Stress, Mums and Coffee Shops
I spend a lot of time working in coffee shops – one in particular but often in others. Fascinating to watch the changing of the guard at various times of the day. This blog focuses on the changes that occur soon after school commences and the other soon after school finishes for the day.
Morning shift. Mums (sometimes dads but usually mums) with children whom (I assume!) are not yet old enough for school or kindy. Babble of mums /children discussing what they want to eat or drink (usually both). Choices discussed (argued?) selections made, table chosen. Noise continues until the order arrives at the table. Peace reigns while selections consumed. Paper and crayons appear and art classes begin (basic, but creative).
Afternoon shift. Same scenario, just older children – discussion (definitely more arguments than in the morning shift), choices made, table chosen (by the children), noise continues but this time unabated when order arrives. Books and pens emerge. Homework has these days become CoffeeShopWork as parents and children go into study huddles (Memo to coffee shop: “Do Not Disturb” signs could be popular).
My point? On almost every one of these occasions there is a moment where I see mum visibly relax, perhaps even give an audible sigh of relief and peace. Even if it is only for a few minutes they are precious “me time” moments in her constant 24 hour day. Of course even more so if she is sharing the coffee shop experience with other like-minded parents.
My message? Time cannot be deficit-budgeted but energy can. A little re-charged mental energy goes a long way. Spouse to note that the more often the primary care-giver has chances to generate renewed mental energy (not just in the coffee shop!), the greater her/his resilience to cope and the stronger the family bonds.