Monday, January 19, 2015

Do You Use Timeouts? Why We All Need One

Are you using timeouts? No, I don’t mean your 5 year old standing in the corner for 5 minutes. What I mean is; are YOU using timeouts, for yourself?

Mom timeouts are essential. 

After days of being alone with my newborn for 14 plus hours a day, by myself, I started to go a little stir crazy. I felt guilty for wanting to be alone. The baby was such a blessing, a gift from God, how could I secretly want some time away? 

I pushed my feelings aside and kept them private. How could I complain about being able to stay home full time with my baby when so many women would do anything to be able to stay home? How could I complain about needing a break to my husband who would go days without seeing our son?

After spending some much needed time with God, and sharing my thoughts with friends and family, I finally came to my senses. I was not a bad mom for needing a timeout away from my child. In fact, I was being a bad mom for not taking a timeout. 

You see, we are all sinful, human beings, who have feelings, emotions, personalities and temperaments. No amount of love can keep us from acting on our sinful tendencies from time to time. If I allow my feelings to drive my actions, I am in big trouble. 

Even though I cannot imagine loving my child any more than I do, I am still going to get annoyed, hurt, or frustrated with my child from time to time. Although I am only being human when I act on my feelings, I am not being the mom that God says I can be. 

Incorporating mom timeouts into my daily routine has made me a better mom. Taking 5 minutes to myself allows me to express my negative feelings to God, ask God for self-control and wisdom, and regroup with my family with a changed heart and mind. Sometimes, I will open my Bible and God will speak right to my situation. Other times, I realize during those 5 minutes my short tempter and irritability is due to the fact that I have not eaten enough that day and that grabbing a snack would make me feel a whole lot better.  

Now that I have a toddler, these mom timeouts have become even more important. I use them daily, sometimes multiple times a day. I find that when my inner thoughts start becoming all about me, that I am getting into hot water and am in need of a break. Thoughts such as “nobody cares that I have not eaten, used the bathroom, or brushed my teeth today” or “why am I the only one that does everything in this house” are a tell-tale sign that I am not operating in a healthy state of mind. 

In reality, I could probably use a good 2 hours to myself to do a full on devotional, take a shower, complete a yoga DVD, and eat lunch, but that is just not possible on most days. I have to pick and choose what I do during my ‘free time’, so taking mom timeouts to recharge my battery has been a life saver. 

The days when my child is extremely needy are the days when I need timeouts the most; but they are the days when it is almost impossible to find 5 minutes to myself.  When my son was a baby, I would use nap time, a walk around the block, or swing time to take my break. Now that he is older, I have done everything from putting on a TV show, pretending to go to the bathroom, sneaking to the other side of the room when he is playing by himself, to actually telling my son that I am going to ‘meet with God’ for five minutes and that he needs to play cars by himself. 

If your child is not one who likes to play by himself you could set a timer for him (and yourself) that way they know when you will be done. 

When I take my timeouts I usually pray, read scripture, or do some deep breathing. I have on more than one occasion screamed into a pillow, and if my timeout falls around 5:00PM I just may pour myself a glass of wine. 

On days when the meltdowns get to be too much, and I'm just not thinking straight, I reach for my go-to Bible verses that provide me with strength, encouragement, and hope. I have listed a few of them below. Feel free to save them, print them, or pin them!

I am praying for you mom. Remember, you are not alone! Don’t forget to take your timeout and lean on God for your strength!

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