Time-Outs: They're Not Just For Toddlers
Well, I don’t know about you… but motherhood hit me like a high-five, in the face, with a chair. But that was amateur hour compared to my introduction to the toddler years when shit got real. Just when I thought I had this whole mom thing figured out and I really clicked with my son he changed the rules of the game just. like. that. He is no longer my happy, giggly, easy going baby. Oh No! Now he is Gerard Butler screaming “THIS IS SPARTA!” as he kicks me in the chest down the bottomless pit of my naivety. Somebody once told me that toddlers are more fun than newborns. That person’s pants are currently on fire. They also deserve a kick in the kneecap.
Yes, these milestones are exciting and beautiful. Watching my baby grow and become his own person is like watching a dormant garden burst into colour. There are so many wonders to behold in this stage. But I’m also beholding a lot of wtf moments and just total bewilderment as I watch my son swing from one emotional extreme to the other because I wouldn’t let him stand up in the bathtub, or eat the batteries from the TV remote, or lick the floor or pick my nose.
So in these very uncertain times, when your child becomes a tyrannical dictator you don’t remember voting for, it’s important to remember that time-outs aren’t just for tiny terrorists... they are an important respite for you!
Below, I have a comprised a brief and practical list of Whine To Five approved time-outs for exhausted moms.
Time to get moving, mama bear, because studies show that getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat does wonders for your mental health. While it certainly won’t cure a serious case of “The Mondays,” it will help you reconnect with your mind, body and the present moment. I personally like to multi-task and use diaper and wardrobe changes to brush up on my MMA skills. I have to focus really hard on getting my son into his fresh diaper and clean clothes without sustaining serious injuries to my head and face. If you’re wondering how I look so much better post baby than I did before having a baby - below is actual footage of me trying to change his diaper. Little did I know I gave birth to such a worthy adversary. #bowtoyoursensei
2. Take a Bath
Once the dreaded bedtime routine is over and the lambs have finally stopped screaming it’s time to swap out your inner Jodi Foster for the real you that’s been held captive in a well all day. Just add some fresh hot water to the now cold and stale bathwater you forgot to drain earlier. Unless your little one left behind more than just toys that float – if you know what I mean - then you might want to go ahead and drain, bleach and scrub the shit out of the tub. If that wasn’t enough to make you want to abandon the entire project then you deserve a medal. And by a medal I mean the $12 dollar bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion, such as surviving Tuesday with your toddler. This jammy and elegant Merlot pairs wonderfully with leftover bathwater:
3. Listen to your Favourite Music
Ever since Spotify burst onto the scene I have gone full millennial and ditched all my CD’s, mixed tapes, and yes, even my iTunes account. Couple this with the Bluetooth wireless streaming feature in my car and I literally have any music I want available at the touch of a button. It’s a great time to be alive. So the next time you’re stuck on the highway in a small space with a screaming toddler just hit play on your favourite artist and turn the volume waaay up. The tantrum in the backseat will fade into a distant hum. Now, instead of suffering through ear piercing shrieks with a clenched jaw, white knuckling the steering wheel and fantasizing about accelerating into a telephone pole; you will reflect with tender nostalgia on that one magical night in August when you saw Jack Johnson live in concert. You can find the live album of that very concert here:
4. Try A New Recipe
Personally, I hate cooking. I’d rather scrub the toilette with my toothbrush. But my husband is a kitchen magician so date night often involves a bottle of wine, a Spotify playlist and me standing around getting buzzed while he does all the heavy lifting. Except Mon-Fri when I rush home to make something for the three of us before we scuttle our overtired baby off to bed. No matter what I make, though, it will end up on the floor. We have the best fed dog on the block. So I get to try multiple new recipes every. single. night. P.S.A! Toddlers don’t like Teriyaki Glazed Salmon or Balsamic Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta. Just make them the effing PB&J sandwich they really want. Do not make two or three other healthy meals first. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? P.S. Go ahead and order yourself a double pepperoni pizza with the stuffed crust. We both know that’s what you really want and you’ve earned it. Also, carbs are life.
5. Netflix and Chill
Spoiler Alert! I mean this literally not figuratively like the kids say. You didn’t really think I meant sex did you? Nobody with small children has the energy for sexy time. Not unless Nana has them for the weekend and there is some serious foreplay happening. And by foreplay I mean watching your husband load the dishwasher properly and put way three baskets of laundry. No, I mean literally kick back with a new series and prepare to be a lazy piece of trash for as long as possible; or until your toddler inevitably wakes up screaming because he got his head stuck between the rungs of the crib. Binge-ing is so relaxing I promise that by 20 minutes into the second episode you will be out cold in a puddle of your own drool by 8:37 pm. A bottle of wine really helps to enhance the entire experience. I recommend this fruity, medium bodied Masi Valpolicella Classico circa 2016:
These Whine To Five Time-Out’s aren’t really escapes from motherhood. We joke about running away but we don’t really mean it. But they are snip-its of reprieve when the daily grind has worn you just a little too thin and you need a minute to take a deep breath, re-focus and find your footing. Splicing out moments for yourself is self-care and it. is. necessary. You cannot pour out the best of yourself for your child from an empty cup (or wine glass).
Self-care isn’t always a luxurious bubble bath with a bottle of wine or an expensive massage. Sometimes self-care is crushing a box of wagon wheels while you binge watch Netflix on the couch in your sweats and spaghetti sauce stained t-shirt. Sometimes self-care is eating healthy all day then having five pieces of cheesy garlic bread for supper because it's there and you didn’t have to make it. Sometimes self-care is dropping your baby off at daycare early so you can hit up the Starbucks drive-through on your way to work because it’s been a hard week and if you don’t get that black gold soon... you might cut a bitch.