Try for freeTry for free

When to give yourself a “time out”

Parenthood. Everyone tells you it’s the most amazing thing in the world. You’ll feel the kind of love you never imagined. It changes your life, in the best possible way. But nobody tells you there are times you want to get on the next flight going anywhere and change your identity so that your kid can’t find you, even with the help of the FBI.

Start your free trial

I went from working full-time as a writer at a large New York City ad agency, to being a full time mom. While I could find some similarities between my baby and my boss—both required a lot of attention, both got very cranky if they hadn’t eaten—at least my boss could wipe his own butt. For me, one of the biggest adjustments was not being able to check out, even if it was for 15 minutes. After a disastrous meeting at work, I could take a break, go to my favorite food truck on 52nd street and drown my frustration in a huge tray of perfectly spiced pad thai. And nobody bothered me. As a mom, you can’t walk away for 15 minutes, and you’re often lucky if you eat a few soggy Goldfish that fell out of your kid’s mouth, let alone enjoying your favorite meal while basking in the beautiful sound of silence.

My whole life I was always that person that needed time alone to think, unwind, recharge. But with temper tantrums replacing client meetings, I couldn’t run away to relax. I was stuck there, feeling my anxiety rising, and my patience withering away.   One day a friend of mine gave me some invaluable advice. She's an expert in the field of tantrums being that she has four kids. The thought of having four kids scares me more than the five inch roaches I used to find in at least three of my eight NYC apartments. She told me that just when I felt like I was about to totally go off the deep end, to give myself a “time-out.” She said, while you clearly can’t just up and leave physically, you can mentally. And even if it’s for 2-3 minutes, it will take you from a 10 on the “I want to poke my eyeballs out” scale, down to a solid 4 or 5.  She told me, if you can, go to another room, or even if you can’t, just turn the other way. Close your eyes, think about being at your favorite spot in the world, take five deep breaths, and count to 10 with each breath in and out. What she was talking about was meditating.

Now, I had heard people talk about meditation, but truthfully I’d never really thought much about it—until I felt my sanity was on the line. She was introducing me to the most basic form of meditation and calling it a “time-out” which fit into my mom vocabulary. Whatever it was, it was pretty genius because it worked. Just a couple of moments of “breathing myself off the ledge” enabled me to handle the tense situations with a sense of calm and control, as opposed to batshit crazy.       While I’ve adjusted to mom life, I still utilize my “time-outs” and credit them for keeping my blood pressure at a healthy 110 over 70. I still find it amazing that such a small effort can make such a big difference in how I feel. And just to be clear, while being a mom is definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, it’s also by far, the best. My daughter just got potty trained, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, I will actually miss wiping her butt. Damn I love that kid.

Start your free trial
Feature_5-9_Timeout (WP)

Just a couple of moments of “breathing myself off the ledge” enabled me to handle tense situations with a sense of calm and control

Hope Grider

Today Tab
Sleep Tab

Be kind to your mind

  • Access the full library of 500+ meditations on everything from stress, to resilience, to compassion
  • Put your mind to bed with sleep sounds, music, and wind-down exercises
  • Make mindfulness a part of your daily routine with tension-releasing workouts, relaxing yoga, Focus music playlists, and more

Meditation and mindfulness for any mind, any mood, any goal

visual-dotcom homepage editorial hero desktop-general-202001008-kh
visual-dotcom homepage editorial hero desktop-general-202001008-kh


  • What is meditation
  • Meditation for beginners
  • Benefits of meditation
  • Guided meditation
  • Meditation techniques
See more

Get some Headspace

  • Send a gift
  • Redeem a code
  • Student Plan
  • All articles
  • Subscribe
  • Headspace for Work
  • Admin portal login
  • Explore our content library

About Us


My Headspace

    • Terms & conditions
    • Privacy policy
    • Consumer Health Data
    • Your privacy choices
      Privacy Choices Icon
    • CA Privacy Notice

Get the app

  • © 2024 Headspace Inc.
  • Terms & conditions
  • Privacy policy
  • Consumer Health Data
  • Your privacy choices
    Privacy Choices Icon
  • CA Privacy Notice