Time Out for Mom and it’s side affects

Posted By on June 4, 2012

Got upset with the kids this evening … gave myself a time out in my bedroom. 15 mins later, Burian, my four and a half year old came in and asked if I wanted the light off.

“Yeah, sure.” I mumbled into my pillow, close to tears.

He returned to my side and asked, “Do you want the covers over your shoulders?”

I looked at him. “No, thank you”

He got into the covers with me.”Clayton is sad and is banging in his room.”  He looked at me for a moment. “Do you want to go see him?”

“Yeah, I’ll go.”

I saw Clayton huddled into a ball on a futon. I sat beside him and listened to his sobbing. My sensitive boy.

“I’m sorry I yelled. I was really frustrated because I was asking for you guys to put away your toys and pack your snacks for tomorrow and all I heard was arguing about who belongs to who, and who gets the apricot and who gets the bar. I was spreading my energy all over the place, washing dishes and breaking up fights. I couldn’t be patient anymore. I gave myself space, but I found out I needed it after I exploded. I’m sorry if I scared you.” I offered him my open arms and he took it..

I went back to my bed and laid down again. I heard little feet shuffle around the house.

10 minutes later, Burian returned to my side and laid down beside me. “Clayton is sad because Jing Wen won’t let him put away the swing.”

“Maybe Jing Wen was not finished using it.” I paused. “Did you put away your toys?”

“I did.”

“Your squirt guns?”

“I put them away. And I mop the floor.”

“You mopped the floor?” He nodded. “You mean the bathroom floor?”

“The kitchen.”

“You mopped the kitchen floor.” I repeated dumbly.

“With the water in the bath tub.” He said. “And I drained the water away.”

“And your legos?”

“I put them away.”

“Gee, thanks Burian. You are so very helpful to me and your family … I think it’s time to see Clay.”

I went to hug Clay again. I found out what happened to him, at least from his perspective. Then I went over to Jing Wen to hear his story.

Jing said, “He just started to yank on the swing and I was still reading on it. So, if he was going to use non-language to communicate then I can too, so I didn’t move.”

“So, you were just giving him a taste of his own communication?”


“Was it helpful?”


“Then why do it?”


I sighed. “I think Clayton was wanting to help clean up before bed. That was something I wanted him to do. He was being helpful. Do you know what else was helpful. Burian putting his things away, mopping the floor and coming in to see how I was doing, turning off the light for me and asking me if I was warm. I am so grateful for all those things.”

Hey, what I feed grows, right?

Clayton started to shuffle some playing cards. “Mom do you want to play Chinese Poker with me?”

“Yes. and I also want you to be ready for bed. How about you guys floss and brush? I’ll help Burian.” They jumped into action. When they were done, we sat down to play a hand.

Seconds later, Burian asked, “But mom, could you read a book to me?”

Jing Wen came in, “Here Burian, I’ll read it to you.”

Then I read them another two books before bed. And that was our night. It’s amazing to me how resolutions arrive when I hold my children with respect, accept my humility and trust in their willingness to contribute.

Thank goodness for time outs to help ground my frustrations (better late than never), for my savings in the trust bank* with the kids and for the gift of my children … My children know I am not a Saint, thank goodness for that too.

“Thank you for choosing me.” I whisper to them sometimes. This was one of those times. Burian fell asleep with his arms around my neck. Sweet boy.

*trust bank – a collection of experiences, memories, interactions that show our children we care for them, that we are honest and real, trust worthy or that we follow through with our word.

About The Author

I am a Chinese-American mother of three boys, parenting with the traditions worth keeping from the East and West. I continue to learn new ways of raising a family and myself.


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