Mommy Time Out

April 12, 2010

Yesterday, we spent 9 hours outside working in the yard, enjoying the beautiful weather, and playing.  It was an  energizing day!

At one point during the morning, I found myself really frustrated.  Chris and I were finishing the last raised bed, and Brady was into everything.  He wanted to hammer.  He wanted to rake.  He wanted to dig in the dirt.  He kept picking up our tools in order to “help”.  I found myself losing my patience with this quicker than normal. 

I finally stopped a minute, walked away, and asked myself, “Why am I so frustrated right now?”  The answer was simple for me.  As a mom, to get anything done, I must manage not only the project in front of me, but I must always manage two little children.  Even on the rare occasions that I do something without the kids, I am always having to think about who will have my kids so I can get my haircut, write, or go to the doctor.  Yesterday, I simply wanted to work on a project without interruptions and without having to engage a child in the project. 

As I took a “mommy time-out” briefly, I realized that my frustration had nothing really to do with Brady, but rather with me.  Brady just wanted to be involved and to be included.  Nothing wrong with that- I want to be involved and included also.  The problem was I had gotten into my “task-master” mode.  I wanted to get the flower beds done quickly so we could play.  In reality, Brady wanted to be with us and work with us.  It was his way of playing with us.  He wanted time with us. 

While this is a hard lesson for me to learn, I have to remind myself as a mom to a toddler and 10 month old that things take a bit longer to get done.  I have to remind myself that I can take an opportunity like yesterday morning and turn it into a shared parent-child moment of teaching, laughing, and playing.  I will eventually finish the project, and I will build a relationship also with my son also.

While I still wish for days that I can knock things off my to do list quickly, I pray that I will not become such a “task-master” that I miss an opportunity to build a relationship with the person I am working with. 

When do I become so goal driven that I overlook the people I am working with?
When am I called to slow down and share my time and my talents with others?

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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  1. David

    Great topic Becky. It doesn’t get any easier when the kids get older. They want to help (not really) but more importantly they just want time building their relationship with you. I get frustrated and tend to run them off only to realize later that it was the quality time we both needed. I have to stop and realize that soon they will have their own sons or daughters that will want their time and I will miss out in the relationship building. Sometimes its not the quality of the project but the quality of the time we have together.

  2. Becky Eldredge

    Thanks, David! It is tough sometimes as you know.

    You serve as a role model to me as I watch you with your kids. You can tell they know that they matter to you!!!


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