Yesterday I sat in a closet

I came home from class and was thrilled that I made it home in time to see my babies. They had just eaten dinner and it was time for their baths. I wanted to do the bathtime routine myself, since I had been out of town all week and came back just in time for two night classes and another speaking engagement, which meant I had seen them for less than an hour all week. Ugh.

So I began to get the bath ready and laid out their pajamas. I hauled out the various lotions and emollients that we have to slather on them after their baths.

As I glanced at the clock, I realized it was going on 9 p.m. The kitchen was still a mess, I had four chapters to read for class the next day (100+ pages), this blog needed a new post, and I hadn’t even practiced what I was going to say at my speaking engagement today. I felt like our life had completely gone off the rails since I started school.

I began to cry. I was physically tired, emotionally tired and I really, really just wanted to lie down.

Since that wasn’t really an option, I went and sat in the closet. (Granted, it’s a walk-in closet, but work with me, alright?) I closed my eyes and counted to 10. I took deep breaths. I told myself, “You’re still figuring this out. It will be okay.”

And you know what? It will be okay. I just got finished reading, Mothers Need Timeouts, Too, and while it wasn’t revolutionary, it reminded me that Tara needs to come first. That I need to make sure I am taking care of my mental and emotional (and physical!) health just like I’m running around taking care of everyone else.

I do all the things I do because I am driven and I have big goals for myself. I push myself hard every single day, including weekends, and I rarely have any downtime. When your whole life is go-go-go, it is hard to shut that off.

This book helped me see that I need to give myself more timeouts.

When do you usually end up giving your kids timeouts? When they are overstimulated or whiny or not listening or any other reason you can think of. But what do I do when I’m overstimulated or whiny or not listening? I keep pushing through, inevitably causing myself even more stress.

But I’m making even more changes now.

1) When I get home, I will take the first five minutes to decompress.

2) I will give myself Saturday off. No studying, no blogging, no work, no anything other than hanging with my babies and loving my husband.

3) I will end each night with a quick hand or foot massage to help me fall asleep faster.

4) I will excuse myself upstairs if I feel like I’m about to lose it. If I have to sit in a closet, I will.

Tell me what you are doing to alleviate stress in your day-to-day life. If I like it, I might add it to my list! :)


  1. Hey now, don’t knock sitting in closets. That can be very theraputic :) Now, my closet is completely full and I can’t squeeze in there to hide right now, but thats ok because my hideout of choice is the bathroom. I turn on the shower really hot and the sound of the water and the steam that fills the room is very relaxing to me. And I just close my eyes for a few minutes and relax and I feel like a whole new person ready to face the day again. Your list looks great, Tara. I hope it helps you!

    (BTW, the layout of this page is all funny…I don’t know what happened)

  2. Get out of my head, Tara! HAHA. No seriously, this looked like a post that I totally could have written. I’m so happy to know that there are other mommies who I am >here< with! Makes me feel like I'm NOT crazy. LOL.

    Yes hun… mommies DO need a time-out too. Just like Katie said, I usually go into the bathroom. If I can't shower right then and there, I look in the mirror and take deep breaths and tell myself "you can do this!" Going on the balcony for some fresh air works well too.

    But seriously, when I am overstimulated or whiny and I try to push past it, it only exacerbates the situation… no bueno. Taking time-outs really help.

    (And yes.. maybe it's just this cpu, but something is off with the layout of this awesome page!)

    .-= alicia´s last blog ..Just Accept the Help- Lady =-.

  3. I completely understand. I’m reading this book by Iyanla Vanzant called One Day My Soul Just Opened Up and its really teaching me how to focus on me and make myself better. Whenever I get overwhelmed I refer to whatever chapter I need to because I’m done with the book but still use it as a daily tool. Its filled with affirmations to get you through any obstacle. Life is a process. But I’m learning to “honor myself”. Take care of yourself Tara!

  4. Tara, you are off to a great start with your list! You Can Do It!!! We Can Do It!!! It’s done!
    Timeouts are always needed, for moms and children. I like the closet and the bathroom (those hot showers for 10-15 minutes are great for rejuvenation.) I’m off from work every other Friday and that has become my timeout DAY.
    We mothers need and deserve timeout so we don’t get burned out.

  5. You are right, we totally need a time-out too! That’s the great thing about bedtimes though. For me, after 7 pm is MY time. The boys are both in bed…. both are sleep (well, sometimes my toddler is singing quietly to himself, which puts him to sleep). And I can just come out and kick my legs up and stretch out and do a little blogging/web-surfing. I do that for a little bit, then I prepare dinner for DH. After that it’s all my time. And boy do I value that time.

    I truly feel sad for any parent who doesn’t have some sort of bedtime/structure/schedule in place. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
    .-= Yakini´s last blog ..Breastfeeding at Work &amp Other Mama Drama =-.

  6. Thank you for sharing because I am literally going crazy and dont have an outlet. Thanks for suggesting the closet, Im gonna go sit in it when I get home lol. I cried in the shower the other day because I’m so exhausted and I dont know how to balance all that I do and all that I want to do and who I want to be. I’m just tired, I’m worn, but I dont want my daughter to see that because she deserves a mommy is 100% who packs perfect lunches and irons clothes at night and makes sure her bed gets made every morning. Yah that not I keep on pushing myself. But I am on the edge. Literally. I try decompressing but then I freak out cause its time that I should have spent cleaning or cooking dinner or doing homework. Im convinced that there is no such thing as balance and that really sucks.
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..Life full of Plan Bs =-.

    • @Alexandra – I used to have nightly “shower cries.” Shoot, I would schedule them on my to-do list. “Let’s see…go to work, make dinner, baths for the kids, then a shower cry for Mommy.” Seriously. Something about being in the water, and the tears cleansing me from the inside out…it used to refresh me. But I have learned that I need my quiet time. To sit in the corner and reflect on what I’m doing and how my day is going.

      Like you, I do try to put on a front when the kids are awake. But I found myself thinking, “Why didn’t I know it would be difficult? Why didn’t I know this? My mom was able to handle it and keep everything going…” But NOW that I have kids, my mom tells me the truth. “Oh, chile I almost ran away,” she’ll say, laughing. “Y’all drove me crazy!” But I don’t remember that. I remember she was loving and I had everything I needed. So what is better? A kid that knows their mom is doing the best she can but falls short some days, or a kid that thinks their mother is picture perfect but then has a warped idea of what parenthood is? I haven’t figured that out yet…

  7. Haven’t been around to read in a while but you never fail me with a YES! & AMEN TO THAT! Lol, thanks for your sentiments Tara! As I tried to watch The View this AM, a realist mentioned that it’s not fun at all to sit in the house all day with kids, yes even when they’re yours! But another host chimed in saying “Yes it is fun, it is!” Well, I’ve been ‘at-home’ for almost 2 years now and I am about to start begging for a job!!!! My 1st grader can’t get his act together in school, my daughter is getting closer to the terrible 2’s which really if it gets any worse, oh boy I’m going to need a whole new house Not just a closet! I need to incorporate more exercise into my daily routine which I think will help with relief of stress…I will, correction for self!

  8. this is how i was feeling tonight. and yes…i ran upstairs and cried for a few as well. I had a huge deadline for work, i had a speaking engagement as well, two back to school nights on the same night at two different schools and on top of that everything else us moms have to do…it was crazy. As my kids have gotten older though, their timeouts are less frequent….and it’s a blessing that I can talk to them and they’ll get it…except when they don’t—LOL. But yes Tara, do take Saturdays off. It helps! and you have such a wonderful family, they need to ENJOY YOU as much as you need them.

  9. I completely understand. I became overwhelmed with homeschooling and parenting 24/7, and had to give myself a time-out by sending my baby back to school. I don’t know if she’ll stay the whole year, but I seriously needed the break. No guilt, no regrets!
    .-= Lovesgumbo´s last blog ..Enjoying the Single Life – 5 Strategies For Positive Singleness =-.

  10. I love this Tara !!!! Sometimes you have to take time for YOU!!!!