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IconWHISTLE WHILE THEY WORK - by Cheryl Gochnauer Shirley, a stay-at-home Missouri mother whose children are now grown,clearly remembers the challenges of teaching kids to help out around thehouse. "If there was a trash bag sitting in the middle of the hallway,Cheryl would yell, 'Mom, do you want me to pick this up?' Rob would walkaround it. Jimmy, the youngest, would kick it down the hall. None of themwould do the right thing from the start - simply pick it up and take it tothe dumpster." I can't believe she hasn't gotten over that "trash bag in the hallway" thingyet. Mom, that was 35 years ago! As your Homebodies hostess and Shirley's reformed daughter, this is the partof the column where I'm supposed to give you some wonderful advice onraising tidy kids. I have to admit, however, that training my own daughtersto do their chores has been more than a little challenging. Neither my kids nor any of my friends' kids were born with a naturalinclination to whistle while they work. In fact, I think the trend pointsthe other way. From what I've observed, most children work very hard inavoiding any kind of household labor. Don't feel alone as you're telling your child to clean up his room - again.Avoid throwing your hands up in despair when faced with a bombed outbathroom. Your sisters have been there, and are fighting the same battlesnow with their children. Calmness, clarity and consistency seem to help.(Resist screaming, which may get the chore done but demoralizes bothscreamer and screamee.) Be very specific about what you want done, how andwhen. Make sure everyone understands the goal, tying penalties and rewardsto the outcome. If they fail to do the job, don't hesitate to impose sanctions! Tomorrow, do it again: calmness, clarity, consistency. Calmness, clarity,consistency. Wear them down. Repeat after me: You are the parent; youwill prevail! Time for me to take my own advice. I'm downstairs finishing up laundry whenthe oven timer goes off, announcing the cake is done. I know Karen is doingher homework at the kitchen table, approximately 10 feet from the oven. Ikeep folding shirts as the buzzer continues to blare. After about threeminutes of incessant beeping, Karen crosses to the staircase (which,incidentally, is farther away than the oven) and yells: "Mom, do you want me to turn this off?" Must be genetic. (Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org , or visit her website at www.homebodies.org . Her book, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom ," isavailable through Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner . Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.) More >>

IconSchool's Out - And Mom's Stressed By Cheryl Gochnauer Your children are counting down the days, and so are you - but with adifferent attitude. What am I going to do with these kids all summer? If you're working full or part-time outside the home, it's gnawing torealize your take-home pay over the next three months will drop dramaticallyas you provide all-day childcare for your elementary-aged children. But stay-at-home moms encounter their own challenges - keeping their kidsentertained all day. If your little ones aren't in school yet and you already spend every wakinghour with them, you may be wondering what the fuss is all about. You lovethem; you spend time with them. The End. Good attitude. That's the one we're going for. But sometimes it feels morecomplicated than that. I remember the transition I went through when my youngest daughter startedfirst grade. For the first time in my parenting life, I had a tremendousamount of freedom. I put my kids on the bus at 8:15 a.m. and, unless therewas a problem or I was volunteering at school, I didn't see them until theygot off the bus at 4:15 p.m. My house never looked better, my work-at-home freelancing opportunitiespicked up, and I even got to enjoy the occasional matinee, since my kidswouldn't miss me, anyway. But as summer loomed, I had to face the fact that they were coming back. Myhouse would be trashed, my writing time slashed, and I'd be back to movieswith animated characters. Now don't send me lots of nasty emails about how I'd become a spoiled brat.(I know that already!) I'm simply being transparent here, and I suspectmany readers have experienced similar pangs as they felt their independencebeing reined in again. If you've got the end-of-school blues, snap out of it! We've got someawesome kids, and summer provides a great opportunity to reconnect withthem. They've changed a lot since last June, and as they grow, so do theirabilities. Plan activities that intrigue their inquisitive minds and re-establish theall-day bonding process. Set work concerns and personal projects on theback burner. If you work from home as I do, limit the number of assignmentsor tasks you tackle during the summer months. Cut back on volunteering, ortake this opportunity to get your kids involved, too, helping others as afamily. There's a lot to be said for downtime. It's good for our children to take avacation from their studies, and we can turn summer into a renewal time forus, too. With a bit of an attitude adjustment, I'm learning to appreciatethese school-free months as the blessing they are. (Comments? Email Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her website at www.homebodies.org . Check your local listings for Cheryl's appearances onCornerstone Television's "Getting Together" and "His Place" programs on June10th. Copyright 2002 Homebodies.Org, LLC.)Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconTHE NEW FRONT LINE IN PARENTING By Cheryl Gochnauer I recently received the following email from Carrie, a Homebodies readerfrom California. Her comments were well-expressed and thought-provoking. I'd like to share them with you. "I am a stay-at-home mom to my two-year-old daughter, Madeline. When I amnot changing diapers, filling juice cups, playing in the sandbox or blowingbubbles (not to mention hanging out the laundry, putting away the cleandishes, loading up the dirty dishes, picking up toys, etc.), I sometimeswrite or design websites. "Today was a two-year-old day. My daughter wasn't listening to a word I wassaying. If I said, "Go up," she'd yell "NO!" and go down. By the end of theday, I was fried! But you know, I wouldn't trade the worst day at home forthe best day at an outside job. My husband, who is a steadfast supporter ofdoing what's best for our daughter, hence, my staying home, gets a bitjealous at times. And who can blame him? I have the best job on earth, andit pays nothing in terms of money, but is priceless in terms of what it doesfor my soul. "My husband likes me at home for other reasons. A fastidious housekeeper, wecan both well imagine what life would be like if I worked outside the homeand then had to come home and complete my chores. That little person wouldget lost in the shuffle, be told to get out of the way, and be snapped at,I'm sure. "I was part of a generation that was sold a bill of goods on working outsidethe home. I was in honors classes and graduated a semester early with a 3.87GPA. I went to college and did well there, too. Along the way, I was toldwhile sitting in class, 'Don't have babies, and if you do, don't let it interfere with your success.' We were groomed to become the next front line of the feminist revolution. We were bred to be the next generation of materialists and consumers. "I have seen the results of the warehousing of children in my own extendedfamily. My niece and nephew are a breeding ground for every virus on theplanet. Parents regularly, knowingly, send their children into day caresick, since they have important meetings and appointments. My niece has hadover 100 different providers in the centers she's been to. She never knowswho will be taking care of her in any five-minute time period. She whines,cries, and we have watched her go from the bubbly baby new to daycare to thesullen first grader who looks as if she knows too much about getting lost inthe shuffle. "I am part of a new front line - those of us who are reclaiming our pride inparenting. Those of us who know that Quality Time cannot be scheduled. IfMaddie wants a bubble bath at 2:16 in the afternoon, she can have one. Ifshe wants to color at 4:27, we can. In between it all, I make sure theironing, vacuuming, mopping and cleaning are done by the time my husbandgets home. Because of this, our stress level as a family is down, and ourenjoyment of the home up. "I thank you for being a member of this force as well, because we are doingbattle. The rocks are being hurled at the castle, and it is us who stay athome who are the ones fortifying our homes in order that the attack notreach inside. Sincerely, Carrie Forest Ranch, CA (Comments? Contact Carrie or Cheryl by writing Cheryl@homebodies.org . Also stop by www.homebodies.org where you can interact with other parents on a variety of lively message boards. Her book, " So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom ," isavailable through Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner . Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.) More >>

Icon"Raising Helen" Movie Review The Movie Reporter Films Reviews from a Family Perspective by Phil Boatwright With the synopsis and content, you can decide if the new films are suitable for your viewing. Video alternatives contain the same theme, but lack the offensive material. #147;Raising Helen#148; is romantic, stylish and downright funny. Phil Boatwright, The Movie Reporter Raising Helen. Starring: Kate Hudson, Helen Mirren, Joan Cusack, John Corbett, HectorElizondo. Disney. Comedy. Director: Garry Marshall. Kate Hudson plays Helen, an up-and-coming assistant to the boss (Helen Mirren) of a modeling agency. But her career plans are put on hold after her sister (Felicity Huffman) and brother-in-law are killed in a car crash, leaving her to care for their three kids, ages 5 to 15. She gets help from another older sister, the bossy Jenny (Joan Cusack), and a pastor (John Corbett), who falls in love with Helen while guiding her down life's new path. Though you could find the same dilemmas surface in a bad made-for-TV melodrama, director Garry Marshall avoids the trappings of television sitcom. Applying his well-honed theatrical abilities, the creator of #147;Happy Days#148; and director of #147;Pretty Woman#148; and #147;The Flamingo Kid#148; gently develops both story and character, carefully avoiding maudlin schlock during the sensitive scenes, utilizing kid actors without cutesy preciousness, and finding humor in everyday situations, making the obvious seem fresh #150; or at least honest. What#146;s more, he adds a moral structure seldom used in comic movies. Although religious teachings are not on the production#146;s main menu, they are gently simmering on the back burner. Perhaps the best example of this is the use of a Christian school and minister. The lead takes her charges to a private religious school, and although it is obvious that she has not been a churchgoer, the humor never mocks religious beliefs. Rather, the jokes show how little non-churchgoers actually know about the Christian faith. John Corbett (#147;Northern Exposure,#148; #147;My Big Fat Greek Wedding#148;) portrays the Lutheran pastor and school master. And get this, he has a sense of humor, he#146;s intelligent, able to take charge, and I believe most ladies will find him to be a romantic hunk. The filmmakers avoid cartoonish caricature while presenting this man of God. Ranking with movie portraits of ministers such as Fredric March in #147;One Foot In Heaven,#148; Joel McCrea in #147;Stars in My Crown,#148; and Richard Todd in #147;A Man Called Peter,#148; John Corbett fleshes out a constructive screen version of a man of the cloth. Garry Marshall has to get comedy out of heartbreak. The parents of these three kids have passed away. The director is sensitive to this. There is a scene with the kids huddled in their parents#146; closet after the funeral. When discovered, the littlest one says, #147;It smells like Mommy.#148; If you don#146;t tear up at that, have your pulse checked. But the movie isn#146;t about the passing of the parents. Rather it is about the growth of its main character, Helen, as she discovers what#146;s really important in life. Kate Hudson won my heart in #147;Almost Famous,#148; the best film of 2001 (though Oscar disagreed, giving the statuette to the makers of #147;Gladiator.#148; Oh please.) However, since her screen deacute;but as Penny Lane, a teen rock groupie, Ms. Hudson has struggled to find the right character and film. Wanting to follow in her mom#146;s (Goldie Hawn) formidable funny footsteps, the young comedian has floundered about in one disappointing romantic comedy after another. Never has the disappointment been due to her performance, but rather with the material, which has never seemed to compliment her uniqueness. Not that #147;Raising Helen#148; will garner her Best Actress attention. When an actor makes it look easy, award committees underestimate the artistry. And Kate Hudson makes it look very easy. Pretty, perky, and already a pratfall pro, Ms. Hudson is loaded with comic charms as well as charisma and genuine warmth. Her role as Helen allows her to showcase all her best traits. #147;Raising Helen#148; is one of the few and far between films the Christian community is always saying they want. Witty, involving, even perceptive, it is a movie that thoroughly entertains without crudity, profanity or exploitive sexuality. #147;Raising Helen#148; is romantic, stylish and downright funny. PG-13 (In my opinion, the film receives its PG-13 rating for rather arbitrary reasons. I think it is a very clean movie. The content is not used to exploit, but rather help further the story and show the need for parental involvement. According to the MPAA, it gets the PG-13 for a scene depicting a teen party and because a boy takes a girl to a motel after the prom. Nothing happens at the motel. The scene is there to show Helen having to behave like a concerned parent as she arrives to rescue the girl. Also, just before the cavalry arrives, the look on the teen girl#146;s face relays the girl#146;s awareness that she is not ready for sexual involvement, which may send a positive message to teens about abstinence. While this character harbors a great deal of female teen angst, she is also loving and responsible, often displaying these affections for her younger siblings.) 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 Download Boatwright#146;s book #147;How To Choose A Good Video Every Time!#148; FREE when you subscribe to his weekly film guide. 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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