Unique Gifts for Teens
By Patti Chadwick
Tired of giving the same gifts year after year? Looking for something unique to give your teens? Check these out!
Clothes in a Bottle
A great way to wrap a clothing item for your teen is to roll it up and put it inside a mason jar. Decorate the flat part of the lid by gluing holiday fabric to it and tie with a matching ribbon. If you want to conceal the clothing, cut a large square of fabric and place it in the jar, then add the gift and lid.
Cut 2 pieces of fabric in the shape of an 8 without the holes in the center. The top of one eight should fit along the middle of the 2nd 8. Hand stitch the 8s right sides together, following the curves, leaving a small opening. Turn right side out and fill with black-eyed peas or rice. Close opening.
Movie Theater Tickets
You can usually buy presale movies certificates in a book at a discount price. I find this is a favorite among my teens.
Key Chain with Car Keys
Give your older teen their own set of keys to the family car along with a house key on a teen-friendly key chain. They will love this.
Most gas stations now sell pre-paid gas cards. Get some of these for your driving teens..
Clothing Gift Cards
Instead of giving clothes that you pick out, why not give your teens gift cards from their favorite clothing store?
Video/Music Gift Cards
Give gift cards to their favorite video or music store.
Buy your teens subscriptions to their favorite magazines. Girls usually like fashion or teen magazines (why not try Focus on the Family#146;s
magazine). Boys usually like sports or video game magazines (why not try Focus on the Family#146;s
Buy your teen a book from their favorite genre.
Buy your teen a new backpack, purse, or make up bag.
Give your teen some new software for the computer #150; either educational software or a fun computer game.
Give your teen a genuine leather wallet.
Roller Blades or Ice Skates
For your sports-minded teen, why not get a new set of roller blades or ice skates? While you are at it, how about a season#146;s pass for the local ice rink.
Most kids love getting privileges. Give out certificates good for
Extending curfew for one evening.
Driving the favorite family car on a date
Having control of the TV or computer one evening
Take a date out for steaks #147;on the house#148;
Receive a double allowance for one week
Fill that Christmas stocking with much needed soaps, shampoos, hair gels other hair products, deodorants, and acne creams.
What teen doesn#146;t like candy? It#146;s something you just never seem to outgrow. I#146;m not a big fan of chocolate, but I feel special occasions deserve good chocolate! The week before Christmas you will find great sales on candy EVERYWHERE. Also, if you like to make your own, you will find candy-making supplies at specialty stores and most local grocery stores. For those who don#146;t like chocolate or are allergic, try making carob candy - check out your local health food store for supplies and details.
Another great stocking stuffer is school supplies. About this time of year, school supplies have either run out, been lost, or are worn out. Fill that Christmas stocking with new pens, pencils, folders, notebooks, and notebook paper.
These gift ideas were taken from the new book
HAPPY HOLIDAYS WITH TEENS
written by Patti Chadwick, available in both ebook and print formats at
. Stop by Parents Teens and pick up a copy today. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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The Frozen Chosen
By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.
The kids have been in school for awhile now and it's back to the ol' routine. For most of us, that means lots of activities and increased busyness. Do the math and you'll find your equation quickly lacking in time to prepare good healthy meals for the family. So what do you do? Give up and throw yourself in front of a truck at the drive-thru?
What you should do is chill out... literally. Have you taken a stroll down the frozen food aisle lately at the supermarket? There is a bevy of perfectly wonderful, good-for-you foods just waiting to take up residence in your home freezer. Today's frozen foods are a quantum leap over the stuff passed off as "cuisine" a few years back. Using your freezer as a pantry can help you get meals on the table in a jiffy, without icing down the nutrition.
Here's my Frozen Chosen: 10 Quick 'n Easy Foods complete with a simple-yet-tasty recipe or serving suggestion for each.
Get The Juice Out! I am particularly fond of orange juice, especially the calcium-fortified kind. For a great after-school snack, freeze a mixture of half orange juice and half vanilla yogurt in a Popsicle mold. Minute Maid has a "country style" brand with calcium that tastes fresh squeezed to me.
Wok This Way! Stir frys are a snap when the veggies are ready to go. There are plenty of varieties and brands to choose from. The Basil Herb Primavera Easy Recipe Creation from Birds Eye caught my eye. Add some chicken and pasta and you have a healthy gourmet meal.
Stop Meating Like This! One of my favorite quick meals is a veggie burger. Add a whole-wheat bun, all the fixin's of a regular burger and you won't even miss the meat. I'm partial to the Gardenburger, but I also like Boca Burgers. Morningstar Farms also has an unbeatable line up of frozen un-meats, too. Their breakfast patties make for a great breakfast sandwich. Simply add a scrambled egg and slide the whole thing between a whole-wheat English muffin for a terrific breakfast to go.
Don't Chicken Out! You're probably up on the fact that chicken is a good bet nutritionally. Tyson's frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut down the time for cooking. You don't even have to thaw the chicken! Toss your favorite seasoning on the top of a frozen breast and bake. While the chicken is baking, cook up some instant brown rice and throw a salad together and you've got dinner ready to go in less than 30 minutes.
A Favorite Pasta Time! The varieties are endless and so are the ideas for making them into a meal. Bake some raviolis with spaghetti sauce for a casserole, cook up some tortellinis (Italia makes a good one) and plop some Italian dressing on them to make a salad. Need a quick appetizer for a party? Those same tortellini in Italian dressing make a great hors d'oeuvres. Simply skewer them kabob-style on large toothpicks.
Something Fishy Here! Gorton's and Van De Camp's both make grilled frozen fish fillets. No deep-fried stuff here -- just fish and some spices (two of my faves: lemon pepper and Italian herb). They're easy to use as is, for fish sandwiches or even for a main course salad.
Berry, Berry Good! Today's technology has improved the quality of everything, especially frozen fruits. Fruits are picked in their prime and flash frozen preserving their incredibly sweet flavors as well the nutrients. Cascadian Farms offers organically grown fruits. Mix frozen berries with some yogurt and cereal (like Grape Nuts) for a refreshing quick breakfast.
Waffle Over Breakfast! Hallelujah and pass the syrup. It's about time frozen waffles were made with whole-wheat flour. Eggo Waffles has two whole-wheat varieties. My choice is the low-fat one: half the fat and all the flavor. Try a smear of peanut butter (if you're not allergic) and sliced bananas on your toasted waffle. Fold over like a taco and you've got another easy, kid-friendly breakfast to go.
Veg Out! While the stir-fry option is nifty, plain old frozen veggies are a good choice in their own right. CW offers tender baby green beans, petite peas and other tasty selections (even a few organic ones).
. A Quick Fix! For those days when the best cooking effort you can muster is to operate a microwave, sow some Seeds of Change. . as in the top-notch options available in ready to go meals in a bowl. The Moroccan Lentil Rice Pilaf and the Zesty Cilantro Quinoa Blend are both very good.
You may find that not all markets carry the stuff I mentioned above. But I've found the quickest way to get something is to ask for it. Make sure you talk to the frozen food department manager or go right to the top and corner the grocery store manager.
Believe me, they appreciate hearing what you want because they want to keep your business. Competition for your grocery dollars is stiff!
Above all, don't sweat your busy schedule. Take a chill pill and put your cares on ice. It's easy when you've chosen the best in frozen foods.
BIO: Leanne Ely is the radio talk show host of Heart of a Woman. She is the author of
, The Frantic Family Cookbook, a nutritionist and the editor of Menu-Mailer, the definitive answer to that perplexing question, "What's for Dinner?"
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Excerpted from Home is Where the Mom Is
Copyright 2002; permission granted for use on Dr Laura website.
Contact author Shelly Burke at:
. As an at-home mom you have long, unstructured amounts of time to fill. A very structured schedule would not allow for the flexibility children need and the emergencies that require your attention #147;right now.#148; But with no boss, no deadlines, and no meetings or set coffee breaks or lunch times, it can be a challenge to discipline yourself to use your time wisely.
Think back to a day when your to-do list was a mile long. You probably got up early (or at least on time), worked very efficiently, and crossed off almost everything on your list. Now look at a day when you had just a few things planned. Did you work just as hard and efficiently and have some free time to do something enjoyable at the end of the day? Or did the few things on your list take the same amount of time as the long list of jobs? Too often, #147;. . . work expands as to fill the time available for its completion.#148; (Parkinson#146;s Law). If you#146;re not conscious of how you#146;re spending your time, it can take all day just to complete a few tasks. If you don#146;t manage your time wisely, you may never get around to doing the things that are important to you.
This quote from
Organizing for the Creative Person
should guide us all; #147;Become aware of how you are actually spending your time and whether these efforts are helping you to achieve your goals. If not, you need to change either your goals or the way you spend your time.#148; For a few days, be very conscious of how you spend your time. Keep a detailed log if you want. Include the time you spend looking for something (one report says that Americans waste nine million hours a day looking for misplaced items!), talking on the phone, doing household chores, and watching TV. Also list the time you spend doing things you enjoy, like reading the paper, surfing the net, devotions, playing with your kids, cuddling with your husband. Next, list activities you#146;d like to do, but haven#146;t yet found the time to squeeze into your regular schedule. These might include joining a Bible study group, exercising, spending more time with your husband and kids, writing, and so on. Now let#146;s fit these truly important activities into your schedule.
First evaluate your day and eliminate non-productive activities. Some time wasters will be obvious; watching lots of TV, for example. Cutting out TV all together is probably not realistic, but try turning it on only for the morning and evening news, or programs you really want to watch. If you consistently spend time waiting in line at the grocery store, try shopping at a different time or a different store. How many newspapers do you subscribe to? I had a friend who subscribed to and read four newspapers every day (she was very well informed!). When she realized how much time she spent reading the papers, she cancelled three of the subscriptions (she#146;s still well informed). One person#146;s time waster is another person#146;s sanity saver. I spend about 20 minutes every morning reading the newspaper (just one!) and eating breakfast. Some moms might consider this a waste of time; I consider it a necessary breather between getting everyone to their daily destinations and starting my day.
Eliminating Time Wasters
Make it your mission to look for and eliminate at least some of the time wasters in your life. Once you#146;ve identified a time waster, try one of these fairly painless solutions to minimize or eliminate it.
Eliminate the task or do it less frequently. Scrubbing the kitchen floor may be a necessity, but do you have to do it three times a week, or would once a week, with spot wipe-ups in between, be enough? Say #147;no#148; to organizing the salad luncheon (you know from experience it will require many, many time-consuming meetings and phone calls). Offer to bring an extra salad, instead.
Lower your standards. #147;Good enough#148; might be a high enough standard. Do your husband#146;s shirts have to be ironed perfectly, or will #147;good enough#148; do? Is it necessary to move all of the furniture every time you vacuum (I sure hope not!), or just once in awhile? Do the books have to be in alphabetical order, or just on the shelves? You don#146;t have to write Pulitzer-Prize winning thank-you letters if quick notes will express your gratitude just as well. Instead of giving everything your #147;all#148; (100%) give less important things 80%, or even 50%. Most times this will result in a more than satisfactory result, and give you the extra time to devote 100% to the tasks that really count.
Let someone else do it. Tasks you dislike can be huge time wasters. Sheila hates ironing, and recalls her solution; #147;I used to put it off until the pile was huge, and the clothes were full of dust and dog hair and had to be washed again before I could iron them. Then I found out that dry cleaning a shirt costs less than a dollar! This minimal cost was a huge bargain, considering what I saved not having to wash the clothes twice. It also saved wear and tear on the clothes and I didn#146;t have to waste energy coming up with excuses not to iron.#148;
Your babysitter would probably welcome a little extra money in exchange for doing light housework after the kids are asleep. Ask her to dust, organize the videos, fold clothes, clear out the dishwasher, or sew on buttons. As your kids get older they can take on more responsibilities. Jane said, #147;Folding laundry was one of my least favorite tasks. I taught my kids to fold washcloths and small towels when they were just three years old. Now that they#146;re older they fold all the towels and washcloths along with their own clothes. I can#146;t wait to teach them to iron!#148;
Many tasks can be done faster, safer, and better by professionals with the training, experience, and tools necessary to do a difficult job. Unless you#146;re an expert, hire someone else to clean the gutters, trim trees, or paint the house.
Avoid interruptions. You develop a momentum when working. According to Time Management for Dummies, #147;By interrupting yourself and losing your flow, rhythm, and momentum, you#146;ll find it twice as difficult to resume your work . . . don#146;t drop everything . . . ignore these interruptions and continue working.#148; You can#146;t tell a crying child to wait until you#146;re done cleaning the closet, but you don#146;t have to answer the phone every time it rings, or answer every knock at the door, or check your e-mail or daily mail the moment it arrives.
Now that you#146;ve eliminated some time wasters, you can fit more into your schedule. But don#146;t always fill your time with more work; fill it with activities you enjoy! Instead of scheduling half an hour to wash your windows (you hired a teen-ager to do it), you can take a bath, call a friend, or play #147;dollies.#148; Later in this chapter you#146;ll make a list of enjoyable activities you#146;d like to do when you have extra time.
Home is Where the Mom Is
, copy; 2003, permission granted for use on the Dr. Laura website. Contact author Shelly Burke at
or visit Shelly's website at:
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Parenting Trends for the New Year
By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller
What will happen on the parenting front in 2006? Are there signs already in place that point in specific directions? Can predictions be drawn from the evidence currently available? Will there be an upturn in taking parenting responsibility seriously or a continued slide towards parenting indifference?
While, there is no parenting crystal ball that will accurately predicts what will happen to the state of parenting in 2006, events already in place and the energy surrounding those events seem to suggest several parenting trends. Our predictions follow.
Prediction Number One: The purchase and reading of books on parenting will decline in 2006. Sale and use of parenting resources on the internet is on the rise. Traffic to sites that offer practical, useable advice for parents on specific parenting issues will increase. CD sales will also go up so that busy parents can glean valuable parenting information while they drive to work or school.
Prediction Number Two: Busy parents will continue to outsource their parenting responsibilities. There will be a dramatic increase in parenting consultants who will be hired to teach children how to ride a bike, hit a baseball, divide fractions, sleep through the night, or become potty trained. Party planners, tutorial services, and companies offering to take over parent responsibilities will flourish.
Prediction Number Three: The concept of Parent Coaching will explode in 2006. Even skilled parents will emulate professional athletes who, although they are the best in the world at what they do, have coaches who continually help them to improve and stay at the top of their game. A growing number of parents will huddle on a regular basis with coaches via the internet or telephone in an effort to learn how to raise responsible, caring, confident children.
Prediction Number Four: International Parenting Commitment Day will be recognized by a record number of families this year. Last year, March 20th was officially designated as International Parenting Commitment Day and attracted attention world wide. This year, more families will celebrate this special day with unique activities that bring attention to its importance. Check
for more information on ways to celebrate this significant day.
Prediction Number Five: Fantasy sport leagues will continue to grow in popularity. This growing interest will see more men investing time deciding who to play on their next fantasy team than actually playing with their own children.
Prediction Number Six: Children#146;s use of electronic media will level off at 6 frac12; hours per day. This will do little to address the problem of the Great American Family Disconnect. The strangers that lurk in children#146;s bedrooms (computer, television, media centers) will continue to teach attitudes, values, and behaviors as well as distract them from homework and create separation and distance from family.
Prediction Number Seven: In 2006 there will be a widening gap between children that receive effective parenting and those who#146;s parents over-function or under-function in the parenting role. Effective parents will continue to improve their verbal skills, build family traditions, and support their children with time and energy. Simply put, high-skilled parents will get better and low-skilled parents will get worse. The parent effectiveness gap will continue to expand.
Prediction Number Eight: Reality #150;based TV shows about parenting will continue to attract attention. Some parents will tune in to watch how parents of unruly children learn to take control and make kids obedient. Others will watch and be appalled at what they consider shame-base parenting that attacks character and wounds the spirit. The producers will continue to find dysfunctional families with few parenting skills and out-of-control children that will shock viewers into staying tuned to the program. Many parents will view the sensationalized accounts and think they are learning valuable techniques to use with their families. Others will be appalled and simply grateful that they have been taking parenting seriously for many years and recognize that extreme measures are not needed in their families.
Prediction Number Nine: The number of parenting conferences offered around the country will increase in 2006 as will the number of participants attending. We have observed these phenomena over the past several years at the parenting conferences where we have presented and have seen a steady rise in number of attendees and new conference opportunities being offered to parents. This trend will continue.
Prediction Number Ten: Parents will show a growing interest in the spiritual aspects of parenting. Interest in our
workshops are at an all time high. Seeing parenting as a sacred responsibility and as an important ministry is growing in popularity among parents throughout the world. More parents will join that group in the coming year.
What parenting trend will you help promote in 2006? Will you be a book reader or a CD listener? Will you spend more time playing fantasy football or playing with your children? Will you get your parenting techniques from a TV show or from an enlightened parenting workshop? Will you celebrate International Parenting Commitment Day, hire a coach, or outsource your parenting responsibilities. However you answer these questions in 2006, you will be helping establish a trend.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of
The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose
. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today:
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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Make Ahead Turkey For The Holidays
Copyright 2002 Deborah Taylor-Hough
Can you imagine a relaxed Thanksgiving or Christmasdinner without needing to actually cook a turkey on thebig day? You'd be able to enjoy the festivities as muchas your friends and family!
Believe it or not, it's possible to roast your turkey aheadof time and store the cooked meat in the freezer to reheatand serve on the big day. If this sounds a bit too much likeeating leftovers, let me assure you that by following thesesimple freezing and reheating instructions, you'll have moist,delicious turkey -- and not one of your guests will suspectyou didn't spend the entire holiday slaving away in the kitchenkeeping watch over a hot oven.
Feel free to use your own favorite turkey recipe if you prefer,and then follow the freezing/reheating instructions at the endof this article (but I personally don't think you'll find a tastierturkey recipe!).
TO PREPARE TURKEY:
3 onions, quartered
6 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups white wine (or water)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons sage
1 teaspoon thyme
3 cups chicken broth, canned (reserve for freezing process)
In bottom of a deep roasting pan, place two quarteredonions, four celery stalks, the carrots, bay leaves andwhite wine (or water). Remove turkey giblets, rinsebird inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Stuffturkey loosely with remaining quartered onion and celerystalks. Brush turkey with olive oil mixed with salt, pepper,sage, and thyme. Cover turkey loosely with a large sheetof foil coated lightly with olive oil, crimping foil on to edgesof roasting pan. Cook according to chart below. Duringlast 45 minutes, cut band of skin or string between legsand tail. Uncover and continue roasting until done.Baste, if desired.
Turkey Roasting Chart (loosely wrapped with foil):
12-16 pounds / 325 degrees F / 4 - 5 hours
16-20 pounds / 325 degrees F / 5 - 6 hours
20-24 pounds / 325 degrees F / 6 - 7 hours
Testing for doneness:
About 20 minutes before roasting time is completed, testbird. Flesh on thickest part of drumstick should feel softwhen squeezed between fingers, drumstick should moveup an down easily, and meat thermometer inserted intothickest part of leg should read 185 degrees F. (Or followmanufacturer's instructions.)
DRIPPINGS: Pour liquid and drippings from roasting paninto a bowl. Remove vegetables. Allow bowl of liquid tocool in refrigerator until fat congeals on top. Scoop off fatwith a spoon and pour drippings into a labeled freezer bag.Thaw to use for making gravy on serving day.
TURKEY: Allow turkey to cool in pan for 1/2 hour; thenplace turkey and its roasting pan into refrigerator. Allowto cool completely (several hours). When fully chilled,slice turkey as usual. Remove all meat from bones.Place breast and dark meat slices into labeled freezerbags. Pour canned chicken broth into bags over meat.Freeze.
TO SERVE: Thaw bag of meat and broth, and place intoa covered baking dish for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.Or place turkey and broth into a microwave-safe dish,cover with plastic wrap, and heat until hot (the time willvary with different microwaves, so check manufacturer'sinstructions). Drain off broth (reserve to make more gravy,if needed). Arrange the heated turkey slices attractivelyon a serving platter. Serve hot.
**Excerpted and adapted from the 10-Day Holiday MealPlan in the bestselling book,
'Frozen Assets: How toCook for a Day and Eat for a Month' (Champion Press)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
--Deborah Taylor-Hough (free-lance writer, wife, andmother of three) is the author of
'Frozen Assets: How toCook for a Day and Eat for a Month' (Champion Press)
and the soon-to-be-released 'Frugal Living for Dummies(r)' (Wiley, Feb. '03)For further ideas on simplifying life,
subscribe to her freee-newsletter
. Cooking ahead info:
Used with permission. All rights reserved. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Moving and New Communities
By Jodie Lynn
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
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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Hypertasking Moms #150; No not us#133;
Tracy Lyn Moland
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.
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Motherhood Is Not For Wimps!
MR. MOM, GET A JOB!
By Judy Gruen
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
. Contact her at
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When 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.
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