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Parenting

Can You Stay Home?

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One of the first things you have to figure out when you realize that you want to stay home with your kids is whether or not you can afford to do so. You are probably used to living on two incomes, so making the switch to a single income may not be easy. However, it may not be as hard as you think.
If you have children already, the first thing that goes away when you decide to stay at home is the cost of daycare. However, if you work at home, part of that cost may remain, unless your work is such that you can keep the children home with you. Take a look at how much of your income right now is going to daycare. That cost alone may prove to you that you don’t need a high-paying work at home job to stay home – a simpler one may suffice.
There are several other costs that will drop if you stay at home. You’ll be in a different tax bracket. You’ll probably drive less, eat out less often and you won’t need clothes for work, which can save both on shopping and on dry cleaning bills.
When you’re figuring out how much it costs you to work outside the home, don’t assume that becoming a stay at home or work at home parent will cause you to stop eating out. You will have those days where you decide to take the kids out, more likely than not.
One thing many parents forget to think about when they decide to stay at home is to handle retirement planning. Now, if you’re just staying home for a year or two, it’s probably not a big deal, but if you plan on staying home for many years, this can be a huge impact on you when you do retire. You may not have the finances to fund your retirement account well when your family is living on only one income, but you should try to do at least a little. See my article on retirement planning for stay at home parents for more information.
Use this information to figure out what you will need to earn while staying at home. Some will be fine as a single income family, but others will need the stay at home parent to earn some kind of income. Ideally, this will be a relatively small amount, as the whole point of having a stay at home parent is to have more time with the kids and benefit them, not maintain a freely spending lifestyle. However, if a single income isn’t enough, a work at home job or home business will likely become necessary.
Figure out how much income will be necessary and how much risk you are willing to take. Work at home jobs are harder to come by, but home businesses are by their nature riskier, and it may take a few years to earn an adequate income from a business. Plan accordingly, and know that you might not be able to live your preferred lifestyle right away.
Fortunately, by the time you take out the costs of working outside the home, you will likely find you don’t need to earn what you used to. Half or even less of your previous income may be quite adequate. It may require sacrifice, but that’s what being a parent is about.

Author Bio
Stephanie Foster is the owner of Home with the Kids, a resource for stay at home parents.

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Parenting

8 Tips to Save Money on Groceries

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The average family’s grocery bill is usually one of the higher numbers on the family budget. There can be an enormous difference in what each family spends on their groceries, depending on many factors, such as whether they buy organic, kosher, Gluten free, more meat, etc.

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The good news is that this allows for a large amount of savings if we decide to be frugal with our shopping. Following a few simple tips will have you well on your way to saving a few bucks.

1.) Make a meal plan. You’ll know exactly what you need from the store before you go.

2.) Watch for specials and coupons in store newsletters, and plan your meals around them.

3.) Make a list and stick to it. If it’s not on the list, don’t buy it.

4.) Don’t shop when you’re hungry. That way you won’t be tempted to buy things that you don’t need.

5.) Shop alone. Count on your bill being higher when you bring your spouse or children.

6.) Only buy things you know you’ll use. For example, if your family doesn’t like broccoli, don’t buy broccoli in the hopes that they’ll eat healthier this week.

7.) Keep your eyes on the items on the bottom shelf where the prices are lower.

8.) Buy store brands when the quality is the same. Most of the time, it actually is the same product in a different package.

It’s pretty easy to be frugal once you realize how much money you’re actually saving with these simple steps. Keep a log of your grocery bills, so you can see how much of a difference you are making.

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Brand new movies are great! It’s so much fun standing in line at the theater, breathing in the buttery popcorn smell, giddy with anticipation when a new movie is released.

My children love watching the latest and greatest movies, but I just grin when I hear my children singing the songs I used to sing as a kid – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” or “Tomorrow”. Hearing their little off-key renditions is the best music to my ears.

 

Have you introduced your children to the movies you enjoyed when you were younger?

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
The Robinson family gets shipwrecked near an island. With hard work and togetherness, they build a majestic tree house. They are faced with many trials – wild animals, weather, and pirates, but their ingenuity carries them through. Great family values!

The Parent Trap (1961)
Twin daughters are raised not knowing about each other, each living with one parent. They unexpectedly bump into each other at summer camp, put two and two together, and work out a scheme to get their parents back together again. This movie is just plain good fun.

Mary Poppins (1964)
Mr. and Mrs. Banks are both so preoccupied with their own interests that their children, Jane and Michael are unhappy. When the magical nanny, Mary Poppins enters their lives, she brings the family closer. Between the penguin scene, the chimney sweep dance, and the magic, your children will be entranced.

The Sound of Music (1965)
The hills are alive with the sound of music. Your home will be alive with the sound of music once your kids watch this one.

Annie (1982)
Oh, how we love Annie! The music, the dancing, the wealthy Mr. Warbucks, and a happy ending. It doesn’t get much better than that!

These five movies are a must in every family library. Share the memories, and sing the tunes. It’s ok if you’re a little off-key. I won’t tell.

Image from: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com
Image from: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com
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Want to stay home and earn a substantial income? Here are some ways to achieve both. Learn about several possibilities for a home business…

As a stay-at-home mom, you might be seeking employment or business opportunities. This would enable you to earn a full-time or part-time income from home. Maybe you’d like to work flexible hours, stay home with your children, or avoid high gasoline and car maintenance costs. Whatever the reason, there are many opportunities online today. You can achieve your goals and earn some extra cash.

Three Options for a Home-Based Business

There are three ways to approach a home business. You can offer products of your own such as clothing, crafts, hair supplies, books, or herbal supplements, build your own website, and stock your own inventory. Unfortunately, this takes much time to build and requires a start-up investment. If you want to offer your own product line, be prepared to wait a while for profits. But keep in mind that this option can be the most profitable for the future if you stick with it.

Another option is to offer a unique service such as accounting or bookkeeping, answering services, Web development or programming, business consulting, or writing. Offering a service has benefits over selling tangible products because you only charge for your “time and skills” but not to restock inventory.

A third option is to sell products or services for others and earn a commission on your sales. This works great if you have limited time to work on your business and need to spend most of your time promoting. This option can be just as profitable as having your own home business without the many headaches of business management.

Types of Business Opportunities when Selling for Others

Though time and space don’t permit discussion of all business opportunities here, let’s take a look at several possibilities. Beauty products are a popular choice for ladies. Most women love to try out new skin creams, lotions, soaps, makeup, and lip glosses. Because you can try out the beauty products yourself, you are more informed on how well they work and how to persuade others to buy them. Some companies offer tremendous compensation when you sell their beauty products for them. They’ll even provide a website for you with all of their products and a shopping cart for your customers to make purchases.

Another type of product that’s popular is clothing. Clothing is very general, so you’ll want to focus in on one particular style or line of clothing. Find a “niche” market within the clothing industry that you can promote to certain types of people. Online, it’s easier to promote to small niche markets instead of trying to promote to a general audience.

Tech support is another much-needed field that’s often ignored by mainstream companies. There are business opportunities today that enable you to promote tech support services to the public and receive a healthy commission. The tech support services are all provided by the company online, but you reap the benefits. Your audience is broad because so many people own computers today… and need help with them!

Other business opportunity ideas include health supplements, educational training products and online education, kitchenware, furniture, household products, pet products, and home and garden products.

Whether you choose to start your own business or sell products for someone else, you can use the Internet to achieve your goals and still be a content stay-at-home mom! Let me take you through some personalized coaching on how you can monetize anything, join here.

Photo by London Scout on Unsplash
Photo by London Scout on Unsplash

 

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Once a couple is pronounced husband and wife, especially in Africa, the blessings or prayers for children start rushing in. Twins. Triplets. Quadruplets. And people keep shouting Amen to the prayers. Although, the number and loudness of the “Amen” start reducing once it reaches quadruplets and quintets. The economic implications of feeding four or five mouths at the same time outweighs the desire for such multiple blessings. Even though breast milk is free, there is a lot more needed in taking care of a baby.

There is more

Something else that the wife is considering as the prayers resound in her ears. These children will not be printed out of a computer neither would twins be gotten by photocopying one baby to get another. She would have to carry the pregnancies and deliver the babies. That is no joke! The best any husband can do is be in the delivery room and fake-push along with her. But everybody knows who is doing the actual work.

The mode of delivery, in generations past, was not an issue. It was the pride of every woman to push, grunt and sweat through labor. The cry of the baby is her final comfort. It did not matter the age or height of the mother and no baby was considered too big to pass through the birth canal. Besides, there was even no way to decide how big the baby was seeing as most pregnancies stayed at home and were delivered there. No antenatal care, no ultrasounds, and no investigations. So, both the tall mother with a 3kg fetus and a short mother with a 4.5kg fetus were expected to rise up to the challenge and make their husbands proud. Many pulled through. And many died too.

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This went on till the time of better awareness and acceptance of antenatal care and surgical delivery of babies, also known as caesarean section (C/S). It soon became obvious that certain conditions and circumstances call for C/S. These include certain medical conditions in the mother; heart disease, heart failure, sickle cell anemia with crisis, eclampsia, and pre-eclampsia, then, low-lying placenta (placenta praevia) or conditions in the baby; macrosomia (big baby), breech presentation, etc. These are conditions that require C/S.

Things are Changing

Now, there seems to be a rise in pregnant women opting for caesarean sections just because they prefer it to vaginal delivery. Caesarean sections are painless as there are anesthesia and adequate analgesia, they are fast and free of cramps, pain, stress and pushing and with no risk of vaginal/cervical tears or getting an episiotomy. It is clean and simple.
But, it actually carries more risks than the usual route. The woman can react to the anesthetic drugs, she might bleed a lot, get infections or adhesions post operation and if she has C/S twice, her subsequent deliveries would just have to be the same way.
So, which would it be?

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” fatty, blown-up ball, round drum…”
The words kept echoing in Kate’s head as she rode the bus home. Tears stung her eyes. It was her second week in the new school and the taunting had already begun. Her parents had changed her school every time the taunting had gotten serious.
“Excuse me”
Kate looked up at the tall, slim blonde talking to her and wondered why she could not be like her.
“Excuse me, you are occupying extra space. Do you mind shifting just a little so I can sit?”

Despite the politeness, the tears still came. Kate could not understand where she was supposed to shift her 80kg body.
Back at home, Kate took note of the extra wide doors, large sofas, king sized beds and realized they were not there just because her family was rich but also because all of them in her family were either overweight or obese. Her mood worsened when her mom greeted her as, “chubby little angel”.
This is the same story for the 43million obese children worldwide as at 2010. The number should have increased much more seven years later. These ones suffer from obesity, a term now officially a disease.

The cause of obesity is multifactorial;

1. Genetics
2. Environment
3. Developmental processes

Genetics is probably one that most people can’t escape from. This is why most children of obese parents also become obese. Although, it is not always the case as some children actually escape the obesity gene and with efforts on their environment, they retain a fit stature. Meanwhile, some others get obese outside any genetic influence. This is acquired obesity, which could be physiologic or pathologic. That is, it could be because of some environmental factors (diet, physical activity, lifestyle) or some ongoing disease. Developmental processes include formula feeding during infancy and this is because of the high protein content of formula feeds,

Developmental processes include formula feeding during infancy and this is because of the high protein content of formula feeds, a diet rich in fat and fast sugars and sedentary lifestyle. These factors are often within your control and can be dealt with. Conscious effort to be mindful of your diet and taking out time to exercise daily are good preventive measures against obesity. They are also the first steps to take for those who are already obese.

Diseases that could induce obesity include certain syndromes (e.g Downs syndrome), tumors in the brain, endocrine problems (e.g Cushing’s disease) and use of some drugs (e.g insulin). With treatment/management of these diseases, there is often a reversal of weight.
There is no need to be anorexic or extremely thin such that the wind would blow you off. But, shedding excess fat would do a lot of good physically, psychologically and socially.

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In medical school, during our obstetrics and gynecology posting, we were taught the World Health Organization definition of infertility;

“The inability of a COUPLE to conceive after a year of regular, adequate, unprotected sexual intercourse”.

Emphasis was laid on the word couple as it has been discovered that infertility is not often because of just one partner. In fact, it is 30% woman’s factor, 30% man’s factor, 30% both of them and 10% unknown.
In Africa, especially Nigeria, it is normal for the woman to bear the brunt of being ‘infertile’ while the man is seen as the victim who can never be responsible for the childless state of the marriage.

Also, extended family members are very eager to use the term ‘infertile’ once some months pass and the wife is not showing signs of being pregnant. This is especially true of the husband’s family, especially his mother. This puts unnecessary pressure and stress on the marriage and on the wife which can even delay conception the more. A woman who is stressed, under pressure, anxious or fearful disturbs her hormonal balance and can further delay

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Also, extended family members are very eager to use the term ‘infertile’ once some months pass and the wife is not showing signs of being pregnant. This is especially true of the husband’s family, especially his mother. This puts unnecessary pressure and stress on the marriage and on the wife which can even delay conception the more. A woman who is stressed, under pressure, anxious or fearful disturbs her hormonal balance and can further delay childbearing.

 

So, it is important for her to be at ease as much as possible.

Things are made much easy when the cause of infertility can be traced to either husband or wife or both of them. The treatment options, if any, can be commenced on time. It is a different ball game entirely when the cause of infertility is unknown. The analysis of the man’s seminal fluid came out satisfactory, he is able to have sex adequately and he does not have problems with ejaculation.

The woman’s vagina and cervix are not hostile to his sperm, her womb (uterus) is free of fibroids, inflammation, nd infections, her tubes are patent and her ovaries are functioning properly.
Both of them are fine.

It is at this point many resort to non-medical options which may or may not bring solutions. Some may even worsen things as the previously fit man/woman is suddenly unfit because of things they were told to use or do.
For these couples, there are options available:
1.  Adoption
2. Assisted Reproduction Techniques
3. Surrogate mothers, sperm donors.

Of course, there are cultural and/or religious reasons why people would not opt for any of these options. But people have, and they are happier for it. Besides, nobody needs to know how the couple went about it. All that becomes public notice is, “we were once without child but now we are”.

Infertility should not be the end of life or any marriage.

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It is unfair to hastily label the woman as the cause of childlessness. The husband could be at fault and it could be both of them. It could even be neither of them. No couple should be pressurized by relatives about conceiving early in their marriage. Research has shown that 60% of couples get pregnant within 6months of marriage, 80-85% within a year, 90% within 2 years and some 10-15% never get pregnant. Every couple differs from the next.

 

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For years, parents and pediatricians fretted over how much screen time was too much, especially for very young children. Many child health experts advised minimal screen time for elementary-aged kids and none at all for children younger than 2. New research, a revised policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the personal experience of millennial parents who grew up in the digital age, have changed the way parents view screen time for youngsters.

“Research now shows us that not all screen time is equal,” says Barbara Peacock, managing director of School Zone Inc., a recognized leader in creating innovative multimedia learning tools to prepare children for a lifelong love of education who recently launched AnywhereTeacher.com, a “Digital Educational Playground” for kids 2–8. “Everyone agrees it’s important for children to maintain healthful levels of physical activity, but studies also show educational screen time can be an effective way to supplement children’s learning. As the American Academy of Pediatrics recently noted, ‘the effects of media use are multi-factorial and depend on the type of media, the type of use, the amount and extent of use, and the characteristics of the individual child.”

New understanding

The AAP and other child health experts have long counseled parents against allowing very young children to have much screen time. However, the AAP recently revised its stance, citing “evidence regarding health media use (that) does not support a one-size-fits-all approach” to media use by children.

Rather than keeping young children off devices entirely, the AAP now advises parents to develop a Family Media Use Plan that takes into account children’s developmental stages, and uses that information to create an appropriate and individual balance for media usage by each child. The AAP encourages parents to establish boundaries for how and when children may use digital devices, ensure they understand the importance of not sharing personal information online, and openly talk with children about media use.

In revising its recommendation, the AAP looked to a growing body of research that shows digital media use can help facilitate learning. Writing in the Hechinger Report, a highly regarded watchdog media outlet that covers inequality and innovation in education, Lisa Guernsey, director of New America’s early education initiative, and Michael H. Levine, founding director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, a nonprofit literacy and digital media research organization, explained the shift in thinking.

“Literacy rates and toddlers’ media use may seem unrelated, but they are inextricably tied,” the co-authors noted. “The important connections between media and reading must be brought to light in schools, households, and in the public’s imagination … children at very young ages can gain important skills in literacy and language development if the content on the screen is designed for learning and if they have a parent or educator who talks with them about what they are doing and seeing.”

Making media work for learning

Parental involvement in media use is the key difference between programming that benefits children’s educational development, and valueless screen time, research shows.

The National Head Start Association recently stressed that “family engagement is integral” to successful learning. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education agreed in a joint policy statement issued in May 2015: “Families are children’s first and most important teachers, advocates and nurturers,” the statement said, calling family involvement in kids’ education “critical” to their long-term success.

Busy tech-savvy parents recognize how easy technology can make it to access high-quality supplemental learning tools for their children, but finding a trusted source of curated content is not always easy. Speaking to her company’s newly launched site, Peacock comments, “AnywhereTeacher.com features content that has been developed exclusively by School Zone based on decades of research and broad-based experience working with educators, dating back almost 40 years when our founders, James Hoffman, Ed.D and his wife Joan, MA, recognized the need for at-home learning materials.” The subscription-based AnywhereTeacher.com is an easy to navigate site for youngsters that combines the power of video with traditional learning tools such as flash cards, games, interactive worksheets and printable activities. Original episodic programming like Charlie & Company engages children with educational messages in a fun, familiar way.

The service, which starts at just $6.99 per month, allows parents to manage their children’s activities and view their progress, creating an opportunity to talk about learning goals and improvement. The service is compatible with most devices and you can buy a subscription through iTunes, Google Play or PayPal to gain access from any device. There’s no limit on the number of devices families can simultaneously use to access the site. Visit AnywhereTeacher.com to learn more.

Article by BPT

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Life most often is filled with contradictions. These contradictions for nursing mothers who grieve the loss of their newborn babies after birth are always too much to bear. Counselors describe the emotional pains and moments of grieve for mothers who lost their babies after birth as more traumatizing to bear than physical pains. 

So how do you deal with the pain of losing a child after birth?

Psychologists are also of the opinion that mothers who lost their babies after birth have to cope with great grief and a mixture of emotions, as well as the physical aspects of losing the baby. The grief for most of these mothers is based on the fact that 48 weeks of anticipation for a child and the antagonizing pains of labor are reduced to nothing with no baby to gaze and cuddle

According to research, many mothers who lost their babies after birth described the moment after losing the baby as more terrifying. This often leaves them in a state of indecision with a weak and blur memory. The experience also leaves the mother’s helpless who in most cases would want to still hold on to a lifeless baby for too long without wanting to let go.

For centuries, scientific research is yet to fully explain and comprehend the bond between a mother and the newly born baby especially after delivery. Such bond suddenly wipes off the pains common during childbirth. The bond according to counselors is what often heightens the pains and anguish of a mother who grieve the loss of the newly born baby after birth.

In addition, research has also suggested that most mothers find it very painful to explain to families and friends the loss of a baby they have proudly announced to the world during the weeks and months of pregnancy. According to the research, most mothers finds it very terrifying to announce the loss of the baby to people who knew about their pregnancy and are unaware of their lost after birth. Such a memory is similar to walking around with open wound with flies perching on it.

annie-spratt-210644For other grieving mothers, the loss of the baby after delivery goes with a feeling of failure and disappointment of how they have failed in allowing such a loss to occur. Counselors are however of the opinion that all the feelings associated with the loss of babies after birth by mothers are psychologically and socio-culturally normal. All these are due to the unexplainable bond between mothers and newly born babies alongside the joy and feelings the delivery of a child is often considered in the society.

To deal with such phase in life, several methods of support and comfort for the grieving mothers are often suggested by counselors.  For instance, to cope with such a moment, in the first few days of the loss, the mother should be made to understand what resulted in the loss of the baby. Such explanations would help the mothers avoid the game of self-blame which often lead to guilt and a long period of resentments and regrets by the mother. Here, the roles of medical personnel are considered essential. 

Also, mothers going through this phase should also be allowed to have their wishes granted. Some mothers would wish to spend time cuddling the lifeless baby. This would help such mothers come to terms with the reality before them.

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Similarly, the services of counselors and support of close relatives are also of paramount importance to the mothers. The services of a counselor are to talk such grieving mothers out of the emotional pains and psychological trauma by accepting that life itself is filled with moments of joy and pains. While the support of close family members especially the presence of the husband will be a means of reassurance which would suggest to the grieving mother that she is not going through the loss alone. Such support from the spouse should also include that the bereaved mother would have mood swings and nagging issues as it relates to issues with her partner including sex even months after the loss.

Having recently experienced the loss of my first baby few hours after birth did go through and still going through a high level of pain and depression. I have spent months replaying the event in my mind, I have been riddled with nightmares of my baby being taken away from me. As a young woman, the experience has changed me for life.

According Katherine, a mother who lost her first baby few days after birth said, “you never get over the death of a child, you just learn to live with your grieve,” however mothers who grieve the loss of their child after birth should be accompanied and supported all through the way of their grieve and sorrow not minding how long it takes. 

          

Guest post by:

Folashade Sholotan

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