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Mommy time-out a BAD thing for us!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Last night, DS (8 months) was not wanting to go down. I was getting really irritated because he was sleepy, he would go down for a minute and then be up again! This has been happening the last few nights. I was getting really, really impatient, so I thought instead of holding him while feeling so mad and talking to him in a mean tone, it would be better to give myself a time out of 30 seconds or so, cause I couldn't handle any longer.

I put him in a safe place and shut the door and stood outside.
He screamed the whole time and seemed really shocked that I would do that to him. He was even more upset after I picked him up and started walking around, like he was very upset and his world had been turned upside down! (I don't know how parents CIO because they'd have to do that for way-more than 1 minute.)
Now I feel that I've done irrepairable damage and it would have been better to just hold him and be pissy.
It's so hard to know the right thing to do!
Any advice?
post #2 of 9
god knows what would happen if i didn't give myself a 30 sec mommy time out every once in a while!

for me, they are crucial to my sanity (literally). i have a tendency to stuff anger, resentment, annoyance etc deep down until there's so much it threatens to EXPLODE. i'm working on not stuffing so much so that i DON'T get to this brink, but when i do find myself *there* and am home alone with ds, i *have* to put him down and take a minute to go through my breathing and meditation.

i don't think 1 minute of you getting yourself together so that you are better able to care for your son is a bad thing at all! much of his crying/upsetness was probably due to his being tired, and although i do think he was probably also upset that you left him alone, i don't think you left him long enough to cause harm that can't be soothed with extra cuddles when you return to him.

post #3 of 9

Please take care of yourself

Please Please Please take care of yourself.

In my opinion it is essential that you understand your limits and find healthy ways to uphold them. I do not think that the time you left your baby alone would cause irreerable damage, though I do understand the profound impact it had on you.

Hearing your sensitivity, my only thought would be if you could say in a calm manner to him (?) what you are doing and why and leave the door open if at all possible. Then you are taking care of yourself in as respectful a way as possible.

post #4 of 9
i see no long term harm in the mommy one minute time out. i have to ask, though, where was your husband? my husband and i are a tag team for just such instances. mommies need help and support for just these situations.

was nursing or playing with your baby not soothing him? you say he's been having trouble for several nights now...could he be teething or not feeling well, growing or stressed? or maybe his routine is changing a bit. we long ago learned to roll with things because the minute you think you're settled into a set routine is the minute something naturally changes.

there have been many times i've felt inconvenienced and at my wits end. what i hold on to is that fact that i know that i will never regret mustering up every last ounce of patience i have whereas i will regret giving into my feelings of frustration. but certainly if it gets to the point of you feeling dangerous get some space!
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
My husband works nights so that we don't have to put DS in daycare, so we're usually on our own.
I think he is teething. Of course I tried feeding him, rocking him, bouncing him and, walking with him, reading to him. I would be holding him and he would want down, I'd put him down and he was unhappy cause he wanted me to hold him, it was like he wanted both at the same time ..sadly, the only thing that night that calmed him down was when I tried on a long-shot putting that stupid Baby Mozart DVD in. He stood there mesmerized and smiling and since he'd had such a hard night, I thought he deserved some happy, downtime. Then, we were finally able to go to sleep. I'll try that again as a last resort next time and see if it will keep my sanity.
The last thing in the world I want to do is damage my child. I think I did damage him, even if it was slightly, when I had my time out. That still kills me. He's over it but I don't think I'll ever get over it. I hate the person I become when I loose my patience and I'm working very, very hard to do better. My biggest female support in this world is a strong believer of CIO, so I can't talk to her about these things (or co-sleeping and nightwaking) and it makes it even harder. I'm so relieved I can come here and get good advice!
Things have settled down much more now and I haven't had to do that again (or put in the Baby Mozart thing in either.)
Thanks everyone, but if you'd like to continue the discussion about mama time-outs, I'd be thrilled!
post #6 of 9
I have read mixed things about mom time outs. One school of thought says that it gives the idea that you won't be there or love the child when they are being unpleasant so to stick it out showing them that your love is unconditional. Nice theory, but in reality, sometimes the tension coming off the mom no matter how much she tries to keep it in is still leeking out and being picked up by baby. It got harder for me as my kids were about 2 to 3 years old and behavior issues became more predominent. I am just not that advanced of a person to sit there and be screamed at and abused even if it is by a little kid. At some point if I don't step away, I will probably yell something mean and scary and I know it. I try to use words like "I don't being yelled at, hit, whatever. I love you, but I'm getting really angry and I need a break." Of course they are mad about it, but they were obviously mad anyway and we both usually need a minute to calm down. Later we always talk about it. I let them know they are loved, but that the behavior was unacceptable and I was feeling like I would lose my temper and yell or act mean so I take a break when I feel like that. I still feel bad that maybe I should always stay there and I try to as much as I can, but sometimes you have to follow your instincts and know when to go away. I also think it's good for kids to see the example of cooling off, time to yourself, and to realize that I will always love them, but that they can not abuse people and expect them to sit there and accept it. Sometimes (a lot) we read so much and try so hard to be these great parents that we set ourselves up for failure. I mean, we're human, and everyone has a different level of tolerance. We're growing all the time hopefully to be better prepared for future issues as the kids grow up, but expecting perfection is a big set up for guilt. The biggest thing I think is making sure they know that they are loved and that you are doing your best.
Marcy74, it sounds like you really feel bad. I am sure your son was shocked, but it is not something that is irreparable. I would apologize to him and even though he's little explain what happened. It sounds like he was just in one of those really frustrating places where nothing could make him happy. It's so hard to realize that we can't always fix everything for them. But do remember to take care of you too. I'd say if the DVD gets you through this, roll with it. These things are just tools and sometimes they can really save the day. Best wishes.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamanonymous!
Actually, intuitively I did talk to DS after the event. I told him that I was sorry, that I didn't mean to scare him but that I was just so frustrated. That I didn't understand why he wasn't sleepy and that I was trying to be sure I was doing my job of protecting him so I had to go to the other room for a minute.
Next time, I'm going to take someone's suggestion and warn him about what I'm doing, rather than just putting him in there and walking out.
To be completely honest and frank, part of me wonders if it was that I was so mad at him for not doing his normal thing, that I wanted to punish him, so that's why I put him in that room like that without explaination. I hope I'm wrong. My mother never got angry with me like that, but my Dad would. I definitely have a temper and I've REALLY got to get that in-check before he gets to the age where he really knows how to push buttons. I just have to keep remembering all the time I spent on the therapist's couch complaining about how unloved I felt by my dad. I don't want my son to think that of me! That last bit is almost too hard for me to admit to myself. I know that a baby doesn't manipulate or do anything to upset us. They are just trying to survive and learn in their world and not being able to communicate must be very frustrating.
Thanks for all the kind words.
post #8 of 9
Hi MArcy

boy, it sounds like another set of arms in the house would help

When my ds was younger, what worked for us when I was home alone and he was tired but restless, was nursing, nursing,nursing and my ever faithful sling. Id stick him in it, and go into the kitchen or laundry and wash or cook or clean etc...the motion seemed to help discharge left over energy for him.

Also, a bath if I was going to lose it helped alot. Id plonk both of us in there and sing loudly (to discharge my own anger creatively...so i hoped!)

I also took him in the sling for a walk in the night air...this helped too.

Theres no damage done btw.....I think children do not hold on to experiences like that unless its a part of their everyday life kwim?
forgive yourself, you are a human woman doing the biggest job in the world!
post #9 of 9
Yes, please forgive yourself!!!! You don't need that extra guilt hanging around I have done the exact same thing you did with leaving the child crying b/c you're too upset. And of course when you go back in you feel bad and think the worst about the situation. But the truth is, that you needed to decompress the situation before you lost your cool and yelled or hit or shook the baby. I know you never think you'd do it, but you really never know. For everyone's safety and well-being you have to allow yourself that option to get out of the situation--even for a moment--to regain composure and perspective.

But I know what you mean about almost wanting to punish the child by leaving them alone to cry. Yes, I've done it.....then to come back a few minutes later to apologize! Children are forgiving and forgetful, especially at his tender age. He knows you love him and will always be there for him. So please try to forgive yourself!!

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