How 8 Moms Take Their Own Time-Outs

Every mom needs to zone out and find her Zen sometimes.

By Lorraine Allen

We moms have a lot on our plates. We stay on top of our families’ packed, ever-changing schedules. We keep homes, gear, and kids organized. We shop, schlep, cook, scrub. We rub bellies and backs. We wipe messy floors and messy butts. We pick up our kids when they fall; we cheer them on their way back up. We do it all, every day, all day long. But sometimes, we need to step away and sneak a moment to ourselves. But with so much to juggle, it can feel impossible to take a break. These moms explain how they make time for time-outs for themselves.

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Zone Out

Personally, when I need to regroup because I’m exhausted and overwhelmed (like too tired to even reach for another cup of coffee) I just turn my head and stare out the closest window for a few minutes. I can zone out noise, needs, screams, messes, yes, even smells -- just by focusing on some clouds floating by.

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Hit Snooze

“I take a nap. I can pretty much lie down anywhere, curl up, be out cold for 20 to 30 minutes, and wake up refreshed. Sometimes it backfires, and I feel like a drooling mess when I get up. But for the most part, quick naps do the trick for me.” -- Heather, mom of two

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Coffee Break

“When I need some time alone, I use the excuse of grocery shopping and take an extra 15 or 20 minutes to grab a cup of coffee, read a newspaper, or catch up with a friend on the phone.” -- Carol, mom of two

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Bathroom Break

“In our home, there is nowhere I can find any real peace and quiet, except the bathroom, because it has a lock on the door! So if I really need to be alone, I go hide in there!” -- Suzie, mom of four

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Multitask During Your Time-Out

Hiding in the bathroom (or anywhere) to get away for a few minutes? Use Crest Whitestrips to give yourself a brighter smile during your break!



“I’ll be honest, I don’t really practice meditation, though I often wish did. But I tell my kids and hubby that I do, whenever I need time to myself. I’ll sit or lie on our bed, relaxing, door shut, and if anyone knocks I say ‘Oooommmmmm!’ really loudly until they leave me alone.” -- Camilla, mom of three

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“I was so lucky to grow up surfing, which is the perfect way to Zen out, in my book. Since I can’t do that here where we live now, I go swim at our YMCA pool when I need to unwind. It’s obviously not the same as catching a real wave, but just being in the water makes me feel happy and calmer. Except when there’s a class full of toddlers peeing and screeching beside me as I do laps…” -- Kira, mom of two

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Catch a Movie

“About a year after my twins were born, I had this total burnout moment when I needed to get away immediately. I left my hubby in charge of both screaming babies and walked out the door. But it was freezing cold, and hailing. The streets were covered in ice, and I started to cry. Then I saw that a new movie I had never even heard of was playing at the theater around the corner and the show was just starting right then! What are the odds? I ran in, grabbed a soda and a huge bucket of popcorn, and laughed and cried through the whole thing all by myself. I felt so much better after. Since then, when I need an escape, that’s where I go. And I always leave in a better mood.” -- Justine, mom of twins

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A Backyard Escape

“Since we had kids, I’ve started ‘hiding’ in our garden shed when I need a time-out. I’m thinking of hanging a hammock in there, so it feels more like a real vacation! My friend even got me an inflatable palm tree for the shed, as a joke.” -- Alexandra, mom of two

What’s your favorite way to take a time-out?

Lorraine Allen is a writer and mom to one spunky first grader and one squirrel-obsessed dog. You can follow their allergy-friendly cooking adventures at
Feeding Lina.

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