We have never lived in a more stressful time. Everyone is stressed out — parents, kids, maybe even our dogs. Our world has become so complicated with the efficiency and distraction of digital technology. We can do more now, so we do, but that’s not always a good thing.
I’ve spoken with so many parents who are frazzled, burning the candle at both ends, working and trying to take care of their family. When they’re not working, they’re shuffling their kids all over the place to activities and social engagements. As a result, they have no time for themselves.
The children, in turn, also are stressed out. Not a week goes by that a mother doesn’t tell me her child is anxious about school work, staying up until all hours of the night, worrying about his or her performance and grades. But I have another theory about this: We make our kids stressed out. We are always rushing them out the door, from one thing to the next and they see the stress in our lives and in our faces. They hear the stress in our voices. Without even knowing it, they soak it in like little sponges.
“Mom, you make everyone anxious,” my teenager said to me the other day when she was driving and I forgot to give her directions, which in turn got us lost and made us late to where we were going. I can’t remember exactly what I had said to her when I realized she was lost, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t handle it very well.
At first, her statement made me defensive, but then when I really thought about it, I realized she was right. I, too, was raised by an anxious mother, so I know what that’s like. But today, our entire world seems to be on speed dial all the time and we’re transferring that intensity to the next generation.
Our yoga teacher gave us a jar the other day and asked us to write one word on the lid that represented something we would like to have more of in 2016. She asked us to write on little slips of paper weekly about how we had achieved our goal of realizing that word and to put it in the jar. At the end of the year, we would have a record of what we had accomplished.
I thought long and hard about what I really wanted. At this point in my life I’m not interested in success, money, fame or power. My desire is pretty simple, something with our hectic lives we could all use more of-peace. My very first slip of paper that I put in the jar read: “Yoga with my daughter.”
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.