An Ode to Time Out
Tonight was one of those.
Then, it was transformed into one of THOSE!
All because of a little time out.
Not the self-love kind of time out to relax. The mommy-is-at-her-wits-end, please-help-me kind of time out.
This afternoon, to overcome a public faceoff with my five year-old, I would be required to muster Montessori-appropriate ultimatums, quick thinking and (at least) the appearance of superior size and mommy power...
... none of with which I was prepared.
So, after (barely) making it out of the situation ego-unscathed and settling into the car, I said, "Buckle up. When we get home, you go straight to time out."
The whole ride home, my heart teetered on the edge of sadness and disbelief in response to his display of public disobedience. So surprising from my sweet baby boy. I could not be an empathetic shoulder on which to cry for this particular circumstance. It was too bad. Could never be repeated.
In the back seat of the car, his eyes were heavy and he was tired, making the combative, stubborn, sad-faced expression a tiny bit more understandable.
The trigger of the entire event - me picking him up from school before his coloring project was done. His dissatisfaction with being asked to depart resulted in a literal stand off. In front of all his friends and teacher, he would not and did not budge to leave.
Eventually, at home, his father politely repeated his punishment and my little man sulked up the stairs to his room.
Here's the important part. Time out. Something that in this moment and most any moment prior I considered to be a synonym for punishment or discipline. Now, a byproduct of a tiff that was bringing me peace.
As a few minutes passed, I set the table, built blocks with my youngest son, cleaned up the lunchboxes and reflected. I realized I was in a time out, too. This one, resulting from self-preservation. The good kind.
I was relaxing. I was letting go of the burn of emotion that had been stuck in my clenched teeth the same way one recalls a bad driver 10 minutes after being cut off.
I was calm.
I was... grateful.
I was manifesting the same process my son was going through in his room.
The time apart that we often forget. Or overbook with phones, computers and TV. The time that brings us back together. The moments of pause to feel, reflect, consider and progess.
What an obvious revelation I had tonight. Of course, time out is time literally to step out. I just never gave it such a worthwhile title.
It was previously my last ditch show of force. Now, after feeling my own relief and seeing my son restart his evening with a sweet appreciation for how he can affect the situation for the better in the future, I see time out can and should be a respite.
The motherhood yogi in my mind will now remember to seek truth and peace, not only in beautiful experiences like this:
But moments like this:
With a little time out, we'll all be ok❤
This Love Letter is for my oldest son and all that comes with mommy-dom. It is the best rollercoaster on which I've been fortunate to ride 🤗