch my kids for me while I get my nails done, or just sit in a movie theater.”  It felt weird asking. But they are mothers themselves, and just as in need of a Mommy Time-Out as I am, so when I realized I could give back to them in the same way, the guilt went away.

Now, my sisters and I and a couple of friends have created a community of MTO-ers.   We call each other a few days ahead of time and arrange child care, and we all take comfort knowing we are helping each other out.  I can say through this whole experience that I have many reliable babysitters listed among my contacts that I can call on a drop of a dime who are willing to help me out, and vice versa.  I am thankful to be around all theses moms that understand the importance of taking their Mommy Time-Out.

What about you?  Are there people in your life that you can call for help and give back to them in kind?  We’d love to hear from you!

Fight The Good Fight

I celebrated my birthday in August and was given two gift certificates, one for an hour massage and facial and the other for a pedicure.  And I almost didn’t use them!  You see, I was saving them for an emergency MTO, and last week I decided to use my massage & facial certificates at Lola’s Signature Touch.  But everything in me was tempted to cancel on her!

Weird, but true.  I didn’t have to spend the money – they were gifts.  I obviously had the time because I made the appointment, and the kids were taken care of – a playdate with friends.  So what was my problem??  I started to think of the loads of laundry I had to do, the groceries I needed to buy, the time away from my girls…But I stood firm, grabbed my keys, got in my car and just headed to Lola’s. And wow am I glad I did!

She first started with the massage – it was so awesome!  Lola worked out every knot I had in my back.  An hour turned into 2 hours.  She gave me extra time without charging me extra, saying my body really needed it.  Lola is also a mother and knows how the hustle and bustle mothers go through on a daily basis to run the home can stress the body.  I am glad I had Lola to take my MTO with, when I was falling apart and had nothing else to give. I left feeling great and feeling beautiful.  My soul and physical appearance were renewed once again.

More than anything, I am glad I just literally forced myself to go.  I had to ignore those negative, nagging thoughts and remind myself that more than clean clothes and cookies, my girls needed their mother centered and relaxed.  Taking care of me first better equips me to take better care of them.

Thanks Lola!