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Care and a cuppa


A cup of tea is magic.

I could end there, because I know lots of people will agree with me.

I'm going to tell you why it's magic to me, and why I offer cups of tea to parents who attend my postnatal and preschool family yoga classes.

Making tea is a ritual. I go a bit extra when I'm at home, with loose leaf tea leaves and a teapot and cosy that I knitted myself. It is a soothing ritual, which takes me away from meeting the needs of my children. It is something that is all about me and benefits nobody else. Although my children know that tea makes Mummy happy and if they know what's good for them, they don't interrupt the process. "Let me finish my tea," I'll say, "and then I'll sort it out."

Making tea became difficult when I first had a baby. It was something that I did less for myself, because it's hard to make tea one-handed, or while feeding, or when there's a persistent ear-shattering heart-rending screaming going on and nothing you try stops it. I also felt that as I was breastfeeding, I should drink less caffeine, despite being sleep-deprived and emotional and in need of a treat. My sisters soon put me right on that. My family introduced me to the rituals of tea and my sisters made sure I put aside any ridiculous notions of denying myself that tiny bit of self-care.

Making tea was easier with my second baby because I decided that sometimes, I could put my own needs first. "You can wait a moment," I'd tell her as her demands for milk got more insistent. Five minutes to make tea with one one (yes, I learnt) and fill a pint glass with water and empty my bladder and sit on the sofa with everything, including the TV remotes and a slab of chocolate in reach, so that we could cuddle together for a few hours in peace and comfort.

Making tea nowadays is easier, and sometimes necessary. Today I feel frazzled as I have a busy weekend ahead, the children seem to have endless additional arrangements with cricket, athletics, music and dance, every day seems to have another change from the routine. I have book related admin, yoga related admin, life related admin and children related admin to juggle. So I've taken a minute to make a cup of tea.

Making tea is a gift. I always felt that if someone offers you a cup of tea, they're saying "Let's sit together for a few minutes and talk." It's an offer of time.

Making tea for new mums is a privilege. Here are some of the things people have said to me when I've made them tea after yoga. "This is the first cup of tea anyone has made for me since I had my baby" - mum of a six week old (when visiting a new mum DO NOT LET HER MAKE YOU TEA). "This is the first cup of tea I've had in over a year, I feel a bit loopy!" - mum who had had IVF and had given up caffeine and then not restarted because she had been worried she was giving her baby colic through her breast milk. "This is the best bit of the class" - mum who then realised what she'd said and corrected herself saying "of course the yoga is wonderful too!" I don't mind, I love that I can offer tea and that it means so much.

And when the tea is drunk and the chats are over, I get to wash it all up for them so they don't have to.

And that is my absolute honour and privilege.

Making yourself a cup of tea is a bit like attending a yoga class - carving out a bit of time to do something that does you good and benefits nobody else. Making yourself a cup of tea can be a form of yoga. Go on, have a brew.


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