A deep, visceral growl escaped my lips. One not unlike a threatened bear or jaguar in the wild.
I repositioned the can again and pressed the button. The blade spun round and round, but the can sat motionless in my hand. I had been at this for at least five minutes trying to open this one can – and I had three more to open. I. Lost. It.
I stamped my feet as hard as I could. I half screeched-half growled in disgust. Tears sprang to my eyes as I pounded the counter-top with my fists.
Mid-tantrum I glanced up towards the door and through tear-blurred eyes I saw my two year old son standing, stunned, in the door way. He slunk back behind the door frame and I collapsed in a puddle of tears – both embarrassed and exasperated.
Quietly he tip-toed over to me, blanket in hand, and wrapped his chubby little arms around my neck and just held me.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I whispered over and over. It was all I could say.
After a moment, he pulled away, smiled that gorgeous smile of his – dimples and all – and sauntered away to his toy cars.
I picked myself up off of the floor, set up a movie for the kids on the computer upstairs and grabbed my Bible. They were surprised at getting to watch a movie in the middle of the day, so I told them the truth:
Mom needs a time out.
Have you ever been there, sister-friend? The circumstances of the day; the pressures of motherhood; the hard-work of marriage; balancing it all…it just becomes too.much.
New mom, it’s okay to put baby in her bed where you know she’s safe (or strap her into her car seat and put it in your room) and shut yourself in the bathroom for a couple of minutes. She may cry. That’s okay, so are you. Right? Take those moments to let it out. Cry. Hunker down. Scream into a pillow. Whatever it takes. Let it out.
Then breathe, mama.
Splash some cold water on your face and re-collect your thoughts. Your emotions. Your fears.
Preschool mom, put on their favorite kid show, or set them up with play-dough or something you know they will be okay with and take five minutes to pray. Listen to that one song that always recharges your heart.
Mom of teens, these semi-grown-strangers that have invaded your home and family. The attitudes are running full boar today, and you have had it. And it’s not even lunch time.
Shut yourself in the bathroom, let the water run loud and just sit. Pray. Cry. Whatever.
The point is, sweet friends, we think we have to have it all together all the time with all the answers and a Pinterest-worthy dinner to boot.
We all have our breaking points, and during some stages of life we reach that point sooner and more often than others.
Recognize when mama needs a time out and take it. Afterwards, if you need to, apologize to your kids. I had to swallow my pride and tell my kids I was sorry for my tantrum when all I wanted to do was to pretend it never happened.
You can’t give what you don’t have. And you can’t model from a place of exasperation.
You will be a better mom if you take those couple of minutes to recharge, to let it out in a safe, enclosed space rather than on your child.
Not only will you be better equipped to handle the rest of the day (or maybe just the next hour) but you will be setting a great example for your children on self discipline, self control, and self awareness.
So, mama-trying-to-read-this-as-quickly-as-you-can-in-the-five-minutes-the-kids-are-busy-with-something-else, do you need a time out?
Then come out ready to love on your crew. And then…