Time Out for Parents


"Time out" is usually related to the correction of our child's misbehavior. Sometimes life turns the tables on us...

I will never forget the time our oldest, then 6, was mad at me after a particularly passionate power struggle and she told me to go to my room...and I DID! Yep, I looked at my husband, told him I needed a minute, went to our room and closed the door. To be honest, I stayed for more than "a minute" and it was glorious! I wasn't in the habit of letting our 6-year-old boss me around but something clicked when she said it. I knew I wasn't being the best mom I could be, but up until that moment I foolishly refused to admit I needed a break. What was wrong with me that I couldn't handle 3 little kids?! Two words: sleep deprivation. That time out allowed me to take a deep breath and remember what my goals as a mom really were.

We all want to be the best parent we can be. What we forget is that we have to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others. Imagine your energy is water in a pitcher and you’re pouring out that water all day long, each time you take care of someone or something you’re pouring out more energy. By the end of the day you are bone dry with nothing left to give. “Isn’t that just part of parenting?” It doesn't have to be! As a parent educator, one of my biggest struggles is getting parents to give themselves permission for self-care. I actually had a mom in one workshop burst into tears when I gave this assignment! She felt it was being selfish to take time away from the kids to spend it on herself. Once I reassured her that recharging her battery would give her more energy and patience then she was willing to give it a try. Your "time out" doesn't have to cost a dime or take a lot of time. I found even just 15-30 minutes to myself can help tremendously. Some quick and easy self-care ideas:

  • Breakfast on the deck before the kids wake up

  • Working out for 30 minutes (or 3- 10 minute periods of stretching or walking)

  • Reading a book

  • A walk with a friend

One great way to get your time is to set up play dates for your kids. My friend and I