Why do you always drink cold tea?

My Mummy-friends and I spent many years talking of how one day, when our kids were in school, we’d have…..wait for it…. a whole cup of hot tea. It was the symbol of spiritual wholeness almost – the point after which we’d realise we were an individual and not a bottom-wiping service. However, oddly enough, our youngest has hit Reception, and I still drink tepid tea…. and I hate it. I’ve come to the conclusion that many of us suffer from Tepid Tea Syndrome – the inability to manage our lives so that we can encounter tea as it’s meant to be.

Tepid Tea Syndrome

….or TTS – is really part of a bigger problem. And it’s not a ‘Mummy Problem’ and it’s not just about drinking a whole cup of tinglingly hot tea. It’s about your attitude towards yourself and the value you – in practice – place on focusing on things and completing them.

I’m not saying that I’m not good at getting things done and fitting things in and multi-tasking, but everything is done all at once in a great cloud of logistical smoke. It’s not that pleasant and it leaves you trying to get your breath, physically and emotionally.

I never walk anywhere without thinking about what I’m going to do as soon as my key goes into the front door. It goes something like this:

If I’m home by 915 I can put the washing out, clean last night’s casserole dish that I didn’t put in to soak, stick bleach in the loos and then by 925 I can start tonight’s meal and have it cooking while I clear up the lego before tonight’s play date………Oh good, there’s loads of time before the playgroup I’m volunteering with starts at 10.”

Crazy. And so I’m frazzled – although I don’t count it as such – before I’ve even got home. What a waste. It could have been wonderful walk, connecting with people, nature, history,……but it’s wasted time, all because of TTS. (And how many tepid cups of tea will I have half drunk by lunchtime? I wont have enjoyed one.)

What is Life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare,

No time to stand beneath the boughs.

And stare as long as sheep or cows  (Leisure, William Henry Davies)

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A poem that’s ended up in the Clinton’s cliché charts, but that sort of gets to the heart of it. I don’t actually want to stare, but I want to experience each part of my day without always planning the next ones. It devalues what I’m doing in the meantime and that sort of devalues me.

The Next Thing is the Next Thing

3So, even if you’re a Mum with small kids…..even if on one day a month you have to put them in front of the TV, check there’s no sharp objects in the room…leave the room, sit on the hall floor if necessary, and drink one whole cup of hot tea – DO IT!  As that dreadful advert would say...”Because you’re worth it!” In taking that time out, you are saying,“I need this time”. And it is important our kids, and all those making demands on our time, realise that we have our own needs….including an occasional HOT cup  MUG of tea.

So, are you a victim of TTS? It’s good to talk? How does it affect you?

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10 thoughts on “Why do you always drink cold tea?

  1. Jane

    Very insightful Naomi and so true! As an ‘older’ mum this time ’round I must admit to drinking (almost) exclusively hot tea, but with my first child, I usually only made a cup on the third attempt at boiling the kettle! And then getting ’round to drinking it was yet another hurdle….xx
    Your blog is wonderful, keep it up!

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  2. Nicholas

    This is brilliant, Naomi! Says a lot in a little and represents – with a mixture of heroic cheerfulness and a dash of pathos – a syndrome which I ( as mere male ) recognise only from a safely remote distance. I always drink my tea throat-scaldingly hot and would never countenance it tepid, even to the smallest sip; which comes as the privilege, I suppose ( a compensation, at least ), of being one of the idle poor, spending most of my time either reading or writing and resolved to do absolutely nothing that cannot be accompanied by hot tea!

    I beg you: try to find such an activity for yourself just once a day. I know it requires ingenuity for a woman in your position, but at least make the effort: pour disinfectant down the loo with one hand and sip your hot tea from the other. Even if you make a pardonable error and get the two receptacles confused, your subsequent demise will not ‘devalue’ you. You will become a legend – and the compensation you might anticipate ( despite the ‘accident’s ‘ having been entirely your own fault ) would be an appreciable legacy for your children!

    More ( well – a little more ) seriously, The Cure: should I ever meet you, I will be only too glad to spirit you to a place devoid of chores, children and impossible choices, ply you with gallons of boiling lapsang and continue relentlessly along these lines until, with burning throat and scorched mouth, you plead for sober delights of tepid tea.

    Good luck!

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  3. Lucy

    Another fabulous post Naomi. I’d have to say, I’m not a tepid tea drinker…its always stone cold by the time I remember pouring it! If I drink a hot cup of tea, it’s a good day!

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  4. Esther

    Brilliant! TTS – do you think we’ll get treatment on the NHS? 😉 but seriously Naomi, who tidies up the lego BEFORE?! a play date? That’s when you should be drinking your well deserved mug of hot tea! I beg you to never tidy up before a play date with me or my kids, your efforts will be wasted and undone way faster than you will ever manage to boil the kettle. Lovingly, Esther x x

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  5. Amelia

    I cannot remember the last time I really, really enjoyed a hot drink at home, probably six or seven months after the birth of my first child. At this age he could sit unaided but was still unable to roam, content with a few scattered toys within arms reach. It didn’t last long, too soon he was bum-shuffling at great speed and this co-incided with my switch to black coffee (the milk deficit allows approximately 1.2 mins of extra heat!)

    Two more children later & my coffee morals have slipped, by the time my cup is empty it’s been microwaved multiple times. Oh well, it will be summer in seven months. Iced-tea anyone?

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  6. Satu

    So true Naomi! Lovely post again. We all do it, don’t give ourselves a second though, just a trying to be supermums and do everything.
    I have made a point of having a cup of hot coffee sitting down whilst two bigger ones are at school and little one has gone down for a nap. Washing and cleaning can wait. Mind you, little one is going to drop her naps soon, what am I going to do then?

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