Sometimes I need a time-out. I need a few minutes alone, in a quiet space, to listen to my own thoughts and feel my own feelings. Sometime, it's something as simple as one too many requests to have potato chips for breakfast "because they're healthy, mommy", or just one additional layer of noise, and I immediately feel the need for a few minutes alone. When I can recognize the need, that's when I give myself a time-out. I retreat to my room and read, journal, or simply lie there letting my body and mind relax and refocus.
Next to my bed, I keep a devotional, Savor, by Shauna Niequist. It's filled with inspirational one-page reads and thought provoking questions that get me in the mindset to journal about something other than food or parenting. It's like taking a breath of fresh air and remembering that I have thoughts in my head that reach beyond the scope of my daily routines. When I have the time to read and journal, I immediately feel refreshed, renewed and refocused.
Writing used to be such an easy thing for me to do. I used it as a way to sort out my numerous emotions (if you know me well, you're probably familiar with this side of me). I have less time for that at this stage in my life, but I am learning how to make it happen more frequently. Sometimes it's the few minutes I can force my eyes to stay open before my head hits the pillow, and sometimes I find a window during nap time to scribble some thoughts down before tackling some other project or load of laundry.
No matter when these time-outs happen, or when I manage to do some writing, I always do it in the same place: in my room, under the covers, and in complete quiet.
And don't be afraid to let your kiddos know that you need some quiet time. If time-out is too negative a term, a friend of ours shared a term they use in her preschool classroom: space place. No matter what you call it, letting your kiddos know that adults need time to control their emotions and calm down too is important.
If you are a parent who is feeling overwhelmed and burned out, can I suggest a time-out? They aren't so bad. Promise.