Tired? Stressed out? Have too much to do? You need strategies to help you take a much needed time-out.
Some times it feels like life will never slow down. There are more demands on your time than you have hours in the day. You have so much tugging at your skirt that you’re about to topple over. And your candle has burned at both ends until it’s nearly just a single extinguished flame.
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At times like this, you probably feel like you have too much to do to take a minute for yourself.
This is exactly the time when you are most in need of your own time out!
The honest truth is that as a working mom, you DO have too much to do and not enough time to get it done. All moms have too much to do, but as a working mom you have demands that others may not understand.
So how do you keep from going completely nuts? You take a few minutes for a breather whether you think you have time for it or not.
Sometimes that breather is best spent taking a hard look at your schedule, routines, child’s activities, your own expectations and the expectations of others.
Consider Limiting Your Child’s Activities
You may have to make a tough call about what activities your children can realistically be involved in. I know it seems to be the thing these days to have kids involved in as many activities as possible. We don’t want our kids to miss out on any opportunities and there are those who have convinced us that it’s the only way to keep our kids out of trouble. We’ve bought into the hype that we aren’t good mothers if our kids aren’t involved in a long list of activities.
Frankly, that’s nonsense, Kids can be too busy and it affects the whole family. They need down time so that they can just be kids. Unstructured time lets kids develop their imagination and creatively. Free time is good for your children.
The flip side to kids who are so busy is that it exhausts everyone in the family – especially you.
There is nothing wrong with setting some limits to your children’s activities. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. And who knows – a child with some free time might just pick up a book, might practice a musical instrument, might write a poem or make a paper airplane. They might just discover a hobby that will interest them for the rest of their life. That’s a pretty good gift to give your child.
Sometimes it’s hard to deal with the opinions of other people. You may have a mother-in-law or best friend who thinks that you’re not doing enough for your child if you don’t have them involved in every activity that is available.
This disapproval – even when not verbalized – can make you feel like a bad mom IF YOU LET IT. The thing with opinions (and you probably know the joke) is that everyone has one. But no one else is the parent to your children! There isn’t anyone else who lives your life, who knows what is best for you an your family, or has to deal with the consequences of your decisions.
For that reason – their opinion doesn’t matter. Unless you let it.
There is nothing wrong with telling these people, “Thank you for your opinion, but I’ve thought a lot about this and am doing what I feel is right for my family.” That’s all the explanation they’re owed.
Give Your Routines and Schedule an Overhaul
I’ve talked before about “orange chickens“. These are the things that creep into our lives, often without our permission, that we don’t enjoy. You may want to take a look at your schedule and commitments to see if there are things you’re doing that you need to opt out of. It’s possible that you took on tasks (committee assignments, volunteer jobs, etc.) that no longer fit well into your life and circumstance. There comes a time to let these things go! Remind yourself that you’re not the only person in town (or in the group, or at church, or in the club, etc.) who is capable of performing these jobs. Besides, others won’t step up to the plate and develop their own leadership skills as long as someone else is already doing the job. Give yourself permission to let things go and not feel guilty.
“My kids are gone and I STILL have too much to do!”
I think we’ve all bought into the myth that once our kids leave home we’ll have plenty of time on our hands. The days of being too busy seeing to the needs of other people, of dealing with requests (and demands) on our time will be over. It will be…wonderful.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’ll STILL have demands on your time!
I was talking with a friend just this morning and she made the comment that she sometimes wonders where all her time goes. We commiserated that when we were working full time we felt more organized, our houses were cleaner, and we kept to a better schedule.
We had both looked forward to the days when we didn’t have to be up at the crack of dawn and would gain all this “extra time.”
The demands on our time change…but they don’t disappear.
Now you’ve got a husband who needs you to do this (and that). You may have grown children or grandchildren who need you. You may be more involved in community activities. You may be helping an older parent, or you may be starting a second career. But no matter what your circumstances, you will still find yourself in need of a time out.
So take one!
The world won’t end if you bow out of a meeting. Your hubby won’t wither up if dinner isn’t ready at a certain time. You may need to arrange for another family member or caretaker to relieve you of your grandparent duties or your responsibilities for elder care-giving. But these are temporary time-outs and they will help you regain your strength, wits, and physical and emotional resources so that you can return as soon as you’ve rejuvenated.
Time-outs Aren’t Just For Kids
The point is this: it’s okay to take a time out when you need it. And unlike a misbehaving child, you don’t have wait for someone else to tell you when you need one. Give yourself permission to take the time you need. You, and everyone around you, will be better off for it.
Strategies To Use When It’s Time For A Break
- Re-examine your schedule. Opt out of activities that you don’t have time for or no longer suit your circumstances.
- Consider limiting the activities your children are involved in if you still have kids at home.
- Inform others that some changes are due. Ask for their help and understanding where you can get it. Stand firm when you meet with resistance.
- Ask others for help. You’re not Superwoman and you don’t have to do everything and you certainly don’t have to do everything by yourself!
- Take a break when you need it. The world won’t end – trust me. Once you’ve had a break you’ll be in much better to resume the responsibilities you have and to meet the needs of others.
- You’ll find more strategies and advice in this book, Mothers Need Time-Outs, Too.
What’s your best advice for a woman in dire need of a time out?
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