Lopez: Is any of your advice on habits more important than the rest?
Meeker: I have a strong faith and I believe that faith in God serves to make us feel loved and secure. We spend far too little time attending to our spiritual lives and studies show that mothers who nurture their faith and belief in God are indeed happier moms. In addition, studies show that kids who grow up in homes where their parents go to church or synagogue, stay away from all the bad stuff (sex, drugs, alcohol, etc.) are happier. Bottom line — I believe (and studies support my belief) that God is good for us. This habit is the most important for me personally.
Lopez: You have tips for making habits stick. Is there one overall trick for such a thing, besides doing it again and again?
Meeker: The only way we can make any habit stick is to understand what the habit involves, why we need it, and how it is important to us. In short, if we don’t feel that we need it, we will never make it stick. So I believe that understanding our need is the first step in making it stick. Then it is simply a matter of making a plan for how to change. Communicating love to our kids better, for instance is a deliberate and repeated choice. It, like the other habits, must be repeated consciously over and over. I recommend that mothers start with the one habit in the book that they feel is most important and start there. Change can feel overwhelming, so we must each start with small bites.
Lopez: Is this a book fathers should read, too? For his sake and his wife’s?
Meeker: Absolutely. Fathers should read the book because many dads struggle with many of the same stresses that mothers do. Also, if there are any fathers who see their wives ready to go over the edge, they should read this book, then slide it onto their wife’s bedside table — with a gently written note of encouragement of course!
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.