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Parenting
05/07/2010
IconMoving and New Communities By Jodie Lynn www.ParentToParent.com You may be thrilled to be moving, or you could be scared to death! Moving can leave you sad, glad, or a mixture of all. Don't worry - I have done this too many times not to be able to help out. Here are some ways to help make moving into a new community easier. Remember that moving is very time consuming and your patience will be tested. Everything will be new, and for many it's exhausting! Don't try to do everything at once! I once lost my mind trying this stunt -- I later found it behind the diapers in row 6 at Walmart! First on your list should be to go and meet your closest neighbors. Don't wait for them to come over. Ask if there's a neighborhood phone directory and find out where you can get one. Look for children's birth dates -- call the homes where the children's ages are close to your own kids'. Ask for recommendations on babysitters. Ask how their children like the sitters. This will lead to many a good relationship. Most families are very willing to help. (They were once a new family in a new area.) Call local paper for information on parenting organizations. Go visit all that are of interest to you -- and some that are not. If you stick to those that are only in your area of most interest, you could be missing out on some wonderful relationships. Contact the local Welcome Wagon. There's one in almost every town. They will lead to The Newcomers Club, which has more hobbies and mommy groups than you will know what to do with. Visit churches. Many churches now offer parenting and play groups that are embraced by the whole community, not just members. Go for a family walk. In the evening after dinner is a good time. This is usually when the Dads are available to chat as well. Keep a pen and paper ready in the stroller or in your pocket to write down your new phone number and names of your family -- and get their names and numbers, too! If your children are old enough, send them out to play and let them find families to play with (it works)! Sooner or later, someone will want to spend the night or your cutie will ask someone over. Perfect situation for making new friends with other parents. Find out where the parks are. Get going -- even in the winter. There will be kids and moms there. Take a trip to the zoo. Enroll your children in an activity at the zoo and meet new faces and have fun with the NURSERY of baby animals at the same time. Look at the grocery store for a free local parenting newspaper and/or magazine. These will usually have places to see and things to do for family outings. Check out the Libraries and local YMCA/YWCA for activities for kids. Many places now have free story time and introductory offers for new folks just moving to the area. Call the athletic association in your area to find out about soccer, baseball, basketball, etc., registration and sign your kids up! Begin to take pictures right away. Volunteer at the new preschool and/or school. You will meet many other moms there. Take pictures of the new house, yard, new friends, school, classmates, teams, etc. It will help the children see how easy the transition of moving can be. Keep a positive attitude and so will your family! Last but far from least, don't forget to do some things for yourself. Ask other moms where they go for exercise, hair salon, clothes, books, make-up, restaurant, doctors, resale shops, house goods, etc. Good luck and smile. It'll all work out! Jodie Lynn is an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist. Her latest book is Mommy-CEO, revised edition, Martin-Ola Press . (It's not just for moms!) Please see ParentToParent.com for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconHypertasking Moms #150; No not us#133; Tracy Lyn Moland www.TracyLynMoland.com What are you doing right now? Reading this article with a child on your lap, the television on, a load of clothes in the machine, supper on stove, another child doing homework, checking email, and #133; Or are you at work right now #150; reading this online while emailing your husband, talking with a co-worker, typing up a report, going thru a pile of paper, and waiting on hold on the phone? The latest trend is a level of multitasking known as "Hypertasking". It is the state in which you appear extraordinarily busy at all hours of the day but actually produce very little. Women often feel compelled to do it all. Today, women play more roles than ever before: Wife, Mother, Teacher, Daughter, Business woman, Athlete #150; with each role encompassing its own long list of duties. During the course of a busy day how do women find time for the role of self, let alone a five-minute shower? This chance to re-charge is a key symptom of "hypertasking". With the terms hypertasking and its predecessor multitasking coming from computer terms, we have to remember that we are human. Unlike a computer we need to shut down and re-charge. Research has found that our brains are not made to jump back and forth between a number of tasks. #147;Mommy brain#148; is not just in our imaginations. It is our brains reaction to all the things we are trying to do at once. Studies have found that people can lose up to 40% of their productivity by doing too much at one time. Hypertasking is affecting everyone around us #150; from our extremely over scheduled children, to our work place, to our formally relaxed homes. We need to realize that while multitasking is beneficial in some cases hypertasking is going too far. With our ever increasing to do lists, what can we do to eliminate hypertasking? Awareness #150; Begin to pay attention to how often you have #147;Mommy Brain#148; #150; need to re-read, re-repeat or re-do something. Roughly time how long things are actually taking #150; does the time make sense? Become aware of how much is too much for you #150; some multitasking does work. Focus #150; Many jobs are accomplished much quicker and easier if we focus in on them. Start with ten minutes and focus on the job at hand. Get one phone call made, one bathroom cleaned or one report completed. Once we see how much more we can get done by focusing we will find ways to increase the length of time we focus. Prioritize #150; Carefully look at all the different roles you play in life and what is involved with each. Pick the most important pieces and focus upon these. Begin to let go of some things and delegate others. Remember that often saying yes to one thing means saying no to another. Energize #150; We can all do more if we are feeling energized. Make sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising and doing something just for you. In a time of #145;more is better#146;, often less is the key to success and sanity. Tracy Lyn Moland#146;s hypertasking expertise is highly sought-after including a recent interview on "Living It Up! with Ali Jack" as well as in Reader#146;s Digest. She is a frequent guest on U.S. and Canadian radio and television and featured in numerous magazines and newspapers. Her book #147;Mom Management#148; recently hit the Amazon.ca best-seller list. She is speaker and consultant specializing in providing solutions to the #147;Moms#148; and those who sell to them. She lives in Canada with her husband and two children. www.TracyLynMoland.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMotherhood Is Not For Wimps! MR. MOM, GET A JOB! By Judy Gruen judy@championpress.com Copyright 2002 Permission granted for use on Dr.Laura.com Have you heard the news? Scientists have finally #145;fessed up that being a househusband is dangerous to a guy#146;s health. Women in very high-stress jobs also risk having their tickers give out early. This politically charged evidence was presented by bona fide medical researchers, the kind who wear their glasses pushed far down on their noses and have cheap pens stamped with names like #147;Zoloft#148; sticking out of their shirt pockets, so it must be true. The scientists studied more than 3,600 men and women over a ten-year period and revealed their findings at an American Heart Association meeting in Honolulu, a place where you are not allowed to have heart attacks since it scares away tourists. I could have told them all this, if only they would have sprung for my airfare to the Big Island and plied me with drinks decorated with little yellow umbrellas. But can this news really have come as a surprise to anybody? Just watch any man have to choose between the #147;regular fabrics#148; versus #147;delicate#148; cycle and you can sense his blood pressure rise. His life experience vis-agrave;-vis laundry has most likely been: wear clothes. Drop dirty clothes into closest receptacle. Wait for clean clothes to magically reappear in closet. Sure, he may know how to fix the washing machine when it goes kablooey, but using it is another matter entirely. And think: laundry is only one of the 459 typical daily challenges of running a home with children! Observe as a regular guy tries to figure out how to make dinner and get to the market when the baby is spiking a fever, he#146;s on for afternoon carpool and it#146;s his turn to sell scrip in the carpool line, and you can almost see the plaque on his arteries multiply by the minute. And when his wife calls at 6:30 p.m. when the kids are shooting peas up their nostrils, the dog is biting a neighbor and the smoke detector has started beeping and she says, very apologetically, #147;Sorry, hon, but I#146;ve got an emergency brewing here and I may need to take the red-eye to Baltimore to discuss the merger,#148; five more years have been whacked off his life. After all, it is bath night and the book review and display board are due tomorrow. And on top of all that, he#146;s somehow got to remember to put Tyler#146;s slugs from the yard in a shoebox since she is excited to bring it for show-and-tell the next day and he knows she will probably need heavy sedation if, God forbid, they arrive at school and the slugs have been forgotten. There is only so much a man can take. I mean no disrespect to men. I like men, and I have found them to be very capable beings in many guy-oriented areas. I am happily married to one and am raising three men-in-training, so I have a vested interest in the self-esteem of guys. It#146;s just that in my experience, men perform best when they are given specific instructions, such as #147;Load that truck over there until all the boxes are gone,#148; or #147;Run out and tackle the guy with the ball.#148; They like to finish one thing before moving on to the next. But women must be able to do thirty-seven things at once, and if I do say so myself, it is a skill that comes quite naturally to us. Our work may be stressful, but as long as we haven#146;t maxed out our credit cards, we will probably be okay. We need to help reverse this alarming trend in heart disease, and I say, let#146;s start by giving flex-time to women trying to shatter the glass ceiling. (Just the thought sounds painful, doesn#146;t it?) And we must immediately pull all those Mr. Moms out there off of yard duty and send them back where they belong, out in corporate America, staging hostile corporate takeovers. After all, their very lives may depend on it. "Motherhood Is Not For Wimps!" is Judy Gruen's sometimes hilarious, sometimes serious reporting from the front lines of motherhood. Judy, the mother of four, is the author of "Carpool Tunnel Syndrome: Motherhood as Shuttle Diplomacy" (Champion Press, 2002). Her work has also appeared in "Ladies Home Journal" and "Woman's Day" magazines. Judy's semi-monthly humor column, "Off My Noodle," is available by email subscription. Go to www.championpress.com/offmynoodle.htm . Contact her at judy@championpress.com . More >>

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05/07/2010
IconWhen Dad is Also Coach As your son or daughter signs up for youth soccer or T-ball, you'll noticea little box on the application which a dad can check if he's willing tocoach. Well, even if you've never coached, I'd suggest you go for it-maybe justas an assistant coach. If you do check that box, here are a few things tothink about before the season begins: First, don't put pressure on your child. Believe it or not, your child maynot be the star or team leader. Let him find his own place on the team.Sometimes you'll beam with pride and want to scream, "That's my son."Other times you'll want to hide. I know your heart will be pounding everytime he runs out there. But whether he succeeds or fails, do your best totreat him just like his teammates. Second, make sure you have some practice time alone with your child. Manyof the other kids will go home and play catch with their dads. You maythink that, as a coach, you've already done that. But your son or daughteralso needs your time one-on-one. Third, we've all heard Vince Lombardi's words: "Winning isn't everything,it's the only thing." I'll agree with that only if we canredefine what winning is. Are you out to have a perfect win-loss record?Remember, Coach, little league wasn't formed so middle-aged men could showoff their coaching skills. The goals are fun, exercise, sportsmanship andself-improvement. Make sure everyone participates to the best oftheir ability and contributes to the team. Give that struggling kid a fewextra innings at second base-he may cost you a game, but he'll alsoeventually throw somebody out. That's real winning. Finally, coaching can be a chance to reach out-not just to your kids, butto some of the other kids on the team. These days, if you put fifteen kidson a ball field, at least two or three will come from broken homes andanother few will have dads who just don't have a clue. What a great chancethis is for them to be encouraged by an adult male who cares for theirwell-being. As a coach, you can make a life-changing impression on yourchild and every other kid on that team. Ken Canfield copy;2000 National Center For Fathering. All Rights Reserved. You may makecopies for non-commercial use, all other uses contact NCF through theirwebsite at www.fathers.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Swollen Feet" Jodie Lynn www.ParentToParent.com "Swollen Feet" -- If you are pregnant, you can relate to these moms! But, if you are a stay at home mom, you may be better off. I looked straight into the shoe clerk's face and wanted to cry. Well, why not? My once-medium-sized foot had now swollen to yet another size larger. While I used to wear a size seven, I now take a nine. A nine! We're talking about small boats here. Why, I'm only 5' 3" -- and shrinking fast! "How can this be?" The saleswoman looked at me, and I saw her trying to form an acceptable excuse as to why she didn't have the shoes I now needed, at least not in CANOE size. "Honey," she said, "don't even think about it." What, she was being nice? "I did the same thing when I was pregnant; just try to lay off of the salt." She then gave me a reassuring pat on the boat, er, foot. I did feel a little better as I squeezed into my old pair of sneakers and waddled out the door. Think you're the only one with big fat swollen feet? Well, read on moms-to-be and see what other mother ducks have done. Pam in Indiana - I wear comfortable shoes and get plenty of exercise by walking as much as possible. If my feet began to swell, I prop them up at night by placing a pillow under them while sleeping. During the day, I try to take mini-breaks and elevate my feet as a part of a pick-me-up regimen. This seems to help a lot. As an extra precaution, I take an additional pair of really "cushy" shoes everywhere I go to change into if needed. S. in TN - I tried to cut out salty snacks with each pregnancy. It was hard because this is what I personally craved. After changing shoe sizes twice in two pregnancies, a friend of mine who was a nurse gave me a great tip to help me with my salt craving. Buy saltless pretzels, get them wet by sprinkling a few drops of water over the top, and add "salt sense" very lightly (and evenly). Place in an oven for 6 minutes on 350 degrees and you've created a yummy snack. They have the salty taste but with a salt substitute. While this is not the perfect solution, it really did help. From Jodie : With being so short, I pretty much looked like a pregnant elf! I tried to watch my salt intake, but it was hard because we lived down in Cajun country where there's no such thing as a dish made with a "light" anything. I started taking snacks along with me everywhere I went so the temptation of fries and Cajun seafood wouldn't be too great. (This lasted all of a good two weeks.) I was in an outside sales position at the time and walked what seemed like a zillion miles every day. This was good and bad. Food, food and more food was everywhere I went. My doctor said to prop up my feet as often as possible. How is this done if you work outside the home, I wondered. I finally decided to spend the lunch hour in my car. I'd eat fruit and rice cakes while propping my feet up and reading. I read for one glorious hour. (Yeah, it sounds a little corny, but don't knock it until you've tried it.) It actually made a difference. Three months before the baby was due, I said good-bye to outside sales. When I found myself at home, it was easier to maintain my weight, baby and household duties and still get a little work done in my freelance writing endeavor. This is one of several advantages to working and/or being a stay-at-home mom. You can manage you and your baby's health and activities easier. Of course, I was not always perfect. There were a couple of time, (all right - three or four times) where I couldn#146;t resist crawfish boils and Cajun hot chips and I literally blew up like the Goodyear blimp. For these delightful naughty - I mean - rare slip-ups, the one thing I did that seemed to help, was to lie on my back with my rear and legs up against a wall. Don't forget to use a small pillow in the bend of your back. Well, it worked for me... now, if I could just get all of that salt to stop coming out of my ears... 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 ParentToParent.com for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconTrue, Noble and Right By Cheryl Gochnauer (NOTE TO READERS: As we all pause this week to remember 9/11, I'mrerunning the Homebodies column I wrote in September 2001, two weeksafter the attacks. - Cheryl) I've been a mess these past couple of weeks. But normal life isstarting to come back into focus, and one of the reasons is because I'vefinally turned away from the TV. I haven't clicked it off completely. My family applauded PresidentBush's speech to Congress, and passed tissues during the musicalsimulcast of "America: A Tribute to Heroes". My brother is a servicemanoverseas; my father is retired Army. The military is in my blood. I'mcompelled to at least catch my favorite news commentator each evening tohear the latest developments. But I've decided to stop feeding my brain only troublesome images. Ican't handle bad news, 24/7. It's not good for me, and it's not goodfor my family. Like many Americans, the attacks prompted me to dust off my Bible andreview some passages I hadn't read in a while. Look what leapt from thepages today: "Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - ifanything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -put into practice" (Philippians 4:8-9, NIV) What have my children learned or received or heard or seen in me overthese past dreary days? Sorrow and apprehension, anger and melancholy.That's only natural. Like those around me, I've been grieving. These are hard times, no doubt. But I'm not without hope. Young facesturn toward mine, wondering how to respond to the turbulence. Switchingoff the round-the-clock news, I'm finally ready to share true, noble andright images. Read pure, lovely and admirable stories. Point outexamples that are excellent and praiseworthy. I have to choose between depression and empathy, fear and caution,revenge and justice. I'm determined to purge personal terrorism from myhome via optimism and faith. Questions or comments? Contact Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit herwebsite at www.homebodies.org , where you can order an autographed copyof her new Stay-at-Home Handbook . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMarital Interaction Ken Canfield www.fathers.com One of the best things a father can do for his kids is love their mother and build a strong marriage. The effort you put into your marriage is worth it to your children. To prove that, I'm going right to the source. Just listen to this sixth grade girl who wrote about her father for one of our essay contests. Shewrites:"Everybody in my family has had to put up a lot with all the things that have gone wrong. One thing about this divorce is that when I go over to my friends' house to spend the night or something, their fathers usually come in and say, "good-night," not "good-bye." When my father comes over to get something and he is about to leave, he always comes over and kisses me on the cheek and then says "good-bye," and walks out. And it hurts a lot. Sometimes I want to just cry." This girl feels the pain so deeply that she is tuned in to subtle nuances like the difference between "good-night" and "good-bye." Her father may see her regularly and show her physical affection, but still the dominant images of her father will always bring her pain. Compare that to what another youngster, a fourth grader, wrote in heressay: "He treats my mom very nicely, which makes me feel wanted." A strong marriage breeds security. The child with two parents who are still in love-and show it-does not need to fear that the foundation of her life is suddenly going to shake and buckle and split apart. Even more than that, your marriage relationship is a model for your children's future relationships-dating and marriage. Your sons are taking subconscious notes. They're asking: What does it mean to be a husband? How should I treat women? Your daughters also have their eye on you. Giving themselves to a man in marriage can be a fearful thing; they're asking themselves how well their mother fared in the deal. One of the greatest legacies you can leave your children (and your yet-unborn grandchildren) is the firm believe that marriage is not to be taken lightly. It's worth committing to. It's worth sticking it out through the tough times. Marriage-your marriage-is worth every ounce of effort you can put into it. Ken Canfield copy;2000 National Center For Fathering. All Rights Reserved. You may makecopies for non-commercial use, all other uses contact NCF through www.fathers.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconHomebodies In The Workforce By Cheryl Gochnauer A few months ago, the Census Bureau came out with a welcome reportannouncing that, for the first time since the mid-70's, more new motherswere staying home with their babies than were going back into theworkforce. Some mothers return to their cubicles after the first year. Many grab their Daytimers as kids reach preschool age, and a flood ofmothers head back to their desks once their children start kindergarten. Others hold out until their toddlers become teens, and beyond. So how do you know when it's time for you to go back to work outside thehome? If you're content to be a full-time homemaker, the answer may be"never". But the biggest slice of the statistical pie does plan on somedayrejoining the traditional workforce. Recently, I took a position at my daughters' school, after almost eightyears as an at-home parent. Back in 1994, when I first came home, Karen andCarrie were ages 6 and 2, and I was sure I'd go back to work when myyoungest started school. But by the time she was a kindergartner, I waswell-versed in managing our limited budget. It seemed silly to go back towork outside the home just because the calendar said so, and so I settled infor the long haul. It took a combination of two sets of braces and the desire to send my girlsto private school to get me thinking seriously about going back to work. Istarted networking among friends, looking for a family-friendly job thatwould allow me to earn the money we needed without compromising mycommitment to be readily available to my children. When the position poppedup at the private school of our dreams, I recognized it for what it was - atailor-made opportunity for me and my family. Granted, not all of us will have the chance to work a job with our babies inthe building. But after spending time as a stay-at-home mom - especially ifyou've done it for several years - it's important to be choosy about how andwhere you'll ease back into the workforce. Wait for the right job, one that won't make you feel like you're undoing allthe good you've done during your timeout. As you interview, noteprospective employers' flexibility and rank their family-friendliness. Resist pursuing high-pressure positions that tax workers' spirits and leaveno energy for after-work fun. Resolve to limit debt so that you have theoption of returning home, should you decide to. We go through different seasons in our lives. I loved my stay-at-homeseason, and now I'm enjoying transitioning back into the workforce, with myhusband and daughters cheering me on. Wherever you find yourself in thespectrum, whether turning in your keys or picking them up again, carefullyweigh each work-style decision. When you hit the combination that benefitsboth you and your family at this point in time, go for it! (Wondering if Cheryl's Homebodies ministry will go on, now that she's headedback to work? Of course it will! You can continue to enjoy her encouragingmessages for at-home parents via this column and her website at www.homebodies.org . Contact her with questions and comments at Cheryl@homebodies.org . Copyright 2002 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com) More >>

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05/07/2010
IconFighting At-Home Frustrations By Cheryl Gochnauer Thinking about running away from home? Sit down, kids. I'm talking to your mom. I've been there, Ladies. We all have. So if you're feeling like you're theonly one, and nobody's ever felt like this, and you're the worst parentthere ever was, don't. Let's look at some common triggers of at-home frustrations, and ways tofight them. FATIGUE. Children, especially little ones, seldom give us breaks when weneed them. My girls are older now, but I still remember living fornaptime -- when they were asleep and I could relax! If you're feeling wornout, don't use naptime to rush through chores. Instead, lie down when thekids lie down. Let the whole house get quiet. Recharge your own batterieswhile the kids are recharging theirs. VANILLA, VANILLA, VANILLA. Doing basically the same thing, day in and dayout, gets boring. Try new activities, especially things that get everybodyoutside. Invite playmates over, and allow kids to visit friends' homes.Kids enjoy a change of scenery, and like playing with different toys. Ifthere aren't any families close by, head for the local library, swimmingpool or park, where you're likely to find other little boys and girls readyto play. Do things together as a family that everyone - including Mom -enjoys. WE'RE ALWAYS BROKE. It's true that there isn't as much money to work withwhen only one spouse is bringing in a regular paycheck. But the mainprinciple to hold onto is this: It's not what you make, it's what youspend. Sort "wants" from "needs" and take on a frugal mindset. Don't fallprey to instant gratification, which steals your precious dollars. Paredown expenses. Postpone purchases and use coupons, rebates, and discountstores. Note: If you've been cutting back and still can't make your bills,consider a part-time job. Your kids will not benefit if their parents gobankrupt! NOBODY CARES. If it has been a while since your husband mentioned how greatit is having you home, don't assume he has changed his mind. He probablyappreciates what you're doing, but doesn't think to tell you - the old "Isaid I loved you once; I'll let you know if it ever changes" type. Let himknow how important it is to hear his affirmation, both in talking directlyto you and about you to others. I'M LONELY. While seeking playmates for your children, don't forget to findfriends for yourself. Link up with other at-home moms by joining aparenting group like Mothers of Preschoolers ( www.mops.org ) or Moms in Touch( www.momsintouch.org ) or Hearts at Home ( www.hearts-at-home.org ). Or trademessages at the Homebodies Forums( http://forums.gospelcom.net/view/homebodies ). Interacting with women whohave made the same choices can really brighten your day. I MISS WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME. Lots of mothers find the perfect balanceby holding a part-time or work-at-home position. This allows them to focuson their families while maintaining skills and professional relationships.Be sure to keep that balance, though. Don't fall prey to the "Attack of theKiller Home Business", which eats up all your family time even though you'reworking under your own roof. Whatever frustrations you're going through, don't keep them to yourself.Surround yourself with supportive people (your spouse, friends and groups)that understand and can encourage you. And when all else fails, turn toyour child for a hug. That's a great way to get back to basics - toreinforce to yourself again just why you made this choice. (Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her website at www.homebodies.org , where you can sign up for her free weekly emailnewsletter. Copyright 2002 Homebodies.Org, LLC.)Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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