Being good to myself is good for my kids?

by Melissa on August 2, 2010

“Kiddos, I had to bring a friend to the airport at mindnight last night so I’m giving you a heads-up. Today, my patience isn’t what it usually is because I’m super tired,” I announced to twenty secondgraders. “Let’s do what we can to make this a really smooth day.” I’ve probably started the day off like that a handful of times in my teaching career. Some people might think I’m giving my students too much information. I think I’m teaching them an important life-skill. When I’m coming down with a cold or haven’t gotten enough sleep or my car didn’t start, being as cheery in the classroom as I ususally am is a challenge. And since kids are so good at picking up on the “unsaid,” I’m all for a little demystification, so they’re clear that if I’m smiling a little less than usual it doesn’t have to do with them, but with something else going on in my life. And when I’m honest with them, they always deliver.

As women, it’s sometimes hard for us to give ourselves the care we need.

I know you’re all planning on how to make the school year go smoothly for your kiddos. Have you thought about how you’re going to make it go smoothly for you? Patrick says, when our pitcher is full we’re feeling good. We’re doing a-ok. When it’s overflowing, that’s when we can help others. When our pitcher is half-full or (gulp) empty, it’s because we’ve been giving so much, and need to figure out a way to fill our pitcher.

It’s hard to be our best selves with our kids when our pitcher isn’t full, or overflowing.

Here are some ways I get mine there:

  • Shiva Nata in the morning
  • planning healthy meals on Sunday that I can just grab during the busy week
  • a hike in the hills behind my house in the evenings
  • collaborating with colleagues
  • dinners with friends
  • visiting my family (and our family dog Daisy!)
  • connecting with people who are important to me on the phone
  • making sure I always have a good book to read before bed
  • and, when the money is there, Lillies in the house. Their smell and beauty fill my pitcher right up.

With the school year swiftly approaching, I know how easy it is to get caught up with the endless tasks that must be done for your job, your sweeties, and to keep the house running.

Plan and prepare some ways to fill your pitcher before the year even begins.

Put them in your schedule so they’re non-negotiables. Like brushing your teeth. Taking the time for self-care will make you a happier, more effective mommy. Please comment and share some ways you fill your pitcher. You might give some other mom out there a great idea she hasn’t thought of!

Want more tips on making the school year run smoothly? Get 45 information-packed minutes of Melissa, Queenie and Patrick giving their best tools and techniques for free. Click here to listen.

Melissa is the founder of Tandem Teaching and teaches in the inner-city. She blogs weekly about tips parents can implement to enhance their connection with their children and ways to bring out their children’s inherent gifts. Contact her for a private consulting session.


Gail Huhn August 17, 2010 at 9:58 am

Hi Melissa, I loved reading on your site Tandem Teaching. Every year I write a letter to my parents stressing the importance of eating well at school. Over many years now I have seen our children at school eat horribly. It is a crime to see the packaged foods. This year, thanks to you, I will stress the importance of eating well again. I will try to keep my pitcher full or overflowing. I usually do pretty well until IEP’s are due in April and May. Have a great year. You and Megan have such a wonderful site. Love, Gail

Melissa August 20, 2010 at 9:47 pm


I agree with you that its a crime that children are ingesting things into their body that aren’t serving them. But I also think that we have a collective responsibility to talk about food in a healthy way and provide them with options at school that are nutritious and delicious. It brings me great joy to hear that other educators understand how important it is in their students’ development! Thanks so much for stopping by Tandem Teaching.
Melissa´s last blog post ..Taking Stock Of Your Child’s School Culture

anonymous September 6, 2010 at 7:10 am

You post informative articles, bookmarked for future referrence !