timeoutThe baby is fussing, the toddler is arguing with the eight year old over wanting to play with his special toy, it’s getting close to dinner time and your six year old REALLY wants to help make it. It’s enough to make anyone go mad after a day of three kids asking questions at the same time, having been up all night with a teething baby, and a child with a fever. Dinner? Maybe I should call the hubs and have him pick up take out on the way home?! But then I would feel like a failure. 

Just as I get the nerve to defrost the ground beef for that always popular taco meat, which we have already eaten in three meals this week, the baby just wants to be held. She wants to be watching everything, in on the game! It’s enough. And I break.

Mama needs a timeout! Click2Tweet

What I mean when I refer to a time out might not be what you think.

Usually parents put their children in time out because they have miss behaved. What I am talking about is changing how we view the “time-out.” Teaching ourselves and our children to recognize triggers of stress, anxiety, fear, or anger BEFORE we sin, and choosing to give ourselves a little time out with the Lord to reflect, and collect ourselves.

Oh, how many times have I had to exercise this simple practice over the past fifteen years of motherhood? Too many to count, I can assure you.

But this is SO critical in our child training. We not only need to teach our children to recognize when they are experiencing physiological symptoms that can lead them into reacting in their conflict strategies, BUT we also need to know ourselves well enough to know our own, and model for them self control.

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do in the midst of chaos that can happen in a matter of seconds with children, is to simply recognize when she is about to loose her cool and give herself a time out. A little time to breathe, collect herself, pray, and ask the Lord to give her His strength, His patience, His compassion, and His servant heart.

Today, as I was having a lecturing moment with one of my sons, sharing with him about how to recognize his stress triggers and to choose in that moment, to explain to his brother that he needs to take a timeout before things start getting heated. I used myself as the example in my talk with him. I shared with him a few examples of situations were mamasita was about to loose it, and how I gave myself a timeout. I also told him, I would much rather he give himself a timeout than I have to give him one. 😉

This is obviously the transitional season for this particular son in child rearing. Transitional in that, I am teaching and empowering him to begin using his awareness of himself and trusting him to have self control 

But what I want to share with you more than anything today is how what we do as moms, everyday, sets an example for our children. I mess up often in this, don’t get me wrong. There are times were I have not been the best or even a good model of self control. And in the moments, I am humbled and ashamed. Then in God’s good grace, he gives me the courage to apologize… even to my children, for being a bad example to them.

do as I say

I don’t want to be one of those parents that portraits,”Do as I say, not as I do.” Click2Tweet

No, I want my children to know that I don’t expect them to behave in any way that I myself can’t. If I am teaching them to be self-controlled, then I had better have it on my agenda to do my very best to also have self control. Amen?!

So Mama, Sweet Sister,

It’s ok to give yourself a timeout. In fact, it is a wise model for your children to see. Leaving a legacy of self control means it is something you exhibit yourself. A student becomes like his teacher. This is one of the sanctifying aspects about parenting–that the sins we see in our children often reveal the sins we ourselves have struggled or struggle with.

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