As moms we all love our kids, right? We would do anything for them, move mountains if we needed to. But, let’s be real here moms. Sometimes those little buggers can drive us bonkers. My kids are great, but sometimes they just get at each other and bother each other to no end. During those times it seems like I hear an overabundance of the screaming whine, “Mom!” (and that scream makes me want to change my name!).
I’ve tried everything to keep the peace between my girls and kindness in their hearts. Sticker charts, rewards, conversations etc. Most of the time they do behave nicely, but every once in awhile…well you can imagine. One day, not too long ago, my patience was particularly short, and the kids, while bothering each other, seemed to be hitting my very last nerve. I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell. I wanted to leave the house. But instead, I stood up, and excused myself claiming I was giving myself a time out. I marched right up to my room and closed the door.
In my room there was silence. I took some deep breaths and sat on my bed for a few minutes. The silence was most enjoyable. Downstairs there was silence. I believe they were too stunned to talk. A time out for mom? Unthinkable. What could it mean?
A few moments later I returned downstairs, we had a conversation, and peace was restored. So, what was it all about? Why did I give myself a time out? A few reasons. Number one, I didn’t want to lash out at them. Screaming doesn’t help, it only makes the problem worse. Removing myself was a way to make sure my feelings didn’t escalate unreasonably.
But, it was more than that. I wanted to show them that being mindful of your feelings and taking the time out to reconfigure your thoughts is a good idea for anyone. A time out is not a mere punishment, but a coping mechanism. Taking the time to close your eyes, breathe, count to ten, can make you see your issue in a whole new light. My youngest has been taught mindfulness in school. She has done slow breathing, focused on finding her center, and body scanning to reconnect to her feelings. Showing her that I could take the time out to be mindful too became a powerful lesson for her that her school lessons had real world applications.
And, while we are being honest, just having that two minute break was lovely… and I’d do it again anytime.