Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Quiet Moments

Years ago there was a quiet moment during my labor with Journey. Someone (maybe our Doula) urged me to sleep and to enjoy the quiet. My pre-kid self couldn’t imagine the turn of events after she was born. My peace, my quiet and my sleep all seemed to dwindle away with each need and cry of my newborn. Now I find myself yearning for those quiet moments that I took for granted before I had children.

Their demands on me sometimes make me cry for those moments. Literally. HA! My quiet moments now seem like stolen moments as I barricade myself in the shower for much longer than I should or force myself to wake up before dawn while the world is still sleeping. Those quiet moments allow me to recharge my mind and in some cases my soul.

In my more and more infrequent quiet moments I set an alarm for ten minutes. Grab my hot cup of tea, my journal, my meditation book and I sit. I sit and let those ten minutes become mine. I don’t have to answer to anyone, but myself. I enjoy the flavor of my tea. I write what I want. I let myself, be.

There have been times that during those moments I get a flash of inspiration or a new goal comes to mind. Sitting in my quiet moments help me to be present, to be a better friend, and a better Mother. I find myself more open to receive and to give the other moments of my time throughout the day.

I wanted to share this with you because there are also times I feel like I’m the only one fighting for a moment to myself. I feel selfish and ungrateful. My moments to myself were fortfieted once I had children, right? How could I–the mother to two very amazing daughters ever want any time just to myself??

Those feelings of solitude in this fight for quiet moments are just as justified as they are wrong. I know that most caregivers feel this way at sometime (or all the time). What I’m learning is that it’s ok to treat yourself to a long shower or to ask a friend to babysit just so you can go read a book (alone and not about baby animals) in peace and quiet. We need those quiet moments to refuel and refill our hearts so that we can be better Mothers and friends.

I would love to hear when you take advantage of your quiet moment and what do you do that refuels your heart?? Share in the comments! :-)

~Kalisha

Change

People say the only constant in life is change. Change is normal. Accept it. Embrace it. It’s a cycle of life, but sometimes it knocks you off your feet and carries you into a life you would never have imagined for yourself. That is what happened to me. Now a little over three years after this change I speak of–I’m finally putting my fingers to the keypad and writing. Funny that I say ‘me’ like I was the only one involved in this big life change. In reality it was myself, my ex and our children–not to mention the family who supports us even to this day. This post is definitely long over due. I have wanted to begin writing again, but I’ve felt that my experiences were to painful for me to be able to share openly. I was only inspired to write this after I heard a commercial on the radio speaking about domestic violence month. Realizing that maybe writing this post could help someone else as much as it could help me is the reason I’m typing these words. I still can’t write the details publicly, but if you feel compelled to email me you are more than welcome to.

Three years and three months ago my family was residing in a disguised nightmare. Everything seemed ok. I tried to pretend that everything was ok, but in reality it was all falling apart. The only real peace I get from thinking back on it all is that Journey and Faith were seemingly unaffected by it all. They were fed, nurtured and thrived in a situation that wasn’t ideal. Not a fairy tale at all.

Three years and three months ago the girls and I flew back to Colorado in a flurry of tears, hugs, and heartbreak. I packed three suitcases; one big one full of clothes (for 2 weeks), one small one with some of the girls favorite toys, and one more with miscellaneous items. Without any identification except a black-eye, I boarded us on a Southwest flight back to my native state. Arriving was bitter-sweet. I was happy to be home, but the prideful side of me felt like a failure. Like a dog with its tail between its legs. I had left with so much potential–I was starting a family with a man I loved, we were living in a beautiful house, I was a stay-at-home Mom  enjoying the gorgeous California weather and then in a flash it was gone.

With the help of my best friend I made the decision to stay in Colorado and to not rush back into a life that was not there. I chose to do what was right for me. It’s still hard for me to do that because so much of my early twenties I spent thinking about what was right for everyone else. I pushed my wants and needs to the back burner. Now that I’m in the forefront life is much more confusing. What is it that I wanted? Love, family, stability, happiness? How can I get those things? Will they ever come? I still have trouble realizing that all of those things still have a place, but not in the mold that I have imagined. Coping with this change, I’m not the same young woman who began this blog with her best friend so many years ago. I look back at past posts and feel tears come to my eyes. I’m even more sad that I let this blog suffer in the process. Sharing my journey through motherhood was therapeutic, fun and the perfect way to chronicle the lives of my two daughters.

They are the real reason that I made the decision to leave and not go back. Rebuilding our lives here, alone, has been so very hard. We have had support from a variety of community resources, friends and family.  Unfortunately, we have experienced homelessness and have lived in a domestic violence shelter for two months and in transitional housing for 10 months until we were able to attain an apartment.

Transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to a single working mother has been hard. I have had to play double duty when it comes to household duties and raising the girls. I find myself becoming envious of mothers who can stay home with their children, but don’t want to. It is a dream to be able to spend time with your children. I’m at least lucky enough to work in the same school that the girls attend, but our nights are busy and I feel stretched thin at times. I worry that I’m not giving Journey and Faith all that I could. I feel guilty for wanting time for myself. I feel like a failure (again) for not being able to provide the family I envisioned for my children. They don’t deserve to live in a single parent home. They don’t deserve to only see their Dad 3 months out of the year.

What keeps me moving forward is knowing that they do deserve a healthy loving life.

I deserve a healthy loving life.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! I have so many more thoughts, but I will save them for another time (and this time I won’t wait three years to share them). I welcome comments and I look forward to putting the Mommy back in Mommy Lounge.

Melanoma mortality accounted for $3.5 bi

Melanoma mortality accounted for $3.5 billion in lost productivity each year, with approximately $2.4 billion for men (average, $441,903 per man) and $1.2 billion for women (average, $401,046 per woman). Those who died from melanoma did so 20 years prematurely, compared with 17 years from other cancers, reported Donatus Ekwueme, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shop on your seat and not your feet!

My new motto is “shop on my feet and not my seat!”It is almost impossible to get any shopping done in an actual store these days. My girl’s patience and attention span lasts about 15 minutes before all craziness breaks loose! Faith almost always wants me to hold her. If we even venture in Target then I know I am doomed to torture in the toy aisle and coerced into a few games of hide and seek. The only place I can spend over 30 minutes shopping at is the grocery store. That is because their tantrums and minds are too busy being occupied with stolen fruit, lollipops and half eaten bags of goldfish crackers.  I can’t possibly become a 15 minute speed shopper so I have done what any smart Mom would do. Adapt. I have become an online shopper!

I absolutely love online shopping!! Now that the holidays are getting closer –I will most likely do 80% of my holiday shopping online. Plus online shopping offers my three favorite words; faster, cheaper, and better! There are just too many perks to take advantage of…

(Source: Ezine Articles)

Instant Gratification

Since we’re conditioned to want instant gratification in every aspect in our lives, we expect our purchases instantly, too. Instead of spending time traveling, looking for parking and finding the store you’d like to shop in before closing time, the internet is available at all times. You can shop at your convenience, any time, anywhere, no matter what.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Online shopping allows you to browse through endless possibilities, and even offers merchandise that’s unavailable in stores. If you’re searching for a niche product that may not be distributed locally, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for on the internet. What’s even more useful is the ability to compare items, similar or not, online. You can search through multiple stores at the same time, comparing material quality, sizes and pricing simultaneously.

Moreover, the internet compiles results from thousands of resources, so you’re guaranteed a larger selection that’s more likely to have what you’re looking for. Consider what you pay for a shirt found only at your local mall. By searching for the same or similar shirt online, you may be able to purchase the shirt directly from its manufacturer or from an outlet-type store. The in-stock online sellers often have additional sizes, so you never have to scramble to find the last item in your size.

A Hassle-Free Experience

Shopping via the internet eliminates the need to sift through a store’s products with potential buys like pants, shirts, belts and shoes all slung over one arm. Online shopping also eliminates the catchy, yet irritating music, as well as the hundreds, if not thousands, of other like-minded individuals who seem to have decided to shop on the same day.

Customer Service, Guaranteed

Say ‘goodbye’ to the days when you stood in line waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more for a store clerk to finally check out your items. Online shopping transactions occur instantly-saving you time to get your other errands done! Additionally, unlike a store, online shopping has friendly customer service representatives available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with locating, purchasing and shipping your merchandise.

Keeping Money in Your Pocket

Finding time to go shopping often requires cutting down in other areas of your life in order to get to the stores. And we all know that time equals money. With the rising costs of gas prices, it’s a no-brainer why online shopping is better. Not only do you have to pay for your items, you also have to pay to get there, twice. Your orders are shipped directly to your home or place for business, saving you time and money, without requiring you to leave your home. Many companies also offer great coupon codes too!

Recordkeeping and Deductions

As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.


Recordkeeping and Deductions
By Mary Byers
Author, Speaker Mary Byer’s created this program after the release of her book, Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof, to help other Work at Home Moms (WAHM) conquer some of the struggles that she herself has been through. Mary says, “I feel really privileged that I was able to write this book. I wrote it with Work at Home Moms in mind. There are so many unique challenges about working at home that only another work-at-homer can understand!” I would like to encourage you to explore their website for some great advice and some much-needed encouragement. If you would like to become a Making Work at Home Work blogger, go here.Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at www.makingworkathomework.com.

The number one rule for moms who work at home is this: Do not mingle your personal and business finances. Open a separate checking account for your business. And, if necessary, secure a separate credit card so that you can keep your personal and business-related expenses separate. Deposit all of your income in the checking account. Pay all of your expenses out of the checking account. When you do, at the end of the year you’ll have an accurate record of income and expenses.

Check with your bank before your open your checking account. They may require proof that you’ve filed a “Doing Business As” form with your local or county government. Your banker may also be able to alert you to other regulations specific to your area.

I personally believe it’s essential to stay on top of your business’ finances on a monthly basis. Though it’s not my favorite chore, I use a simple software program to track income and spending. I can compare this year’s figures to last year’s to find out how I’m doing comparatively as well as monitor my year-to-date performance. There are many easy-to- use software programs on the market (such as Quicken and Quick Books) that make it possible for business owners to track and access their financial data.

In addition to inputting my financial data, I take time to organize my expense receipts each month. It takes less than a half hour to file them but doing so insure that my end-of-year tax preparation will run smoothly. Plus, I’ll have necessary proof if I’m ever audited.

Once your record keeping is in order, you should take the time to learn what’s allowable as an expense deduction for you as a self-employed individual. The more you deduct, the less your profit. The less your profit, the less you pay in taxes. The less you pay in taxes, the more you keep for yourself.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, “To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your field of business. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate and helpful for your business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.”

The challenge in determining what’s deductible is that it differs based on your occupation. Day care providers can write off the cost of toys they buy for their charges and a computer game designer can deduct the cost of purchasing competing games for review and critique.

If you’re interested in learning more about deductible expenses, consider picking up a copy of June’s Walker’s Self-Employed Tax Solutions. It’s an excellent resource, as is June’s website at www.junewalkeronline.com. Her blog is worth subscribing to if you’re interested in learning how to keep more of what you make.

Of course, if you’re uncertain as to whether something is deductible, check with your personal tax advisor. And if you don’t have one, get one. I personally waited too long to do this and wish I would have done it sooner.

Here’s how to make the most of your deductions:
Know what’s deductible. Take the time to learn what’s deductible. You may be surprised by what you can write off. For example, authors and playwrights may deduct the cost of the plays and movies they see if they are doing so to better learn the craft of plot, story and character. If you conduct business on the way to or from your family vacation, you may be able to write off a portion of your travel expenses.

If in doubt, ask. This is where a tax reference book or good accountant comes in. While it may be easier not to ask, doing so may well cost you money that would be better placed in your retirement account or a child’s college fund.

Realize that small deductions add up. My bank is 5.6 miles away. With the current IRS standard mileage deduction of 50.5 cents per mile, every trip to the bank for a business related transaction results in a deduction of $2.83 (50.5 cents x 5.6 miles). Last year alone my mileage deduction totaled $1,971. (I record each trip in a mileage log in order to provide documentation for the IRS.) Remember, deductions decrease taxable income, and lower taxable income means paying less tax.

Keep your receipts. Develop a simple record keeping system that’s easy to use. You’ll need to keep your records for seven years after the relevant tax return is filed. (Though the receipts only need to be kept temporarily, you should keep your tax returns forever.)

If you need help developing a working system, get it. Though recordkeeping and taxes can be both tedious and boring, they represent an area in which solo-preneurs can make a huge difference in the bottom line. You owe it to yourself and your family to excel in this area. If you’re intimidated or uncertain in this regard, make a commitment to learn what you need to know–starting today.


As you may remember, I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

Author, Speaker Mary Byer’s created this program after the release of her book, Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof, to help other Work at Home Moms (WAHM) conquer some of the struggles that she herself has been through. Mary says, “I feel really privileged that I was able to write this book. I wrote it with Work at Home Moms in mind. There are so many unique challenges about working at home that only another work-at-homer can understand!” I would like to encourage you to explore their website for some great advice and some much-needed encouragement.

If you would like to become a Making Work at Home Work blogger, go here.

Work-at-Home Childcare Strategies

(From Making Work at Home Work)

I wrote part of my first book with a toddler on my lap and some of my second with a child standing behind me on my office chair running his fingers through my hair. I’ve packed for overnight trips only to come out of the bathroom and find that while I was in the bathroom, my son unpacked my bag for me. I’ve shown up for client meetings with childish scribbles defacing my meeting notes. And I once bribed my kids with raisins and a later trip to McDonald’s so they’d sit quietly during a meeting when a sitter canceled at the last minute.

Despite the stress, I wouldn’t change a thing. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d be more deliberate about planning for childcare rather than assuming I could easily juggle a business with my mothering duties. As you consider the child care issue, the following tips may be helpful:

  • Give yourself permission to arrange for child care in addition to your presence at home. Many work-at-home moms have trouble with this simply because they are home precisely so they can be available to their children. Some believe it defeats the purpose if they utilize outside child care resources. But working from home without any child care makes your job as an at-home CEO more difficult. Figure out how much and what type of care you are comfortable with, then stay within the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. It is possible to be fully at home and effectively utilize additional child care. The two are not mutually exclusive.
  • Be flexible. What works for one season in your family’s life may not work indefinitely. Trust your instincts about what’s working and what’s not, and pay attention to what your children say about the caregivers you’re dependent on. Be responsive to what they reveal, and consider your needs as well as theirs. It’s possible to find something that works for everyone, though it may take perseverance to do so.
  • Be creative. I love the idea of paying my kids to keep themselves busy while I work. (They love it too!) I wouldn’t have thought of this on my own, but I’m inspired by the mom who shared the idea with me, and I’m actively looking for other creative possibilities. This idea reminds me to be willing to explore new options as my child care needs continue to evolve.
  • Have the courage to do what’s best for your family. Because you and I are different and our needs and circumstances are not the same, our solution to the child care issue should also be different. That’s okay. Too often we look at what other women are doing and adopt the same solutions for ourselves without considering that our values, resources, and experiences are not the same. Your strategy needs to take into account your family’s situation and any unique circumstances that influence what’s right for you.
  • Seek support. Because the parental pact is so important, be sure your husband is comfortable with what you are doing. Even if he’s not interested in helping you decide what’s best or interviewing potential sitters, keep him informed. This keeps things running smoothly and lends itself to family harmony.
  • If financial resources are tight, trade child care services. Find another mom who works from home with whom you are comfortable exchanging babysitting services and develop an exchange agreement that allows you to regularly watch each other’s kids. Make sure you find someone who’s reliable so you can count on the regular work time this option provides. While spousal support is important, teaming with other work-at-home moms is valuable, too.
  • Reevaluate your needs occasionally. As your business evolves, your child care needs will likely change, too. More work may necessitate more child care. A business that’s seasonal may require periods of outside child care followed by periods of no assistance at all. As children age, they will be more able to look after themselves, perhaps eliminating your need altogether.

When my children were preschool age, I evaluated my needs on a day-to-day basis. It was stressful to have this issue continually hanging over my head. As I’ve entered a new season of mothering (the school season!) I’m now able to identify my needs on a monthly basis, which causes far less anxiety. If you’re in an early season of mothering, hang on! The child care puzzle gets easier to piece together as your children mature.

Work-at-home moms tell me that child care is one of their most pressing concerns. If it stresses you too, know you are not alone. Give yourself permission to proactively address this issue in a way that works for your family. When you do, you’ll be more likely to be a satisfied and effective at-home CEO.

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at www.makingworkathomework.com.

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