The start of the school year was stressful for 8-year-old Kade Koch. Thankfully, he has a mom who knows how to relax in style.
Laurie Koch, a mom of four boys, says Kade "unwittingly made some comments about himself that caused some of his classmates to tease and pick on him." When she noticed her son was waking up in the morning not wanting to go to school and going straight to his room and shutting the door at the end of the day, she realized he was struggling.
"I was really screwing things up by bombarding him with a line of questions," Koch told TODAY Parents. "After a particularly bad day, I was throwing all kinds of questions at him because I just wanted to know if he was OK. I wanted to tell him a thousand things about how to stand up for himself and how to report problems and how I would always be there — on and on and on — and I just had this moment where I looked at him and could tell all of my talking was making things worse for him."
So Koch let her son leave the room and changed her tack.
"I decided out of desperation I would do for him what I do for myself after a stressful day," said Koch. "I ran him a bath to send him two messages: one, that he deserves to relax and two, that he is unconditionally loved."
Koch posted an adorable photo of Kade enjoying his bath — and wrote about her son's hard time at school — on her Facebook page, Justifying Jane. To date, nearly 300,000 people have commented on the post, which shows Kade kicked back in sunglasses and a swimsuit, enjoying some much needed R and R.
"I cleaned up my bathroom, lit candles and ran the bath with my special bath salts," Koch recalled. "I used my fancy glass dishes to put jelly beans and cheese puffs into and filled a wine glass with some Kool-Aid. The look on his face when he came in the bathroom was priceless — he just kept saying, 'This is for me?'"
The Colorado mom says her efforts were about a bigger picture.
"He will be loved when he wins and when he loses," said Koch. "I think it's easy for adults to forget our children are humans, too. They also need space. They also need time to decompress and be left alone. Allowing this to take place and indulging them in some pampering now and then teaches the concept of self-care. I truly believe the strongest, most successful, and inherently happy people in the world have embraced the idea of self-care and have the ability to apply it when needed. I want this for my boys."
As for school, Koch says the days are getting easier for Kade.
"School has been getting better for him, but as we all know, it's a bit of a roller coaster," said Koch. "My hope every school year is that the days will be overwhelmingly good, with the understanding that some hardship will be peppered in at random times. And these will be our bath days. And if it's not a bath, it'll be an ice cream day or a movie night, whatever the prescription may be."
Koch says commenters on her post have called her everything from the "best mom" to the "worst mom," something she's taking in stride.
"I'm just a mom. Period. I ride the roller coaster of doing a few things right and then messing a few things up. I have to give myself grace constantly and I want to raise my kids to do the same."