Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Surving being the "Mean Mom"

     My daughter is 8 going on 16.   She is full of rebellion, attitude, crazy emotions, and everything else that makes up a teenager...but she is 8!   I have gotten used to the "I hate you!" that seems to come out of her mouth at least once a week.  I know she is upset and venting and she will soon get over it.   But I wasn't prepared for what she said today.  "You hate us!" Maybe she realized she wasn't getting the response she wanted before so she thought she would try someting different.   Aftr an insane morning trying to get everyone ready and out the door and running late.  I told the children to watch for the bus as I finished writing their school notes.  When I noticed they were playing instead of watching, I told them if they miss the bus and I have to take them to school I am not picking them up.  As I go to hand them their notes my daughter is playing with her newest art creation, and my son turned around....and there goes the bus who doesn't even stop and give us a chance to make it to the door.  
   Typically we are not so bad in the morning, I have the routine down and the kids are outside plenty of time before the bus comes.  I told the children to give me their pickup notes, they will be riding the bus home.  Then starts the fit throwing and the blame game.  The whole way to school they are crying and asking to be pick-ups.  That's when she says it, "You hate us!"  How heart-breaking is it to hear that your child thinks you hate them?  Of course the easy thing to do would be to give in and say I will pick them up from school.   But no they have to learn this lesson.   I told her I do not hate them, they were given the warning to watch for the bus and chose to ignore it so this was the result of their choice.
    This isn't the first time and it won't be the last where I have to be the unpopular one, be the bad guy.  In fact when they get home and have to do their homework before playing outside we will have the same argument all over again.  I keep saying to myself you will thank me later, though I doubt that will ever happen.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Making Work at Home Work

     I have worked from home numerous times over the past 9 years as a stay at home mom. But everytime it failed, it is hard to focus with kids screaming, baby crying, or just the constand demand for attention. Thats not counting the laundry and dishes that always seem to be calling my name. I would fall behind in my deadlines, be on a conference call when a kid would wake up from his nap, or just in general feel guilty that I am neglecting my family.

     So I went back to work outside the home, with only one child not in school full-time I thought it was doable. Then kids get sick, activities come up, childcare falls through, and a million things happen and then you look and Summer Vacation is almost here, now what? When childcare is going to be more than you income it doesn't work.

     As much as I wish we could live on a single income, cutting back and saving money can only go so far. Living paycheck to paycheck isn't enough when an emergency comes up. Now I have to look at working from home again. But this time it's different. Here are what I learned I need to do to make it work:
  1. Work as an employee for a Company.  There really are legit companies that are hiring work from home employees.  Always check a company out with the Better Business Bureau and never pay an upfront fee for "placement services".  Some Companies may require and equipment fee or require you to pay for a background check, always check a company out before paying any money.    Working as an employee gives you a set schedule you have to commit to follow, it makes it easier to stick to.
  2. Set up an office.  No a computer in the bedroom or dining room is not a home office.  Your office should be seperate from the main living area or the childrens play area.  Background noise must be the same as in a traditional office, road noise, children, and dogs barking are not acceptable when you are on call with a client or customer.
  3. This has to be a family decision, your spouse must be 100% on board with this and be willing to pick up extra duties.
  4. Work opposite schedule of your spouse or hire a baby sitter.  Yes hiring a baby sitter does seem to defeat the purpose of working from home.  But there must be someone to supervise the kids (and keep them away from your office while working).  Hiring a part-time babysitter to watch multiple kids is usually cheaper than paying for daycare and you have the peace of mind knowing you are right there if there is an emergency. 
  5. Have set working hours and stick to them!  Don't allow yourself an extra hour working when you should be spending time with your family, and don't decide that you would rather go to the park then work in your office.  You have to be disciplined and stick to the schedule.
  6. Dress for work, don't enter your office in your pajamas, be dressed to the shoes.  Looking professional will help you be professional.  It also helps you and our family understand that you are working, just as if you were going ot an office outside the home.  
  7. Most of all remember why you are doing it!
If you think that you can follow all of these guidelines then check out some of the work from home companies I recommend below:
     Home based telephone agents.  Requires updated computer, headset, and other client based requests.  May requore a fee for background check.

   Similar to Alpine Access

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yea it's a plug :-)

Want something to really get your kids interested in Music? A DCI show is thrilling, exciting, and really gives a new dimension to "Marching Bands". Check it out at your local theatre!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Free Photo Book with any purchase from Mixbook

     Perfect for Mothers Day and teacher's gift!  Get a free photo book with any purchase (prices start as low as $6.99).   Take those precious photos and make them last forever.  Just upload your photos and start creating! You can choose from beautiful pre-made templates or personalize your photo book by making your own template  
  The books are fully customizable.  Just upload your photos and start creating! You can choose from beautiful pre-made templates or personalize your photo book by making your own template. Click the linkbelow and put in code BK4Free at checkout!

Join Mixbook and receive a FREE photo book

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recession Family Vacations

     Like most everyone we are cutting back on everything, eating out, entertainmnet, luxeries and even what we considered necessities.   I feel fortunate and hopeful that things are improving, financially our family actually seems to better than ever before, but that's not saying too much.  We still know not to take anything for granted, we try to put a little in savings whenever we can and pray for nothing devestating to happen to put us back at square one.
    But that doesn't mean we can't splurge a little, the trick is making a little treat go a long way.  Over spring break we are taking a mini vacation.  Spending two days in Indianapolis.    Our budget is approximatly $100, including hotel, food, and attractions for  family of 5. 
   First off let's get the $100 to spend.  Cut out the pizza place that we went to once a week and opt for making your own at home savings $20 and add in quality family time.  Savings over 5 week is $100.   . 
      Next the hotel, my husband travels for work so he racks up reward points, but we have also asked family to let us use their points if we know that won't be using them and I also have used Mystery Shopping with companies (such as http://www.freemangroupsolutions.com/) to get reimbursed Hotel Nights as well.  Just carefully read the insturctions to see if you are allowed to bring other people and how many, also note that you should allow up to 8 weeks to be reimbursed.  Because we are using reward points, our hotel this trip is no cost.  
      Our next largest expense is typically food. Breakfast is easy, free at the hotel.  I have Entertainment book buy one get one free coupons that cut the host in half if we stop within it's area on the way down or back.  Right now save 80% on http://www.restaurant.com/ with the code "Chow" (minus quotes).  I have purchased $85 worth of Indy restauraunt certificates for $7.20.  The total required minimum purchase is $140- $85 in certificates equals $55 for two dinners and 2 lunches. Total cost is $62.20
    Finally attractions, we are going to the Indianapolis Childrens Museum and the Conner Prairie outdoor pioneer village.  Each of these have a community outreach program, because the children qualify for Hoosier Healthwise each memeber of the family gets in to each park for $1 a person, total cost for two days of activites.. $10!   When it comes to extra goodies, souviners ect... the kids have had ample time to earn some spending money of their own by doing extra chores around the house. 
   So right now our budget is at $72.20, adding the gas will put us right at $100.  

Monday, April 5, 2010

Teach your kids to make good choices

I was recently looking through a blog post entitled, "Should Toys be banned from Happy Meals?" I wonder if the writer of this post is related to the person who tried to sue McDonalds for making them overweight. Seriously? I applaud McDonalds for encouraging children to make good choices by showing more commercials showing milk and apples with their happy meals. I am a busy mom, (show me a mom who is not busy). I fall to the rut of just running through a drive through to pick up lunch or dinner all to often. Okay I admit, I am a horrible cook and we probably eat out more than we eat in. Does that mean that my children are inactive and overweight?
No, I am conscious as to what we get when we eat out. Typically the children get some kinds of kids meal and I give them the option of what they get. We talk about healthy choices constantly. And sometimes the kids choose fruit and milk, sometimes fries and milk,and occasionally fries and a Sprite, and even sometimes a salad with no dressing. They know what the best choice is but they also know that sometimes it's okay to choose something less healthy once in awhile. They do not have to be afraid of calories, or fat, or even have to understand what they are. They are in control of what they eat just by education at home.
At home we try to always have more healthy options available and limited junk food, this way they have more opportunity to eat right but have the option to have a special treat when they feel they need it. I keep the junk food higher up out of their direct eyesight, so if they go digging in the fridge or cupboards just because they are bored and hungry they will see the healthy options first. The junk food is not locked away or really hidden, but just out of sight out of mind. By making the junk food less accessible but not forbidden you are taking away the temptation of them wanting something they are not supposed to have.
What happens if you completely shelter your kids from junk food and treat it like something that is not allowed, when the child gets older and more independent and they discover this world of convienience and sugar and empty calories that was kept from them. Instead by teaching the children it is okay in moderation, they learn to make a responsible choice because they want to not because they were forced to.