by Jeana Lee Tahnk
I’m a firm believer in time outs. Let’s face it, they calm bad behaviors, provide a respite from the chaos and if given consistently, do wonders for behavior modification. They key is to be disciplined about it and let everyone know that when you say time out, you mean it. Oh wait, did you think I was talking about time outs for the kids? Oh no, fellow moms. I mean time outs for us. Yes, precisely.
Just as a time out for your child means taking a break from whatever madness the current situation involves, we can apply that same kind of discipline to ourselves and be all the more happy because of it. Now, I’m the first to admit that getting dedicated alone time is highly coveted but rarely had. My wish would be to have one day in the house all alone, with no work, no house cleaning, no cooking -- nothing to do but watch Ellen, work out, read a book and sit in the sun. Did I say a day? Make that a week. But the chances of that happening anytime soon are just as likely as me getting a personal chef and trainer (nil), so in the meantime, it is up to me to make time for myself. As moms, we are always go-go-go and need to stop-stop-stop every now and again and just give ourselves a time out.
It doesn’t take much to rejuvenate but if you can find an afternoon, an evening, or any block of time, here are some sure-fire ways to get you refreshed and ready to face whatever is thrown your way.
Chick-flick it up: Have a hankering to see a touchy-feely girly movie that your hubby just grimaces at the thought of? Enlist his help to watch the kids for two hours, while you and a friend, or you alone hit the movies. Buy a big box of popcorn, some Junior Mints, sink into that chair and just escape for a short while. Warning: dark room and warm theater may induce drowsiness in those who are perpetually sleep-deprived. The theater can also be used as a nice place to take a two hour nap.
Do a babysitting swap with a mom friend: What a perfect scenario. A fellow mom can watch your kids for a while so you can have some time alone, and then you can re-pay her the favor at a future date. The kids get a play date, moms get their alone time, everyone is happy.
Mingle with some moms: The next time you get invited to the local cookie swap/bunko night/knitting circle/ /Tupperware/Mary Kay/Lia Sophia/Southern Living party – go! It doesn’t matter if you’re interested in whatever the theme of the party is. It is always refreshing to be around other moms who can relate to whatever stresses you are dealing with and help you laugh it off.
Go shopping at night: There have been a couple times when I’ve put my youngest to bed and headed out to my local Target* for a night of unfettered and glorious shopping alone. No wrangling with those enormous carts that hold multiple kids, no whining about when you’re leaving, and no heading straight to the snack aisle to appease them so you can have just one minute to look for a new purse. Pure alone time while shopping! *Insert retail store of your choice.
Catch up on the latest Hollywood scandal: I’m partial to US Weekly, but People Magazine, Star, In Touch, etc. will serve the purpose. It’s nice to use the lives of celebrities to escape for a while and realize that being stalked by paparazzi is probably worse than having to clean Cheerios off the floor for the umpteenth time.
Go for a drive: Imagine being able to drive in peace and quiet, listening to your OWN music choice and not that of the Backyardigans, the Cars soundtrack or Justin Roberts. No reaching back to settle a crying baby, or constantly doling out snacks to those hard-to-reach hands. Drive to the beach and watch the waves, drive to a park, drive on the highway, aimlessly drive around your neighborhood. It doesn’t matter, you’re alone!
See ladies? There are a lot of quick and easy (and efficient, of course) ways we can take a little time to appreciate and pamper the woman behind the mom. After all that we do on a daily basis, it is the least we can do for ourselves.