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!

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!

A Mommy Time-Out From Hell

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’ve probably heard that saying “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.  Well moms are definitely in that group, too!  Even when trying to plan the perfect Mommy Time-Out, as I did last week.

I wanted to color and cut my hair, a treat I haven’t given myself in over a year.  Of course, I’ve colored my hair in the last year, but it’s always been out of a box, much more in my budget than going to a professional.  However, this time I was going to treat myself!  And wouldn’t you know it but fate dealt me a favor.  I received an email from Groupon for a 65% saving on a cut and color from a stylist not far from my home.  I called her and told her I had box color in my hair, black at that, which is apparently (I didn’t know this) the worst box color the pros have to deal with.  She assured me I would be in and out in an hour and a half.  Now, even in my limited experience, that seemed short so I asked her if she was sure she could do it in 90 minutes. She said she knew exactly what she was going to do for me, and because she wants to build her clientele, she will make sure I leave happy.  So I went for it.

When I arrived at the salon, there was one woman under the dryer and another in the chair. Okay, no biggie, except the one in the chair was crying. Not for the hairdo, but apparently her cousin had been calling her asking where she was at and to hurry and get home.  The other woman, as I talked to her, seemed pretty relaxed, but said she had already been there for over two hours.  She wasn’t concerned, though, because she said she had until 4 pm or so.  It was 3 p.m.

Flash forward to THREE AND A HALF HOURS LATER, I am still in the chair getting the color rinsed out of my hair.  Still no cut.  And the woman who had been there for over two hours? She had just left!  She was there for more than five hours!  And I was clearly headed that way. It all started to become clear to me why the woman when I first arrived was in tears and why her cousin was telling her to get home.  Now I know what you are thinking.  It’s the same question my husband asked me when he called me at hour three: Why didn’t we bail long before this? Well, it’s kind of hard when you have a hair full of peroxide and tin foil and then color.

As soon as she rinsed the color from me I told her I had to go.  It was well past dinnertime and my kids were going to bed in a little over an hour.  The hairdresser vacillated between apologizing, making excuses and blaming x, y, and z for it.  I told her I had to come back the next day for the cut but only had an hour.  She asked if I was really coming back, and I told her I paid for it already so yes, I will be back.

Now, the only good thing that came from this whole train wreck I called my Mommy Time-Out was that the hairdresser was (thank goodness!!) very talented.  I loved the color and the next day, after the cut, I liked that, too.  Will I go back?  Hell no! My MTOs are way too precious to me.

My point of this story is that not every Mommy Time-Out will be as wonderful as you planned or imagined.  Things will happen that downright ruin it, but you can’t let that discourage you from scheduling another one.  Better yet, give yourself a second MTO to make up for the one that ended up adding to your stress instead of removing it.

Sometimes taking a Mommy Time-Out is as easy as gliding down a hill in a wagon, and other times it’s like pushing a boulder up a hill.  What’s important is to keep making a habit of having a weekly (or more) Mommy Time-Out so that you can return to your family more relaxed, patient and centered, with maybe even a decent hairdo to boot!

Back To School Mommy Time-Outs!

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The new school year is here!  In the next couple of weeks (depending on where you live) some if not all of our children will be returning to school!

Whether all or just one of our children are headed to school, it will now be a little bit easier for us to take some regular Mommy Time-Outs.  At the very least, it is one less child to have someone to babysit and entertain.  At the most, more free days to have some time for ourselves!  Hooray!

No doubt we have all spent the last few weeks planning for school – buying school supplies, clothes, learning new schedules and bus routes.  There’s just one more thing we need to do.  Plan our regular Mommy Time-Outs!  We can’t forget ourselves in all of this preparation.

For me, I am asking my mom if she can commit at least 2 days per week to come over and watch my two youngest who are not in school yet.  One day I will spend running errands, making calls, working on my business, and the other?  You guessed it!  Mommy Time-Out!

We should emphasize, too, that consistency is key.  Everyone is on a regular schedule, so why shouldn’t our Mommy Time-Outs?  The more MTOs we have, especially regular weekly ones (at least), the more often our kids will come home from school to a more relaxed mommy who is able to give her undivided and very patient attention!

What are your plans this school year for your regular Mommy Time-Outs?  We’d love to hear your ideas!!