It was with our first child that we created the dreaded Time Out Chair. The modern, silver-fabric-upholstered side chair was the only location to which our firstborn was sent whenever a stern talking to didn’t do the trick. My boy knew things had gone to Defcon 4 whenever he got sent to the Chair.
The Time Out Chair has moved with us three times since, and still retains its job of housing the bottoms of two children who need some space to calm down, or think VERY SERIOUSLY about whatever it is that they have done.
But what about me? Where do I go when I need to cool off? Is it the fancy chair?
Nope. It’s the bathroom. The downstairs half-bath, or powder room, to be exact.
You’d think I’d pick a nicer spot than the bathroom to cool my jets. I could go lounge on my comfy bed for a moment, or sit out on the patio and watch the leaves rustle in the breeze. Instead, I run to the loo and sit on the toilet lid, head in hands.
Only in the bathroom can a mother demand real privacy. Not that you get it most of the time, because most children will just barge in anyway. But you can still try. You can lock the door and ignore all entreaties beyond it. You can claim an upset stomach and warn you may need to be in there for a while. You can croak with a pained voice that you’ve come down with a sudden case of the stomach flu and that you’re sure the germs are highly contagious.
And then? Then you can sit on the porcelain throne and flip through a magazine in peace while your child thinks you are in full intestinal distress and suffers tremendous guilt that he or she upset you just moments earlier. That should get you a good five minutes alone, at least.
I see nothing wrong with hiding for a few minutes in order to gather myself. In fact, I’m grateful for the downstairs powder room, as I’m sure it has prevented me from saying things I shouldn’t say or yelling in a highly inappropriate tone. I imagine that, like me, every mom needs a time out at some point, perhaps on those days when your beloved child has called your name one too many times, or spilled drinkable yogurt all over the couch for the third time this week, or left Legos on the stairs that are now lodged firmly in your heel. Or during those times when you’ve had enough and it has nothing whatsoever to do with your kids but instead your spouse or your job or the perpetually clogged drain. We all need a place to go to get a break.
So where do you go to get away for a moment and clear your head? Tell us about your favorite mommy time out space, and what you do in there to help yourself calm down.