Self Care and Personal Space

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Did you see that viral video of the mom hiding in her pantry from her two year old quadruplets so she could eat a Twizzlers? She became an overnight sensation and even made it onto the Ellen Degeneres show because her hilarious plight resonated strongly with moms everywhere. I laughed, but I also identified with her desperation. The fact is that kids have absolutely no respect for personal space. Babies, toddlers, and even older children are ON YOU all the time. They cling, they follow you to the bathroom, they interrupt your conversations, they grab at your clothes, they fling themselves at you in anger, they need cuddles and hugs and physical reassurance, they may only sleep if they’re touching you, or only eat if they’re sitting on your lap where instead of eating their own food they steal yours. It’s endless, and exhausting. The Pantry Mom strikes a chord because she’s demonstrating the sort of desperate self care that so many of us have resorted to–when her kids became too much and she just wanted to eat that Twizzlers in peace she removed herself and gave herself a voluntary time out.

Positive Time Outs are a really simple and awesome bit of self care that even the most depleted and exhausted mom can execute. What if time outs weren’t a punishment, but a way to restore balance? What if we teach our children that everyone needs some privacy and a minute to themselves sometimes? What if we care for ourselves by creating a few moments of touch free retreat? It might not seem like much at first but it can really make a difference. What if you start by insisting that you get to pee alone. Take your phone into the bathroom, lock it, take five minutes to check your email or read a few pages of an article, wash your face, and take a few breaths. If your kids are older you can explain to them that everyone needs some privacy sometimes and you’ll be back out in a minute.

Or when you’re feeling overwhelmed with a crying infant–what if you put that baby down in a safe place, like a crib, went outside for a few minutes and closed the door? Those few minutes to breath the fresh air, feel the sun on your face, and block out the screaming, could be the difference between coping and falling apart.

What are your best tactics for getting a few minutes of space away from sticky jam hands? Tell us in the comments!