Fighting. Crying. Stomping. Hiding—and I’m not talking about your children. Kids aren’t the only members of the family who feel like throwing tantrums or that need time-outs. I’ve got four young children and a husband who travels frequently, I know all about suppressing the mommy fit.
Knowing when to take a parent time-out is important but sometimes we fail to see an opening. Who’s going to hold my colicky baby? How can I escape my fit-throwing toddler? Isn’t there someone who can get these kids to clean their rooms? And most importantly, how am I supposed to regroup and be the grown-up if I can’t get away from this crazy house?
5 Instant Time-Outs for Mommy To Regain Composure
Here are five suggestions for bringing your thumping blood pressure back to a healthy beat so you can handle the melee of everyday parenting.
- Grab your ear buds. There is nothing like the constant sound of children crying and arguing to upset the household. Whether it’s a colicky baby or a fussy toddler who will not be pacified, getting to your happy place can be as simple as a pair of ear buds and a ten minute playlist of happy music. When you hit the end of your rope music is a great leveler and using ear buds gives you the chance to find a quiet(er), private place in the midst of the family chaos, even if you can’t leave the room.
- Downward dog. Yoga isn’t for everyone but learning to quiet the body and control your breathing can help bring your heart rate back to a healthy level. When that last glass of spilled milk hits the fan and you feel the nuclear mommy melt start, take a moment to center your breathing. Find a place to sit and get some much-needed oxygen back into your system. Whether it’s a yoga pose or simply grounding yourself in a comfortable chair, inhale and exhale until your body relaxes.
- Stop and count. When yelling or running away to Mexico seem like the only options left, take a moment and count to ten…or twenty or thirty. Focus on the numbers, count in Spanish, anything that will distract your mind from the frustration at hand. Counting is an excellent way to recenter yourself.
- Take a walk around the block. Exercise can help expel pent up energy and release a few good endorphins. Put the kids in the stroller, do a few sets of lunges across the room, or hit the floor for pushups (toddler warning: don’t try this with toddlers around because they will probably climb on your back). Regardless of what you do, using your large muscle groups will send your energy into something other than mommy madness. And hey, burning calories is a better option than putting a cookie in your mouth.
- Phone a friend. Sometimes what you really need is a listening ear. Call a friend or family member and don’t be afraid to talk about what’s upsetting you. Expressing frustration to someone who cares about you will lighten your load and remind you that you’re not alone, other people have walked in similar shoes. There is nothing better than being able to laugh or cry about life with someone who loves you.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that your happiness and sanity are important to the family as a whole. Mommy time-outs are a crucial part of parenting. You are doing more than simply cooling down, you set an example of self-soothing that even little children can replicate.
Annie Valentine is a freelance journalist, a mommy blogger, a Diet Coke addict and an avid project starter. She lives in Nevada with her husband, their four children and a large brown dog appropriately named Sheriff. Find her at http://annievalentine.com