Mama Takes a Time-Out

Like other parents, sometimes I have to put my two and a half year old in time-out. There are various reasons he can land there – he’s not listening, acting too crazy and needs to calm down, he’s being too rough with his brother….so on and so forth. After the initial melt down, he generally responds well by calming down and changing his behavior (at least in the short term).

In a similar fashion (not nearly as often), mamas sometimes need to call time-out on themselves. You’ll know that you need one when your head feels like its spinning. Maybe you’ll have an anxiety attack or a freak out on your spouse or children. Maybe you’ll ugly cry in the shower. Or maybe it’ll be more subtle and you’ll just plain realize there is way too much on your plate.

Mama takes a time out

Listen up, mamas.

Are you saying “yes” to everything that comes your way in life? At home, at work, and everywhere in between, people are asking for something. Seemingly small “yes” answers are turning into large time sucks. Or small yeses are piling up and you feel like everyone is coming to collect on them at the same time. And you just can’t keep up. Sure, you can bring cookies for the bake sale. Yes, you can volunteer to walk dogs at the shelter. No problem, you can meet for coffee and hear about your friend’s new business. Yep, you’ll host the charity event next month. 

Yes, Yes, Yes. Ugh!

If this sounds like you, it might be time for a mama time-out.

Just like my two and a half year old, I tend to fight time-outs. I tell myself “I can handle it! They need me!” or “I know my limits!” When you’ve spent your life saying yes – whether it be to favors or activities or volunteering – it can be overwhelming to stand and say “no” once in awhile. I’ve been there.

My whole adolescence I was the kid who did everything. Band…check. Sports…check. 4-H…you betcha. Speech club…sign me up. Volunteer? Of course! We called it being well-rounded and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. I was from a small town and I genuinely enjoyed being active and involved. It served me well and certainly made me the person I am today.

But when it’s time for a break, it’s time for a break.

Especially for a busy mama. So, consider me officially in time-out.

I’m going to say “no” for awhile so I can calm down, breathe, and change my behavior. I am going to stop saying “yes” to everything, so when I’m ready to jump back in, I can be confident saying “heck yes!” to the things I really want to do. I’m going to take a little time to just really focus on myself and my family. Time is zipping by me way too fast, and I’m going to stop and smell the roses. Perhaps most importantly, I’m not going to let myself feel guilty.

This will be my past post for the Cedar Rapids Moms Blog, at least for a little while. Additionally, I finally let myself step down from a number of commitments that were taking away from my family and friend time. I’m going to refocus and reevaluate, then start to say “heck yes!” to a smaller number of things when I’m ready. 

If you need a time-out, too, take one. Don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty. Know it’s okay to take a breath and change your behavior (at least in the short term).

Thank you to all the amazing women who have become my friends through the Cedar Rapids Moms Blog. I have learned so much from all of you, and look forward to continuing to read your stories as a fan and fellow CR mama. 

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Natalie Ivory is a University of Iowa grad who grew in Traer, a small Iowa town. She spent time living in Des Moines and Dayton, OH before relocating back to Cedar Rapids where she’s lived for 6 years. She loves her job in marketing/communications at ACT, Inc and is pursuing her MBA. Natalie has been married to Greg since 2011, and their first son, Leo, was born in the summer of 2014, 7 years to the day after they first met. Baby #2, George, was born in October 2016 making them a happy little family of 4.