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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconStay-At-Home Checkup Homebodies www.homebodies.org By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org Copyright 2003 If you're like most stay-at-home parents, you put a lot of time and energy into planning your move from the office to home. You lined out reasons for making the change, gathered the support of family and friends, and got your finances under control so you could ease into your new lifestyle. Likewise, you've probably given considerable thought to moving back into the workforce someday, after the kids are older and you're ready to pick up your briefcase again. Great - you've got the past and the future covered. But what about now? Every six months or so, I suggest couples sit down and take an objective look at how things are going. It's very common to go through a honeymoon period when Mom first comes home. You're reconnecting with your children, enjoying time with your husband, and feeling the relief of working a single full-time job instead of two (one at work and one at home). But then the stresses start seeping in. Money gets a bit tight; former co-workers call less frequently. There's no one to relieve you from the colicky baby, the kids are squabbling more than you expected and your husband's focus is once again on projects at work (instead of your adventure at home). You can't seem to get ahead of the housework, or you're all caught up and don't know what to do next. Frustrations build until you realize you're one unhappy mom and Oreos have become your new best friend. Stop! Step away from the Haagen-Dazs and ask a friend or relative to watch your kids for a few hours so you and your husband spend some quiet time together. It's time for a "checklist chat". STAY-AT-HOME CHECKLIST Why are you home? Why does your husband think you're home? What do you love about being a stay-at-home mom? What does heappreciate most about your arrangement? What frustrates you? What is he uncomfortable with? Do you need to revise the way you're handling money? How can your husband help you be more successful as anat-home parent? How can you make him feel more secure? Which friendship would you most like to cultivate? Schedule ablock of time each week when Mom will be "off the clock", free from household and childcare responsibilities. Mark your calendars for another checklist chat in about sixmonths. Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit www.homebodies.org to read more articles relating to at-home parenting. Copyright 2003 Cheryl Gochnauer. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTackling Back-To-School Expenses Homebodies www.homebodies.org By Cheryl Gochnauer Copyright 2003 Just when I#146;d settled into my summertime routine, the ads started blaring: #147;The first day of school is right around the corner!#148; According to local retailers, it#146;s time to hit the stores in search of the perfect everything. In the face of this media blitz, my one-income budget demands a clear head and a bit of creativity as I begin gathering true essentials for the coming school year. SCHOOL SUPPLIES. Thanks to discount stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target, school supplies aren#146;t too scary. Since everybody needs them, competition is fierce. They#146;re practically giving away glue, markers and folders, hoping that you#146;ll pick up a backpack or two while you#146;re there. Resist the impulse and recycle last year#146;s more expensive items whenever possible. Use coupons and bring competitor#146;s fliers for price matching. Keep your eyes open for rebates, which are very common this time of year. CLOTHES, COATS AND SHOES. Hopefully you remembered to purchase the kids#146; fall and winter coats last spring at the 70 percent-off sales. If not, it#146;s not too late to scour neighborhood garage sales in search of a gently-used jacket. Since jeans are the uniform of choice for most students, watch sales. Recently I spotted flares at Wal-Mart for my 5th grader - $15 jeans marked down to $10, then $7, then $3 each. I grabbed five pair and headed to the registers, where they rang up at ONE DOLLAR EACH. (God bless Sam Walton!) EXTRACURRICULARS. There#146;s not much lee-way in dodging sports and band fees, but you may be able to save on the uniforms and instruments. Check the classifieds for second-hand items. Email friends and classmates to see if anyone has something you need for sale. Ask coaches and tutors for leads on used equipment. If there#146;s a good chance your child will be on the same team next year, allow some growing room. Buy a little big; there#146;s a good chance that soccer or cheerleading outfit will work for two seasons instead of one. FUNDRAISERS. Most schools kick off with some type of fundraiser. Parents, I hear those groans! But don#146;t turn away every kid who knocks on your door, because they might be peddling something that benefits YOU as much as their sports or drama team. I#146;m talking about those Entertainment and Gold Coupon books (and their many clones). I love these buy-one, get-one-free deals. They allow me to splurge on a night out or fun fest #150; at half-price. The books usually pay for themselves the first time I use them. Hint: Think through fundraisers before pitching products to your neighbors. To offset cheerleading costs, I bought 20 fundraising coupon books at $1 each #150; which my daughter was then supposed to sell for $5 apiece. (She would pocket the extra $4 per book, clearing a total of $80.) But each book #150; which offered discounts at my favorite grocery store #150; included a #147;$5 off the total purchase#148; coupon, along with another $50 or so in additional savings. Since I shop at that store every week, I gave my daughter $80 toward her uniform, kept the books and used the coupons myself. The $5-off coupons alone saved me $100, plus I saved hundreds more with the remaining coupons in the 20 books. Next year, I#146;ll buy FORTY books and double this year#146;s savings! MORE QUICK TIPS: If your kids don#146;t take the bus to school, carpool with other families. (That goes for before and after school practices, too.) Most days, have children take lunches instead of buying at the cafeteria. Get required vaccinations through your local county health department, where shots are often offered at a discount or free. If you#146;re paying tuition, work part-time or substitute at the school to offset expenses. (It#146;ll make it easy to pop in on their class parties or keep an eye on your teen, too!) Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit www.homebodies.org to read more articles relating to at-home parenting. Copyright 2003 Cheryl Gochnauer. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconClassroom Helping Hands Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org The new school year is right over the horizon. One benefit of being a stay-at-home parent is having the flexibility to become more involved in our children's classrooms. But like any other endeavor, it's important to scope out the situation and see where we can be most effective. I remember thinking that, in order to be a good homeroom parent, I needed to be able to bake elaborate cut-out cookies and fashion presentation-quality table decorations from doilies, glue and glitter. Since I hate to bake and have no artsy-crafty skills whatsoever, I began to dread the periodic calls for volunteers. That is, until I learned a fundamental rule of parent participation: There's only one teacher, and 20-plus sets of parents. The teacher doesn't have time to discover our hidden talents. It's up to us to let the teacher know where we'd best fit in. I'm a communicator, so instead of me bringing in some burnt-around-the-edges cookies or some donuts I bought at the grocery store, I should volunteer as a story-teller. Or a whip-'em-into-a-frenzy game coordinator. However, I know a mom who can put together four loaves of the best banana bread you ever tasted in no time, and present it with a garnish. She loves to cook - and she should let the teacher know it. There's the cookie lady! Then there's the woman who used to work at Hallmark, who can do amazing things with construction paper, scissors and a glue stick. She's a perfect candidate for the bulletin board or party decoration committee. Find your niche, then jump right in. Your child and their teacher will love you for it. And be sure to volunteer for the daytime openings first, giving working moms a chance to help out with evening activities. If a call for volunteers comes at a bad time, be gentle yet straightforward - you won't be able to help out this time. But keep a copy of the upcoming events schedule handy so you can say something like, "Christmas is really busy for me. But go ahead and put me down for the Valentine's party." There are lots of ways a parent can participate in their child's classroom activities. Explore the various opportunities available to you. Volunteering is fun, once you find where you fit. Copyright 2000 Cheryl Gochnauer. Have you taken a look at Cheryl's book, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom "? Don't be fooled by the title - this inspirational book encourages working moms who want to come home someday, but ALSO helps parents already enjoying (or struggling with!) their at-home lifestyle. Request a copy at your local library, favorite bookstore, or online . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMay Our Children Have Interesting Careers According to the RoperASW survey that has been tracking our definition of the good life since 1975, only 26% of Americans say they have an interesting job today, down from 40% in 1975. With as much time as adults spend on the job, how is it that most of us have careers that are not satisfying? How can we turn this around for our children, and perhaps ourselves? Jill Sanborne, creator of the MYCOOLCAREER.com career exploration Web site and Web radio show for teens and twenties, is out to increase the future job satisfaction among our youth. "What elements create career-love vary by the individual, and widely," says Sanborne. Sanborne has interviewed over 85 people who love their career, "but the two qualities that unite these diverse professionals are that their careers play to their strengths and that they find their careers personally interesting." These two qualities are also the ones that 60% of graduating high school seniors said, in a 2001 study, they wished someone had helped them determine before graduation. Sanborne says that all too often, how we choose college majors and careers has nothing to do with what kinds of career directions would make us happy, and that knowing our strengths and passions will lead to interesting careers. Sanborne says the three steps to a "cool" career are 1) career assessment, 2) exploration of career ideas for a reality-check, and 3) the education and training to get "there?" This week's career guest on MYCOOLCAREER.com 's Web radio show is John Payne, journalist and the music editor for the LA Weekly . Payne talks about his beloved career and offers advice to burgeoning. He says, "Read, read and read quality literature, and love what you do." Payne's career-love is created by an obsession for music, love for reading and a talent for writing. The LA Weekly is a large newsweekly in Los Angeles. MYCOOLCAREER.com is a career exploration website for teens and 20s with over 40,000 visitors per month. Sanborne, MYCOOLCAREER.com creator, studies careers, the future workplace, teens' dreams and provides solutions to the challenges they face in learning about and preparing for rewarding careers, is a regular talk show guest, and speaks to teens and parent audiences about how teens can prepare now for an awesome future in the new workplace. The site shows teens how to get to their own cool career in three steps. email: host@mycoolcareer.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Freaky Friday" Movie Review Know Before You Go Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective Philip Boatwright, Editor THEATRICAL RELEASE Freaky Friday . Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Harold Gould, Chad Michael Murray, Christina Wood, Mark Harmon. Disney. Comedy. W-Heather Hach, Lesslie Dixon. D-Mark Waters. 8/6/03 Dr. Tess Coleman (Curtis) and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Anna (Lohan), are not getting along. They don't see eye to eye on clothes, hair, or music, and certainly not in each other's taste concerning the opposite sex. Everything soon changes when two identical Chinese fortune cookies cause a mystic mayhem. The next morning, their Friday gets freaky when Tess and Anna find themselves inside the other's body. They gain a little newfound respect for the other's point of view, but with Tess's wedding coming on Saturday, the two have to find a way to switch back (and fast). True, this genre has been done to death, but it is a great genre - having to walk around in another's body and world. And if it's done right, as it is here, the premise can be both hysterical and insightful. Everything works - the script, the direction and certainly the performances, making this a fun movie-going experience. A mix of slapstick situations and witty dialogue, this smart family comedy also contains some honest empathy as the two leads confront issues such as a teen dealing with her mother's upcoming marriage and a mom's anxiety as her little girl nears womanhood. If you are concerned about the "magical" element, rest assured the film does not promote any sort of mysticism. The supernatural contrivance of a mother and daughter switching bodies after cracking open fortune cookies serves only as a story device that leads to a clever and symbolic parable. It's not about Asian voodoo, but rather, about switching points of view. PG (2 minor expletives and 14 uses of the expression "oh my God" or variations of it; one crack about conservative clothing and selling Bibles, evidently implying that if one has something to do with Bibles they can't dress smartly; the surly attitude from the teen girl begins to annoy, but life lessons about love and family are learned by the precocious high schooler). DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconA Mother's Teen Angst Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org Copyright 2003 Something wonderful happened this summer between me and my 15-year-old daughter. It may sound unbelievable, but I think I actually LIKE this girl! Parents of elementary kids and under may be saying to themselves, "What's she talking about?" But those in the teen trenches will tell you - it ain't easy nudging these overgrown gangly birds onto the right flight path. They're perfectly ready to jump out of the nest; that's not the problem. It's the way they land with a thud or go "SPLAT" as they dive right into the nearest wall. (Which you've been pointing out as a hazard since they were six. But do they listen? Of course not. You're just their mom.) Since I'm a so-called parenting expert (a title I cherished until my daughter hit puberty and all the wheels fell off), it's been humbling to find myself regularly washed up on Beats Me Beach. ("Why do they do the things they do?" "Beats me.") One of the benefits of being a stay-at-home mom is that you're around to irritate your teen all the time. You're constantly there to provide direction (that they don't take), suggestions (that they don't follow) and protection (that they dodge as much as possible). At least it seems that way. Until the day arrives when you realize they were listening, after all. Not to the angry words or threats or temper; they tuned those out, and rightfully so. But somewhere in the flak they snagged chunks of advice that worked, most of which were sprinkled with large doses of parental love. And - amazing as it may seem - you've been listening, too. Somewhere along the way, you've found some middle ground where the two of you can do more than co-exist. You can respect and - surprise! - even enjoy each other. I used to comfort myself by saying, "Only six . only five . only four more years, and she's outta here." Now I think, "Only three more years, and she's outta here," but I've got a completely different expression on my face. I like this girl. I really, really like her. I suspect she'll send me and her daddy through the blender a few more times before she leaves, but I have a feeling the worst is over. Of course, I haven't handed her the car keys yet. Cheryl's latest book, is " Stay-at-Home Handbook: Advice on Parenting, Finances, Career, Surviving Each Day More " (InterVarsity Press, 2002). Visit www.homebodies.org or write Cheryl@homebodies.org . You can also read her column on the Web at www.gospelcom.net/homebodies/experts/cgochnauer/index.php . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconIf Your Teen Can't Find a Summer Job Make This Their Summer of Self-Discovery It's official, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to the teen on the street: teens are having a challenging time landing summer jobs this year. MYCOOLCAREER.com , where teens are requesting help finding summer jobs, agrees. So what to do? Jill Sanborne of MYCOOLCAREER.com, says that today's Millennial generation teens are interested in more than summer jobs: they want information, and that this is the perfect summer to start providing it. "Parents who invest in their teens' futures this summer will reap large and satisfying rewards," says Sanborne. She says that more than the three previous generations, this one is interested in their financial future, and how to get there in a straight line. Sanborne collects teen dreams, and she's impressed with the seriousness of their goals. From ER doctor and toy designer to forensic accountant and sports public relations, Sanborne helps teens learn how to "get there from here" in weekly 30-minute web radio interviews with professionals in the requested fields. MYCOOLCAREER recommends for this SUMMER OF SELF-DISCOVERY for teens: Take self-assessment tests. The number one action that parents can take this summer to help their teenagers is to line up a battery of assessment tests with a career consultant. Assessments don't only evaluate career options by aptitude - they also provide career ideas based on personality, interests and values. In a recent study, 60% of graduating high school seniors wished somebody had helped them with assessments for career compatibility! MYCOOLCAREER.com provides access to some free and low-cost online assessment quizzes. Explore their top three career ideas. Do DIY career interviews with local working professionals, because the reality of careers is often different than what teens imagine. MYCOOLCAREER.com provides The Interview Questions to Ask and how to set up an interview. Join classes, workshops, camps, clubs and community activities that feed their interests, build skills that will help them get to their dreams, or expose them to new ideas. Volunteer in a field that interests them so that they can see what the environment is like. Future doctors and nurses will have no problem finding opportunities in hospitals! Buy a "dream book" like the Fiske Guide to Colleges to adorn the family coffee table - the new one for 2004 will be available in July. Read books and biographies around these career dreams. Choose from the 80+ information-packed streaming MP3 career interview shows on the MYCOOLCAREER.com website. MYCOOLCAREER.com is a career exploration website for teens and 20s and it's growing quickly in popularity with over 40,000 visitors per month. Jill Sanborne, MYCOOLCAREER.com site and show creator, studies the future workplace, teens' dreams and provides solutions to the challenges they face in learning about and preparing for rewarding careers, is a regular talk show guest, and speaks to teens and parent audiences about how teens can prepare now for an awesome future in the new workplace. The site shows teens how to get to their own cool career in three steps. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSeven CEO skills moms can use to create wealth from the home Del-Metri Williams www.momthink.com A successful mom and a successful chief executive officer share superiority in nearly identical skills: NEGOTIATION CEO finesses lower interest rates on a loan.A MomEO offers to do her landlord's bookkeeping inexchange for a reduction in rent. A CEO talks a mid-level manager into taking early retirement.A MomEO cajoles her middle child into an early bedtime. Whose job is harder? CRISIS MANAGEMENT A CEO makes headlines when he meets a productionschedule despite a labor strike.A MomEO finds a last-minute baby-sitter for a sick child,so she can take her infant who just fell down the stairsinto the hospital emergency room. Then she picks upthe dog from the vet, packs her husband's suitcase fora business trip, and fills prescriptions for bothchildren and the dog. After all this she makes dinner! Whose job is harder? FINANCIAL ACUMEN A CEO studies the real estate market and snatches up adozen distressed properties he can use to expand hisbusiness.A MomEO studies sales and clips coupons so she canstretch her grocery budget by 50 percent. Whose job is harder? MULTITASK EFFICIENCY A CEO is talking to a supplier in Tokyo, a buyer in Milan,and a banker in Los Angeles. At the same time he'ssigning letters, tipping a masseuse, and ushering hisnoon appointment into the office.A MomEO interrupts a phone conversation with her son'steacher three times to answer call-waiting signalsfrom the pediatrician, the cable company, and someoneselling time-shares in Florida, while she is also making dinner, paying bills, and holding a colicky baby on her hip. Whose job is harder? BUDGETING A CEO who runs finances into the red has to facecompany shareholders and the possibility of layoffs.A MomEO who is short of cash at the end of themonth must face her family and the probability oflate-fee notices and dunning phone calls. Whose job is harder? BOTTOM-LINE MENTALITY A CEO pays midtown Manhattan rent only if the forty-sixthfloor office space is crucial to profit-making potential;otherwise, he leases a warehouse in New Jersey. He hasto be hard-hearted enough to reduce payroll and to cancelholiday bonuses when sales fall behind expenses.A MomEO pays rental premiums to keep her children inthe best school district even though she could live inmuch nicer quarters on the other side of town. Andin lean times, she has to weigh the pay-back potentialof hiring a tutor for her daughter who wants to getinto medical school versus hiring a voice coach for herBroadway-bound son. Whose job is harder? LEADERSHIP A CEO inspires his team to work weekends, forfeit vacationtime, and miss family functions in order tocomplete an important project on schedule.A MomEO convinces her husband to miss MondayNight Football, her seventeen-year-old son to driveher five-year-old daughter to a pajama party, and herten-year-old son to do the dishes so that she can takea night class at the local college. Whose job is harder? There are two reasons mothers who choose to stay at home often feel undervalued and unappreciated: Society does not honor the mother's role. Moms do not honor their role. Society will never be a force for change-it is a reaction to change. So it's up to these moms to start treating themselves with respect, to acknowledge and prove their worth. Personal success does not have to be at odds with parental success. And this is not just a twenty-first century concept-there is a proverb thousands of years old that supports this concept. It is known as the story of the virtuous or noblewoman. This lady was a mother who owned two businesses. Her clientele were wealthy men. Her business was so profitable she became a real estate investor. Her husband was a political figure with a lot of influence in the city. She hadher own personal household staff, and her children were proud of her.This mom's story appears in the Bible! I believe this is God's way of saying that He wants us to use all of the gifts and talents He has given us. Through these abilities, we can create wealth for ourselves-even if we are stay-at-home moms.Perhaps, especially if we are stay-at-home moms! Excerpt from AS A MOM THINKETH; A MOTHER'S GUIDE TO UNLIMITED WEALTH Del-Metri Williams (President and Founder of Mom Executive Officers) www.momthink.com www.momeos.com E-mail: info@momthink.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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