Is there a connection between coffee and parenting?
Is there some secret link we have never heard about? In short: yes, there is. Dads the world over will be glad to know that there is scientific proof that your daily coffee could make you a better parent.
Most parents love the black nectar. To some, it holds an intrigue more powerful than gold or bitcoin gains. This obviously depends on the amount of sleep they had the night before. Sitting down for a flat white or an espresso, brings about an inexplicable comfort which is impossible to quantify.
For those who dislike coffee, it’s ok, we forgive you. But don’t stop reading. This is for you, too. Though we might not all be coffee addicts or desire a cup of java, this bit of advice transcends personal preference. You might be hunting that first cup of herbal tea. Maybe it’s a slow drag on a cigarette. Or maybe it’s binge-watching Frasier reruns. Whatever your poison, you need this quiet moment.
But why is alone time so important?
For some reason beyond our own understanding, we need that cup of tea or coffee, that steam, that aroma and that first sip. Ok, so it is not really the caffeine, though that does give you extra vroom to get on with your day. It is more the personal space and the solitude that you are after. That instant gratification of not having to worry about life for the briefest moment, is intoxicating. It becomes a little ritual. What you are unaware of, is the positive impact it has on your day. You have just discovered a coping mechanism. Whatever you do, make sure you hang on to this escape from anxiety and stress. Alone time can be broken up into two components:
In case you are wondering, self-care is the act of an individual tending to the simplest, most basic, emotional and physical needs that makes it human.
According to Psychology Today parents are often left with only 17 minutes alone-time per day, putting them in danger of burning out. As parents, we need physical, mental and creative self care. All three of these types of self-care better translates into time to recharge yourself.
We do not allow ourselves the time to breathe. And we are all guilty of it. We seldom have balance. Life somehow occupies every corner, every second, and steals away every breath. We run from school to work, from sport event to business meeting, without pausing to take it all in.
There has been loads of studies done on self-care and how it benefits or adds a new dimension to parenting. Most importantly, when you recharge your battery, it keeps you calm and focused at home. The fact that you step out of the rush, also allows you to take a helicopter view of the day, which could lead to clarity about possible problem areas.
The other cause for diarising me-time on a regular basis, is the appearance of a new term that has popped up in modern psychology. Wiki describes “nexting” as the continual process of predicting what is likely to happen, based on positive external stimuli. It was first coined by research scientist and psychologist Shane Lopez in his book Making Hope Happen. In brief, it is the power of positive anticipation.
In other words, just thinking about that cup of coffee or that alone-time, creates a sense of hope. While you are holding on to that hope, you focus on the tasks at hand and concentrate on what you are doing. There is a little smile hiding in your eyes, because you know, not too long from now, you will break away for a short moment and leave the madness at the office.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Take a short breather. Step into your nearest coffee shop, sit down and take a load off for 5 minutes. Not only will you live longer, but it’ll make you a better parent. What more motivation do you need?
James Fouche is an author, travel writer, entrepreneur and silly daddy of three. He also writes about parenting and wine, whenever his kids allow him to.
This article first appeared in The Brag Dad Australia.