5 Ways to Take Mommy Time Outs

Caught up in the daily grind and desperate for a quick remedy to refuel your own tank? Here are 5 suggestions for how you can take a much needed time out to get your mojo back and feel energized and ready to go.

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #450

mommy taking a time out around noisy kids

I’ve been parenting for 24 years now, and one of the constants that I face daily as a busy mom is finding ways to take time for my own needs, no matter how big or small, without having to justify that I deserve these moments. In theory it’s easy to realize that we as parents are human beings. We need regular blocks of time to refuel and reenergize. But when push comes to shove it’s often easier to place ourselves on the backburner because our lives are just too hectic to make a simple but important change in our schedules.

That doesn’t have to be the case if we learn to prioritize our needs, even if only for a handful of moments throughout the week. When my kids were really little, one of the biggest trends in disciplining was time outs. Whether it was removing them from a very cranky situation and relocating them to a place where they could regroup or placing them in their bedroom for a few quiet moments until they could stop misbehaving, the concept of taking time away from what wasn’t working to redirect their behavior into a more desirable outcome was usually quite beneficial for not only them but for me as well.

The concept of time outs really made an impact on me. Even the smallest change in a given scenario could lighten up a stressful mood or bad energy that not only my child was facing but I was as well. That’s when I realized how important time outs were for parents too. That's right, time outs aren't just for naughty toddlers and sassy preschoolers, moms need them too.

If you’re caught up in the daily grind and are desperate for a quick remedy to refuel your own tank, Mighty Mommy has five suggestions for how you can take a much needed time out to get your mojo back and feel energized and ready to go.

Five Ways to Take a Mommy Time Out

  1. Find Your Happy Place
  2. Master the Power Nap
  3. Go to a Matinee   
  4. Pursue Your Hobbies
  5. Head to the Car

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Tip #1: Find Your Happy Place

One of the greatest gifts my mother gave to my four siblings and myself was that she taught us how to find our very own “happy place.” I know it sounds hokey, but life is full of tough, discouraging moments, so when we are faced with something that is unpleasant and out of our control, we have the choice to dwell in self-pity, or pull ourselves together and find a solution. 

One of the easiest things you can do in those tiring moments is to point your thoughts in a more relaxing direction and go to your “happy place.” Most of us have such a place and when we physically can’t be there, we close our eyes and dream about being there. It might be a tropical beach where you are sitting beneath a palm tree in a comfy lounge chair with your toes dipped in cool sand as you lazily watch the waves lap against the shore. Or maybe it’s sitting at the park watching your kids run happily all over the playground while you enjoy your favorite hot beverage. It could be some place as simple as your living room couch, curled up and reading a great book in your coziest pair of PJs. Whatever image works for you in helping you to relax and unwind, go there as frequently as you need to until you’re ready to “get back at it” and face the present reality of what’s happening in your life.

Tip #2: Master the Power Nap

One of my favorite tips from our pediatrician was her suggestion to take power naps. In case you aren’t familiar with the term, a power nap is defined as "a short nap during the day of about 20-30 minutes duration," says Dr. William Deardorff, Medical Advisor for Spine-health.com. "This results in a winding down of activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex. The short duration of a power nap prevents your brain from entering slow-wave (deeper) sleep."

"Power naps have recently been studied more extensively by researchers and found to yield many benefits, such as a boost in productivity at work, lower stress, improved ability to concentrate, and enhanced mood," continues Dr. Deardorff. "Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that with a nap, brain activity stays high throughout the day; but without a nap, brain activity declines over the course of a day."

So if you can find 20 minutes in your busy afternoon to indulge in a power nap, you’ll not only be getting some quality time to yourself, but you will also be doing something very healthy for your body. Not to mention it’s a great tool to teach your kids!  

See Also:  5 Ways to Help Your Family Sleep Better


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.