Taking time to reflect and recharge.

Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight.

It's not always easy to be a never-stay-at-home mom of three kids, and even harder sometimes to remember to take time for myself, but it really is necessary for my sanity and my kids sanity too!  I thought about the saying about being alone in a crowd, and wanted to share a few things about taking time for myself... non-traditionally.

I've got to say that Time Out is a favorite solution of mine - it's not really a punishment so much as a way of stopping and getting yourself together.  We're not quite to that point where Liam gets this concept, but we're working on that being the goal.  With Robyn, she's learned that it's okay to walk away and ask for privacy - to take a time out as it were.  When she was little, she'd also like to suggest that I go to time out when she thought I needed it...

The other day, I was getting frustrated with Liam - our battle of wills was not going in my favor and I was feeling like I was just not in the right place to continue the battle without boiling over and doing something I'd regret.  I made sure he was safe and left the room to take a time out.  It can be as simple as counting or deep breathing, or as long as a 'Mommy's Night Out' with the girls, but stepping away from a stressful situation gives you time to reflect and recharge.

Beyond walking away from the frustrating situation, here are a few other ways that I take timeout in my day:

Get out - go for a walk, a run or even just to play with the kids in the backyard or the park.  Go to the store, have a picnic, go to the beach... and then also set aside time to get out by yourself or with hubby!  By changing the scenery, you can change your mood!

Become part of a MOMS club or other organization - the moms club I joined when Liam was a baby has been a source of support and friendship - and I know that even when I can't make events, I can call on their support to help me through...

Volunteer - there are organizations who can use your help, and some will even let you bring the kids to help!  I volunteer at Robyn's school in the media center and Erik comes with me - he has a great time watching the steady stream of kids and teachers and I get out of the house, see adults and contribute to her school.

Change your routine - if you feel like you're in a rut, shake things up and do the same things in a different way.

Challenge yourself - one of my favorite ways to do housework (and really the only way I like to do it) is to set the microwave timer for the amount of time I think it will take to do a task and then try to beat the clock!  Reward yourself by adding the remaining time to your break!

Exercise - stretching, yoga, running, jogging or just playing Wii fit will help you to relax and stay fit - double  bonus!

Get a sitter/let them attend pre-school - I know that we, as stay-at-home moms are the primary caregivers for our children, but that doesn't mean that a few hours with a sitter will scar them for life - it's sometimes good for them to experience change and great for recharging your batteries!  As a child, I used to live for visits to Nana's house to drink tea out of china cups, and I know that my mother looked forward to her break too.  If you live far away from family and are on a tight budget, consider finding or starting a daycare co-op with other moms and share the load!

I think that being the best mommy to my kids and wife to my husband is to sometimes step away and get perspective - even from the really good days - recharging my batteries, as it were, gives me the opportunity to come back to my parenting role refreshed and more relaxed and better able to be as balanced as I like to act!

Remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/crystallight to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.