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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Fighting At Home Frustrations

Thinking about running away from home?

Sit down, kids. I'm talking to your mom.

I've been there, Ladies. We all have. So if you're feeling like you're the only one, and nobody's ever felt like this, and you're the worst parent there ever was, don't.

Let's look at some common triggers of at-home frustrations, and ways to fight them.

FATIGUE. Children, especially little ones, seldom give us breaks when we need them. My girls are older now, but I still remember living for naptime -- when they were asleep and I could relax! If you're feeling worn out, don't use naptime to rush through chores. Instead, lie down when the kids lie down. Let the whole house get quiet. Recharge your own batteries while the kids are recharging theirs.

VANILLA, VANILLA, VANILLA. Doing basically the same thing, day in and day out, gets boring. Try new activities, especially things that get everybody outside. Invite playmates over, and allow kids to visit friends' homes. Kids enjoy a change of scenery, and like playing with different toys. If there aren't any families close by, head for the local library, swimming pool or park, where you're likely to find other little boys and girls ready to play. Do things together as a family that everyone - including Mom - enjoys.

WE'RE ALWAYS BROKE. It's true that there isn't as much money to work with when only one spouse is bringing in a regular paycheck. But the main principle to hold onto is this: It's not what you make, it's what you spend. Sort "wants" from "needs" and take on a frugal mindset. Don't fall prey to instant gratification, which steals your precious dollars. Pare down expenses. Postpone purchases and use coupons, rebates, and discount stores. Note: If you've been cutting back and still can't make your bills, consider a part-time job. Your kids will not benefit if their parents go bankrupt!

NOBODY CARES. If it has been a while since your husband mentioned how great it is having you home, don't assume he has changed his mind. He probably appreciates what you're doing, but doesn't think to tell you - the old "I said I loved you once; I'll let you know if it ever changes" type. Let him know how important it is to hear his affirmation, both in talking directly to you and about you to others.

I'M LONELY. While seeking playmates for your children, don't forget to find friends for yourself. Link up with other at-home moms by joining a parenting group like Mothers of Preschoolers (www.mops.org) or Moms in Touch (www.momsintouch.org) or Hearts at Home (www.hearts-at-home.org). Or trade messages at the Homebodies Forums (http://forums.gospelcom.net/view/homebodies). Interacting with women who have made the same choices can really brighten your day.

I MISS WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME. Lots of mothers find the perfect balance by holding a part-time or work-at-home position. This allows them to focus on their families while maintaining skills and professional relationships. Be sure to keep that balance, though. Don't fall prey to the "Attack of the Killer Home Business", which eats up all your family time even though you're working under your own roof.

Whatever frustrations you're going through, don't keep them to yourself.

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