I jumped off the treadmill today.  Well, maybe it was a slump.  Or a thump.  Actually, it was nothing like a jump.  To jump one must have energy, force, and determination.  Today I just felt like sliding off the hamster wheel that has been my life lately.

It’s part of my promise to myself.
I still couldn’t slow down my monkey mind when I woke up.  Teachers live bell to bell, and routine is in our blood.  Sometimes it feels awkward not to be going to work.  It feels like I should be doing something, anything, except deciding what to do with my day.
As I lay in bed long before dawn, I thought about how I got myself into this state.  Meditation wasn’t anywhere near an option – the only solution was making a list.  The act of writing down my worries, my stresses, seems to push me forward and make the unmanageable seem manageable.
As I padded to the kitchen, I thought of what I really missed about being a working mom.  Pancakes.  I missed making pancakes in the morning.
Much to the delight of my family, we were soon feasting on fresh blueberry pancakes – not our typical school day, for sure.  I started to settle.
The next longing came to me – taking my son to school.  I missed riding bikes together and sending him off on his day.

Certainly not as exciting for my son as pancakes, the cold, foggy trek cleared my head and provided me the clarity necessary to tackle the to-do list. 

I started to move.

Then I realized what taking care of myself needed to manifest in.  And I started to cook. 
First came the chili in the slow cooker.  Ground turkey browned on the stove, flavored with fresh onions and garlic.  Beans, celery, tomatoes and a beer completed the mix, and soon the house filled with the scent of dinner. 

I started to feel.

Next, oatmeal honey bread.  Warm yeast mixed with sugar and flax combined with flour, salt, oats and butter in the bread machine.  Two hours later the sweet aroma of bread layered with the savory chili wafted upstairs. 

I started to breathe.

Scottish Shortbread Pictures, Images and PhotosAs the clock rolled towards the end of the school day, I thought about one more thing I missed: being at home when the kids return from their day.  And that made me think of cookies.  I missed baking cookies.
Butter, flour, salt, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice gently joined together into crumbly shortbread dough.  Pressed into a dish and baked for 50 minutes, the lemony goodness put a grin on my son’s face as he walked through the door. 

I started to smile.

When the day turned to dusk and the kitchen returned to order, I beamed at myself.  The simple act of preparing food not only nourished my family, but also nourished my spirit.  The treadmill seemed far away, the open arms of my home embraced me.

I jumped in. 

It’s the other promise to myself.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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  1. Dear Jennifer,
    I’m a little confused. Did you take a “mental health day” or have you retired from teaching? I think it must be the former because in a comment on my blog, you mentioned teaching your students about Harriet Tubman.

    I so enjoyed the way you wrote this posting. With each thing you did followed by how your body responded. You write so well.


  2. Good for you, Jennifer. It’s good to have a mental healthy day now and again.

    I really enjoy those same things about being home with my kids. My job is such that I am here in the mornings with them, go to work, and am here in the afternoons. That will change soon though as you know I am seeking new employment. These are the things I will miss!!

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