Q. Hello Jodi,
I am trying to
keep my home business thriving while preparing my house to be
sold, taking care of two kids, three dogs, etc. etc.... Can I
be everything to everyone -- and a good parent on top of it all?
My husband is out of town three days a week now so I have lost
a huge amount of help. What's the best way of making sure the
kids don't feel the frustration and stress of this dilemma? Please
answer soon... I want off this roller coaster!
A. Hello K.B.,
It appears you
have your hands full. For the time being, it might be in the
best interest of the family to "reach out and touch someone."
Call your friends and neighbors (including any relatives) to
come over and help watch the children or take them out -- while
you roll up your sleeves and get some "stuff" done.
Here are a few other helpful pointers:
1. For emotional,
mental and physical health reasons, begin an exercise program
today. Get up early and get it done the very first thing each
morning. If you have not been in a fitness program up to this
point, begin with stretching and flexing your muscles and going
for a walk. This will not only help you cope better -- but will
help other family members as well. When your body is in shape
-- your mind is in shape thus creating more energy AND it makes
you feel better about yourself! This can only lead to a more
positive attitude for everyone.
2. Plan your
time. Plan your time to do the most focused tasks while the
kids are being entertained by someone else or are asleep. For
example, don't try to complete thought provoking writing assignments
or business calls when you know the kids could come in at any
moment and break your train of thought. Concentration is of
utmost importance in accomplishing goals while presenting a professional
3. Make a to
do list and prioritize topics. People are so busy in today's
society, we all feel overwhelmed in general. By adding moving
to the picture of surprises, it can really get sticky. For this
reason, I tell individuals to write down every little thing.
"Little" things still take time and earn the right
to be written down so they too can be marked through. Looking
at such a long list will compel you to feel weary -- but it's
the mark-outs on the piece of paper that will help you to feel
better. Prioritize topics by what is important to you as a parent
and as a business owner. For example: if you have been putting
in long hours at work, plan to take an extra few minutes the
next day to stop and smell the flowers with your kids.
4. Get away from the computer and take mini breaks. Just for
a five minute stretch or walk outside. I tell people this all
the time and they say, "Oh, I do. I pick up a magazine
and just skim through it every two hours or so." NO! This
is not what I am suggesting. Get up and physically walk out
of the work area. In my book, a break means: break away. The
word mini means: shortened. Even though the break will be short
-- it will provide a much needed change of scenery to basically
clear your mind.
5. Don't feel
guilty about asking for help. Sometimes we get so caught up
in the "I can do everything by myself" mode, we feel
guilty about having to ask for help from others. There's no
reason we should have to add this burden to our already growing
moving pains. Moving is tough and we all need help -- so ask
Think this job
is tough? Wait until you get to where you're going. It's a
whole new set of challenges. Here are a few golden rules I've
put together (as I know for sure I'm the world's most moved Mommy)!
And, they really work.
First of all -- you will have to take a few days off from your
job. It's a vacation no one really enjoys -- but it must be
planned ahead of time. Don't whine or fret -- just suck it up
and go with the flow.
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 fret
-- 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.
First of all
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
- 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 you 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
- Check out the
Libraries and local YMCA/YWCA for activities for kids. Many places
now have free storytime 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!
Q. My three year old daughter
often bursts into tears and whines quite a bit, especially when
she is with other children. They often tease her in order to
make her whine and cry. Her day care provider and I keep asking
her to use her words and stand up for herself, but to no avail.
What else can we do?
- A. If the children are taunting her enough
to make her whine and cry, your childcare provider is not making
a good judgment call in this situation. Put yourself in your
daughter's shoes. Would you stand up for yourself at this age,
or get so frustrated and bent out of shape you'd most likely
begin to lose belief in adults? She is looking for a safety net
and ending up finding a big hole. Don't take the adult's word
in this scenario -- look out for a peaceful environment for your
reserved little girl.
- Respect your
daughter's individuality and get her into another environment
where children aren't allowed to poke fun and agitate each other.
This is so totally unacceptable and unfair I can't even begin
to stress it in strong enough words. Your daughter's self-esteem
is being slaughtered on a daily basis. She will not learn to
speak up and communicate in this type of destructive onslaught
until others respect her along with allowing her personality
to slowly take shape. What are you waiting for? Love her for
who she is and refer to my latest book Mommy
- CEO (Constantly Evaluating Others), Five Golden Rules, for further tips.
- I'm so happy
to be able to get some advice...I have three beautiful children.
two boys, ages four and six, and a girl, almost three. They are
wonderful, but a handful.
- It's getting
harder and harder to make them each feel special. They all want
to be equal. The same toys, books, amount of milk and cookies
(they measure)...the list goes on. I try to enforce that
they are each special, and not to compare so much (everything
works out in the wash is my attitude), but they are starting
to drive me crazy with fighting over every little thing they
feel is not equal. I don't feel everything has
to be the same for each, but this is hard to teach...
- Any suggestions
would be sincerely appreciated.
- Thank You!!
- Jeanny Cunningham
- A. Dear Jeanny:
you have just entered the wild world upon which every parent
eventually faces: "It's not fair!" Don't despair. some
common rules are listed in my latest book, Mommy
- CEO (Constantly Evaluating Others), Five Golden Rules. Get it and read it
-- and your parenting challenges will become much easier.
- You're right
-- everything doesn't have to be fair, but try to tell that to
the children! LOL. For now, keep situations flowing as smoothly
as possible by following some of these suggestions:
- Speak up yourself:
"The 6-year-old gets to do this or that because he's the
oldest. This is how all parents try to keep things fair. When
you get to be his age, you'll get to do a little more -- just
like your 'big' brother." However, along with this he has
to accept responsibility for being treated a little more grown
up. If he messes up, follow through on natural consequences.
For example: For meals, say, "His tummy holds more because
he's older," -- "I get more French fries because I'm
older." But if the 6-year-old doesn't eat them, then next
time he will get the same as the others. (If you're going to
make a point, try to stick with it.)
- Assign chores.
In reality -- except for the 3-year-old picking up her toys and
a few other simple but very important chores -- they should all
be helping with various things. Make a list and let them check
or mark the chore as it is finished. If children can hear and
see the difference, it's better received as a whole. Don't ever
make any one child seem more special than the others. While older
children might have more privileges, it doesn't mean they're
more special, smarter or better than the others. Try to make
sure they realize "more-of-whatever" is due to age
and responsibilities. If the others see that he does get more
privileges due to his "up keep," they're more likely
to try to be a little more "grown up" themselves. There's
nothing wrong with telling them they're special in different
ways -- this is actually very good for their self-esteem.
- Put their names
on various toys and objects. Try to get them in the habit of
asking the other before they play with a sibling's toy, etc.
This will also help in recognizing each other's names and encourage
respect of the sibling and the property. Write the names using
different colors. Teach colors as you go along (especially for
the younger ones).
- For the younger
children, or any of them -- if it gets too hairy -- distract,
distract, distract! Herd them all over to another area or at
least the two who are arguing and complaining. Get them into
something else and maybe sneak back into the "war zone"
and put away the previous items. If they ask for them, say "You
can play only if you will do so without arguing." If you
know it's not going to work -- this is a bad idea -- then don't
allow play interaction with these items, toys, or objects until
the next day.
- Don't become
too involved in the "blame game." Listen to their ideas
one at a time. Set examples of how a sticky situation can be
handled. Eventually wean yourself from the conflict. Unless physical
or emotional abuse is at hand, try to allow them to solve their
own challenges as much as possible.
- Send them to
their rooms for a "settle down time" if they won't
be quiet. Daily changes and frustrations will happen every day.
Make up some of your own personal rules and guidelines. Moms
usually always know what to do -- it's just sometimes we are
too close to the situation.
- I hope I've
been of some help. For more ideas on parenting, please visit
my web site: www.parenttoparent.com - and best of luck.
- Q. Dear Jodie,
- I have two boys,
Eric will be seven in October and Joe just turned two May 30th.
Eric has always "picked" on Joey, but he also will
jump at any opportunity to love on his brother, which, frankly
doesn't come very often because Joe doesn't trust Eric's motives
and lashes out whenever Eric tries to put his arms around him
or kiss him.
- I have tried
to talk to Eric about this, because he is genuinely hurt when
Joey rejects him, but recently things have gotten worse. Now
I catch Eric just plain being mean to his little brother at any
opportunity he gets, i.e.; whenever we're not looking. He will
snatch his pacifier out of his mouth and throw it across the
yard, or throw a ball right in his face.
- I am so troubled
by this behavior of Eric's, because he is normally a very sweet,
easy-going kid. I have scolded him time and time again, made
him sit on time out or sent him to his room, but all to no avail.
If they are alone in the same space together it's not long before
I hear a wail go up and Eric will not give me a straight answer,
so I've started spying on them so I KNOW what has happened, and
Eric lies about it.
- What effect
is this going to have on Joey? What can my husband and I do to
help them? Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.
I have been searching for information on sibling rivalry, but
none seems to cover this particular age gap.
- Thank you!
- Vickie Chivington
- A. Your older child appears to be jealous
and is trying to get your attention. Nine times out of ten, this
type of behavior is being done to him in either child care, school,
and/or just in the neighborhood. Kids are doing a variety of
things to him to "get his goat." He then retaliates
on 2-year-old. :(
- 1. Role play
with older sibling. Maybe you can figure out why he is acting
this way. Get him to talk about his day and pretend he's someone
he doesn't like too terribly much. When does this take place?
Who is doing it to him?
- 2. If this behavior
is a display of carried over feelings from somewhere else --
you can nip it in the bud by getting information from that child's
parents, teacher, etc., on how best to handle the situation.
(Maybe change of classes, play groups, sites, etc.)
- 3. He may be
jealous because you come to the youngest sibling's aid. When
mean things are being done to him -- no one either knows about
it or is looking the other way; i.e., teacher, other children,
and yes, even us as parents.
- 4. You are describing
a type of bullying -- so this is why I think it may be happening
to him. He wants to be a "bully" too. Sometimes, children
think bullies are "cool" because everyone tries to
be nice to them so they won't get hit! So, he may be trying to
be "cool" in the wrong sense of the word.
- 5. Other options
are: don't ask the oldest to do to many things for the younger
sibling. Kids resist this. Try to make it his idea if you are
trying to get him to help out. For example: "Do you think
Joey should wear the blue shirt or the red one? Pick one out
and let's let him choose his shorts. What a good choice! You
did a good job! Can you bring it to me?" :)
- 6. Remember,
don't label Eric. "Your mean!" Try to compliment him
on times when he is nice to his baby brother. If he does something
you don't like - simply say: "That is unacceptable and it
must stop now. Do you like it when people are mean to you? No,
I didn't think so. Well, Joey doesn't like it either."
- 7. Joey will
survive. But, he may also become dependent on you coming to his
rescue and scream before anything really happens. If you're sure
Eric is the trouble maker, it could be mimicked from a favorite
TV show, video or Nintendo. Supervise what he is watching. Make
sure there's not too much rough play between him and you, dad,
- 8. Not knowing
everything that goes on and when, take what you can from this
and come up with your own plan. I've started taping my responses.
As soon as I hear an argument, I turn on the tape player and
listen to it later. This provides me with an earful of stuff
that I may could have reacted to a little better. I do come to
the smallest ones aid first. They know this and in your case,
the 2-year-old may know just how far to push his big brother.
They're a lot smarter than we give them credit! LOL It will also
help if you try to stay calm (yeah right) -- I know -- it's hard
-- but our response will help to create a monster or a negotiate
- 9. Find ways
to give Eric positive attention. Set him up for several successes
each day. Give him some responsibilities around the house that
you know he will succeed at and reward him by words, points towards
a new legos set, etc. Don't forget: basic bragging to another
mom, relative, friend, etc., lets him see himself in a new role:
"I can be proud of me, myself and I."
- 10. Don't use
Joey's tiredness, sickness, size, etc., or anything else for
an excuse for not allowing your oldest son to be able to do something.
"Joey's too tired to go to the park today - maybe we can
go tomorrow." Always emphasize to Eric, "We may get
to go to the park, zoo, movie, etc. we'll see how things go with
- 11. You may
find further parenting tips in my book, Mommy-CEO. These are the five
golden rules for families to implement at home and even in our
own personal relationships as an adult. It gives tips from real
parents about real challenges. After teaching over 15 years of
parenting classes, these are the ones that came up over and over
again. If you'd rather not buy one -- ask your library to order
a few copies. Good luck!
- 12. BTW: The
age difference is not the barrier -- it happens to any and all
Q. I think it was Jodie
Lynn who gave a talk to our women's business association a year
or so ago about parenting and exercise. Please have her tell
us how to find time to exercise while working and caring for
small children. What
can we do at home to keep up with our health and work when we
have three children under the age of seven? Any helpful tips
would be greatly appreciated for my husband and myself. He runs
-- I don't.
- Thank you!
- --Tired and
worn out in the summer!
- A. Dear Tired and Worn Out for the Summer:
- I almost always
try to include exercising tips into my parenting talks to parents.
They just go together and give us so much more energy! I've taught
aerobics to adults and kids for the past 16 years.......believe
me -- I hear ya!
- Mini breaks
are a good basic plan for this frequently mentioned dilemma.
As long as you can spend up to 18 minutes on a set of movements
-- you're doing your body good. REMEMBER: Always stretch
before and after exercise and try to increase durability on time
every fourth workout. :)
- 1. Make it a
fun time for everyone. Set up a music video for the kids. Let
them exercise with you. Give everyone their own space.
- 2. Let each
child take a turn at being the leader. Even the smallest can
think of something to do -- keep your feet moving at all times.
Even if it's only marching in place until they decide something
to do. Make gentle recommendations and let them implement their
- 3. Exercise
with a tape. There are tapes out for kids to exercise, and you
can pick up the pace (they might too). :)
- 4. Don't get
too serious about exercise while doing it with the children.
If you keep it fun and just keep moving -- everyone will enjoy
it and burn calories as well.
- 5. Go for a
family walk. Take along the stroller for anyone who gets tired
(better safe than sorry). Take along water and/or depending on
the time of day, juice. Remember, juice fills children up. If
it's too close to dinner, you might want to stick with water.
- 6. Go for a
swim. It's worth its weight in gold. Kids taking lessons? Usually
parents can go to the other end of the pool and take a few laps.
If not -- ask if they'll consider it.
- 7. Got a practice
to go to? Unless your child specifically asks you to stick around
-- walk out the door, etc., and keep right on walking or running.
Come back and pick up kids after practice. I notice many times
parents sit and wait on their kids. Use this time as your personal
time to get in a few minutes of exercise at an adult's speed.
- 8. Watching
a TV program? Lift weights while watching TV. Have them in a
handy spot and put them back in the same spot. (Tell the kids
they are "off limits" to them.) You can sit or stand
to lift hand or free weights. Ask your doctor before adding leg
weights to any work out. Never lock out knees or arms. Try to
always keep slightly bent. Begin with light weights and a few
repetitions and then build up.
- 9. Stretch your
legs and arms while sitting at your desk. Rotate your head from
front and side to side (avoid titling back).
- 10. Stand up
and place hands on hips and lean back. Hold this position until
the count of ten. Build up as time allows.
- 11. Make time
for yourself to exercise. Ask husband, relative, neighbor or
friend to trade off certain days to watch each other's kids.
- 12. Can't find
a "trade off deal?" Hire a neighborhood middle school
aged baby-sitter to watch kids while you run and/or walk around
the block a few times and/or simply go into another room and
turn up the music and dance away. This will only enhance your
attitude during work hours and your self-esteem will blossom.
Don't feel guilty. Just do it and you'll be glad you did. Stick
with the golden rule: If momma's happy -- usually everyone else
will be too! :)
Q. Hello! I am a "Stay
Home" mom during the day and I work in the evening. I have
a 2 1/2 yr old daughter and a 1 yr old daughter.
- Could you please
send me some type of schedule or daily activity lists so I may
get a routine down for myself and my girls? Most of the time
I let them entertain each other as I do laundry, clean the house,
breakfast lunch etc.... but then I feel so guilty because I am
not interacting with them but through my children I was not taught
or had that relationship with my own mom so tell me how I can
gain the bond and closeness of everyday actitivies so I may enjoy
every precious moment with them.
- Often I sit
and think what is there today?? Please Help!! Thank you so much.
- Letting your
children play with each other is really nothing to feel guilty
about. They will learn a lot from each other. But, as usual,
guilt rules! Here are a few thoughts, and please let me know
if they help:
- 1. Try to get
a copy of my latest book, Mommy-CEO at your very earliest
convenience. My entire book is based on running your household
smoothly and the five golden rules can assure you family success
-- and much deserved happiness.
- 2. Try to do
most of your chores at night when they are asleep.
- 3. Their attention
span isn't very long at this young age. Play a game for a while
and move on to something else.
- 4. Change their
toys every three months. Pack up the ones they seem to be tired
of and bring out new ones. Don't fret over money. Buy quality
toys at garage and yard sales. Wash them up and let them play
with them. At the end of three months, bring out the old ones
and pack these away. Children get so excited to see the "packed
away" toys and often times feel like they're new all over
- 5. Pay attention
to age appropriate toys, books, etc. This will eliminate many
frustrating and overwhelming feelings for children...and parents.
- 6. Make a daily
calendar with activities repeated on certain days. Children love
structure at this age -- but not too much. If something isn't
working out for that day, have a back up plan.
- 7. Check out
my web site: www.parenttoparent.com and click on the childcare
provider link. This is why I like it so much...all parents and
care givers are childcare providers and this site give loads
of tips on many activities.
- 8. Sing with
your children. This is a type of play, and you may even be able
to get them to let you do a few chores while singing. :)
- 9. March. March
in place and to where you need to do a chore! They love to march
and sing -- my book says so! LOL
- 10. As they
get a little older, things will change and so will their attention
span and need for constant care. This is the main reason to give
them your love and attention now: to build a foundation for their
self-confidence to bloom. In other words, they will be less whiny
and clingy later if you interact with them now. :)
- Good luck, and
remember -- parenting is tough -- but don't forget the humor.
Smile -- it burns up a few more calories than frowning and makes
you look and feel really good! Don't feel like smiling? Then
put on some music and dance with the kids! I guarantee you'll
feel like smiling and so will they!
- Best of luck,
Q. Hi! I am a new mom (I have a 14 month
old son) and am working full time as a secretary. I know other
moms who do the same type of work I do from their homes! How
do I find out information on starting a home secretarial service
and even more important, how do I make connections with other
moms that have done it and will provide support to me as I make
- Thank you for
- Julie Doney
- A. Dear Julie:
- In starting
up any business, things take time. Unless you can survive without
your salary for up to six months or so, don't quit your present
- The good news
is that making professional connections for your home business
is easier today than ever before because so many more people
are working at home. The first thing to do is to have some business
cards printed up with your name and title (i.e., "Professional
Typist," "Executive Assistant," etc. should be
sufficient for now -- later on you can get more creative with
your title). You will want to include your home phone as well
as your e-mail address on the card, plus a tag line about your
business and/or select services you plan to offer.
- Next, begin
the networking process by joining a professional secretarial
club and/or organization. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce
and tell them you are looking for such a club or association.
Visit several to see which one you like the best. For each one
you attend there will be as many as 20 or more women -- or as
few as 6 to 8. Hand out your cards to everyone you meet!
- Another option
is to ask around for your friend's recommendations. Even if they
don't belong, someone they know may have a listing of local associations.
Be brave and ask questions during meetings. This is the only
way you will learn about what other women are doing. You will
most likely find out there will be several who have started a
similar business. After talking with people about your idea,
and if you decide to go ahead and pursue it, keep in close contact
- Personal and
professional contacts are very much needed when you work at home.
It can get lonely and you will need to get out. The support you
will receive from others who are engaging in similar careers
will not only be helpful to you from a business standpoint, but
will also prove helpful in keeping your sanity. All of a sudden
you are now home -- all the time. You will become aware
of everything that goes on in your home. The laundry, dustmites,
dogs, children and dishes will constantly be calling your name!
Keep those contacts as your friends and your "escape"
to sanity. :)
- In addition,
this is where some of your best networking will come from. Talk
about what it is you do with everyone you meet. Your marketing
strategies will make or break the success of your business. By
telling others what you do, it gives them the opportunity to
say, "My boss is looking for someone to help him re-type
his entire 'House Repair' file system," or "I have
a friend who could really use someone like you -- here's his
number." You will never know where you can connect with
a new client unless you tell folks what you do!
- Finally, feel
free to use the discussion
right here at The Entrepreneurial Parent. Use it to hook
up with other parents of small children and share tips and resources
with them on your own.
- Good luck!
- Q. I'm about to become a father in 4 weeks.
Until now I've been so worried about my job that I've missed
out on learning about fatherhood...Can you send me / refer me
to books etc.. where I can 'catch-up' on the basics regarding
what I need to be careful of in the first year of a baby's life?
Your help is appreciated.
- A. Dear Sunil:
- Run, don't walk,
to the bookstore and buy these books: The
First Twelve Months Of Life, by Frank and Theresa Caplan, (they
have plenty that follow as well), Your
Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five, by Dr. Penelope Leach, and last but
not least, as the baby gets growing towards age two, my personal
- CEO (Constantly Evaluating Others), Five Golden Rules by Jodie Lynn. Although
the title has the word "Mommy," many men have piped
up their two-cents worth throughout the book as well. In fact,
a male doctor and male professor both wrote book reviews on Mommy
- CEO in Amazon.com. Please feel free to read them.
- Since you will
soon be a "newborn Dad," I just one to point out one
important safety tip you should know about. Support the baby's
head when holding him/her well up into the fourth month. Many
babies will have strong neck muscles by the time they are 3 months
old and many parents take this as a sign to stop supporting their
neck. This has proven to be an almost fatal catastrophe in some
cases. As they are holding the baby in an upright position, the
baby's head will jerk and fall backwards causing the baby to
tilt his entire body. This can harm the baby's neck, back and
scare the both of you. The head is the heaviest part of the human
body and it's extremely heavy for small infants. Just be careful
and watch this when holding your 3-4 month old in an upright
- And also remember
this: As you read books with charts, and as you compare your
baby with them, don't take them word for word. Some children
are a little behind and some are a little ahead. If there are
no medical or health problems, most children will catch up. Even
if there are any complications, many will catch up anyway. My
last child was born almost six weeks early and had to have a
blood transfusion! He was a very long baby but his lungs were
severely underdeveloped. He was in the Neonatal Intensive Care
Unit for several weeks. We were told he may have all kinds of
handicaps. Today, he is a very bright and skillful kid without
any lasting effects. :-) What's this prove? Children can overcome
almost any adversity and still come out a winner as long as parents
never give up hope and treat them the way you want to be treated.
- Good luck and
congratulations -- everything will turn out well!
- Q. I just found out I'm pregnant with twins and yes,
basically alone. I work as a bartender and manager of a bar/restaurant
and I know with the special needs of this pregnancy, I'm doomed
to bed rest sooner or later.
- I need to know
where I can possibly start to look for a job working at home
either on phone but I prefer on the computer (it's bound to get
noisy here). This is my only concern and I don't care if I work
for myself or for a company. Do you know where I could look for
- I am petrified.
- I live in Arizona
but thought I could find work with a company for research or
anything. Is there anything out there?
- A. There's a nationwide organization called
"Displaced Homemakers" that you should know
about. They specialize in helping homemakers who are suddenly
forced into the workforce by divorce, widowhood, or spousal disability
to develop skills that will help them find employment. While
it's not clear whether you are presently a "displaced homemaker,"
it's certainly worth your contacting them to see if they can
be of help.
- The contact
we have is a chapter in N.Y.S, but you can write to them to find
one closer to you. Send a letter to: Displaced Homemaker Program,
PO Box 1319, Smithtown, NY 11787-0895; or fax it to (516) 853-6510.
in today's world good workers are hard to find. And there's nothing
like the responsibility of children to make an urgent wake-up
call to reality.
- Depending on
your situation, you probably already have many skills you can
utilize. Your "people skills" will be a very positive
trait in whatever you do. There are many telemarketing companies
who probably would be very interested in you. Although your house
will get noisy on occasions, a separate room for a couple of
hours stretch at a time would probably allow you to get plenty
of work done on the phone. Check the local papers for these types
of positions and always mention your managerial skills as they
are always in need of good managers. Also, call the bigger companies
in your area. Ask if they have any "hire to work at home"
programs available. Don't forget to ask for the length of the
assignments and if you could stay on as a regular. Tell everyone
you meet what you are thinking of doing.
- Begin to network
now by trying to find and join a moms of twins club. Who knows,
some of them probably are doing exactly what you want to do and
could be a big help. Believe me, you will need these moms not
only for their friendships, but for lots of hands on "tried
and true" remedies for parenting tips as well. Everything
will work out -- just try to have patience.
- Good luck to
- Q. I am a mother of three children, 2 boys
and a little girl. They are very hungry for attention. My youngest
is 3 1/2 and has been in day care since
September 8, this year. My boys are in 2nd and 7th grades.
- I have been
at home for the past three years, and while I am doing the best
I can, I do not feel like a very successful at home mom. I put
my daughter in day care so that I could get myself ready to go
back to work. I feel that I really need it, but
at the same time I'm not so sure that it will work. Daycare costs
$552.00 a month just for my daughter, and I cannot give the responsibility
to my 12 year old to watch his 7 year old brother, he would kill
him. They fight a lot. It seems like every week either one of
them is sick and needs to stay home or I have to take one to
the doctors, dentist, orthodontist, optometrist. There is always
a reason that I am needed at home. My father is retired, but
he does not want to be tied down so he is not able to be help
that I can count on, and my husband is not free to help much
either. I am very frustrated. I not only need a job to make myself
feel better, we desperately need the money. I have looked into
some homework opportunities but most seem to be scams.
- Please, if you
have any helpful advice on what I can do to become a happier,
more productive mom, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you so much,
- A. Dear Debbie:
More and more parents are trying to work out of their home. I
will be the first to admit, it isn't easy, especially with children.
You're a lot smarter and a much more productive mom than you
think. For starters, you have the ability to understand that
the fights between your sons are very real and unhealthy. It
not only upsets them, especially the younger one, but will eat
away at the whole family. Also, you have already stated why it
is important for you to at least stay at home if possible --
for the well-being of your children. Another reason you mentioned
is the rising cost of child care. It is staggering to most household
budgets -- and by the time you add the cost of doctor visits
and prescriptions -- it's out of reach for most people. It seems
as though every time you feel as if you are getting ahead, someone
gets sick and zaps the old pocket book and you get behind again.
There are many opportunities for you to work at home. One of
the best resources is the book, Finding
Your Perfect Work: The New Career Guide to Making a Living, Creating
and Sarah Edwards.
Read it and keep an open mind about your abilities.
- As you get your
home career off the ground, here are some guidelines to think
1. While the kids are in school, begin your work as soon as
everyone is out of the house. You might try to find a sitter
for less money than you are currently paying to come to your
house during the day to watch your daughter. College students
are usually willing to do this at least 3 to 4 times a week as
well as some retired people. Check their backgrounds carefully
and call references.
2. Post "Help Wanted" cards at Churches, Christian
Colleges and at the YMCA or YWCA. For the college students,
specifically ask for the early childhood developmental Majors.
These will be the students who will have the most knowledge of
your younger children and will be learning new material all the
3. Don't answer the phone -- let it take a message.
Have a specific time you check them. Unless it is an emergency,
return only those pertaining to your work. You might want to
get an answering machine where you can screen the caller by listening
to the beginning of the message to hear who it is -- and then
decide to pick up.
4. When the kids come home, you must stop working. It
is almost impossible to continue to work when the children are
first getting home. They usually want to see you and let off
some steam. Some days it will be good steam and some days it
will be bad. Don't worry about it. Once you begin to work at
home -- it will take adjustment periods on everyone's part (including
5. Change is hard on almost everyone. Many times you will
feel lost. Don't let anyone kid you. Don't look at the time spent
calming your home and kids as missed work! It will drive you
nuts! This time is just as importan a step to your success as
anything else -- and time spent very wisely. As you become more
comfortable in what you are doing, so will the children. If your
mind is wandering, they will do anything to get your attention.
With your new-found confidence and spending more time with them,
they will soon grow to learn they don't have to have your attention
every second. Try to focus as much as possible on your career
while they are not home. After everyone is asleep, you might
be able to do a little work on the computer or paper work.
6. Get organized -- let the kids help. Don't be
afraid to delegate. Just because you're home doesn't mean others
can't help. Don't let them make you feel guilty. We recently
moved and my office looks like a tornado hit it! It's driving
me bananas! I told my family, "Look, this is my space so
please stay out. If you come in, you must have at least one suggestion
on how I can get it organized." It's worked pretty well.
My 7th grader has had suggestions and the others have put in
their two-cents worth as well. Have your oldest come in by himself.
Ask his opinion on something -- anything -- and then use it.
As soon as he sees you value his suggestions, he will have a
little lift in self-esteem ("What, an adult asking me for
help?") This won't happen over night, but you will see a
change sooner than you think. Then ask the seconded grader to
come in by himself and give a suggestion. Believe it or not,
he will eventually have some good tips. Second grade teachers
are constantly teaching their students how to get organized.
You can set up a question with a successful plot already in mind
for him. For example, "Do you think it would be a good idea
for me to put all my pencils and pens in a cup? This may help
me to keep up with them better. How about you choosing one for
me?" Go with him to the kitchen and let him select one --
or set out two or three for him to make his choice from. Tell
him he made a good selection (don't be afraid to use big words)
and it was a great suggestion. Even the three-year-old could
do something similar. Just make sure they come in "alone"
and have your entire attention during the suggestion period.
7. Never underestimate your personal goals. Not everyone
starts out big! Success comes slow for many of us, especially
with children. Just look at it this way, do you value a better
home life with more settled children, or a get rich scheme that
never works? Set small personal goals instead of looking at the
whole picture. Write them down. As you get to each one, cross
it off with a big smile on your face. Good luck and don't forget
to take mini breaks throughout life (even if it's only whistling
while you work!) Hey, I know it sounds silly -- but it works! : )
- Q. Do you feel that
it is valuable to teens if their mother stays at home? I strongly
believe in preschooler moms staying home...but what about older
- A. Dear Mary:
- I wish I had
the correct answer every time a parent asked me this very question.
Again, in a dilemma like this, you have to take a look at your
own individual child and situation. Without knowing too much
about your child, I will give you the message I usually get from
most parents and teens who have gone through this.
- Many teenagers
need parents -- or at least one parent -- to be home when they
get there. Although they have big bodies and think they know
it all, they are still very much in need of parental supervision.
In fact, by being home when they arrive, you not only can supervise
kids who come into your house, but who and what they are involved
in. Teens have a tendency to migrate to the house without parents
after school and other activities. This will leave your door
open for any and all friends of your teen (and some who may not
be their friends but just want a place to hang out).
- When a group
of teens begin to hang out for the sake of not going home themselves,
without adults around, it can sometimes turn ugly. One of them
may smoke or eventually introduce other drugs and you may not
find out until it's too late. Your teen may not want to take
part in this, but feel it's a must due to peer pressure. This
is pretty much in the middle -- it's a scenario that's not too
far to the left or right. Keep in mind, with teenagers, it could
go either way. Teens have told me before that it's nice to have
someone at home so they don't have to be pressured to go with
the flow and do things that may be uncomfortable for them. They
may not admit it, but the presence of an adult allows them a
way out of any uncomfortable situation, i.e., "Oh, I can't
-- my mom is home."
- With all of
today's easy access to so many threatening environments for our
teens, I personally think you should try to at least be at home
not too much after they get there. There's plenty of jobs which
will offer you this flexibility and if not, look for one at least
six months before your teen hits the 7th or 8th grade. This is
usually the time when they are really trying to fit into the
"click" or at least establish a group of their own.
- Good luck and
remember, you can say NO! to your teen.
- Q. Dear Jodie:
I was reading through your profile on the EP
and was extremely impressed with the comments under the phrase
"degree." I feel that I have the hardest, most rewarding
job in the world, being a full-time mom to my 2 month old son.
Through my current search to find my niche in the career world,
I have come to the realization that the two degrees I hold, an
A.S. in Early Childhood Ed., and a B.S. in Psychology, have only
provided me with a broad range of abilities. The skills and knowledge
I am receiving as a mommy are far more educational. My struggle
now is on how to help my family grow financially, without disrupting
the foundation we are building. My interests and talents are
only as limited as I allow them to be. If you have any suggestions
for a work at home business, please take a moment to respond.
I greatly appreciate your time.
- Thank You,
- A. Hi - Thanks for
the belief in children. You are providing a wonderful opportunity
to your family by giving your personal time and concern to them.
I really think many readers will appreciate your question and
SOLID beliefs. We all want to be successful and make worthwhile
contributions to our family as well. Many times we feel staying
at home isn't enough. BELIEVE ME - it is!
- With your son
being so young you may be limited for a while -- or if you're
lucky and he is a good sleeper -- you might get a lot done. Here
are some home business ideas for new moms:
- 1. Tutoring: parents pay good money
for this. I did it several years ago (maybe around 9) and it
was $8.00 an hour then. Reading and math are still the best areas
to go with. You set the age limit you'll accept -- but many adults
pay to increase their skills as well. This is a very lucrative
career and the sky is truly the limit! :)
- 2. Clipping
Yes, it can get messy but people are prepared to pay as much
as $35.00 each pet to get them clipped and bathed by a caring
individual. You can set up guidelines as to which breeds you
will accept, price and time.
- 3. Pet sitting.
reason, folks just seem to be more at ease if they can leave
their pets at someone's house as opposed to a kennel. If you
kept one or two pets for a week at a time -- you could charge
as much as $20.00 each day.
- 4. Child
If you are a caring individual who loves kids, it's usually easy
to get a license for an in-home facility. You can set the time
and number of children. With your degrees, parents would love
you to take care of their children. If you set up an arrangement
for only two or three, this could be income up to $100.00 per
child. They could be great help with entertaining the baby. Children
love babies and vice versa.
- 5. Nanny
have a friend who is a nanny for a family of four and she takes
her two children along. She doesn't live at their house but is
there from 7:00 till 7:00 and she loves it!!!!!! She is paid
an awesome salary (including benefits).
- 6. In home
Lots of professionals need extra hands in the typing end of their
business. You can pick up the work and/or have it sent to your
home. Going prices for your expertise are quite high. You may
have to do a little cold calling -- so what! Ask family and friends
of reputable companies and give them a call. Ask for the office
supervisor. Many times friends will be able to provide a name
of someone who works there. Call them first and ask what's going
on and if they are in need of an in-home typist.
- 7. Create
The next time you're at a doctor's office -- or anywhere -- and
you see something that could become better (and you can do it
at home -- or take the baby with you) to help their business
-- talk to them about it. For example: one time my dentist couldn't
find my chart, I asked how they kept the folders filed -- he
said just by the alphabet. I asked if he would like for me to
take the folders home on the weekend and color code them by applying
color labels to each folder by zip code. He liked the idea and
asked for other suggestions as well. Create a need! :)
- Good luck and
remember, don't be afraid to ask for what you want -- they can
only say "No" -- but who knows -- they may say "Yes!"
- Q. My problem is potty training
a 3-year-old who doesn't want to. It's hard because he apparently
doesn't want me to do my work and will decide to go to the potty
when I'm on the phone. I feel very isolated and need immediate
- Why can't my
husband help? William doesn't want him to? Why is this? Can only
mommies do this?
- A. Dear mom of 3-year-old
who has you over a barrel:
- It's true my
friend, I think this young man has your number. All kids, not
just little William, will demand attention when parents are on
the phone, and in this case, he's found out how to pull your
strings even more during conversations. Let me suggest a few
things, and please remember, these are only guidelines:
- 1. Try to take
off of work for at least one week to potty train your child.
This should be the only thing you focus on. If your mind is somewhere
else -- he will know it. Children are very smart. It's maddening
to take off one week from work and spend it on "potty training,"
but, if time is spent on this now, the end result will save more
time and much frustration for everyone.
- 2. If you are
getting no where, it's time to accept that it's just not going
to happen right now, and/or the one last attempt is to get Dad
to try his hand at it.
- 3. Sometimes,
summer is a little easier for potty training. Many parents let
their children run around in a swimsuit and/or training pants.
A potty is kept outside. If an accident happens, they can be
easily sprayed off with the hose.
- 4. Regardless
if it's summer or whenever, try to make it fun. Don't get upset
and please don't stick labels on children: "slow,"
"goofy," "stupid," "baby," "dumb,"
etc. This can set them up for a lifetime of low self esteem resulting
in repeated failures.
- 5. Try rewards.
Make an at home calendar just for him. Keep the spaces large
enough for him to place a sticker each time he attempts a potty
trip. Keep special stickers put away just for successful potty
trips. Put photographs on the calendar of him with his "big
boy" pants on. Let him help decorate it as well.
- 6. Clap, holler
and yell with delight each time he goes to the potty. Some parents
have even made up little songs. Even when you feel like screaming
- keep a smile on your face and your tone of voice pleasant :)
- 7. Always look
at what's gong in his life and use this as a guideline towards
potty training. Things that may throw you a curve ball (which
could prevent him from being totally potty trained) could be:
death in the family, a recent move, a new baby, new job for mom
or dad, a change in preschools and/or teachers, death of a pet,
- 8. If all else
fails, give it up for now and try again later. I know, I know
-- you've heard this before -- but this too shall pass.
- Take care and
don't go bonkers over this. :)
Q. I have a new part-time
Home Business. I have 2 small children and I'm having a hard
time making the phone calls I need uninterupted. Any Ideas?
A. Dear Wendy:
- Because I have
a national parenting column, (Parent to Parent), I hear
this almost as many times a day as the question, "What's
the best way to get my baby off of the bottle?" :-) But,
I also know it's a common problem for all parents. Try to get
a hold of a copy of my book, Mommy
- CEO (Constantly Evaluating Others), Five Golden Rules to help with all kinds
of parenting challenges. (Sounds like an advertisement -- but
- I really believe in this book because I know it's helped thousands
of parents just like yourself.) :)
- Here's some
tips from other parents (and me) that you might find helpful
(Note: this is one of my Parent to Parent columns
currently running in newspapers across the country!):
- Q. My
office is in my home, and I can't seem to get anything done with
my kids always asking questions. How do other parents handle
- It worked
- -- I have become
much more organized, which includes working feverishly late at
night and early in the morning when my 2-year-old is asleep.
As you've found out, when children are awake, your time is their
time. - Will Nowell of Nashville, Tenn.
- -- Get organized
and set a timer. Try to get them to not bother you while it is
their "play" time and your "work" time. Give
them a "Fun Box" containing spray can tops, tissue,
paper towel rolls, Scotch tape, plastic bottles, ribbon and other
things, and let them make you a surprise. Promise not to look
until the timer goes off. Give lots of praise for sticking to
the schedule. Reset timer, change play toys and go back to work.
-- Carmel Redmon of Louisville, Ky.
- Here are
a few backup remedies:
- From Lisa
Roberts, author of How
to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide
to Home Business:
- -- If your children
are 5 years old and up, hold a meeting about the dilemma. If
your children are under 5, they probably will need a baby sitter
when you're working in your office.
- At the meeting,
state the problem. For example, "It feels like whenever
I start getting some work done in the office, one of you comes
in with a question. This interrupts my thoughts and makes me
stay longer in the office to get my work done." Vote on
- -- Set up clear
business hours. Be realistic about how much time your children
really can stay on their own while you're in the office.
- -- Get your
children to create a sign for your office door. On one side,
the sign says, "Mommy/Daddy at work." On the other
side, it says, "Mommy/Daddy at play." When you have
work that won't get done if you're interrupted, make sure the
"at work" side is showing; when you're attending to
some light business tasks, flip to the "at play" side.
Make sure you're "at play" at least some of the time,
or this won't work!
- -- Propose a
reward-consequence system. Every half-hour you get in your office
that's uninterrupted, the kids get a smiley face. Every time
they come in and ask a question (that's not an emergency), they
get a frown. After 10 smileys, they get some kind of treat. After
10 frowns, they get an extra house chore.
- From Jodie: To keep the cost of baby-sitting down,
think about hiring a college student to watch your children at
least three to four hours every other day. Call a local college
and ask the child-development professor to recommend students.
- Maybe you can
develop a baby sitter co-op between you and a friend. Set up
the rules in the beginning so no misunderstandings develop. Make
sure you are available to baby-sit your co-op partner's children