It was one of those days… ok who are we kidding right? It was one of those weeks/months/hell let’s just say since 2010!!
And I needed a time-out. I, me. Not the kids. Moi.
You know the signs all too well. Getting all snappy, moody, overreacting, sometimes even tears and a full on meltdown. It happens to the best of us. Unfortunately there is no parent yelling at me to go to my room (I would gladly oblige) so, us parents have to orchestrate our own time-out. The time and effort involved in setting up our own time-out dwarfs the likes of organising a 3-weeks, 4-country holiday with 11 people with food allergies, or even a 200-guest corporate event. Arranging an adult time-out requires precision planning.
My dear encyclopaedia friend Wikipedia explains a time-out(also known as social exclusion) as a parenting technique used as a type of behavioural modification that involves temporarily separating a person from an environment where unacceptable behaviour has occurred. This usually involves sitting in a corner or on a chair, preferably on a chair in a corner for a duration of 15 minutes at the most. It originated back in 1958 and I won’t bore you with the details suffice to say that, while it all sounds good and worthwhile from a child development point of view, what about us parents? (And I have my own views on the 15min time limit.)
Parenting is hard work. And sometimes we don’t wanna do it. U-u, no ways, nope!
Sometimes I also need social exclusion (Being surrounded by 6 kids counts as social right?) Sometimes I also need to be temporarily separated from my environment as a parent (who hasn’t wanted to run out the door and not look back), and yes, sometimes my behaviour, at a push, I guess could be considered unacceptable. (My facebook friends will remember the matter of that little smashing of the dust pan incident. Another blog for another day.)
So, on this particular afternoon, I knew before I even got home that I was just not in the mood to parent and needed a time-out. So I pulled in at the Kwikspar, grabbed some rolls and vienna sausages (Hot Dogs are my go-to-emergency-at-least-they-are-being-fed-dinner), quickly shot off a whatsapp to Teb’s mom, and collected the kids. When we got home, obviously Tebs was waiting by my car as we parked. I am sure there were a few more little critters lurking in the bushes. After gathering all the kids and school bags and the Kwikspar packet, I announced that they were all going to Teb’s house for dinner. His Mom has said it was fine. So off they went with the Spar packet in hand, I was on the precipice of my very own time-out.
35 seconds later…
“Mom, no one is there”.
Drat, darn, bugger.
They were not home yet. (Should have realised they’d done a runner as soon as I got home.) I quickly go stop the bath water. I didn’t even get to to adding the bubble bath yet.
An agonising 35 MINUTES later, the car pulls up. I skip out the house with the Spar packet in hand and say here we go… the kids can eat at yours and here… I even sorted dinner for them. And they were gone….
35 seconds later….
“Mom, you forgot the Tomato Sauce!!”
Drat, darn, bugger!
That was such a rookie error. I knew better. What was I thinking. Come on Bron, focus. Home time rules stipulate play time ends at 6pm sharp. It is now past 5.30pm, I am cutting into my time-out time here, big time.
Another packet with the Tomato Sauce is prepared. I stupidly bought the glass bottle one and not the easy squeeze one (well done to me for saving R5… doesn’t seem worth it now.) I can’t trust the kids to get it there in one piece without the lovely paved communal drive looking like a bloodbath. So I go traipse up there to hand it over, mentioning to Teb’s mom in a slightly desperate tone where only every 3rd word is audible… please.. I just… I can’t.. I need.. please 20min.. just .. quiet.. thank you. She gives me that “I completely understand nod” and off I go…. Time-out back on track.
I am finally in my sanctuary, my happy place…the bath. It’s so hot I am sure fish would cook in there. Ahhhhh. It is peaceful and quiet, I feel calm wash over me while I take a deep breath and … WTF!!!
Ava has just barged into the house, crying that the boys are being mean to her and won’t let her play. And then I hear what sounds like about at least 3 boys on the trampoline playing WWE. WTF! FML!
I get out, grab a towel and stomp through to the lounge and embark on what can only be described as one of “Britney Spears with the umbrella” type incidents. I screamed and yelled things that the boys probably just heard as Wha-wha-wha-blah-blah-blah. I can’t remember it all, I had gone to THAT place. Something about giving me a break, all I asked for was 20 min, what are you guys doing here…
I turn around and there was Teb’s mom at the door. Eyes like saucers. Ooops! Oh well, see what happens if parents don’t get a time-out? Case in point. She mumbled something about not realising they had all gone and came to find them.
By now its 5.55pm. I decided to amend tonight’s home time and barked “6.30pm SHARP!” as they kids scuttled off back up the road. I, on the other hand, sent myself to my bathroom for a time-out to think about what I had done and to consider my actions and repercussions and to use this time to modify my behaviour Ja whatever who are we kidding. …. I had a smile on my face.
Adult time-out, perfectly sorted.
This pic and Facebook post below was from 6 months ago. Nothing much has changed. 😂