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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Parenting Articles

Jun
12

Summer Tips for Mom Who Work From Home

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSummer is here. My three kids have been out of school for a full week and we are getting into a routine. I would love to sleep in now that I do not have to wake up and get the kids off to school but my cat is adamantly against me changing her eating schedule to an hour later. Is it legal or effective to duck tape a cats mouth shut? Sometimes she is lenient and lets me sleep until eight. Only if I am a good girl which apparently is not often. Moving on.

What I want to talk about is the sun. I do not let my kids outside (if I can help it) between the hours of noon and four pm for playing or recreation outside, including the pool. Reason number one: my daughter has freckles and red hair. She is more likely to burn… and fast! She also does not tan. Bri is like me. We are ghostly white or lobster red, with little in between. The other two midgets tan to a beautiful golden tan like their father and do not burn as easily. Freckle-Face does not want more freckles, so my hubby and I have put a few summer rules in place.

* No going outside, for more than a few minutes, between the hours of noon and four pm.
* If you are going outside, wear a hat.
* Sunblock is your smelly best friend.
* Pool time is before 10 am or after 4 pm because the sun loves the pool too.
* One hour in the pool and then some time in the shade.

With our summer rules, my children completely avoided sunburns last year. We also avoid places like amusement parks in the summer. They are much more tolerable and fun in the spring or the fall. Trying to explain to my kids they still need sunblock if it’s not summer is a yearly conversation if you are staying outside. Read More→

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Jun
07

Leading When You’re Wrong

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leadwhenwrongBrad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerHere’s one of the famous quotes and jokes from my Dad:

“I don’t make mistakes.  Except for that one time that I thought I made a mistake . . .  but it turned out that I didn’t . . . so that was actually a mistake.”

That’s the point when my sister, my mom, and I would groan.

Unlike my Dad, I DO make mistakes.  I made a big one a few months ago.  It was my job to handle the tithe portion of our budget.  Every month I take our tithe amount from the budget and PayPal donate it.  It’s not a big job.  I usually just set an alarm in my calendar, then on the designated day, send some $$ through PayPal.

But, I did some reformatting of my email, and, then reinstalling of my e-mail management program . . .  and lost my handy little calendar reminder.

You readers might have great capacities for memory, but I would actually lose my head if it wasn’t attached.  So, you can see where this is going:  Three months I forgot to send out the tithe.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal yet?  But you have to understand, the Washburns aren’t sitting on piles of dough.  My work in ministry and writing doesn’t put us on the Fortune list, and my wife’s steady (thank God for steady) job doesn’t either.  So that designated tithe money sitting in the account . . . got spent.

Yes, yes, the fact that I can’t tell you from our budget where that money was spent is probably also my fault.  I’m lumping it all into the same screw up.

But the point of this article is that I still had to lead even though I screwed up.  And being a good Christian Dad leader means that we tithe.  So that sacrifice of our first fruits of paychecks was still required.  But yet we had spent the money.

. . . and that’s when the fight started.

Actually it wasn’t much of a fight.  All my wife’s accusations of me mishandling funds and calendar were true.  But that fact that the Washburns had to come up with 3 months of tithe, because of my screw up . . .  Yes there was some ‘heated discussion.’

My fellow Dads, this is where I can’t emphasize enough that it’s really tough to lead, to ask your family to ‘dig deep’ and sacrifice, when we ourselves are to blame.  But there is NO WHERE in Scripture that says we quit leading just because we made a mistake.  We are men, and heads of family and marriage whether we are perfect or not.  So my only ‘take away points’ are ones that I’ve learned the hard way:

Admit it.  Take responsibility when you are wrong.  In this situation the resulting fight would have went on a LOT longer if I was unnecessarily trying to defend myself.  This is a great thing for our kids to see also; taking responsibility in a mature way.

  1. Remember that as Christians and Dads we are not alone.  God is with us.  Just like He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  2. Remember that as Christians and Dads our family is “our people” — when Solomon prays for “wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Chronicles 1:10), he’s not just talking about the nation of Israel; he’s’ talking about families like ours.  Your people are yours and you are not alone — even if they complain.  Yes, even if they complain a LOT
  3. The Bible is pretty clear that being a Christian and a Dad is going to be tough.  The Devil’s schemes are against us (Eph 6:10), and we are encouraged to not be weary of doing good (Gal 6:9) — why would we need such encouragement if God didn’t know that it was going to be hard?
  4. You will come out of it and it will be better.  Yes, we finally paid the tithe I had missed.  We are still surviving, and, as my waistline is showing, no one has starved to death.  In fact, we all noticed some unexplained blessings that made the extra financial amount easier to handle during the last several months.  I can honestly say it was an example to my wife, and to me, of how God has a Master Plan.

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May
24

It’s Your Dad Thing

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bradA brief quote of lyrics from the Isley Brothers:

 It’s your thing 
Do what you wanna do

Don’t let the world tell you how to be a good dad.  Sure, let the Bible tell you how to be a good dad.  But not the world.  Not Facebook, or your buddies, or, yeah, I’m going to say it; your wife.  Or the TV – geesh especially not the TV.  The TV is never a resource to be a good anything . . . unless it’s zombie killer.  You can find some good tips for zombie slaying, but that’s it.

Part of being a good dad is doing the role of dad your way.  Some guys rock at being an efficient homemaker, some rock at bringing home the bacon.  Some rock at cooking the bacon, or are handy with every kind of tool in the book.  It’s easy to get jealous; but don’t.  God made you with your very own parenting style.  He’s made you with the correct gifts and skills and learning ability to be the best dad for the kids that He gave you.

So find out how you do the dad thing.  How do you shop?  I put in the headphones and go though Wally World like a commando.  How do you make dinner?  Some guys are grill masters, some are Iron Chef wannabes.  But how are you with doing dinner?  Find out your specific style and be the best dad at it.

There is a big difference in right and wrong.  The Bible is the definitive manual for being a good dad.  But just like Tom Cruise says in A Few Good Men (clipped from IMBD) . . .

Kaffee (Tom Cruise): Corporal, would you turn to the page in this book that says where the mess hall is, please.

Cpl. Barnes: Well, Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book, sir.

Kaffee: You mean to say in all your time at Gitmo you’ve never had a meal?

Cpl. Barnes: No, sir. Three squares a day, sir.

Kaffee: I don’t understand. How did you know where the mess hall was if it’s not in this book?

. . . the Bible doesn’t specifically say how you will parent your kids.  The guidelines are there:  Train a child up in the way he(she) should go . . .  (Proverbs 22:6), but there is not a specific addendum to the Bible telling you exactly how to manage your child’s internet use, or grades, or social involvement.

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Apr
04

Curiosity Killed the Cat

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerSimplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerMy daughter Bri is in fifth grade and reads at a high school senior level, which is fantastic except that books at her reading level do not match her age level. She is obsessed with books about fairytales and reads books that spin off from Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. The young adult section is full of books along this happy, engaging genre. But that same section is also filled with stories about vampires, killing, witches, and every other level of creepy you can think of. I also like to read teen novels because they are more imaginative and about other worlds, instead of novels filled to the brim with adult problems reminding me of my adult problems. 

Recently, I read a teen novel that fell into the fairytale genre, a Chinese Cinderella in a way, and was excited to pass the book down to Bri when I finished reading. Then I read a section of the book where the main character killed a woman, ripped out her heart with her bare hands before eating the heart to gain power from the woman’s lifeblood. Yeah, too creepy to hand down to my almost eleven-year-old child who has never seen anything creepier than a dead armadillo on the side of the road. I needed to tell my avid reader she could not read this book when she had already been waiting impatiently for me to finish the book so she could read it next. 

I sat miss Bri down and told her I would not let her read the book until she was older. She looked disappointed and then in the nature of all children asked why. I could have told her ‘because I said so,’ or ‘I’ve decided the book is not appropriate,’ or ‘there is content in the book you are too young for.’ I said none of those things. Instead, I said, “The book was great and fairytale like but there were a few scenes where the main character ripped out the hearts of animals and even another human and ate them. The scenes were written in a lot of detail and I don’t think you needed to read such vivid scary scenes in such detail. To which Bri responded, “Ewww. Gross! I don’t want to read that. I will go get a different book.” Boy was I thankful she responded in that manner. 

Why, though, did I give her details instead of invoking my parental rights to say ‘because I said so’? Because curiosity killed the cat. Sometimes ‘because I said so’ suffices to answer a child’s question. Other times, their inquisitive nature will propel them into disobedience. Had I responded differently, there was a real chance Bri would have snuck the book up to her room and read by flashlight under her covers after she had been told to go to bed. She would have woken up screaming as she envisioned a waif-like Chinese princess ripping out her heart. No, thank you. 
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Jan
24

Father Vs. Son in Electronic Showdown

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Today bradI have an extra-special researcher and guest columnist co-writing for this article:  my son Toby Washburn.

He’s ‘here’ to give his opinion and related facts as to why computer/video games are beneficial and how kids should be allowed to play them at all times.  I asked him to write with me on this, because he’s pretty much constantly making this case to my wife and I, so he might as well use his debate skills for the benefit of dads everywhere.

First, let me clarify that computer and video games haven’t always existed.  When I was a kid, I didn’t have video games . . .

Toby:  Well, it’s the 21st century now, and things are different.

But I survived pretty well without them . . .

Toby:  I’m not saying that I can’t survive, I’m just saying that I should be allowed to play them a little bit more.

And this is where the debate begins.  I am going to spare you readers the arguments of “All my friends play Minecraft” and “I’m the only kid who has a limited time to be online.”

Toby:  Dad . . .

And I’m going to jump right into the pros and cons of video/computer games in the 21st Century

Pros by Toby

  • interactive with other kids
  • helps brain skills– problem solving  – puzzles –
  • fun
  • good sportsmanship — I’m actually adding this one because I’ve seen this firsthand.  Watching Toby play a MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game) Minecraft has shown me that sometimes he will seriously get beat in a player-vs-player online competition.  Toby, and many of the other players will enter “GG” (good game), then try again.  That’s the kind of good sportsmanship that dads want to foster in their kids.  Competition is good, but you have to be a good sport, even when you lose.
  • typing skills — going to add a little on this one too.  Dads, you should encourage, or even mandate, that your kids use correct typing when playing online.  They may want to ‘hunt and peck’ but it will make life so much easier on them for their education, if they can type correctly.
  • learning about computers

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Jan
22

Take Away the Panic

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerTwo autumns ago, my family vacationed in Disney World. Day two we spent in Epcot visiting various countries including the Mexican Pyramid. Our clan of five plus my dad, stepmother, and two young sisters lined up for the boat ride. Mexico teamed with people visiting booths, activities, and the same line we endured. One, two, three, four, five little heads I counted several times while waiting for thirty minutes for a two-minute ride. Two pink shirts, one blue, a purple, and an orange. I must have counted the wrong pink shirt because when I glanced over, my daughter Alex was gone. 

Blinders covered my eyes as I rushed out of line on the hunt for my baby. Calling her name I weaved in and out of the crowd pushing people out of my way until another mom stopped me. Was I looking for a little blond girl in a pink shirt? I was. She knew where my baby was and took me to the vendor where my five-year-old princess waited as my throat slowly released the choked panic and fear. Alex chattered away to an employee as I approached ready to kiss all over her and never let her out of the safety of my arms again. The world was no longer black and grim, but brimming with color and hope again. 

Alex, upon finding she had lost her family in a strange place, did not panic. She found a mother who took her to a booth or store and more specifically, to a person with a name tag, where she asked for help finding her mama. Alex was fine. Apologizing over and over again, Alex calmed me with her peaceful happy-go-lucky attitude telling me she was fine she knew just what to do when lost. I had prepared my children for worse case scenarios on the twenty hour drive to Disney. 

If the kids got lost, they were to find a mom or an employee with a name tag. That was exactly what Alex did. She took charge of the situation and got herself to relative safety until I could get to her location. Alex chatted with the employee as they were about to announce a missing child to the throng of faces. My little one scoped out souvenirs and bubbled over with five-year-old chatter, not a hint of alarm or trepidation spoiling her day in the world of magic. 

Communication about potential threats was only one security measure in my arsenal. Every day after my children and sisters dressed for the day, including shoes on, I would take a picture of them in their daily outfit. The drive over also included quizzing my children about mine and my husband’s phone numbers, our names, and other distinguishing factors they may need to give under bad circumstances. This was our families typical car discussion. We talked about possible scenarios and how to handle them if they happen. I am very thankful now that we tell our children what to do in potentially scary situations as it saved us tons of panic at Disney. 

We have gone over situations such as what to do when:

– A stranger offers you candy or anything else to get into their vehicle or go with them somewhere.

– If they get separated from us anywhere. 

– They come home and we are not there and they cannot get into the house. 

– How to figure out if someone is safe to approach for help.

– What to do if they come home and the doors are open, our wallets, purse, shoes, and phones are there but we are not.

– If there is a fire, tornado, or other disasters. 

– Someone comes into the house uninvited. 

– What to do if we run out of coffee (okay, this one is a joke, but also kind of real).  Read More→

Jul
18

Random Acts of Happiness

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmer Now we all know the best part of waking up is coffee in our cup, but the second best part of waking up is sweet notes from our children, spelling errors and all. My vanity table in my room has a note from my son and one from each of my daughters. The note from my youngest says, “I love you mom,” with a smiley face. The one from my son says, “I hope you get a perfect coffee and you are fun, loving, caring, and an overall good mother.” My son’s note is signed anonymous, which cracks me up! Like I don’t know his handwriting and would sit there for hours trying to figure out who left me such a thoughtful note.

My middle child made me a giant card out of purple construction paper that says I am the world’s greatest mom (mind you she has limited knowledge, as I am her only mom). Inside the card are pictures of me flying, drinking coffee (big surprise right?), and a poem about how I am her hero. One time for Mother’s Day at school, my daughter was given a list to fill out about me, and the part that had me rolling on the floor was, when asked what food I cook best, she chose salad. At some point maybe I can take a chance and put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or maybe make some toast!

This morning I woke up to a note from my youngest telling me I am a sweet mom, along with a ticket for a coffee. Let me tell you these notes fuel my life. When I walk into the the laundry room and find shoes on the floor along with dirty clothes preventing the door from shutting, or their rooms are a mess again, or their mess is trickling down the stairs, I begin to wonder if my children hate me. Then I get these notes and know my little ones love me and just need more training and practice. They do love me; they are just little heathens.

Parenting is hard. Adulting is hard (I do enjoy this new trend of turning nouns into verbs). Do not miss the moments that make all the rest of raising children worth the time and energy spent. The notes are great, but I love when my kiddos give me hugs and kisses. I am not much of a cuddler, but I do love affection. I adore when my kids share freckles with me (I have none, they have plenty). All of these wonderful moments of random happiness are the sand that fills the jar. Read More→

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May
22

Summer Sanity Tips For Work-at-Home Moms

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As we’re moving from spring into summer, we all have a moment or two where we look forward to summer because of its slower pace.  When summer arrives, in all its glory, we then recognize the lie that we had been telling ourselves. Summer is crazy busy.

Between pool parties, summer sports and sleepovers, how will we ever fit working in to our schedule? Here are a few tips on how to make it work.

Plan Your Work Times

I know it seems impossible, but planning work times into your schedule is something we must learn to do. Each day holds something different during the summer it seems, so we may have to do things like get up early and work, plan out work during naptimes or stay up late and burn the midnight oil.

Know Your Priorities

Knowing when you’re going to work is only half the battle. It can be easy to say to ourselves that we’ll work during naptime, but then we sit down to get to work and don’t know where to start. So, one simple technique is to keep a running list of projects and tasks, ordered by priority. If I know exactly what I need to work on when I sit down, I’m much more likely to get it accomplished.

Be Flexible

It’s easy to say we’ll follow a schedule in the summer, but it’s a much harder task to actually stick to it. Kids throw a lot of variables into the mix, so we must keep ourselves in the attitude of adjusting as necessary. We’ll also have those days when we sense God calling us to rest or to visit someone specific or whatever it might be. We need to be sensitive to His leading and flexible with our schedules. Read More→

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May
08

Prepping Your Business For Summer

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beach playI can hardly believe it, but another school year is coming to a close. As I stumble through this month of end-of-school parties (not to mention my own graduation from Grad School-yay!), I find myself left with very little time in which I can actually get “work” done. Which leads me to wonder – what will the summer look like if I’m already in such a jumble?

So, I’ve decided that in order to start the summer off right, I need to take some time NOW to get my mind and heart ready.  Here are some things I’ve decided to do to get ready for the new season God has for my business – maybe they’ll help you, too.

Set Aside Time

It’s easy to forget the importance of setting aside time to work on our business in and of itself. We are commonly focused on our customers, daily tasks and the like that we don’t take time to think solely about what the future holds for our business.

As we near the end of this school year, let’s dedicate a couple of solid hours to sit down and dream a little, plan a little. If you have a team of people that you work with, consider pulling them all together (provide some Starbucks, of course) and have a brainstorming session.

Set Goals

During the time that you set aside to “think business,” make it a point to set goals for the summer and fall. I generally make a list – 3 months goals, 6 month goals, etc – to help aid me as I plan out where I see my business heading for the upcoming months.

Try to stretch yourself in your goal-setting. Be specific and make some of your goals measurable so that when you look back next year, you can truly see the growth your business has experienced. And then cover each goal in prayer throughout the year. Read More→

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May
03

Play Date Haskell Style

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This turned into a really long series on Dads facilitating good manners and etiquette. Well, mostly it was a long series because I TOOK THREE MONTHS OFF.

But I’m back to finish off our series with one of the big issues our kids experience in testing their manners in social situations: The Play Date.

But first, a couple of short disclaimers. This first one you’ve seen before several articles ago but I thought I’d better add it again. I don’t want anyone to think I am the EXPERT on all things social, because I’m not. I’m an introvert that grew up lonely and isolated in the barren wastelands of Indiana. Ok, Indiana isn’t that bad . . . but I was pretty much a loner.

Disclaimer #1
I didn’t have personal experience with social interaction much as a kid. I grew up in an Amish area, and the nearest neighbor with a child my age was miles away (several cornfields at least). So, I had to learn much of the information on dealing with neighborhood kids, visiting friends, having ‘play-dates’ through my kids and trying to navigate the experience as a parent. The good thing, is that our family will routinely have ‘pow-wows’ to discuss how to handle social issues. Much of the ideas in this article and others in this series involving ‘other people’ were developed from meeting as a family and discussing how best to handle each experience.

Disclaimer #2
In my day we didn’t use the word “Play Date” it was more commonly referred to as “having someone over” or “Going over to ___’s house.” “Date” makes it sound like it was planned or involved ‘romance.’ I’m pretty sure ‘Play Date’ came as a result of parents that wanted to control their kid’s interaction into prearranged and encapsulated time periods. That’ would be nice. But we dads know that kids need some flexibility and will use this article, and my others, to make even the most unplanned get-togethers a successful experience. For the purpose of easily talking about the process of “going over” or “having over,” I’m going to use the term “play date” to indicate any such informal get-together.

Now, on to the article . . .

Those of you that grew up in any age that wasn’t considered “Millennial,” will probably remember Leave it to Beaver. This TV show originally ran in the 1950’s/60’s and was rebroadcast frequently when I was a kid in the 80’s. It’s had resurgences over the years and you can usually watch it on one of the stations that broadcasts ‘classic’ TV. If all else fails you can probably find it on YouTube.

The show was a depiction of the ideal upper-class family, with good morals and ideals living in a small suburban town somewhere in America. In this family named the Cleavers, there was a mom, dad, and two boys. The show centered around the adventures of the youngest son that had the nickname ‘Beaver.’ However, every story needs a villain, and one of the main foes to this idyllic family dynamic was the teenage neighborhood friend that would frequently visit: Eddie Haskell.

Eddie was deceitful, rude, and mean in his dealings with Beaver and the other kids on the show, but when he visited the Cleaver family, he transformed into an over-the-top, sugary sweet gentleman. All of this being a lead-in to today’s topic of teaching your kids how to show good manners while participating in a play date with their friends. Read More→

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