Monthly Archives: July 2010

RELAX!!

Some of you don’t have the slightest clue how to STOP and check out the roses…or plant some…or arrange some in a vase.

According to The Wall Street Journal, only 52% of working Americans say they come back from vacation feeling rested and rejuvenated; the rest anxiously cram in too many activities, stay plugged into BlackBerrys, cellphones, iPads, pagers, computers, emails, cell phones – you get the idea.

Attempting to relax even makes some people sick:  including fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, flu-like symptoms and weekend migraines.

For some folks, stopping work means having an actual physical/psychological withdrawal reaction complete with mood swings!  These are most likely the ones who gravitate to high-pressure jobs or those who arrange to be pressured by procrastination and taking on too much that is too difficult.  People do that when they have found this means of dealing with other personal anxieties which become masked by work and work stress.  In other words, if someone feels inadequate, the adrenaline rush of frenzied work is a form of self-medication.

For most of us, it is probably just habit.  Too many wives work themselves out of feeling loving and sexy.  Too many husbands work themselves out of feeling loving and sexy.  The result?  Arguments about nothing and a mutual feeling of having “grown apart.”

My opinion is that the body and mind can only take so much before neither works properly.  Those of you who are churchgoers have an edge on the rest:  a religiously forced “day of rest.”  Very smart.  When my family practiced Orthodox Judaism, we couldn’t work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  At first, it was horrific for us.  After a while, I even began to look forward to my Shabbos nap on Saturday.  Frankly, it was very good for the whole family that we had to pray and chill.

While we are no longer in that community and lifestyle, I still make sure weekends are free to motorcycle over beautiful terrain for lunch, to fiddle with hobbies, to commune with friends, and for us to put up our feet, have a glass of wine, and watch a classic movie.

Whatever your personal anxieties are, you’d better face them or they will eat you (and your relationships) alive.

So, start by picking an hour every day during which you do nothing, and disconnect from all technology.

Try something new.

Get physical.

Get into the moment.

Stop being a human DOING and start being a human BEING.

Quote of the Week

The family is the most basic unit of government.  As the first community to which a person is attached and the first authority under which a person learns to live, the family establishes society’s most basic values.
               – Charles Caleb Colton
                  British sportsman and writer
                  1780-1832

Daycares Don’t Care

I consider day care (outside of emergency backup) a form of child neglect, and definitely one of society’s ills, as mothers are being universally reinforced to turn their babies, toddlers, and small children over to institutionalization instead of loving parental contact for most of the day. 

One of you emailed to me a link to a website called Daycares Don’t Care…How Can A Daycare Love?  It’s at www.daycaresdontcare.org.  Here’s a sample of what’s on their homepage:

“Everyone knows it’s true, but almost everyone is afraid to say it:  day care institutions don’t care about or love your child like you do.  For years, many experts have been warning us about the detrimental consequences for children placed in day care.  This website contains an extensive index of publications about the problems with day care from well-known child development authorities, psychologist, psychiatrists, pediatricians, public policy analysts, sociologists, day care providers, and others.

This collection of day care information seeks to counterbalance the relentless pressure placed upon parents to abandon their children to these impersonal institutions.

These findings show no amount of legislation, government funding, money, early childhood training, regulations or inspections can make a day care LOVE your child.

Additionally, this website is intended to encourage and affirm those parents who have made the choice to avoid day care and care for their own children – a choice that too often has been criticized and devalued by many in our society.”

Did you see Toy Story 3, about a group of toys escaping from the hellish “Sunnyside Day Care?”  One of the toys says “Day care is a sad place.”

This website is wonderful, and filled with important information you need to know for your own well-being as well as your child’s.  We’ve heard enough of media complaining about a “day care crisis” instead of a “home care crisis,” and enough of politicians pushing for more government day care subsidies versus tax breaks for at-home parenting.  We’ve had enough of people extolling the benefits of institutionalized child care while disdaining at-home parental involvement.  Enough!

Do check out www.daycaresdontcare.org, and help yourself and the next mom out there who could benefit from your pro-family activities by feeling supported in doing what should come naturally:  loving your child versus watching them on a nannycam.

When Hate Shows Character

On June 30, I posted a blog about “hating” evil.  I got the following response from one brave young woman, and I’m making her my guest blogger today:

Hi, Dr. Laura:

I am 27 years old and have been listening to you for as long as I can remember.  My mom turned you on in the car.  She was a stay-at-home mom, but we did way more than just stay at home.  I listen [to your radio program] via Streamlink, so I just heard your commentary on hate.  You have made me feel even more right in my choice to hate.

I have a brother-in-law who is a skinhead.  He is also a criminal - [having gone] in and out of jail over the years.  My sister brought this man into my life when I was 12 years old, so since then, my family has been battling him and his drunken fits and fights with my sister.  I grew up opinionated; I have convictions and they are strong, so naturally, we butted heads.  But for a long time, I would just get along with this monster for the sake of peace (as my mother taught me).

When I turned 18 and moved out, I saw that I could choose who was in my life.  And after an incident at my other sister’s home where I was given the “Heil Hitler” salute, I was done.  Done making peace.  I found that making peace with this man was to be okay with all the evil he brought into my family.  My mom suggested I just be careful of him as if he were a pit bull.  I thought “no,” and then was sad that my family would not take the stand I would.

So, any holiday or family get-together, I made it clear that I would not attend if he did.  And I missed out on a lot.  People were just too scared of what they might look like, or scared that my sister would say no one could see the children, or another excuse I find just as evil as him.  He didn’t do anything to me personally, so I can’t shun him.  I was very sad that my family had chosen to make peace with the devil rather than stand up to him.

My saving grace was my boyfriend’s family, whose home constantly was a place I could go, and they told me they thought I was doing what was right.

This year, I have been able to see my family on holidays – it took one last fight where my brother-in-law assaulted my dad and destroyed their property.  It is sad that that is what it took for my parents and oldest sister to decide that peace was not the way.  My sister is still married to him, but is now she who misses out on family events, because her husband is no longer welcome. 

I hope she sees his dangerous and destructive pattern and gets herself and her children out of there, but, sadly, I’m not holding my breath.

Thank you for all you do, and for making me realize that other people’s actions need not define my character.

Nancy

What To Do About People Who Annoy You

There is no doubt in my mind we all have someone in our lives who is downright annoying – it seems to be just one of those facts of life.  It’s your reactions to those people that concerns me.  So many of you write me or call me about how upset you get and how your feelings are hurt when you encounter that annoying individual. 

So stop a moment and ask yourself :  “Why?”  Why are you overreacting to “annoying?”  Annoying is not vicious.  Annoying is about the other person being insensitive, jealous, inadequate (and therefore critical), lonely (and therefore attempting to be involved)…stuff like that.

You need to distinguish “annoying”  from “mean.”  “Mean” is to be avoided; the negative content of “annoying” is to be ignored.  Here’s what I mean:

You go to a relative or friend’s home and they comment about your hair, clothes, kid, lifestyle, eating habits, etc.  You can get all upset, OR you can say “Oh, you’re so cute…” and give them a hug.  Let it be at that. 

Surprise and confusion are the most powerful weapons:  not anger or tears.  And nothing surprises someone who is being critical more than a hug and a smile.  It may seem difficult for you to imagine doing that but two things are instantly accomplished:

1.  You don’t feel as bad because you’re behaving nicely, and behavior has a direct effect on feelings!
2. The other person is taken by surprise (i.e., your showing affection), and finds it more difficult to remain negative or critical toward you – it just becomes too awkward.  So remember….surprise and confusion!

No one who is annoying expects anything except your bowing to their attempt at power or relevance.  Affection with humor has you keeping the power.

Try it.  With a smile, of course!

Quote of the Week

What dreadful hot weather we have!  It keeps me in a constant state of inelegance.
               – Jane Austen
                  British novelist
                  1775-1817