The study put out by Televox, a software company specializing in health and business communication, reported that 46% of parents across the country say “their overall personal health is not in good shape.” The report points to the over-scheduled, fast-paced lifestyle that has parents shuffling from school activities to sports to music lessons to birthday parties all while trying to squeeze in homework, housework and paid work.
Certainly no one would suggest parenting was ever easy, but the demands today seem, well, crazy. And I ask you, my fellow health-failing friends, is it not enough to birth them, feed them, clothe them, bathe them, teach them, groom them, and generally attend to their every need? Now they want years from our lives?
With ailments like headaches, stomach upsets, recurring cold and flu, fatigue, anxiety and raised stress levels (sound familiar?) common among parents, raising kids has become a job in need of workers’ compensation.
I jest about workers’ comp, but maybe I shouldn’t when fully 80% of health care dollars are being spent on illnesses related to stress, according to Televox President Scott Zimmerman who headed the report. More alarming is the often-overlooked seriousness of heart disease among women. It is the number one killer of women in the U.S., and right now 8 million women – presumably all with packs of children at their feet begging to have Skittles for breakfast, crying over being given apple juice instead of grape and screaming because their curfew isn’t fair – in the U.S. are living with the disease. When I say my kids are giving me a heart attack, I mean it – literally.
But help is out there, and may be only a phone call or text message away. The report indicated that while parents who seek a doctor’s care often fail to follow the advice given, they would be much more likely to comply if they received short reminders or supportive messages from the doctor’s office. This kind of ongoing interaction through email, voice mail and texts can help keep busy parents on the right track. I’m not sure a house call is really all that’s needed, but I suppose as parents we should take whatever help we can get.
Personally, I’m convinced all medical conditions (or 99.99% of them) stem from stress, and there is nothing more stressful than raising children. If a doctor’s text message helps to alleviate that, I’ll take it, but I’d much prefer they take my kids for the day.
Raising kids now just may rank up there among smoking, drinking and drug use as risky, potentially life-threatening behavior. Sadly, there is no rehab for that.