Mommy Unicorn Has a Time Away

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Mommy Unicorn Has a Time Away

The Unicorn family is a busy, happy family.

Mommy Unicorn is always very busy. She has dishes to clean and floors to sweep and food to fix. There are always bills to pay and groceries to buy. Daddy Unicorn does the laundry and yard work and he is always busy also. The three little unicorns help with their chores but they have little unicorn things to do. Mommy Unicorn has to drive them to soccer practice and piano lessons. Sometimes Mommy Unicorn just gets so tired she doesn’t want to do anything

One day Mommy Unicorn felt really upset. Earlier that day her boss told her that she needed to redo her project. Then on the way home, Ella, the oldest unicorn, spilled her drink in the car. Lana, who was the youngest unicorn, was singing a silly song over and over. Max, the middle unicorn, reminded Mommy Unicorn that he needed new shin guards for soccer. Mommy Unicorn just felt tired.

When they got home, Mommy Unicorn tried to listen to the news while starting dinner. Lana was happy singing her song over and over and Ella and Max started arguing about who could kick a soccer ball further. Mommy Unicorn just got angrier and angrier and then she shouted, “Lana, stop singing! Max and Ella, be quiet!” All the little unicorns got upset and started crying. Then Mommy Unicorn said, “Oh my, I need a ‘time away’ for yelling. I am going to my room to lie down for a few minutes,” and then she went upstairs.

Mommy Unicorn lay down and started taking some deep breaths. She counted to three while she breathed in and counted to four when she breathed out. Ella and Max and Lana stood outside her door and looked at her. “When is your ‘time away’ over?” Ella asked.

“I need just a few more minutes,” Mommy Unicorn answered. “I don’t want to come downstairs until I can be nice.”

When Mommy Unicorn came downstairs she felt better. She remembered that not everything had to be done at the same time. She put the dinner in the refrigerator for the next day. She said, “Let’s have some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches tonight and go get Max’s new shin guards.”

When they got home, Daddy Unicorn was there. He had had a bad day also. “Where have you been?” he asked. “All the lights were on wasting energy! Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!”

Mommy Unicorn looked at Daddy Unicorn and said, “It sounds like you need some ‘Time Away’ also. Do you want to lie down or go on a bike ride?”

Daddy Unicorn decided to go on a bike ride.

“Why do unicorns need ‘Time Away’?” Lana asked Mommy Unicorn.

“Oh, everyone gets tired and mad now and again.  When you feel angry, you need to think about why you are angry. Sometimes you need to speak to the person you are angry. Sometimes you need to go be with different people but before you do these things you need to understand what is making you angry.”

Lana thought about the time her friend, Bobby, didn’t play with her at recess and how mad she got. Instead of telling Bobby that he hurt her feelings, she got mad at her friend Laura. She thought next time she would take a few deep breaths. Then she would tell Bobby he hurt her feelings or ignore him and go play with Laura.

After Daddy Unicorn came home from his bike ride, Mommy Unicorn said, “Bed time.”

Max said, “I don’t need ‘time away’ but I’m really ready for some story time!”

After everyone was tucked in, Mommy and Daddy Unicorn looked at each other, smiled at their good luck to have such fun little unicorns and decided that they both needed to ‘just put their feet up’.

Notes for parents:

It is important to model how to handle anger for your children. Time Away or counting to 10 are important self control mechanisms that our children will learn best by watching us use them.

Time away is different from time outs in that the person needing to take a break gets to decide how long he needs to be in his room or doing a solo activity. Timeouts are used to stop a child from doing an undesirable activity–especially an aggressive activity– because it makes logical sense that no one wants to be around him when he is hitting, kicking or biting.

Anger, and how to deal with it, is something we work on all our lives. Sometimes we use the emotion to help us accomplish difficult tasks or change bad situations. In order for us to use it wisely we need to understand what we are angry about. There is a famous saying by Aristotle, “Anybody can become angry, that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way, that is not within everybody’s power, that is not easy.”


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