Mamma’s in Time Out

Whether you’re at stay/work at home mom. A work outside the home mom. A single mom. A married mom. A mom in a commune. Motherhood’s a big, sloppy, glorious job requiring full on manual labor from the heart.

We all have a million things we want to do, need to do, try to do and we expect ourselves to move seamlessly from one thing to the next. Shift uniforms and gears quicker than Superman in a phone booth. For this Mamma, there is a need for transition. For preparation from one phase of the day to the next. A need to clear the head of all things non-maternal.

Some days when I get home my brain is nothing more than a to-do tornado. It’s spinning from work, from blog projects, from a list of undone things that must be done. And there’s dinner. And homework. And a kid that just needs to hang with her Mamma and chat about girl stuff. I rarely get any real time alone – physically or mentally. Can you relate?

And I cannot deliver.

End result. Mamma is a big, cranky mess with her panties in a wad. Not attractive. Who wants to make their way through Motherhood with wadded up panties?

I instituted Mamma Time Out when my daughter was around 4 years old.

For once, getting put in time out was an awesome thing.

Here’s how it goes. We get home. We ditch our stuff in our designated dump spots. Girl Wonder gets settled with her homework. I get to sit outside. In my room. In the kitchen. Alone. Anywhere that floats my boat. For 20 minutes. I just sit. And breathe. And let my neck relax. Perhaps I might execute a Downward Facing Dog. Or as I like to call it – pulling a posterior d’pooch. Sometimes I sit with pen and paper and let the day spill out in ink. Then I return to the call of Motherhood. Which isn’t so scary or tiring when I’ve had a chance to regroup and settle my insides from my daily mental marathon.

When my Girl Wonder was little, I only took about 5 minutes. She would get a snack and a coloring book or a few minutes of coveted TV time watching Crocodile Hunter. 5 minutes was about as long as she could go without finding ways to creatively entertain her ownself. As she’s gotten older – my time out has increased.

I have time to mentally and physically shift and she gets me in revved up Mamma mode. It’s a full on win for both of us. She has even been known to lovingly tell me that a few extra minutes of time out might be needed.

I’m contemplating a Mamma Nap Time too now that Girl Wonder can be trusted (possibly) to not color all the kitchen cabinets if I fall asleep.

What’s your favorite way to help your brain shift gears?

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  • Angela
    October 12, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Oohhh how I would love a time out ALONE! Seems I am bombarded with papers that need signing, homework that needs checking (& my own that needs doing) and stories that need listening to… and this is before I’ve even managed to closed the front door! Ok I admit that sometimes, I do sit in the car for a few minutes before going in but that is more to steele myself for what is to come. Not that I don’t want to do those things, I do, it would just be nice to put my things down and pee first!

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz / Franny Bolsa
      October 12, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Pee time is nirvana. If you get to shut the door. Which in my house is a rare thing. Perhaps if you threw cookies at everyone as you came in the door you could distract them long enough to run to the backyard and sit for 5 minutes. Girl Wonder and I have an understanding. Those 5 minutes make me much less cranky which is good for her. She is more likely to get positive responses to her requests if I get those 5 minutes.

  • marilynn
    October 12, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    LOVED this article. And what a great idea – institute a Mamma Time Out and then Mamma doesn’t feel guilty for recharging!
    Brilliant – wish I’d thought of it!
    But if your Girl Wonder may no longer be a color-er, hide your car keys…just in case.

    • Lisa Waszkiewicz / Franny Bolsa
      October 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      Even if she has the keys, the chances of the vehicle starting are low 🙂