Why Do I Love My Time-Out?
I love MTO because it feels like a sacred place where moms can be honest and support each other. I belong to many mommy groups but what makes MTO different is that women share the things we don’t speak about. Mental health, divorce, abuse, bullying etc. It’s truly a safe place to share because Renee protects its integrity. What I also love is all the events are so simple to attend, you literally show up and meet someone new. You don’t have to become friends, you can just share a moment together. The name of this group is so perfect because moms have the hardest and most under appreciated job in the world and Renee makes it ok to admit that everything isn’t picture perfect. She leads by example and shares her truth which I know inspires the members to share theirs.
I’m on the other end of Motherhood. My kids are older, in fact two out of three are married, and I have a Grandson. Well, it’s not so easy when your entire life is your children and now they are grown and don’t need you every minute anymore! Last year I had double knee replacement! It was an extremely difficult recovery and I really felt all alone, well I was alone for 14-16 hours a day! Then I wasn’t sleeping, so I was alone at night too! I stumbled across the Mommies Time Out site through a friend. I was in a bad emotional place. Renee the administrator of the group was asking what troubles we were going through….. I poured my heart out online. Crying while typing, I wrote about every detail of my recovery and how no one had time for me (a common Mommy problem). Support and private messages started coming in , then pouring in over the next couple of days! Renee personally private messaged me and offered support. She told me since I had raised three kids, I obviously was stronger then I realized. She pushed me to get up and wash my face, get ready for the day. Other Mom’s encouraged me and kept checking up on me. I felt like people cared. Understood. I started looking forward to new posts, and I started to feel confident enough to post answers to some Mom’s questions. I became an active member of the group. I had a lifeline to the outside world…..
I have told Renee many times over the following year that the site saved me, and it did! I looked forward to the day when I could go to a MTO event. Younger Mom’s listened when I shared things that I did when my kids were younger.We shared what worked and what didn’t. I was respected, and I had self esteem again.
I do a lot of charity work and work closely with a domestic abuse shelter:The Center for Hope & Safety. They were in real need of food around Thanksgiving, so I told Renee and we organized a food drive. Our group collected enough food to fill my minivan TWO TIMES!!!! Not everyone had a lot but everyone gave, even if it was only a can of beans or a box of pasta.I was so touched that I wanted to do more for the group. I suggested we do a craft night for the Mom’s. So I helped Renee organize it and run it and it was terrific! All Moms, All different stages of Motherhood, All with respect and understanding for each other. We even had a soon to be Mom who wanted to create her village BEFORE she had her baby! What a smart Woman! I actually have made some good friends in this group and the most important one is Renee. We speak and touch base every day! I thank God every day for this group and will continue to be an active member.
– Marie S
What I love about MTO is that it is a safe space for every day moms at all different places in their journeys. The moms who are apart of this community are real people going thru everyday life. I also love that there are constantly things going on so it never feels like if you can’t go to something that it’s your only chance to participate in person. Renee who founded and runs the group is caring and accepting of all moms. she is a non judgmental, caring and refreshingly honest. In a world full of judgement and mommy wars it’s so wonderful to have a safe place for moms who are just trying to do their best.
Being a part of the My Time Out group has been a lifesaver. I am not originally from New Jersey and when we moved to a small town here in Bergen County where I knew no one, I felt isolated and alone. Actually depressed. I was often found to say I did not like New Jersey. That everyone is mean and rude. And then I found Renee’s Facebook group, My Time Out. This group has provided me a way to meet other women who felt like I did – isolated and alone. What MTO really is, is a sanctuary for women. I have often told her that the group reminds me of the Island of Misfit Toys and I say that with great reverence. What I mean by that, is she has created a sanctuary where women can really be themselves and have the confidence in their unique selves and the opportunity to find other like-minded women and let it all hang out. The good, the bad, the ugly and the wonderful.
In her group, Renee has created a space of respect, honesty and a judgment-free zone (no drama is her motto) where we can share our struggles and our triumphs. All without competition, backlash or worry of criticism. It’s a place (on fb and the events she puts together) where we can be ourselves. Where we can be messy, or we can be neat. I know Renee has worked countless hours behind the scenes monitoring the group (for no pay – not looking for thanks – for nothing more than her passion to help women), making sure people are nice and kind and supportive. Not cut-throat, mean and ugly to each other. She has each and every one of our backs. Making sure harsh words are not exchanged and fires (aka drama) is extinguished. That we have the freedom to express what needs to be shared, in an almost sacred space. I have left every other moms or women’s group on Facebook I belonged to because all they do is tear each other apart. You can’t post something without getting attacked or starting an argument. Those group can make you feel more isolated and depressed. I have also often told her I don’t know how she does it. How she stays up late into the night, monitoring and supporting everyone. She has to…she is driven. She has even had to deal with the backlash of women attacking her because she wants nothing to do with the drama or with the women who try to drag her into their BS. she wants nothing to do with it!
Because of her tireless efforts, her group is a place of respect and honesty and caring to connect with one another, help one another, laugh together (and boy do we crack up), and celebrating all the good and bad that comes along with being a mom, a woman, a friend.
The group isn’t just a place to connect, or share, it also provides education. Renee shares information on Mental Health, suicide prevention, depression, communication, parenting and encourages moms to reach out for support. She has gotten raw and real with all of us sharing from the bottom of her heart (I honestly tear up writing this thinking of her story – although she has gone through hell and back and it seems so unfair – by her sharing her story, she has allowed many the courage to share their truth. To open up and for once feel good about who they are and have a knowing feeling that the women in the group are there to catch them if they fall down or get sad or it’s just too much. That has allowed us to be our unique self and feel okay about it. Wheather it’s awesome or terrible, whether it’s good or bad. Whether we’re struggling to best mom we can be, or we are struggling with days that we just don’t give a s***. She’s created a space where we can share it – it is open-minded and heart-centered.
In addition to the facebook group, Renee creates fun outings, events, fundraisers and play dates for moms to connect live and in person so we don’t just stay home and feel the isolation of parenting (some events are with the kids, and or partners and some without). I love the other woman I’ve met in the group and my heart beams each time I get to see them and spend time with them (or I read updates and their stories they share in the facebook group). They’ve had my back and supported me many occasions and for various situations. It even goes beyond all of this. I know through MTO I’ve made lifelong friends. And Renee – she is a special friend and a hero to me (she humbly does not like the attention and does not want people to thank her for all she does or do anything for her. She does it because of her passion to help other women and especially those who may have may have struggled like her or had their own traumatic experiences to go through without any support of people around them). The saying, “It takes a village” is what Renee’s MTO has created…an online and in-person village – something so unique and I believed desired in the hearts of so many women today. I don’t even think many women know what they are missing, and this connection to each other is so important! The village – the community of woman she has gathered (nurtured, loved, cried with, celebrated with, educated, poured her heart out to, listened and supported and been there when no one else was and fiercely protected) together is one I am proud and honored at the same time to be a part of.