Tuesday, January 5, 2010


There is no trouble so great or grave

that cannot be much diminished

by a nice cup of tea.

~Bernard-Paul Heroux

If you've hit the road in January with a thud and the sickening realization that you aren't up to the challenge, it's time for a little first aid.

First, know that the transition from holiday to workday almost never goes smoothly in the school room. Why should it? Everyone has been enjoying presents and family and friends and decorations and cookies. Now we're supposed to get to work.

Psychologically, it can be quite a leap for our kids. It's not hard to imagine why they find it discouraging. Okay, perhaps they are a little spoiled by all the goodies and gifts and leisure.

But mom isn't spoiled. More than likely, mom is drained from making it all happen, even if she did take the week after Christmas off. And more than likely, the week off wasn't. Not really. There were still meals to cook, dishes to do, messes to clean up, laundry to wash, even groceries to buy. Maybe some of the family got sick. Or there was a winter storm.

See what I mean? It's the vacation that wasn't, quite.

If you're feeling like you just aren't up to it all, there are reasons. Don't spend a minute thinking less of yourself for it. And don't start thinking that, since your kids are older, everyone should be doing better.

Honestly, nothing is wrong. Not with you, not with them. You just need time to recover. Your kids need time to adjust. You need -- dare I say it -- a bit of pampering, a little first aid, a hot cup of tea, and a movie or book just for you.

So here's the first aid treatment: lower your expectations. The first week back in school, do less. Perhaps a half-day of classes. That's about the right amount, especially if you are trying to deal with attitude adjustments in your students.

And be sure to add a band-aid at the end of your classes --something for everyone to look forward to, no matter how they've behaved! This is a band-aid, remember? It should be unconditional, like your love. Here are a few quick ideas to get you started:

  • A special educational video
  • A trip to the library
  • A snack with a hot beverage and with a book reading
  • A fun art or craft project
  • A board game
  • A favorite hobby

One of my favorite band-aids was a plate full of goodies and tea every afternoon along with an educational video or special audio recording or a book reading. It was soothing to everyone -- especially the teacher.

We all know how important it is to soothe the teacher.

Over time, I learned the value of a hot bubble bath every night for a couple of weeks. You know the kind I mean: bubbles piled to the ceiling, a fragrant candle in the corner, and classical music playing nearby. But I didn't stop there. I followed it with a book just for fun before bed. These were not books that were designed to inspire me to change my life. They were not books for school. One winter I read through Jane Austen's novels. Another winter I read through Jan Karon's books. Your treat doesn't have to be a book -- but it should be something you love to do which is easy to accomplish and can be enjoyed for 30-60 minutes at the time.

Don't worry about setting any goals yet. Give yourself a little time. A week, maybe two. Once you are more like yourself and the kids have adjusted back to the routine, then you can tackle some serious goals.

What's one way you like to relax? What's one activity your family enjoys doing together?


  1. This is was perfectly wonderful and perfectly timed - thank you so much. :)

  2. Ah... didn't even realize we all needed this type of band-aid. Thanks for the just for fun ideas. "We all know how important it is to soothe the teacher."

  3. I love a good cup of hot coffee. For some reason, just sipping a cup when all is quiet in the house is relaxing. I enjoy hot tea also.

    As for one activity my family enjoys doing together....we like playing cards. We also enjoy watching good clean movies together. But I guess that's two activities... :)


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