During my son’s Terrible Twos, I was working sixty hours a week at a local nonprofit. My days were filled with spreadsheets, conference calls, potty training failures, and temper tantrums. Being a working single mother meant there was little to no help from others. But with the help of unhealthy amounts of coffee, I kept pushing myself. However, the pressures of juggling work and parenting began to wear on my mental health, and after a major meltdown, I knew I had to get creative. I knew that visiting a spa or taking a vacation was unrealistic for my life and budget; but, I came up with the idea to create “Quiet Corners,” spaces where my son and I can go to decompress, relax, and practice mindfulness. I did some brainstorming, created a shopping list, and headed to the local Target to pick up materials to create these sacred spaces. I spent an afternoon cleaning, dusting, and arranging these materials, then, TA-DAH! We had our Quiet Corners!
My son’s Quiet Corner consists of:
- A comfortable Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Couch
- A pink Himalayan salt lamp
- A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle table and chair
- A laminated “Calm Down Kit” card set (Find it here.)
- Goldfish crackers
- A water bottle
- Homemade slime
- Crayons and a Coloring Book
- A stuffed animal
The Quiet Corner helped my son learn to regulate his emotions during his “terrible two” stage. We utilized the Calm Down cards, which helped my son express his emotions, as well as helped me learn how to assist him in processing his emotions. The Quiet Corner also served as a great space for us to engage in crafts and have some uninhibited mother-son time. At five years old, the Quiet Corner still benefits my son, and he has grown accustomed to retreating to his Quiet Corner regularly. The time my son spends in his Quiet Corner varies from day-to-day. Some days, he spends a brief five minutes in his Quiet Corner, and other days, he spends over an hour there, blowing bubbles and flipping through books.
After perfecting my son’s Quiet Corner, I began to work on a space that I could retreat to in order to recharge after a long day.
My Quiet Corner consists of:
- A pink Himalayan salt lamp
- A white candle
- A meditation cushion
- Lavender and eucalyptus incense
- A set of essential oils
- Positive affirmation books
- ”Acts of Faith” by Iyanla Vanzant
- ”Until Today” by Iyanla Vanzant
- ”The Goddess Companion: Daily Meditations on The Feminine Spirit” by Patricia Monaghan
- ”Black Pearls for Parents: Daily Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African American Parents by Eric V. Copage
- ”Black Pearls: Daily Meditations, Affirmations, and Inspirations for African Americans” by Eric V. Copage
- Social-justice centered books, such as “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander and “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina Mae Gaskin
- A Gratitude Journal
- A copy of the “Lemonade Syllabus” and the “A Seat at The Table” syllabus
- Herbs and tinctures
During my son’s “terrible twos,” I spent around ten minutes in the corner each day; now that my son is a bit older, I have the luxury of spending more time in this space. Typically, I spend approximately twenty to thirty in my Quiet Corner each day, although when I am having a particularly rough day, I tend to spend more time there. During my time there, I light my white candle and an incense stick and complete a short meditation with the Headspace app. I follow up these practices with reading daily affirmations from my books and writing down seven things that I am grateful to have or experience. If I am in my Quiet Corner for an extended period of time, I read a few pages from a book.
Taking twenty to thirty minutes each day to ground myself and have some quiet time has greatly affected my parenting. Before I began this practice, I noticed that I was very easily frazzled, irritable, and yelled quite often. After incorporating this practice into my daily routine, I noticed that I became more self-aware and better able to cope with daily stresses of being a working, single mother. I also noticed that my son’s emotional maturity greatly improved!
For all of my frazzled mamas out there, it is perfectly okay to need space to tend to your mental health! I highly suggest a Quiet Corner for you and your kiddos!