Recently I’ve heard a number of people say that they need a vacation to recuperate from their vacation. When making this statement these people seem to be half joking and half serious.
I had been wondering why so many people feel the need for a vacation after a vacation and then last week my husband, Bud, and I took three of our grandchildren to our cottage for a week. Bud and I were “alone”—meaning the parents of these three children were at home. They were all working, but maybe they were really the ones having a vacation! (I am half joking and half serious!)
Bud and I truly did have a delightful week. We kayaked and swam and hiked and had terrific interesting conversations with these three bright young people. In truth, the week was very special for us and for the kids.
At the same time, Bud and I realized that we had forgotten how much children interfere with adult relationships. We were so busy with the children that we hardly had a chance to talk to each other. At night we each wanted to be quiet and read or go to sleep early. Around mid-week we both remembered all the years that our everyday life was filled with attention to children and how much life has changed for us since our kids grew up, how much easier it’s gotten.
Rearing children is life fulfilling and life filling. Most of us desire to have children but it is a stressful job and the attention going to the children often leaves the parents emotionally drained. Statistics tell us that childless marriages are the happiest and that divorce stats rise when the kids are teen agers. Teen-age years are considered to be the most stressful time for parents and childless couples are able to focus undivided attention on each other.
Couples can lose their connection to each other while helping their kids grow up. In addition, concerns about children occupy parents’ minds and when the parents discuss these concerns the stress each parent feels can often trigger a conflict between the parents. Stress is Public Enemy Number One and it sneaks its ugly tentacles into all aspects of life and living. As rewarding as it is – and it is unquestionably rewarding — parenting can be filled with stress and this stress adversely affects the individual, the couple and the child the stress is directed at.
Ample research has shown that the TM technique is extraordinarily helpful for parents and we recommend it strongly. You might wonder why closing your eyes 20 minutes twice a day profoundly helps your children, but the answer is simple. The deep rest the TM technique provides relieves stress from your physiology. Stress relief energizes the mind-body and by taking care of yourself in this way you have more to give. Your responses to your children will be smoother and your voice tone sweeter. To learn more about the TM technique read Chapter 9 in Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way.
In order to rear happy children couples to extend ample energy toward each other. The tone and tenor of the marriage has profound effects on the children. Make dates and plan fun times together. The happier you are together, the happier and more fulfilled your children will be. Happy children are successful children. Go for walks with your spouse or significant other—-make time to just “be” and to enjoy each other’s company. The stress of everyday living and the fact that each parent thinks differently and handles situations differently from the other often develops into anger at each other. Meditation will help to dissipate this anger. Then taking time to have fun together will further cement your couple relationship.
Create a feeling of co-operation in your home. Children want to please their parents. They will behave the way they see you behaving. If you are bossy, always correcting them, or yelling, they will mimic this behavior. If you act mad they will act mad. A spirit and feeling of co-operation will encourage them to co-operate with you and if they are unencumbered by the heavy weight of your displayed emotions they will be able to move forward in life in a free and easy way.
Last week Bud and I were reminded of the pressures parents feel. We remembered how easy it is to become overwhelmed and to always put the perceived needs of the children first. It’s easy for parents to lose themselves in the demands of parenthood. If this happens, then the children flounder.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is always the first and foremost recommendation for stress release. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who introduced Transcendental Meditation to the west, said, “Children love it when Mommy meditates because then the child knows Mommy will be so much more patient with his mischief.” Maharishi was half joking and half serious! He knew that a calm, relaxed Mother raises happy successful children and he was encouraging Mothers to meditate to relieve stress from their mind-body. A stressed Mother does not have the ability to be sweet and to set boundaries in a cooperative style.
Traditional marriage counseling urges parents to make time for themselves and for each other. Children truly do not need nearly as much time and attention as many American parents believe they need. But, they do flourish if they have happy, content parents who obviously have fun with each other and project a feeling of love and co-operation throughout the family.
Have a great week and thanks for reading,