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November 14, 2012


Karen in Ohio

Joelle, the thing is, you can't get it all done by yourself. I raised two kids and had two other, much older family members living with us at the same time as trying to write, and having a sewing school at home. It was probably the most insane time of my life.

One thing I did was to have my daughters learn to do their own laundry. At age six. Our laundry room is on the first floor, and I was available for help if they needed it, but it helped lower the stress level of the household a great deal by making them responsible for their own clean clothes. (This does require a lowering of standards, but I guarantee they will appreciate knowing this skill when they go off to college.) The girls also made their own breakfasts and lunches. I made sure there was an easy-to-access area for their dishes and cereal, etc., and always had their favorite foods on hand. The upside was they could take healthier foods for lunch than was available at school. One daughter took an undressed salad to school every day for years.

This last tip is controversial, but it made a huge difference to my family, since mornings were really stressful before we implemented this one. They wore their clothes to bed. Whatever they planned to wear the next day is what they wore to sleep in.

Okay, one more: I took photos of every possible outfit and made a poster of it. This made it easier to choose what "went" with what, and it eliminated a lot of fights. The girls helped me with putting their ensembles together, and that made the process more fun, too.

Good luck. It's tough, but lowering your stress level will help you and your family enjoy one another so much more. And before you know it your kid will be grown up with his or her own child. I know this all too well!

lil Gluckstern

Wow, I am really impressed with both of you. By the time I went back to school, the children were old enough to do a lot for themselves-lunches, clothes (I sometimes had to shut my eyes). I really respect what younger moms are doing today.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Ah, one step at a time. That's all I can say. YOu obviously love it, and I think that's the key.

KAren, can you come to my house and take clothing photos? I think that is BRILLIANT!

ANd Joelle, you are hereby absolved from being perfect. My two words? Carryout food. I work every day as a reporter, so my "writing time" is only afterwork and on weekends. We could not live without grilled salmon from Whole Foods.

But we don't have little kids. I salute you.

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