Monday, June 23, 2008
Gabriel is about to turn three.
As a three year old, his time outs have been upgraded to three minutes, rather than the two minute time out of a two year old. When he gets frustrated and starts pushing the baby or throwing things, he gets his time out. Sure, he has a couple weeks until his actual birthday, but I think it's close enough.
They say kids are supposed to get as many minutes in time out as they have years. That's how much they can handle, developmentally, and G certainly seems to be able manage sitting there for longer now. Then I thought about how long these Time Outs would last. I giggled about a 15 year old, sitting in a corner for 15 minutes.
But then, later, as I was reading some old writing that I did, about how I gave myself a time out when the stresses of caring for little guys got to be too much for my frayed temper. When I gave myself my time out, I used that time to do some creative work, some poetry, some deep thought. And when I went back to take care of the kids, I was calm again.
So I just made the connection-- why shouldn't a teenager or an adult take as many minutes of time out as years in their age? It actually makes a lot of sense. It's not about punishing a kid, really, it's about having some time to yourself and centering and regaining your equilibrium.
I am 37 years old. A 37 minutes time out from my temper to get my head back on straight sounds PERFECT. I don't have to sit in a corner, unless... well, my computer is kind of in the corner, so maybe I do. And Sean, he's 40-mumble, so I bet you he would enjoy a nice round 45 minute time out to do whatever he wants, watch a game, have a beer, read a book.
Who says time outs are just for kids? I think we all need them, parents, non parents, grown-ups, teens. Every single one of us can get to the point where life is just too much. Maybe we don't have a wise and loving parent sitting over us looking to set boundaries, telling us when we need our time outs, but we can serve that purpose for ourselves.
Do some mothering for yourself. When it all gets to be too much and you are snapping at petty things-- TIME OUT, BABY!
Take it as a punishment, if you want... if it makes others around you realize they need to leave you alone. "Can't talk, guys, I'm in time out." Take it as needed "me-time" and get some Yoga in or journaling or paint a picture. Take it as a luxury and have a bubble bath or a walk or SoapOpera session, whatever it is that will get you back to your beautiful, lovely, centered self.
As the newly rechristened WarriorMama, I say you are to go into Time Out when you get all bitchy and stressed and angry. Really, you're not fun to be around, not even for yourself. I'm WarriorMama, so you have to listen to me.