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05/07/2010
IconTax Preparers Work Only Three Months Per Year (OR How To Improve Your Golf Skills) From www.mycoolcareer.com Wednesday, April 9 - Find out about the career of a Tax Preparer! Los Angeles, CA - April 4, 2003 - According to the IRS nearly 47 million individual tax forms were filed electronically during the 2002 tax filing season. More than 33 million of these taxpayers hired a tax professional to do the e-math, up from over 22 million in 2001. Many taxpayers continue to utilize the not-free services of tax professionals. The National Association of Tax Professionals ( www.natptax.com ) says that because of the experience and knowledge of the latest tax law changes that tax professionals have, "consulting a tax preparer not only pays for itself, but offers you a learning experience that will help you better structure your financial matters for future savings." Andrew Lewis, a veteran self-employed tax preparer in Santa Monica, California says he's got a great job, the three-month crunch from mid-January to April 15 and all. Lewis said, "I enjoy the people part of my career and I look forward to meeting my clients annually, finding out what's new in their lives, and making the tax season easy for them." Lewis says that one of the most amazing things about preparing for a career as a tax preparer is that it requires only a high school diploma, some training by a company like HR Block, and passing the licensing exams. Says Lewis, "It's one of the easiest careers to access." Lewis, who did earn a 4-year college degree and is himself a former IRS employee, adds, "It's not necessary to go to college and become a CPA in order to become a tax preparer. That's a myth!" Lewis talks about the details of becoming and being a tax preparer (and his nine-month golf vacation), in the upcoming 30-minute web radio show webcast from MYCOOLCAREER.com on Wednesday, April 9th at 5 p.m. PT. MYCOOLCAREER.com , popular career exploration website for teens and 20's, features fun and info-packed 30-minute weekly career interviews. Jill Sanborne hosts the weekly webcasts, researches young adults and provides solutions to the challenges they face in planning for rewarding careers, and speaks to teens and parent audiences about how teens can prepare for an awesome future. The site is recommended by CareerProNews.com , endorsed by Barbara Sher and the Los Angeles Unified School District Counseling Services K-12. Contact Jill for more information about preparing teens for the workplace at jill@mycoolcareer.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconWhy Are You Still At Home? Responses for Stay-at-Home Parents of School-Age Kids By Lucynda Koesters So you're a stay-at-home parent of kids in school. It's back toschool time and you just know you're going to get those questions andcomments from people, some well-meaning and some not. You know: "What areyou going to do all day now that the kids are in school?" "Are you goingback to work?" "Can't you get a part-time job?" "Aren't you going to getbored?" "Don't you feel guilty not working?" No matter how much you brace yourself for this onslaught, you stillcringe when the questions arrive. Part of it probably is a little guiltyou feel because you have no intention of returning to any work outside thehome. That's ok, because it is societal pressure that makes you feel thisway. Everyone is supposed to work at a job in this country. While we paylip service to the at-home parent of small children, it is somehow wrongfor a parent of school-age children to remain at home. Responding to these inquiries in a pleasant and non-defensive frameof mind is very hard to do, but it is not impossible. What's required is afirm belief in your chosen way of life. Why ARE you at home with children who are now back in school formost of the day? Why AREN'T you going back to work? What are thebenefits of being at home at this stage of family life? Sorry, but to successfully handle the inquiries, you must be ableto answer these questions in your own mind. The first step is getting ridof the guilt and gaining a firm belief in yourself and your chosenlifestyle. To help you get started, reflect on these benefits of astay-home parent: A stay-home parent is usually the last person children see and talk tobefore they leave and the first person to greet them when they arrive home.Children derive a great sense of security from knowing a parent isavailable to them immediately before and after school. Children have achance to get valuable words of encouragement in the morning and anopportunity to share their day in the afternoon. Children are also greatlysupported in the knowledge that mom or dad is at home and available duringthe day in case of a problem at school. A stay-home parent can get household chores, cooking and errands doneduring the school day, thereby freeing up the valuable afternoon hours tohelp with homework and creating true family time in the evenings. A stay-home parent often has the freedom and flexibility to volunteer atthe children's school during the school day. Seeing the parent'sinvolvement, children learn to value their education. The parent gets aninvaluable understanding of the inner workings of the school and how thechildren spend time there. Parents develop better relationships withteachers, school staff and other parents, increasing the children's senseof security. A stay-home parent is often a less-stressed parent, fully available tosupport the needs of the family in the after-school hours. Having a calmand content parent to anchor the family is a great benefit to all members. Now that you have reviewed a few reasons you are not going to work,what do you say to all these people who question your choices? Here are afew diplomatic and non-threatening responses: I plan to remain at home to be available before and after school for thekids, and to volunteer at school during the day. Between housework,homework and school duties, I will keep very busy. Our family really needs me to remain at home - it's worked out well sofar, and I plan to continue as long as possible. The children like the fact that I'm home. They like coming home afterschool instead of going to the after-care program. It gives us time tocomplete homework before going to soccer practices. During the day, there are a million things to get done at home; I'mreally very busy. But, I like to have afternoons and evenings free for thefamily, so I plan to stick to this schedule. So, the next time you encounter some well-meaning, or maybe not sowell-meaning friend or relative firing off questions about your lifestyle,remain calm and pleasant and answer them with quiet conviction that yourlifestyle is best for you and your family. Lucynda Koesters is a stay-home mom of two school-age kids and a free-lancewriter, concentrating on family issues. Write her at: lkoestrs@venus.net More >>

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05/07/2010
IconThanksgiving Thoughts by Jill Savage Do you ever find yourself focusing more on what you don't have, ratherthan all that you have? Do you feel overwhelmed with the mundane choresof family life and wonder if any of it really makes a difference? With Thanksgiving fresh on our minds, I've been thinking about all I havebeen given. In fact, I've been giving thought to the veryresponsibilities that I have as a mother that I often take for granted. Isometimes exhibit an ungrateful attitude in doing these tasks when Iforget the gifts I've been given in them. This weekend I'm working on ashift in thinking. I'm considering a different perspective. As I evaluateall my blessings, I'm finding I'm thankful for: Laundry#133; because it means that my family has clothes to wear. Dishes#133; because it means that my family has food to eat. Bills#133; because it means that we have financial provisions. Making Beds#133;b ecause it means we have a warm, soft place to rest at night. Dusting#133; because it means we have furniture to enjoy. Vacuuming#133; because it means we have a home to care for. Picking Up Toys#133; because it means I have children to bring joy to my life. So often we grumble about taking care of the gifts we have been given. Caring for the needs of our spouse and our children is being given theopportunity to invest in the life of another. This kind of care shouldnot be described as mundane chores. Instead it is an honor to serve myfamily when I make meals or do laundry, dishes, dusting, and vacuuming. My jobs may be unseen to the eyes of others, but they are valuable to thefamily unit as a whole. Sometimes we need a fresh perspective. Sometimes we need to think aboutall we have. When we do, we're reminded of the incredible gifts we'vebeen given! Jill Savage, author of Professionalizing Motherhood, is a mother of four children ranging in ages four to sixteen. Jill lives with her family in Normal, Illinois, where she serves as the Director of Hearts at Home, anorganization designed to encourage women in the profession of motherhood. For more information about Hearts at Home check out www.hearts-at-home.org . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMotherhood...A Valid Profession By Jill Savage Sixteen years ago I became a mother. Fourteen years ago I found myself committed to the profession of motherhood. I've often had people comment that they sure do wish they had the luxury of staying home with their children. A luxury? We could never describe my commitment to be home a luxury. Does it take two incomes for a family to survive today? We hear if you want to give your kid what he "needs," you will have to have two incomes. Are you aware that over 7.7 million families in the United States live on one income? For many of these families it is not a luxury, but a sacrifice they are willing to make. The husband is not making more than an average salary and they are living in average homes. Bottom line, most of these families are living with less than what we are made to believe we need to be happy. Bill Flick, a newspaper columnist, questions the concept of the "high cost of living." He says it's more like "the high cost of the way we choose to live." The concept of "keeping up with the Jones'" affects us whether we realize it or not. We believe we need certain "things" for the basic existence of daily life. My husband and I have been trying to think through our purchases with this in mind. We ask ourselves, "Do we really need this or do we want it?" One area we have found to cut costs is cable television. Yes, you can get TV reception without cable--even in some rural areas! We're living proof of that. We haven't had cable television for fourteen years. Our children have not been hurt by the absence of cable in our home. Are there times we wish we had cable? Yes, there are. Can we afford it? No, it doesn't fit into our budget. So we use an antenna and watch the basic network channels (when the reception is good!). It is possible to live on one income in today's society. But it takes some willingness to practice delayed gratification. Delaying some of the things we would like to have now in exchange for doing something we need to do now is what it is all about. As much as I'd like to have a new car (for once in my life!) or new furniture in just one room of our home, I choose to forgo those things in exchange for being able to be home with my children. It's a concept that we don't hear much about today, but it's one we can learn to embrace. By practicing delayed gratification we are on our way to living without regrets, making choices now, about things we will reflect upon in the future. It can be a challenge to live on one income, but it is not as impossible as the media would want us to believe. At the same time, there are certainly some circumstances where there is no choice in the matter. Single mothers and families with extenuating financial struggles face very real challenges. But we do need to ask ourselves--is it really about the high cost of living or the high cost of the way we choose to live? What are some ways we can choose to live with less? Cancel the cable television. Eat out less. When eating out, share meals. (Make sure and tip the wait staff the estimated percentage of two purchased meals!) Plan meals and shop less often. With the exception of running to the store for bread and milk, I shop only once a month. This keeps temptation at a minimum. Give homemade gifts rather than purchased gifts. (Fresh baked goods are always a hit!) Make dates with your spouse simple: a walk in the park, a drive in the country, a bike ride to the ice cream shop to share a root beer float--complete with two straws! Let the creative juices flow! You can begin to live with less. As you learn to enjoy the simplicities of life, you will find that your stress will decrease and your contentment will increase! Jill Savage lives with her husband and four children in Normal, Illinois. She is the founder and director of Hearts at Home, an organization designed to encourage, educate, and equip mothers at home. Jill is also the author of Professionalizing Motherhood. To get more information about Hearts at Home call 309-888-MOMS or visit the website at www.hearts-at-home.org Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSummertime Developmental Goals By Patti Chadwick Life with teenagers is hectic. The school year is especially busy with studies, sports, and extra-curricular activities. During the school year it is hard for your teen to find time to work on personal growth or to pursue special interests. With the summer coming and the school year coming to a close, now is the time for your teenager to work on personal development - and you can help them! While both you and your teenager will want some free time in the summer to just "be", if you don't plan for developing special interests or personal growth, you will spend most of the summer idle. Remember the old sayings "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" (A Mother's Summer Survival Manual, p. 8) and "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!" Don't fall into that trap. Here are some ideas to help both you and your teen "plan your work and work your plan." 1) THE PARENT'S GOALS In order to plan for developmental and personal growth in your teens over the summer break, you will need to think about what areas of their lives need to be concentrated on. Think of where your teen is intellectually, physically, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and in terms of practical living skills. Ask yourself where would you like your teen to be in each of these areas by the summer's end. 2) ASK YOUR TEENS FOR INPUT Since they are no longer little children, but young adults, it is very important to discuss these plans with your teenager. What goals do they have for the summer? What would they like to learn? What athletic abilities would they like to hone? What special interests would they like to pursue? What practically living skills do they wish to attain? 3) DETERMINE HOW GOALS WILL BE MEASURED How will you measure progress? Remember, each teen is an individual and will grow at his or her own pace. It is wise to be flexible as you work together toward these goals. 4) WRITE DOWN GOALS Writing down goals will provide the structure needed to keep you and your teen moving toward the goal and provide a framework for activities you will plan.When deciding on the interests to pursue and what you both would like have accomplished over the summer, you need to keep two things in mind: your objective and your plan to reach those goals. To help you get started, I've included a sample "Summertime Personal Growth Goals Worksheet." SAMPLE SUMMER PERSONAL GROWH GOALS WORKSHEET Intellectual Goals Objective: Increase Vocabulary Plan: Read 4 books this summer, one being a classic. Physical Goals Objective: Improve Soccer Skills Plan: Play in a summer soccer league. Spiritual Goals Objective: Learn more about the life of Jesus. Plan: Read all four Gospel accounts. Social-Emotional Goals Objective: Give back to the community. Plan: Volunteer two times per week at the YMCA. Practical Living Skill Goals Objective: Get Driver's License Plan: Drive with parents 2-3 times per week and learn how to do a 3-point turn, and parallel park. This is just a sample. Use this worksheet as a guide, but be sure to add to it or delete from it. Whatever works best for your family. Now, armed with these examples, find the time to get alone with your teenager and make plans on how, as a team, you can make the most of summer vacation. While you are at it, why not make plans to work on your own personal growth this summer! Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and columnist in several online publications. E-mail her at patti@parentsandteens.com or visit her websites and sign up for her FREE weekly newsletters at www.historyswomen.com www.parentsandteens.com . Patti is also the author of "History's Women - The Unsung Heroines" available in e-book and print formats at: www.webbserv.net/historyswomen/form.html. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconQUEEN OF YOUR CASTLE By Cheryl Gochnauer Once upon a time, there was a fair princess who, though she was beautiful(especially in her parents' eyes), was very confused. Her mother, thequeen, loved the castle and was content to raise her family within itswalls. But everyday rabble-rousers outside the castle banged on the gatesand tossed rocks with messages tied round them into the courtyard. Theprincess would untie the messages and read them:"The queen is wasting her life, just staying in the castle with you and theyoung princes." "Princess, the queen is a coward. Or maybe she's just lazy. Then again, Ibet she's not very smart. Because brave, busy and bright queens leave theircastles and become part of the real world." "I can't believe how selfish the queen is. She makes your father, the king,work like a serf to take care of her while she watches Oprah the Great spintales all day." The princess, who up until this time had been happy to play in the castlewith her brothers and the queen, began to mope. "If the queen would get ajob outside the castle, my life would be so much better," she thought."There would be money for more toys, I could play with other kids all day atWee Royal Daycare, and the queen could drive me about in a brand-newcarriage." The king noticed the princess pouting, and beckoned her to him. "What's thematter, Child?" he asked as she crawled up in his lap. When the princesstold him about her plight, the king realized it was time for a royal chat.He beckoned the princes and the queen, and the entire royal family gatheredto hear his words. "Alas," the king began, "I fear a plague has entered the castle grounds,transported here by the rocks thrown over the castle walls. It isaffluenza, a dangerous and fast-growing affliction that brings sorrow toalmost every family it infects. "Affluenza's victims are stricken with a warped perception of true wealth,"the king explained. "Instead of valuing what they have, they want more.They trade their time for things, and then have no time to enjoy the thingsthey've traded for. "Princess, don't you like to play with the queen and the princes?" he asked.She nodded. "Well, if you spend from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. everyday in WeeRoyal Daycare, you won't have much time to play with the queen. And sinceWee Royal Daycare doesn't take princes under 2 years old, you'll beseparated from your youngest brother, too." The princess scooted a littlecloser to the baby prince. "With the gold the queen made from working outside the castle, we couldafford to buy the new carriage," the king acknowledged. "But you wouldn'tspend much time in it, except driving back and forth to Wee Royal Daycare.And new carriages cost so much, there wouldn't be much money left over fornew toys, either." "It's nice having the queen around to help you learn and answer questions,isn't it?" the king asked. "At Wee Royal Daycare, there are nice teachers,too. But with one teacher to ten children, they are very busy, and what'simportant to you and the queen isn't always important to them." "Tell me what you saw the queen doing today at the castle," the king said. "Let's see," the princess thought. "She cleaned the castle, bartered withshop owners, washed and mended our clothing. She soothed the baby prince,counseled the teen prince, and helped me with my letters. Then she preparedthe feast, and listened to you talk about fighting dragons outside thecastle." "The queen doesn't sound lazy or scared or dumb to me," observed the king. "She's wonderful," cried the princess, as she threw her arms around thequeen. "Yes, she is," said the king. "And I should have let you know I thought soearlier. Sometimes I get so busy fighting dragons, I forget to say how muchI appreciate her creating a safe haven inside the castle. "Princess, there's a wide, often whimsical world beyond these walls. Youhave many choices of what you might do with your life when you grow up. Butno matter what you do, remember that simply becoming queen of your castle isa noble choice." (Cheryl Gochnauer is queen of her castle in Kansas City, Missouri. You may write her at 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 >>

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05/07/2010
IconTHE INHERITANCE By Cheryl Gochnauer I spotted my mother in the most unexpected place the other day. She lives four hours away, but as I passed the hall mirror, I saw her. It was just a flash, but there she was - the familiar expression, the tilt of the head, the amused glint in the eyes. She had gained a bit of weight and her hair was red instead of silver-salted brown. But it was definitely her. And it was definitely me. For most of us, comparisons begin the day we're born, as observant relatives decide which parent we favor. The benign competition goes on, as each set of genes asserts itself over the years. I watch my own daughters, thanking God they've inherited their daddy's long legs while admiring my own contribution of shiny carrot-tops. But I don't want my influence on these precious little ones to only run skin-deep. There's a greater inheritance to share with them, as we spend these fleeting years together - and the years are passing at an amazing rate. My preteen's time at home is more than half over. It seems she just got here! I've still got a few years to guide her, though, and I plan to make the best of those teachable moments sprinkled throughout our relationship. At the risk of sounding like I need to be in a rocking chair, I must say that when I was ten, I was surrounded by the turbulent uprisings of the late '60s. The U.S. was on fire then, literally and emotionally. Societal shifts sprang from that decade, then reverberated through my teen years in the '70s. By the time I became a young adult, I had swallowed the "I'm okay, you're okay" hook whole. "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." It sounds pretty good, this "can't we all just get along" mantra. But as I look in my daughters' eyes, I feel a deep uneasiness in passing on such a philosophy. I don't want to leave them with a legacy of shifting sand that holds no solid ethical absolutes. Boundaries do not trap children; rather, they define safe zones. I am resolved to teach, to tutor, to advocate the tough, honest choices now, while Karen and Carrie are still receptive to their Momma's insights. "Train up a child in the way he should go," the old proverb says. I will. And when my daughters make their future decisions, no matter how they choose, they will be able to draw upon an instilled moral compass. That's an inheritance I can live with. (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 >>

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05/07/2010
IconLearning To Say No By Jill Savage "So how do you do it?" she asked. "Do what?" I replied. "How do you say NO?" she questioned. "I just say no," I answered. "No, I don't mean like that. Do you say no and offer an excuse or do you just say no? I feel so guilty when I say no." Thus began a recent conversation with a mom who called and asked how we keep our balance between volunteer activities and family responsibilities. As mothers at home it is not work and family we need to keep in balance. For many of us it is balancing volunteer positions (church, community, and school) with our family responsibilities. Some of us figure a home business or part-time job into our schedule, too. We can easily put ourselves back in the position of working full-time outside-the-home hours without bringing home the pay. We must learn the "N" word and how to use it effectively. Here are some guidelines for finding and keeping balance in your home: Remember that you are going to be asked more often, simply because you perceived to be more available. With many mothers working outside the home, there are less school, church, and community volunteers available during the day. Keep this in mind and remember that you alone know what is best for your family. Never say "Yes" on the spot. Always tell them you will call them back after you've had time to pray and think about it. This keeps you from regretting a quick on-the-spot decision you may regret later. You can say "No" on the spot if you know immediately that it will not work for you. When figuring a time commitment, make sure you figure in preparation time. Most of us underestimate the time it takes to really do a job. If they are asking you to bake 5 dozen cookies, look at the calendar and determine whether you truly have that much free time available before the cookies need to be delivered. If it looks too busy, tell them "no". When considering long-term commitments, make sure you figure all your household responsibilities into your time frame. It may seem that becoming the president of an organization you really believe in will not take too much time. But after a few months, the phone calls, meetings, and errands have begun to take up the time you previously used for laundry, housecleaning, or paying the bills. These are big jobs that need to be figured into your weekly and daily responsibilities. Don't allow your family responsibilities to be sacrificed for your volunteer responsibilities. Remember to figure in the "brain space" this responsibility will require. Have you ever been listening to your children, but really thinking about a new project or the hundreds of things you need to do? When your mind is cluttered, you are not mentally available to your family. It is important to remember that every minute of your day does not have to be scheduled. If you have a "doer" mentality, you will think of a spare hour or two as a way to fit in one more "yes". In reality, we need some time to do nothing. If you need to, schedule in "down time" each day. Write it on your calendar and say "No" to anything that would jeopardize that time. Set a limit to the number of long-term commitments you will carry. For instance, I have chosen to keep one large and one small long-term volunteer commitment. If I were to take on another long-term commitment, I would have to give up one of my previous commitments. By limiting your long-term commitments, it does allow for more time to help out in short-term service projects. You will be more likely to have the time to bake brownies for your child's classroom, or be a teacher's assistant during Vacation Bible School if you follow a similar approach. Ask for accountability. Ask your husband, a close friend, or your Bible Study group to hold you accountable for the number of commitments you will carry. Be open to their insight. If you have trouble saying "no" ask them to help you during the first few months while you will be getting things back in balance. When you tell someone you will call them back, check with your accountability partner first before providing an answer to that most recent request. Sort through your schedule with them. Eventually you won't need their help, but it can help you get on your feet as you are learning to say "no". When saying "no" don't feel that you need to give a long list of excuses. You know what is best for your family and for yourself. If you feel you need to give an excuse, simply say that it would not fit into your schedule at this time. Keep in mind that you do not have to say "yes" simply because you are capable. You may have strong leadership skills and will most likely to be asked to lead most anything you will be involved in. That doesn't mean you have to say "yes" to those responsibilities. You say "yes" only after considering your passion for this organization, your time availability, other volunteer responsibilities, your family commitments, and what you might need to give up to properly do this job. If you have too much on your plate now, begin by evaluating your priorities. Determine what responsibilities you need to let go of. Give a one month notice to organizations you will not be able to serve any longer. Although it may be difficult to give up a responsibility, you are not doing the organization or your family any good when you cannot fully commit to the job. As soon as you let go of the responsibilities you were carrying, instill new boundaries into your time. Don't let yourself become overcommitted again. Saying "no" allows others the opportunity to say "yes". Don't take service opportunities away from others. Don't forget to figure in time to have a friend over, take your kids to the park, write a letter, or go on a date with your husband. We don't usually schedule these activities in, but they are the first to go when we are overcommitted. Remember that saying "yes" to some activities outside the home will be important to your sanity. Moms of young children especially need to get out of the house to socialize and think about something other than diapers, bottles, and coupons. Contrary to popular belief, your brain will not turn to mush, it will just feel like it at times. We need to choose carefully, though, those things we will be involved in so our time will be used wisely. You will be amazed at the patience you will have with your family when you find balance in your activity schedule. Jill Savage, author of Professionalizing Motherhood, is a mother of four children ranging in ages four to sixteen. Jill lives with her family in Normal, Illinois, where she serves as the Director of Hearts at Home, an organization designed to encourage women in the profession of motherhood. For more information about Hearts at Home call 309-888-MOMS or check out www.hearts-at-home.org . Copyright 2001 Hearts at Home. All rights reserved. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconDEALING WITH CRYBABIES By Cheryl Gochnauer Since Karen and Carrie are now 12 and 8, you might think I'm out of touchwith mothers of newborns. No way. I have an excellent memory and I want youto know, my glassy-eyed, sleep-deprived, still-in-my-bathrobe-at-5 friend,that you will live through this. Poor Baby. I remember a particularly bleary day when Karen started screaming at 8 a.m.and didn't quit for six hours. SIX hours! About five hours into it, I wasstanding on my front porch, screaming myself (in my bathrobe, of course).Fortunately, all my neighbors worked, so no one was around to call the cops.Then again, I probably would have been grateful to be hauled off to a nice,quiet cell. Baby swings were usually helpful in getting my little ones quieted down.With Karen, I had one of those crank jobbies that would run out of steamjust as she was nodding off. Waaaaah! When Carrie came along, I got smartand bought a battery-operated swing and constantly kept a fresh supply ofAAs on hand. Babies cry, and for as little as they are, they're remarkably good at it.Since they can't talk, crying is their main means of communicating, and itwill help keep your temper in check if you try to view their bawling in thatlight. Approach their outbursts as you would a foreign language, spoken bysomeone you'd give your life for. It takes a relatively short time for Mom to decipher which cry means what.There's the "I'm hungry" cry. There's the "I'm tired" cry. There's theemphatic "I need a new diaper" cry. (Who wouldn't wail at that?) And inCarrie's case, there was the "My sock's on crooked and somebody's gonna pay!" cry. (Even at three months, she was a perfectionist.) If you're a stay-at-home mom, I can point out a silver lining surroundingthe up-all-night cloud: once you collapse in bed at 4 a.m., you don't haveto get up for work at 6 a.m. There were times when I was sure people in the next county could hear myredheaded foghorns. But read my lips: this too shall pass. Your baby willlearn to sleep through the night. You will wear makeup again. Both you andyour baby will learn to communicate in ways other than crying. Meanwhile, make sure you arrange for regular renewal time away from yourchildren. Days on end without a break sap energy and patience, and achronically tired mother has little to give her family. So take Grandma upon her offer to baby-sit; ask your husband to watch the baby while you get asoda with friends; build some mad money into the budget for a sitter so youcan get out a couple of hours a week. That's another thing I remember - how revitalizing a short break can be. Bythe time I walked back in the door, I was refreshed and swept my baby backin my arms, ready for our next adventure together. Give yourself somebreathing room, and there's a good chance you'll feel the same. (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 >>

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