Monday, March 15, 2010

A timeout for mom

This past week was very challenging for me. One teenager seemed distant while the other seemed dazed and my 5 yr old complained that his sister was being mean towards him. No one was doing chores and I allowed the tension to build and I caved. I allowed myself to cry and release. I was vulnerable. I turned to my husband who, thankfully didn’t roll his eyes, but listened and offered his help. As my husband held me during my meltdown, I realized that my problem was deeper. I felt overwhelmed, disappointed and hurt.

Last week I was trying to understand why chaos had taken up residence in my home. It was time to de-stress and regain control. Then my son sent me an email this morning and it hit me. My children are overwhelmed, too! My daughter is in her final months of 8th grade, which can be very overwhelming. There’s tremendous anxiety associated with these last months. Not to mention, the transition from a very small school (30-8th graders) to a High School whose 9th grade class has approx 120 students. My almost 16 year old son is feeling the pressure of his sophomore year and athletics coupled with the anxiety and stress that comes along with being a teenager. Unfortunately, my 5 year old got caught in the teenage crossfire.

So today I took a timeout. I’ll regroup and get us back on track. I began with a prayer for guidance, counsel and blessings upon my brood. As moms, we sometimes get hung up on our routine and busy schedules and we forget that our children need emotional support. It’s ok for John to miss piano practice because his day was overwhelming. Instead of enforcing practice, stop and listen to what transpired during his day. Schlepping them from one activity to another can cause us to lose sight of what’s really important…..their emotional wellbeing. Do we take time to sit and really listen to what’s going on with them? Are we connected to them? Can we sense when they are not in balance? Are we aware of their anxieties? I need to make more time to listen and connect with my teenagers. They’re older and needs are different. I’ll ask them what is working for them and where they feel improvement is needed. Together with my husband, I’ll help them with stress management and give them the tools they need to get on track. Most importantly, we’ll let them know how much we love them and how proud we are to be their parents.

As you journey through motherhood, take a timeout, reassess your family needs and act upon it. Our children need us to be connected. They need our direction and guidance. Their needs change during different phases. I’m going through a phase change so I’m reassessing. However, some things will remain constant… love, my support and the chores!


  1. I am soooo happy that the Armstrong's are human! You are right, sometimes it takes an adult time out to really see what is going on around us. To realize too, that no one is to blame, but oh sooo sweet when you can look up to the heavens and know that God got your back and gave you the wisdom to jump off the train to nowhere to get things back on track...All will be well! You are super mommy and you can do this!!!!

  2. Thanks Sharlene....I'm so not a 'Super mommy' neither do I strive to be one. But I love these kids that God entrusted me with. So since they didn't come with instructions attached, I'll depend on our Father to guide me thru this.

  3. Nicole, this is so timely. Right now I think I am in need of a mom time out. My daughter and I are having trouble communicating. I am trying to be understanding but it can be so hard when your child has decided to be uncommunicative and you are so used to not being yourself that you don't know how to start without causing conflict. Since you are the more senior mum here; three to my one, any advice would be welcome.

  4. Prayer and patience. That's what I do. I'm in the process of eliminating"what's wrong?" from my conversation with my 13 yo. I think the ques. frustrates her. Get connected with her world. Meet her where she is. Don't force it...let it come naturally. We're in the same place Greta. One thing I've learned is that there is great power when a mother falls on her knees and prays for her children.
    Chk the links in the blog, they'll provide some insight also.
    Let's keep in touch.

  5. I find that I spend more time having to pray for her than for anything else.Lol. I guess that's par for the course.I think that to a large extent, it's my fault that we don't talk as we should. I was never a talker as you know and even though I wanted that kind of open relationship with her I had no idea where to start so... Now we're thirteen and I find that I now have to get to it.