I can usually spot it a mile away. The slightly crazed look. The ping-ponging emotions – super duper happy and giggly to whiney whiney whiney. The swirling ball of energy building up inside their little bodies threatening to erupt and cause a lava flow of emotions and tantrums.
As a parent, you become acutely aware of the signs. It’s like a radar that start beeping that warns me that I need to act fast in order to avoid a total, epic meltdown.
As a parent, I know when my kids need a time-out or a break – a few minutes away from the scene in order to recalibrate their tiny little equilibria. However, I’m not good at noticing when I need a time-out.
It’s usually because I’m caught up doing other things or just plain not present and mindful enough to notice what’s going on with me. My mindset is often, “I just need to get through the day. I just need to make it to bedtime.”
I fully recognize that I need a break from parenthood and life sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and I want to spend time with them. It’s more often that I feel like I’m overstimulated, like my kids, and it become difficult to focus, like my kids. I think that it’s a virtue of my nature – of being an introvert. Sometimes, I need to retreat in order to recharge, to regroup and rebuild my energy stores.
While I need to become more attune to the subtle signs of when I’m hitting my limit, here are 5 tell-tale signs that Mommy needs a time-out:
- Your “bathroom breaks,” aka a few minutes of peace to hide in the bathroom to check email/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, get longer and longer.
- You pretend to nap.
- You are willing to let the mess get bigger, allow a little extra TV and a few extra treats in exchange for a few moments of quiet.
- You volunteer to make the trip to the supermarket in the pouring rain/sleet/snow.
- Even a good cheesy movie won’t pull you out of a funk (although Pitch Perfect does a pretty darn good job).
- There’s a growing stash of chocolate and/or ice cream in the house which you hide from your children and spouse/partner.
What are the signs that YOU need a time-out?
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