Frighteningly Frugal Fun!
By Tawra Kellam
The average American family spends over $100 per year on Halloween goodies. As your kids drag you through aisles full of ghosts and goblins, the scariest thing about Halloween is threatening to leave bite marks in your pocketbook. No wonder so many moms flee screaming from the store... It can be much less expensive and a lot more fun to devise your own chilling creations. Here are a few tips that you can use to stave off the greenback gremlins and exercise your creative muscle. It won#146;t hurt a bit! These and other free frugal tips are available at
1 tsp. corn starch
frac12; tsp. water
frac12; tsp. cold cream
Mix all ingredients together in an old muffin pan and you
are ready to paint. This amount makes one color.
1 Tbsp Vaseline
2-3 drops red food coloring
Place Vaseline in a bowl. Add food coloring. Blend with a
toothpick. Stir in a pinch of cocoa to make a darker
blood color. Separate tissue. Using 1 layer,
tear a 2x3 inch piece and place at wound site. Cover with
petroleum jelly and mold into the shape of a
wound. The center should be lower than the sides. Fill the
center with the red petroleum jelly mixture. Sprinkle
center with some cocoa. Sprinkle a little
around the edges of the wound to make darker.
Mix 2/3 cup white corn syrup, 1 tsp. red food coloring, 2-3
drops blue food coloring to darken and 1 squirt dish
soap (helps blood to run well).
Abrasions -Dab brown, red and black eye shadow on
area. Apply blood over area with cotton balls. Use
comb to gently scratch area in one direction. Apply
cocoa or dirt over wound with cotton balls.
Black Eye -Apply red and blue eye shadow to
depressions around eyes.
Bruises-Rub red and blue shadow over bony area to
simulate recent bruises.
Blue and yellow eye shadow to create older bruises.
Look Old - Cover face with baby powder. Draw dark
lines on your skin for wrinkles. Smooth edges to
blend. Cover again with baby powder. Add baby powder
to your hair to create gray hair.
Deviled Eyeballs-Make deviled eggs. Add a green
olive with pimento in the center for an "eyeball".
Radioactive Juice- Mix equal parts Mountain Dew and
Toxic Juice- Add some green food coloring to
lemonade for a spooky color!
Brains- Scramble eggs with some green, yellow and
blue food coloring
Bloody Eyeballs- Boil cherry tomatoes 30 seconds.
Allow to cool; then peel skin.
Goblin Hand- Freeze green Kool-Aid in a rubber or
latex glove, float in punch.
Use the tape from old cassettes or black yarn to make
Use cotton balls stretched out for small spider webs.
Glass Jack-o-Lantern- Outline a pumpkin face on a
spaghetti or pickle jar with black paint. The paint
around the outside of it with orange paint. Place a
candle inside for a jack-o-lantern.
Halloween Guess It Game
In this game, you challenge the participants to reach into mystery boxes filled with creepy things and try to guess what each item is. The person with the most correct answers wins the game. An example is if you want them to guess "grapes", you might try to confuse them by saying, "I think it#146;s eyeballs..."
Cut a hole in the top of a shoe box or laundry box for each item to be used. Cover the box with black spray paint. Decorate each box with pumpkins or spiders for a more festive flavor. Place the following items inside, one per box. Be sure to place enough of each item so the guests can adequately "feel" the guts:
Eyeballs - grapes or peeled cherry tomatoes
Intestines- Cooked Spaghetti
Skin- oil a piece of plastic bag
Brains- scrambled eggs
Hair- an old clown wig
Bones- thoroughly washed chicken bones placed in
Fingers-hot dogs cut into finger sized pieces
Teeth- corn nuts, pine nuts or popcorn
Have a Pumpkin Hunt
Hide mini pumpkins like you would Easter Eggs. Let the kids
find and decorate them. For small children use
glue sticks with construction paper cut-outs for decorations.
Pour lime gelatin into a glass bowl. After it is partially
set, add gummy worms. Chill until lightly
set. Then serve slopped all over the plate.
Bloody Popcorn- Add red food color to melted butter and
pour over popcorn.
Freeze gummy worms in ice cubes and add them to drinks.
Cut gummy worms in half if needed.
Tawra Kellam is the author of the frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. Not Just Beans is a frugal cookbook which has over 540 recipes and 400 tips. For more free tips and recipes visit our website at
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Talking Politics with your Children
By Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman
You are your child's first and most important teacher. You teach your children to walk, talk and ride a bike. You teach them about manners, respect, and the opposite sex. It is also your job to teach your children about the American way of life, our form of government, and the election process.
It is not the high school's government teacher's job to teach your child about a participatory democracy. It is your job. It is not that teacher's responsibility to teach your child the value of dissent and the strength that comes from diversity and honest, but differing viewpoints. That is your responsibility.
This year's Presidential election is a significant historical event. There is no better time than the present to include your entire family in the election process and learning about our government and how it works. Step up now and do your job. Teach your child valuable lessons in how and why you respect and love our democracy. Honor your role as your child's most important teacher by using the tips below to help you and your children be a part of history together.
Share all sides of the political discussion. Don't just share your opinion. If you are a Republican, Democrat, or other, your job is not to convince your child that your thinking is correct. It is to get them to do their own thinking. Read to them from the newspaper, magazines and promotional material. Yes, you can share your views, but encourage your children to ask questions and come to their own conclusions.
Talk about our country's political process and its significance. Talk about the democratic process and relate it to how you run your family. Show them the connections. Teach them what women and blacks had to endure to finally gain equal voting rights. Explain how some of us resisted those efforts and others worked to make it happen. Explain how not everyone agrees in our country, but that is one of our strengths.
Watch the Presidential Debates together. Make this a happening. Treat it as something special. Announce it head of time. Then count it down, "Only two more days until the next debate." Show them through your actions that this is more important than Dancing with the Stars, Desperate Housewives, and The Simpson reruns.
Take your children with you when you vote. Show them the voting process and explain what you are doing each step along the way. Take them into the voting booth with you and let them watch you mark your ballet. You get to do this. Seriously, take them in the both with you.
Follow the election results together. Discuss the outcome with your children the next day if their bedtime dictates missing the most important information. Since the final results will come well after they are fast asleep, discuss the results at breakfast the next morning. Remind your children that some people will be particularly happy this day since the person they voted for got elected. Others, will be disappointed because their favorite candidate did not get elected. Discuss how mature people handle these kinds of situations and that in the democratic process it is important to support the final decision so we can work together as one country.
Just like a family, our government works best when everyone gets involved and participates. Just like a family, our government works best when the leader accepts his or her responsibilities and leads to the best of their ability. It is time now for you to demonstrate to your children that you participate fully in our governmental process and in the education of your family. It is time for you to model for your children an effective leader who moves confidently into his responsibilities and teaches his family about the value of a participatory democracy.
Thomas Haller and Chick Moorman are the authors of
Teaching the Attraction Principle to Children: Practical Strategies for Parents and Teachers to Help Children Manifest a Better World
. 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 website today:
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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Are We Really Depriving Our Kids?
By Jill Cooper
One of the main questions I get asked about frugal living is "won#146;t I be depriving my children if I live the frugal life?" Maybe I can answer that question with a question.How am I depriving my children by having them drink water for every meal instead of juice and soda? Isn#146;t one thing doctors are always complaining about is we don#146;t drink enough water? Cutting out just one glass of soda per person per day for a family of four would save $547.50 a year and make them healthier.
How am I depriving my children by having them eat an apple or homemade granola bar for a snack instead of a bag of chips? Obesity is a major problem among children in the United States. If you cut out just one bag of chips a week you would save $104.00 a year and make them healthier.How am I depriving my children by having them walk to school or to a friend#146;s house instead of my always driving them there? Lack of exercise is a big problem. You would save time and wear and tear on your car by having them walk and make them healthier at the same time.
How am I depriving my children when I don#146;t buy them every toy they see and want? We wouldn#146;t dream of giving a baby on baby food all the chocolate that he wants because we know it would make him sick. His body can not tolerate that much chocolate even if he desires it. In the same way, an older child can#146;t emotionally deal with the overload of toys. I as an adult become stressed just from trying to buy a bottle of shampoo. Have you ever noticed how many options you have? Trying to make a decision can be overwhelming. Do I get it for thin, fine, dry and damaged or colored and permed hair? The list goes on and on. In the same way when a young child looks at mounds of toys, he can become very stressed over choosing which one to play with. If you watch, you will notice that they tend to play with the same couple of toys over and over. If you didn#146;t give them all the toys they asked for and bought one less brand new toy at $10 a week, you would save $520.00 in one year and you would help relieve them of some stress.
It is no wonder our children stay confused. We insist that they should eat healthy yet we take them out to eat 3-5 times a week at Mc Donald#146;s. We give them a bag of carrot sticks in their lunch because it#146;s healthy and then give them a bag of chips when they get home from school to get them off our backs.
We want them to have strong character yet the moment they whine or cry for another toy or some candy at the store we give in out of guilt. We are afraid that if we don#146;t give them what they want, they won#146;t love us so to rid ourselves of uncomfortable feelings we say yes. How can we teach them to be strong in character when we are so weak?
How could our society and way of thinking have gotten so mixed up that we think a child is deprived if a mom chooses to stay home and not go to work? We have come to believe that moms should work outside the home so that children can have the most expensive clothes, education or material things. (Note I didn#146;t say best but rather most expensive since the most expensive doesn#146;t mean the best.) If a mom goes to work so a child can have all those things it#146;s not considered depriving the child of anything but it#146;s mom. Which do you think does a child more harm- being deprived expensive things or it#146;s mom?
For you stay at home moms: Before you become too puffed up with pride be aware that too many social, church and school activities can deprive your children of you just as much as working. Do all things in moderation.
Jill Cooper is the inspiration behind her daughter Tawra#146;s frugal cookbook Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites. Not Just Beans is a frugal cookbook which has over 540 recipes and 400 tips. For more tips and recipes visit our website at
. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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A Letter to Moms from Hearts at Home Director Jill Savage
In the past week I have found my emotions ranging from disbelief to grief. In the midst of it all has been fear as well. I'm not normally a fearful person, but when I reflect upon my role as a mother in the midst of a crisis like this, it brings about something within me that only another mother would understand.
I remember a night, almost 17 years ago, shortly after we brought our first child home from the hospital. I found myself in the dark of the night weeping tears that I had never experienced before. As a new mother I suddenly found myself with a new perspective. I began to see the world in a different way. I no longer had only myself to consider, I now had the responsibility of another life.
For the first time in my life, I began to see the realities of the world that I had brought this child into. Suddenly the report of a murder on the evening news brought with it a new emotional experience. A story about a child missing was almost too much to watch. And world news that included the talk of war or conflicts with other countries was very unsettling.
As time continued and we added three more children to our home, I found myself coming to terms with the good and the bad in this world that we live in. Each time we added to our family, those old thoughts would creep in, but they would quickly subside as I became wrapped up with the daily responsibilities of motherhood.
That is, until September 11. Suddenly I found myself back in a familiar place. Like a mother bear who protects her children I found myself feeling very protective with the lives of those I love. Each news report of the terrorist attacks bring about an emotional response in me that only comes from being a mother When carrying there responsibility of another life our viewpoint changes. We see death, destruction, and world conflict from the perspective of responsibility. It is a feeling that only another mother can understand.
The events of the past week cause me to pause and consider what it is I need to equip my children with to live in this crazy world. What can I give them that will keep them strong when the winds of chaos, and even destruction, blow throughout the world What can I pass on to them that will keep their feet firmly planted in hope when hopelessness prevails around them? What gift can I give them that will allow them to find stability in an unstable world?
I have only one answer to those questions. The answer is faith.
It is faith that will calm their fears. It is faith that will give them peace in the midst of chaos. It is faith that will help them sort through the lies of this world. It is faith that will show them the next step when it seems too dark to walk ahead.
You see it was faith that got me through that first night of tears when I contemplated this messed-up world as a new parent. My faith helped me replace my own fears with God's promises. My faith is what allows me to learn to let go as my children grow older. You see my hope for the future of my children can't be based on their relationships in this world, but rather their relationship with the God of the universe.
If you've been considering what to do with all that has happened in the past few days, consider giving your children the gift of faith Open up the Bible and read it for yourself and then share with your children what you are learning. Make church a priority each Sunday. Pray for and with your children every day.
When we give our children the gift of faith, we are giving a gift that will last a lifetime.
Jill Savage is the author of a new book, Professionalzing Motherhood. She also serves as the director of Hearts at Home, an organization designed to educate, encourage, and equip women in the profession of motherhood. For more information about Hearts at Home call 309-888-MOMS or find them on the web at
Jill lives in Normal, Illinois with her husband and four children ranging in age from five to sixteen.
Permission Granted For Use on DrLaura.com
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WHAT MATTERS MOST
By Cheryl Gochnauer
Like every Tuesday morning, little kids were tossing a football around our front yard, waiting for the school bus to rumble up the street. Like every Tuesday morning, I smiled at them from behind the glass storm door, then turned toward the TV, clicked the remote, and caught the news.
The second plane hit the World Trade Center.
"Carrie, come here!" I yelled out the front door to my 3rd grader, making her miss the pass.
"Wow!" she said, watching the instant replay. Then, "Can I go play?"
Man - I wish I could go play. Instead, I'm transfixed in front of the TV, watching the rescue efforts, praying for the missing. My girls seem to be okay. Carrie did ask to sleep with me that night, but since then has been busy planning her birthday party. Her 8th-grade sister, Karen, is studying American History. "That book will have a new cover next year," I remarked. "It'll be a picture of the World Trade Center imploding."
We lost more people Tuesday than from Pearl Harbor (2200), D-Day (1500) and the Titanic (1500), combined. It's staggering.
So is the response of Americans. I'm a political news junkie, and my stomach has been tied in knots more times than I can count over the past couple of years. Through impeachment, the election and the erosion of religious rights, I've shaken my head, convinced our country was headed for moral meltdown.
Then came Tuesday.
Amazingly, America leapt up, grabbed her flags and her Bibles and ran to help. Monday, we bickered about taxes and rebates. Tuesday, we flooded New York and Washington with volunteers, money and supplies. Politicians held hands and sang "God bless America" on the Capitol steps. There was an unexpected union of church and state, and our country was better for it.
A sad silver lining, I know. But a silver lining none the less.
Each of us are now making our way through the stages of grief (defined by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). We've all been jolted; we all understand how fragile life is, and how precious.
Those who read this newsletter every week and visit the website and message boards do so because you love your families, and want to spend as much time with them as possible. Tuesday's events sharpen our resolve to live our lives in such a way that there will be no regrets. As we help others through this tragedy, let's also take this as a universal wake-up call.
Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. If your heart is calling you home, act. Pay off those bills; put away the charge cards. Bypass anything standing between you and your kids. Those who scoffed at your desire to be an at-home parent last Monday will support you today. As the phone calls from the towers reflected, family is what matters most.
. Or visit her website at
where you can post messages about the attacks on a special discussion board. Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
|Tags: Adult Child-Parent, Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Family/Relationships - Adult Child/Parent, Morals, Ethics, Values, Read On-Air, Values
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Until Kids Do Us Part
By Cheryl Gochnauer
"I love being an at-home Mom," says Lee, a 30-something with a couple of boys, ages 2 and 5. "I love the rewards of children. But I feel like it will be an eternity before I get my husband back, all to myself.
"We have a very wonderful and solid marriage, but with little ones around, all our conversations are hurried and interrupted." Lee misses quiet walks and spur-of-the-moment getaways, and when she heard some friends were going on an exotic vacation - again - her heart sank. "What I wouldn't give to spend a week all alone with my husband, to savor the joy of being married. I would revel in the opportunity to lay on a beachsomewhere and watch the sun go down, momentarily leaving the cares and worries of life behind."
But she's a stay-at-home Mom. There's no money for exotic vacations. There's hardly enough money for a movie! "People tell me that this time passes quickly, but right now it feels like a life sentence," Lee admits. "I strive to find the joy in the little things that I do to serve my family. And most days I am successful." She still misses quality time with her husband, though.
I'm sure there are lots of women nodding their heads as they read Lee's words. It's easy for our relationships to get off-balance, especially when children are very young. Babies and toddlers are so high maintenance! The good news is, it does get easier as they get older. Preschoolers are easier than toddlers; 6-year-olds are easier than 4-year-olds. The bad news is, it may be MONTHS before the current stage eases.
So what to do? If I can't head to the islands with my lover, what's Plan B?
"Bump time with your husband up on the priority list," suggests Nina, a Canadian stay-at-home Mom. "Keep him in mind as you survey the different areas of your life. Some things about having a busy, young family you can't change, but others you can.
"It's said so much that now it's a clicheacute;, but PLAN IT IN! If you get too caught up in the day to day, you'll never have time to relax, grow, have fun, etc. You know in your heart that if you neglect yourself, you and your family will suffer for it."
"Make sure the kids are getting to bed at a decent hour so that you and your husband have some time together in the evenings." Note Nina's key phrase "decent hour". Wait until you're exhausted, and you slip into a coma instead of into something comfortable.
"Write notes to each other. I tape little notes inside my husband's lunch pail."
Get out of the house and away from the kids. "When you visit relatives, take advantage of it," Nina advises. Let them enjoy the youngsters while you and your spouse go spend some time together.
"Brainstorm with your husband about other ideas such as these that you can incorporate into your life to ease some of the struggles."
Where there's a will, there's a way. Stand still in the swirling storm of diapers, tricycles and Beanie Babies. Look your husband in the eye, tell him you love him, and join forces. You'd be surprised how many creative ideas a motivated couple can develop in carving out time together. And the kids will ultimately benefit, too, as that primary relationship in the home - between husband and wife - is given the nourishment it needs to grow and shine.
or visit her website at
For a list of recommended resources for at-home parents, go to
Copyright 2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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TREASURES ABOUND IN A MOTHER#146;S DAY
by Dayle Allen Shockley
When my daughter was born, I left my job to become a full-time mother. There were those who cheered and those who jeered. But regardless of which side of the fence my peers were on, the most frequent question I heard was: Don't you get bored?
That question always puzzled me. What did they picture me doing most of the day? Sleeping? Staring into space? Watching the grass grow?
If there is one thing mothering is not, it is boring. Certainly, there are times of frustration when you long for nothing more than a month of solitude or a week of socializing, but even if the offer came, few mothers would accept it. They know, as I do, that to do so would mean they would miss something of great value. For even the most ordinary day in a mother's life holds unexpected treasures #150; moments that are beyond price.
I am sure you have favorite memories. One of my most cherished days as a mother occurred in 1993. It had been a stressful week. Everywhere I turned, hands were out, begging for more of my time or money or both. I did what I could, often without a simple thank you. That only left me feeling used and unappreciated. What had happened to good manners?
It was while I drove home from church that I mulled these things over. Anna, then 7, sat beside me, pretty as a picture in her flowered dress and white patent shoes. Chestnut curls gathered at the crown of her head and dangled in soft coils above her neck.
My heart ached as I studied her sweet profile. The last few days had found me working feverishly on projects for the ungrateful crowd, which often resulted in my being a disagreeable mother. More times than not, my daughter's requests had been answered with things like, "Just a minute." "I#146;m busy." "Please, don't bother me now." Yet there she sat without complaint, holding no grudges.
Not me. Today, I was full of complaints, and I resented those who robbed me of my time and expertise with no mention of appreciation.
Anna seemed to sense my mood and remained quiet on the drive home. As we rolled into the driveway, she said, "Since Daddy is at work, we can just have our own private time, can't we, Mama?"
I wasn't sure what she meant, but it sounded good to me. "That will be great, baby. You can help Mama fix lunch, and then we can have our own private time." Through the course of preparing lunch, however, I forgot about her unusual offer.
Now, I sat in my office, still brooding like a spoiled brat.
In a minute, Anna joined me, settling into the wing-back chair beside my desk. She smoothed down her dress and crossed her legs. Suddenly, I remembered the "private" time and wondered if this were an indication that it had begun. I smiled at her, saying nothing.
"Mama," she began, "I just want to tell you how good it is to have you and Daddy."
I sat up straight. She didn't wait for my response.
"You and Daddy do so much for me, Mama. You buy me clothes and give me food," she said, without hesitating. "You take me to a Christian school and buy me toys. And... I have a nice chair like this to sit in," she said, patting the arms of the chair. I noticed her lips began quivering. "You just do so much for me, Mama."
Suddenly, she bolted from the chair and flung herself into my arms. For a long while, we just held onto each other, sobbing. It felt as if my heart would burst.
Finally, she pulled away. "I just wanted to say thank you, Mama. Thank you so much."
I can't express all of the varied emotions that welled up inside of me. There was joy at the fact that, even with all of my blunders, I must have done something right as a mother. There was grief, recalling the many times during the week that I had ignored my precious daughter's simple wishes, while rushing to satisfy the complex requests of virtual strangers. But perhaps more than anything, there was an intense gratitude that God had blessed me with the notable title: mother. Looking into the face of my child, I couldn't think of a single thing that I would rather be.
This article first appeared under a different title in The Dallas Morning News. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
Dayle Allen Shockley is an author whose work has appeared in dozens of publications. Her editorials and essays are regular features in The Dallas Morning News and online at
Jewish World Review
. Dayle lives with her family in Texas, and is a writing instructor at North Harris College in Houston. Contact her at
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MAKING ENDS MEET
By Joanne Watson
Getting By On One Income
If your spouse's income alone doesn't cover all your expenses, you may havethought putting your child in day-care and working outside the home was youronly option.
However, by lowering your expenses or raising your spouse's income (or acombination of both) you may be able to stay home with your child and stillmake ends meet.
With the expenses of you working (daycare, a second car, work clothes,lunches out, a possible higher tax bracket due to combined incomes) you mayfind that the second job isn't bringing in as much money as you thought.
By cutting back here and there, you may be able to make up for thedifference, and still stay home with your child.
You can check mortgage rates on-line at sites like
. If your current mortgageis at a much higher rate, you may be able to bring your bills in line byrefinancing at a lower interest rate.
Plan meals ahead for 1 week, and only go to the grocery store after you'veeaten. You are much less likely to blow your budget on impulse buys.
Take advantage of sales and coupons. Try to stock up when there is a greatprice, and check your pantry before going to the store.
On-line coupons are available on sites such as.
that can help you lower your expenses.
Another great feature of the Internet is that you can comparison shopwithout running all over town. On major purchases, you may save asubstantial amount of money.
Surf the sites you are familiar with, and don't forget to check the searchengines for new places to shop. Sites like
can help you findthe best bargains on larger items
Can you do without the second car? If your husband works nearby, maybe hecan leave you the car if he takes the bus or if you drop him off.
Whether you have one or two cars, if your payments are too high, think abouttrading in and reducing your payment.
Keep track of spending.
Those "helpful" ATM cards may be using up your freedom $20 at a time. It'seasy to lose track of spending when you don't register each purchase in acheckbook. Put away your ATM and credit cards. Try using only checks for 30days, and for smaller items, decide at the beginning of the month exactlyhow much money you want to spend. Take that out in cash and put it in anenvelope. Then, when it's gone-it's gone-you can't spend money that isn'tthere.
A useful guide to cutting back is You Can Afford to Stay Home by MaliaWyckoff and Mary Snyder.
Sometimes, no matter how much you cut back or how many coupons you clip, youjust need more money.
By helping to raise your husband's income, he may be able to make up for thedifference in what you would be bringing home in after-tax (and afterwork-related expense) dollars, so you can stay home..
The just released book, Team Work: How to Help Your Husband make More Money,So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom by Joanne Watson provides strategies on howto build your husband's confidence, help him negotiate a raise, find a new,higher-paying job, or build a business of his own, and how to use theInternet to help him succeed.
Team Work tips include:
Build his confidence -
and you may build his income. Remind him of how terrific he is by asking himto tell you about the five accomplishments he is most proud of. Tell him youknow he is worth more, and his employer is lucky to have him
Think about who you know. One of those people may be in a position to helpyour husband by introducing him to a potential employer. Employers oftenprefer to hire someone who has been referred to them by a person they trust.Also encourage your husband to join the trade association for his professionand add to his network. Find one at
Help your husband to learn new skills.
Knowledge is power-and more money. Take advantage of sites that offer freeon-line training such as
, and check outthe low cost management training from the American Management Association at
Offer to watch the kids so he can study.
Help "market" your husband.
Make sure his resume shows him in the best possible light. You can get yourhusband's resume re-done professionally at a site like
. oruse your local phone book. Ask to see samples of their work before choosinga resume writer.
Find out if your husband is underpaid.
Check out the salary surveys at
or at the reference desk ofyour local library to find out what the average pay is for your husband'sposition. If he is underpaid, print out the survey for him to use innegotiating for a raise.
Practice for success
Help your husband practice asking for a raise or interviewing for a new job.By being prepared, he is much more likely to be cool, calm and collected inthe actual interview.
Drill the possible responses and his come-backs to his raise request untilhe is comfortable and confident at it.
Rather than let your financial situation dictate your decision about whetherto stay home or return to work, getting (and using) the right informationcan empower you to make choices based on what is right for you and yourfamily.
Ed. Note: Tips from Team Work: How to Help Your Husband Make More Money, SoYou Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom by Joanne Watson are re-printed with permission from Family Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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MOM THINKS I'M A SLACKER
By Cheryl Gochnauer
If your parents and in-laws support your decision to be an at-home mom, givethem a big hug. Not everyone is so blessed.
"My mother never misses an opportunity to let me know how unimpressed she iswith my choice," Brandy says. "I left my dream job to come home to my twodaughters. The catalyst was my oldest starting kindergarten, which wasgoing to change the routine drastically. My husband and I decided thatafter all the years of thinking about it, we would go for it.
"My mom tried to talk me out of it, and now that it's done, she keeps makingcomments. We'll be in a store together and I'll point out something I like,and she says, 'Well, if you had your own money, you could get it.'
"She also said my five-year-old is 'suddenly getting so hard-headed. Whendid this start?' Maybe I'm oversensitive, but I want to say, 'On the day Itook over raising her!' I also want to say, 'Don't worry. She'll be inschool full-time soon, and I won't have as much of a chance to mess her up.'She hasn't yet mentioned the two-year-old backsliding behavior-wise, but I'msure it's coming.
"Mom's always worked, and she doesn't really enjoy small children, so shecan't understand why I would want to 'isolate' myself from adults, blah blahblah."
"All I have to say is, I look at my girls and my husband, and don't worry abit about what she thinks - or try not to, anyway."
Hang in there, Brandy. Everything you're going through is normal. Theinitial resistance from some relatives, the kids acting up - many newat-home parents experience the same things.
You mentioned that your daughter is getting "hard-headed". Just wanted youto know that this is a very common occurrence when moms first come home. Allthe boundaries have changed, and so kids go into testing mode.
My own two-year-old followed me around everywhere that first month. I wasalways tripping over her. But she was simply curious as to when I was goingto leave. After a few weeks, she settled down.
Let your mother know that, in the long run, your children will likely bebetter behaved than if you weren't home. That's because you're on the sceneas a loving parent to immediately protect, correct or redirect according toyour family's values.
Overall I'm a strong advocate of passive resistance when dealing withunsupportive people. Don't snap back at irritating comments, firing theconflict. Instead say something like, "I see your point" or "thank you forsharing your opinion."
Notice I didn't follow either of those comments with "but.". There's an oldsaying about not throwing your pearls before swine. Now I'm not callingyour mother a pig! I simply mean that it does no good to share heart-heldbeliefs with someone who will only trample them.
Watch for opportunities to bridge the gap in those quiet times when you andyour mother are friendly and open toward one another. It's not necessary totry to win her over in one conversation. Instead, let time do that, as shesees positive changes evolve and watches your marriage and her grandchildrenthrive because of your decision to be home.
. Or visit her website at
where you can read a sample chapter of her book, "So YouWant to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom" (InterVarsity Press). Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
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