It was one of THOSE days. You know the ones I’m talking about? Those days where everything that can go wrong, does. Those days where you start out chuckling about the chaos, and end up laughing hysterically with tears rolling down your face. Those days where, about halfway through, you are desperately calling out to God for a do-over.
The toddler launched his cereal across the dining room table because the milk was too wet.
The five-year-old screamed and cried because I insisted she wear matching shoes to school.
The toilet overflowed around lunch time because “someone” had put an entire roll of toilet paper in there and then tried to flush. Three times.
The dogs got out the front door when I was hauling groceries in (all in one trip, thank you very much) and I had to chase them down the street.
The toddler decided it was a great day to skip nap time, and thought it would be better to spend that time in his room decorating his carpet with butt paste and baby powder.
The bus was late getting the big kids home, so I was late picking up the biggest kid from orchestra practice. “I thought you had forgotten me, Mom, you know–like that one time you forgot me when I was four.”
A project was assigned at school–two weeks ago–and was due the next day. Of course it needed a poster board. And new markers. And glitter.
By the time my husband walked in the door at 6 p.m., I had about reached my limit. The well of patience had run dry a few hours before, my head was aching like the toddler had hit it with his plastic bat (which he had), and I had just watched the eight-year-old use glitter on the dining room table like she was Lil Wayne making it rain.
There was no hello kiss. There was no, “Welcome home, how was your day?” The best I could manage was a weak smile and wave as I tried to keep the five-year-old from scooping extra glitter off the table to smuggle upstairs to decorate her bed.
Then it happened. My big kid, who I constantly remind myself I love dearly, said these words to me: “Mom, you forgot to wash my favorite jeans, so I don’t have anything to wear tomorrow.”
Oh no, you didn’t.
Apparently my face projected my next move, because my husband, without missing a beat, put his hand on my shoulder. “I’ve got this. Why don’t you go take a time out?”
With those magical words, he saved my child’s life–and my sanity.
I banished myself to my room. I shut the lights off, locked the door, and laid face down on my bed. I let him deal with everything else, and I took that time to breathe in the quiet. I didn’t think about all the things that had happened that day. I didn’t worry about what it said about me that I had almost lost control. I didn’t feel guilty for letting him take the wheel for a few minutes. I just laid in the dark, turned off my mama brain, and soaked in the peace.
It was beautiful. It was quiet and glorious and necessary. My husband saw what I didn’t–that I needed that moment to reset, to take a time out from life. He let me pass the baton so I could rest, and he did it in a way that wasn’t critical or condemning.
When I came out of that dark room, into the lights and the noise of our rambunctious family, my mind was quiet. The glitter was still on the table. The project still needed to be done. Dinner needed to be cooked, and jeans still needed to be washed (although someone besides me got a lesson in laundry that night).
I was ready to jump into the chaos again, though, because my husband had put me in time out.