Shopping For Groceries
"Mom, can I push the cart?" "Can I do it this week mom -- you PROMISED!" "It's my turn -- nooooooooooooo...MOM!!!!!!!!!"
With everyone's eyes glaring at you, you know THOSE eyes from the other 92 grocery store customers, (yeah, those eyes) -- you feel like disappearing.
Does this scenario sound and feel familiar? Well, if it does, it's only just the beginning -- really, right as you step inside the door this fiasco begins. Right? This is especially nerve wrecking on work-at-home moms because you never get a break from the kids.
Here are a few doable tips that might work for your crew:
Tell them what behavior you expect and the consequences if they don't.
Follow through on the consequences.
If they begin to cry or throw a fit, leave the store and come home with nothing.
Help them make a wish list and they can bring it into the store.
Make your own list.
Tell them you are going to buy only what is on your list because they are the things you need to make meals.
Tell them you will buy one thing off of their wish list if their behavior is acceptable but do not use the word "promise."
Don't give into whining.
Let them help to add things to the cart.
Make it a fun time by asking them to find an item -- this also helps them to learn to read.
If they are old enough, let them bring a hand held calculator and add up the items -- this teaches math skills as well as responsibilities.
Go early in the morning or late in the evening when crowds are smaller and you can spend a little more time asking and answering questions.
If you are in a rush, leave them at home with dad, baby-sitter or friend.
Remember, all moms are working moms and are the real CEOs in life. Check out my new Mommy,CEO totes, cups and T-shirts on the ParentToParent.com website and order yours today. They are beautiful, practical and washable. Come on moms -- tell and show the world who you are!
Jodie Lynn is an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist. Her latest paperback book is
Mommy-CEO, revised edition, Martin-Ola Press
. (It's not just for moms!) -- check out her new e-book, "Syndication Secrets" at
for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy:2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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Welcome to Stay-At-Home on DrLaura.com
The most frequently asked question on my radio show is "How can I become a stay at home mom?" So, in response to everyone who wants to know the steps to take to stay home or for parents who need moral support, tips or advice, we are debuting a new section on my website, devoted to YOU and your needs. yuml; You'll find success stories from parents who are committed to staying at home and making it work-- they'll tell you in their own words how they did it.
You can also get ideas and information on how to make money at home to supplement the family income, as well as seminars, associations and more!
I promise you, you'll want to keep visiting my website for new tips and to read about people like Lisa Barnes, who started Baby Bee, Inc. Lisa found a way to stay at home and to help less fortunate children at the same time.
There are only two types of mothers. The ones who happily stay at home and the ones who wish they could.
Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." I hope my website will be the vehicle to help you take charge of your life.
So if you stay at home or just dream about being home with your little bunchkins take a look at the entire Stay-At-Home section on my website.
-- Dr. Laura
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PARTY AT A PROGRESSIVE DINNER
By Cheryl Gochnauer
The best banquet in town won't be found at the buffet down the street. Ifyou want a great blend of friends, food and fun that won't cost you abundle, try a progressive dinner.
THE MORE, THE MERRIER. Round up a couple of dozen of your buddies anddivide them into four groups. From each group, choose one person tovolunteer their home as a stop on your tantalizing tour.
Usually, it's best to choose houses close to each other, so drive time isminimized. Draft mini-van owners to ferry people from point to point, soyou don't freak your neighbors out with 20 cars in your driveway.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE. Split the party menu into appetizers,salads, entrees and desserts, then assign each course to a different house.A group of 20, for instance, would break out like this:
House No. 1: five appetizers.
House No. 2: five salads.
House No. 3: five entrees.
House No. 4: five desserts.
Avoid repetition by coordinating with others assigned the same course.Brownies are great, but you don't want to face five or six pans of them whenyou could have pie...and cake...and cookies...and ice cream sundaes...andcobblers...and whatever other goodies your imaginative friends cook up.
Hosts furnish ice and soft drinks; everyone else provides their favoritetreat. Make enough of each dish so everyone can have a sample.
PROGRESSIVE PRE-PLANNING: When they sign up for the dinner, have each familypitch in a dollar or two to cover the cost of paper goods and utensils,which will be transported to each location.
Drop off dishes at the respective houses ahead of time, simmering in CrockPots or cooling in refrigerators. Choose heated foods that can bemicrowaved or otherwise warmed quickly. You don't want to be stuck cookingan entree at House No. 3 while everyone else is munching on appetizers atHouse No. 1.
GRUB AND GAMES: Tie a group activity to each stop. While everyone snacks,draw them into a rousing round of Pictionary, Charades, Truth or Dare, orother favorite game. Peg the last house as the place where everyone goesbelly-up for a movie marathon or other low-key activity.
T.J. Stephens, who's chomped through many a smorgasbord with his Lee'sSummit church group, offers this advice: "The key to these dinners is, youkeep standing up. That way, you can eat more."
And when you're done pigging out, and you've got to sit somewhere? "Youdon't," T.J. says. "You just lay down."
(Cheryl Gochnauer is queen of her castle in Kansas City, Missouri. You may write her at
, or visit her website at
. Her book, "
So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom
," isavailable through
Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner
. Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
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You Can Be an At-Home Parent Too!
At-Home Parent Profiles
Name: Stephanie Schultz
Home State: Wisconsin
Number Ages of Children: 3#151;4 yrs., 2 yrs., 5 months
Stephanie and her husband Steven live in a small town where family is a high priority. Steven is a full-time firefighter.
At-Home Parenting Obstacle Encountered (e.g. income, self-esteem from job, husband not supportive, etc.)
: When their second child was born Stephanie desperately wanted to stay home full time. She was working as an administrative assistant at a small insurance firm. Steven was resisting because they had just purchased a house and Stephanie#146;s income was essential in making the payment (or so he thought).
How They Overcame this Obstacle
: With her maternity leave nearly over Stephanie decided to find out for herself just how much her income was contributing to the total family income. She carefully recorded all of her work expenses including the obvious child care that would increase with the new baby, car expenses traveling to work, wardrobe; and less obvious expenses such as office gifts, lunches out, more convenience foods and eating out for the whole family, etc. When she subtracted this amount from her net pay, she was shocked to find out that the total amount of actual net income she would be providing was only $35/week! Stephanie was certain that she could save at least this amount by buying less pre-packaged foods, paying attention to sales and coupons, etc. For two weeks she tested her theory and ended up saving over $75 on groceries and household purchases alone.
Stephanie turned in her resignation the next day, and since then has found numerous other ways to save on utilities, refinancing their mortgage, and so on. She has also started selling a very unique line of dried flower wreaths, gift boxes, etc. at a local consignment shop which has provided a small but steady additional income. The Schultzes estimate that they are financially ahead about $250/month over what they were when Stephanie was working, plus they have the added priceless value of having a parent home full-time with their children.
For more information on Your REAL Take Home Pay,
Parents profiled in this feature are members of the National Association of At-Home Mothers. For more information or if you#146;d like to be profiled
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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Getting Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth
By Armin Brott
Dear Mr. Dad: Our five-year old refuses to brush his teeth-almost every night my wife and I end up screaming at him (and each other) and he ends up in tears. We're thinking about bagging the whole idea. Does he really need to be brushing his teeth at this age? If so, what can we do to make the process a little less miserable for all of us (and our neighbors, who probably think we're torturing our son)?
A: Okay, here's something you probably didn't know: dental caries (better known as tooth decay or cavities) is a disease, not just a hole in a tooth. Actually, it's the single most common chronic childhood disease-far more common than asthma and obesity, according to the California Dental Association. And to make matters worse, tooth decay is contagious, just like the measles, the flu, and small pox. The bacteria that cause decay can be passed from one person to another by kissing or sharing drinking cups or silverware.
Pain and suffering due to untreated tooth decay can lead to problems in eating, speaking and paying attention in school. In other words, cavities hurt. And having them filled hurts too. (New laser treatments are promising to make cavities and fillings pain free. But don't tell mention that to your child.)
One way to avoid cavities is to make sure your child brushes twice a day, every day with a soft brush. This comes directly from the top, the ADA. Unfortunately, until your child is about six years old, he won't have the coordination to brush his teeth on his own. He can get the process started, but you'll need to give his mouth a once-over to make sure the job gets done right.
As your child gets older, show him how to brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss on his own. There are all kinds of flavored flosses out there that you can buy to make to task less onerous. You also might want to pick up some disclosing tablets or drops at your local pharmacy. You may remember these tablets from grade school. When you chew them or swish the drops around any unbrushed spots on the teeth will show up red. Use the tablets or drops every day for the first week that your child is brushing solo. Then cut back to once or twice a week.
If your child refuses to brush, you've got a few options.
Sticks. Taking away some privileges or treats until the teeth start gleaming.
Carrots. Incentives and rewards for doing the job right. This is generally more successful then punishment.
Scare tactics. Caring for your teeth and gums does more than improve your smile and your breath. The bacteria that cause tooth decay can get into the bloodstream, where they increase the risk of ulcers, pneumonia, digestive problems, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. This is absolutely true.
Gum and candy. Yep. But not just any kind. It has to be sugar free and sweetened with xylitol, a natural sweetener that keeps bacteria from sticking to teeth. Chewing gum with xylitol for five minutes after each meal has been shown to reduce cavities.
Sealants. About 80 percent of cavities in kids are on the tops of their molars, and studies have shown that sealing these teeth with a special kind of resin is extremely successful in preventing cavities.
Armin Brott bestselling
have helped millions of men around the world become the fathers they want to be-and their children need them to be. His most recent is Fathering Your School-Age Child. Armin has been a guest on
hundreds of radio and television shows
, writes a nationally syndicated column, "Ask Mr. Dad," and hosts a weekly radio show. He and his family live in Oakland, California. You can contact him at
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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Moments for Mom
By Elisabeth K. Corcoran
Another family moment within the confines of the minivan#133;
oh minivan, sweet minivan
. Sara and Jack were being their normal kinda loud, sometimes aggravating selves, carrying on their occasional kinda frustrating, kinda maddening minivan behavior. They were arguing over a book or something#133;you know the kind of thing where that book has sat there for probably 2 months, but because one of them was reading it, the other just had to have it right then and there. So, I was doing my typical best to tune them out with the radio, or prayer, or some type of mantra like, #147;I am not going crazy#133;I am not going to lose my mind#133;this too shall pass#133;#148; When all of the sudden, Sara gives Jack the book and says to me, #147;Mommy #150; I want to ask you a question.#148; #145;Okay#146;, I said, almost a little afraid. #147;Did you have two kids so that we would fight and leave you alone?#148; Before the words, #147;Oh, don#146;t be silly#133;Mommy and Daddy had two kids because we wanted to have a family to love and take care of, blah blah blah#148;, could come out of my mouth, I said, #145;Pretty much.#146; And she said, #147;That#146;s what I thought.#148;
This was one of those times when seizing the teachable moment felt a little out of reach#133;my reserves were spent and I had nothing to give. Did I feel even the slightest bit guilty that I answered my sensitive and inquisitive daughter with sarcasm? Not really. What can I say #150; some days my head hits the pillow a little lighter than others#133;this was just not one of those days. But there are other days when I realize after the fact that one of those sometimes illusive teachable moments has happened #150; and I had no idea.
A while ago, my daughter was having a meltdown in public#133;you know the kind, where you have to physically remove the child from the store kicking and screaming? How pleasant. Well, she#146;s yelling things at me, within earshot of several customers and clerks, and I was cringing at what I heard (but couldn#146;t help smiling a bit too). Because she wasn#146;t yelling things like #147;I hate you, Mom!#148;, for which I was truly grateful; instead she chose to tell me the following: #147;I#146;m disappointed in you! I#146;m telling Daddy about this when he gets home! You#146;re being disobedient!
You need a consequence!
#148; Wonder where she got all of that?! That little girl of mine is listening to me#133;
And then there was the time when we were driving down the road and there was a man holding a sign that said, #147;Will work for food#148;. Well, I felt the nudge of the Spirit to buy him lunch, so I went up to McDonald#146;s and then drove back around again to bring it to him. It was hard to be inconspicuous as I had to stop traffic, roll down the passenger side window and sort of yell to get his attention#133;so Sara, of course, wanted to know what I was doing. I explained it simply and that was that #150; we never talked about it again. Until about six months later when we were driving down that same street and passed that corner#133;the man was not there this time, but my 6-year-old Sara said to me, #147;Mommy, do you remember that time you gave that man lunch?#148; And I said, #145;Yes, honey, I remember#146;, almost trembling because I had no idea she had that capacity for memory. And she said softly, #147;Mommy, that was so generous of you.#148; She is watching me#133;
So by all means, grab those teachable moments when you see them. But cut yourself some slack when you just can#146;t muster up a creative comeback#133;because they are watching you
of the time (and I do mean this as an encouragement!).
copy; Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2003. Elisabeth K. Corcoran is the author of
Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom#146;s Weary Soul
. She is wife to Kevin, and mom to Sara, 6--1/2, and Jack, 5. Her passion is encouraging women and she fulfills that through heading up the Women#146;s Ministries at Blackberry Creek Community Church in Aurora, IL and writing as much as she can. Calm in My Chaos (2001) can be purchased directly through her publisher, Kregel Publications at #1-888-644-0500 or www.kregel.com, at
, or through a local Christian bookstore. This column is original and not excerpted from her book. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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I Dare You! Get Rid of the Sugar:
Watch The Benefits Come On In
By Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C.
You may find it really tough to believe that eating tempting, tasty desserts and processed, quickie carbs can dramatically harm your moods, energy levels, relationships, libido, thought processes and overall health.
This is why I flat out invite you to doubt my claim. Go ahead: Do NOT believe me! Do NOT take my word for it.
That's right. Be skeptical of my emphatic assertion that fast-acting, processed culprit carbs can greatly endanger you.
For three weeks, eat only high-quality protein, veggies, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, fats, and whole grains. (Beware of gluten if you have sensitivity to it.) Then, as you test out this sugar-free way of eating, take a step back and assess how you feel.
Tune into your body and emotions. Jot down some thoughts. Do you:
Have more energy?
Feel more focused?
Feel more cheerful?
Have improved libido?
Find getting up in the morning more enjoyable?
What other benefits, if any, are you experiencing?
At that point, make a decision. You may choose to stick to your new sugar-free habits, because your benefits are just so tremendous.
But if, after those 21 days, you're still not convinced of the value of going sugar-free or almost sugar-free, then allow yourself one single day of indulgence. (Please do this only if your doctor gives you permission and you don't have a medical condition such as hypoglycemia or diabetes. Bear in mind, however, that I'm not giving medical advice here.)
Now, please remember: I'm NOT recommending that you pig out. I'm merely presenting the idea that you may wish to partake of polite portions of pasta, pizza, pastries, soda, wine, candies, cookies, cakes or other "taboo" foods on that one designated day.
After indulging, step back again and watch yourself very closely. In fact, study yourself dispassionately and observe yourself as if you were a lab rat. Get out your pen again and take more notes.
How do you feel a half hour after ingesting sweets?
How do you feel an hour after caving into your carb cravings?
How do you feel 2 hours later?
How do you feel the very next day?
How do you feel 2 days later after your deliberate indiscretion?
What specific emotions and sensations are you feeling?
Are you experiencing a feeling of hyperactivity?
Are you feeling more cranky and crabby?
Are you feeling really wired or high -- and then later really tired or low?
Are you completely crashing energy-wise?
Are you short on drive to get things done?
Be really specific. I'm absolutely convinced that you'll be completely flabbergasted by the wonderful benefits.
Connie Bennett is a former sugar addict and author of SUGAR SHOCK! (Berkley Books), with Stephen Sinatra, M.D. Connie helps thousands to break free of their debilitating sugar habit through the 21-Day, Stop SUGAR SHOCK! Countdown Diet(tm). Connie is a certified holistic health counselor and an experienced journalist, who has contributed to eDiets.com, The Los Angeles Times, and many other media outlets. Take the fun, provocative SUGAR SHOCK! Quiz at
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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National Association of At-Home Mothers
Info Guide #31
From Career to At-Home Mothering: Mastering The Transition
You've thought it over, weighed the pros and cons, and changed your mind a half dozen times. You long for the positives of being a full-time parent#151;the opportunity to guide and nurture full time, the security of knowing that you can be there whenever your children need you, the freedom from feeling yourself spread tissue paper-thin trying to juggle too many demands on your time and energy. You've certainly acknowledged the drawbacks#151;decreased family income, the possibility you'll feel bored or isolated, loss of the status your career has afforded. But finally one day something clicks. You realize you don't
to go back to your job a few short weeks or months after you've given birth. Or you realize that your kids have bonded with, and later had to say good-bye to, too many caregivers. Or you realize that, despite the "official" policy, your boss really does hold it against you when you miss work to attend your child's kindergarten play. You make the decision#151;you're going to be an at-home mother#151;and a good one, to boot. You feel a tremendous sense of relief just from finally making the decision.
But making a successful transition to this new way of life requires a bit more than just giving two weeks' notice to your boss and smiling during your going away party. It requires attending to the process of transition itself. You already know how important a good start is for future success. A good start is a gift you want to give your children, one of the reasons you've chosen at-home parenting. And by understanding the nature of transitions, it's a gift you can give yourself as well.
Transitions are, by definition, a process of moving from the old and
to the new and
. And no matter how tiresome or difficult the old, familiar way was, moving into the unknown can be difficult and downright scary. Even when the change is one you really desire. If you don't believe it, just think about what it was like to be an adolescent. You couldn't
to be grown-up. You probably screamed bloody murder if someone treated you like a child (especially when you were acting like one) but in truth you simply hadn't yet mastered the skills to function successfully as an adult. And to make the whole thing even more complicated, you felt you couldn't admit that there were times when you really
the security of childhood. It was a crazy-making time.
But that's just the nature of transition#151;not quite knowing who you are anymore, and not quite feeling like you fit. It's the desperation of having one foot on the dock and the other on a moving boat. And if being an at-home mother is new for you, you're going to experience some degree of distress in making the change. So what things can you do to master the transition?
Recognize that the transition to at-home parenting is stressful
. You need to take
care of yourself during the changeover#151;get plenty of sleep, pay attention to nutrition, make time to exercise. The tricky part here is that you may find yourself feeling morally obligated to spend every waking minute doing for your family because that is your new "job." Fight the temptation. You're infinitely more valuable as a role model than a servant. Hopefully what you're modeling is that full-time parenting doesn't mean exhaustion and martyrdom.
Guard against taking on the entire job of parenting yourself
. Your children have a father, too, and it's important that his contributions are still seen as essential even though Mom is now around a lot more. Your husband may at first be delighted that you may have time for the vacuuming or bathtime or shopping or whatever chores were his when you both were employed outside the home. But he can soon start to feel like an outsider if he is suddenly "excused" from participation just because you're at home with the kids now.
Plan to be the real you, and to let your family see who that is
. It's tempting to try to become some combination of Martha Stewart and Mother Theresa, but if that's not who you are, it's not likely to work very well. You can choose to become a gourmet cook or an expert in child development if you want, but keep in mind that neither is necessary to be a really great parent. There are lots of ways to be a wonderful mother; finding your own is the key to real success.
Set aside time to be a couple
. Keep communicating, and be sure that you do have things to talk about besides the children. If money is tight, find another couple with whom you can swap kids so that you can have the occasional night out alone.
Actively seek out a support network
. Although there may not seem to be many at-home mothers these days (there are only two on my street), they are out there if you look. Your church group, the YWCA, toddler story hour at the library, neighborhood parks#151;all are places where you are likely to meet kindred spirits who share your lifestyle.
Accept that you're going to feel some real sadness or grief
over the things you've given up in order to be an at-home mom. And you may in fact feel worse before you feel better. Especially on those thankfully-infrequent but absolutely-inevitable days when the washing machine breaks down and the baby has the croup and you hear that your worst enemy from high school has been named Vice President of some Fortune 500 company. It's only human to have at least a
sadness or envy or regret, or even anger, that you're no longer primarily out there in the world of grownups. Allow yourself to experience these unpleasant emotions#151;and know they will pass.
Set aside some time each week, even if it's in small increments, to fill up your brain
. Read a book about anything but children. Write poetry, or an essay entitled, "Who I Am Now." Take a class in something you know nothing about. Attend a lecture. Call your smartest friend to discuss philosophy, or politics, or the space program. Otherwise, it's easy for you to forget how really bright you are.
Find some external rewards for the work you do
. Face it, there aren't a lot of job promotions and pay raises in the at-home world, and believe it or not, those warm feelings of self-satisfaction don't always do the trick. Maybe you need your husband or mother or best friend to tell you periodically that you're doing a terrific job. Let them know you need it.
. They can be extravagant or simple, short-term or long-term#151;having some of each is best. Do you plan to teach your children French? To take them to the park three times a week? To build a new redwood deck during naptimes? To breastfeed for eight months? To start a home catering business? To make two new friends who are also at-home mothers? Whatever your goals may be, write them down and check your progress once a month. So much of parenting is more about daily maintenance than about achievement; it helps to know you're accomplishing as well.
Remind yourself (daily!) that this is the course you have chosen
. Bumps in the road are a little easier to handle if it's a road we want to be on. And as most at-home mothers will tell you, there will be those times that you'll be dismissed with a bored or pitying look by others after you respond to the question, "What kind of work do you do?" It's annoying, even hurtful. But if you know in your own mind that you have chosen to spend this time at home to nurture your children, others' opinions about it will matter a whole lot less.
, perhaps once a year or so, in much the same way you used to have an "annual review" at work. Ask yourself how you are doing, how the children are doing, how the family as a whole is doing. Revisit your original reasons for being at home, and determine whether they still apply. Don't be surprised if you find that it has been one of the most rewarding years of your life, and that you wouldn't
of going back to the old lifestyle. Obviously the opposite is a possibility, too. What is most likely, however, is that you will discover at-home mothering is very much like the rest of life#151;lots of wonderfulness with just enough unpleasant stuff to keep you from becoming smug.
It is clear that children need the grownups in their lives to
to be with them. It's also a safe bet that they can tell if you don't. If you honestly find that you can't summon any joy or warmth or enthusiasm for at-home mothering, then do everyone a favor and make some changes. Talk over with your husband how you are feeling, and see if you can come up with solutions together. Consider other ways for you to fill your emotional tank. Perhaps if your children are school-aged, going back to work part-time will give you the balance you need while allowing you to spend time with your children. Look at your options, try something new, and of course, be prepared for another transition! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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