Time-Outs For Mommies

Time-Outs for Mommies - Parenting Like Hannah

Photo by Andrew Hyde

Do you ever have the temptation to laugh hysterically, when you hear someone religious talk about quiet times, meditating on scripture (I am pretty sure “Thou shalt not murder” isn’t what they have in mind!), journaling, etc.?  Many spiritual activities seem to require two things most Moms lack – free time and quiet.

In my last post, I mentioned a friend of mine who has a child with profound special needs. What I didn’t mention is that her child is now thirty years old! This is a special blessing as most children with his issues do not live nearly as long as he has. On the other hand, this means my friend is maneuvering a grown man in and out of slings, beds and wheelchairs. The things she has to do to care for him would exhaust the most energetic person. Yet she rarely appears ruffled by her life at all.

One of her secrets is her special prayer life (see my last post for details). Her other secret, I have to say, is pure genious! Most of us have a room or area in our house that for some reason is usually vacant. For many of us it is our formal living rooms. If you are cramped for space, it may be a closet or the half bath!

My friend has claimed this area as her special spot. In her house, it is a comfortable chair in her living room. Once you identify your special area, stake a claim to it! Put a sign on it if necessary, but everyone in the family needs to understand that Mom is not to be disturbed when she is in this spot (Except for true emergencies, which in most houses means a significant amount of blood is involved!).

Make this spot your spot for you and God. Leave a Bible there that you never move. Maybe you want to add a devotional book, another spiritual book, a prayer or Bible journal and of course a comfortable afghan or throw. The items that you choose, stay in this spot at all times. The only things that come and go are you and your coffee or tea.

Now here is the truly genius part. The reason most of us don’t have a Bible study or quiet time regularly is that it is almost impossible for a mom to be able to clear the same time of day for anything for herself.  We tend to think Bible study times have to be the same time every day and since we know that will never happen, we don’t even try.

My friend has hit on the answer for most of us, I think. At some point during her day, she gives herself a time-out. For moms with small children, it may be nap time or when your child is in time-out herself for some infraction. Maybe it is early before they rise or late after they go to bed. For those with older children, it may be when they are at an activity or you can just call yourself a time-out and take ten to fifteen minutes for yourself.

Whenever you place yourself in your time-out spot, make sure there are as few distractions like televisions, phones and radios as possible. Then spend those few minutes soaking up God’s Words. You can use other books to give you ideas of what to read, but try to spend most of your time actually reading the Bible. If your time is long enough, you may choose to journal and pray as well.

If you go with this ad hoc method of timing your Bible study, you may just surprise yourself. You don’t need a set time, just try to give yourself at least one time out each day. You might get your older children to even give you a time-out once a day. Start trying for five minute time-outs and gradually add more time when you can.

I think if you start trying these mommy time-outs, you may find that you are like my friend. She leaves her time-outs refreshed and more centered on the things God would want her to focus on with her family and her day. Try it for a couple of weeks and reply to this post or email me with what happens. Also, let me know if you have found anything else to add to your time-out corner. Others may find it useful too. So go scout out your perfect location for your time-out spot right now and let me know how it goes!

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)