Why I Sent Myself To Time-Out


mom timeout

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 and we need a time-out.

My kids are great, but sometimes they get at each other and bother each other to no end. It seems like I hear an overabundance of the screaming whine during those times, “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 a while…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 as a way to make sure my feelings didn’t escalate unreasonably.  

But it was more than that. I wanted to show my children 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 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 became a powerful lesson for her that her school lessons had real-world applications.  

And, while we are honest, just having that two-minute break was lovely… and I’d do it again anytime. 

Have you ever taken a time-out?

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Kristen is the proud mom of two wonderful, smart and sassy daughters (born in 2007 and 2011). Raising her kids as a single mom is a challenge and an adventure and she loves every minute of it. Kristen loves bringing up her girls in the same area of Westchester that she grew up in, having only moved a few miles from her childhood home. A long time passion for working with children led Kristen to pursue a career in education and she has been an elementary school teacher in the Bronx for over a decade. Her teaching career has taught her that every day is a new experience and to "expect the unexpected." If she can find any spare time between teaching and motherhood, Kristen likes to read, binge watch horrible romantic comedies on TV, bake, and go on road trips with her girls.