Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Mom Song

Thought I would pass this along. Figured most SAHMs could relate.

The Mom Song

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Choosing the Right Preschool

The biggest stress in our life right now (other than the impending birth of baby #3, of course) is choosing the right preschool for our 3 year old. There are actually a lot of options in our town of 90,000, probably the by-product of living in a college town with a strong emphasis on education. But the number of options is actually causing us problems.

The biggest issue we have is the school's ideology. We're still trying to decide between a playschool that focuses more on the power of learning through play and a more advanced preschool with certified teachers, a strong curriculum and a focus on academics.

At this point we're not looking for a program that is too focused on academics and assessment. We're still 2 full years away from school, so it's not as important for him to be school-ready right now. Plus, we're of the belief that toddlers learn more from playing and imagination than anything else. And the literature seems to back us up (see this article from the New York Times and this research from Colorado State University).

Anybody else have this sort of preschool dilemma? What did you decide to do?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Making Money on Ebay

One of the easiest ways I know to make money at home is through the power of Ebay. Ebay is an online auction site that allows anyone to sell their stuff to willing buyers all across the country. And it's pretty simple, actually. Find something you're willing to part with, take a couple of pics, put up a simple description and a starting price, and watch the bidding war commence.

Now, I'm not saying you're going to make millions of dollars selling stuff sitting around your house, but you can definitely make some cash and get rid of things you just don't need anymore. My perfect example is old CDs. When we bought an iPod large enough to store all of our old CDs, we listed every CD we had and made a fair amount of money. Now some of them only sold for $2, but a few of them went for $10 or more. It just depends on what you have and what people want.

We have also had very good luck selling lightly used baby clothes. But don't just sell them a piece at a time. If you group them in "lots" you will get a lot more interest. So put 2 or 3 outfits together and sell them as a group. They are very easy and inexpensive to ship as long as you don't use shipping materials you have to buy at the post office. We shipped a ton of stuff wrapped up in clean paper grocery bags.

One other idea is to buy things specifically to sell on Ebay. We actually went to garage sales and picked up things for cheap and resold them on Ebay for big profits. We found our biggest profits on textbooks (of course we live in a college town). But you can turn a profit selling almost anything you can find at garage sales. Again, this isn't a get-rich-quick scheme, but if you already enjoy garage saling this might be right up your alley.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Dora Uproar

If your kids like Dora the Explorer and you've spent any time on the internet recently, then you have probably heard the uproar over Mattel and Nickelodeon's decision to "age" Dora. The new version of Dora was supposed to be marketed to 10 year olds. Unfortunately, parents that saw a silhouette of the new Dora were outraged.

They called her a tramp. And that was the nice version. Parents felt the new doll was too sexualized, an Explorer Bratz doll. A far cry from the tomboy little girl that millions of toddlers have loved over the years.

The toymaker and kid's television giant have responded in an attempt to quell the fears of parents across the country. They promise that the "updated" Dora will not look like Lindsay Lohan (she's not wearing a short dress or makeup). Just as importantly, the original Dora isn't going anywhere. This new version is really just an extension, just an addition to the Dora brand.

On a down note, Boots, Map, Backpack and the crew are not making the leap. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. You can find the story about the response to the uproar here.

I think the moral of this story is: Do Not Mess With SAHMs!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Protecting "Me" Time

It is vitally important for stay at home moms to have a little me time. I try to make sure my SAHM has some me time every day. There are times when I come home and she almost immediately heads out to return some videos, pick up that one last ingredient for dinner or return something to Target. I (almost) always offer to do these things for her, but she insists.

It took me a while to realize that she needs this time out of the house. Even if she gets out of the house with the kids during the day, she just needs a little time by herself. And it's not like she has been dying to return the movies to Blockbuster. The task itself is really immaterial. She just needs to be alone for a little bit.

After the baby comes, her me time will almost certainly be centered around trips to the gym. She really wants to get back into yoga, so it will be one of my priorities to let her get to a couple of classes every week.

After all, it's in my best interests for her to have that time to herself. If momma ain't happy, no one's happy!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Eating For $1 A Day

Has anyone seen or heard about this blog Less Is Enough? It's a blog by a 41 year old woman in Durham, NC that challenged herself to eat a diet of fresh food for only $1 a day for 30 days. A pretty impressive feat. She actually did accomplish her task and even had about $1.40 to spare.

While there are some concerns about this project (she lost about 10 pounds during the month, prompting people to say she wasn't eating enough), it still points to the fact that eating fresh foods can be done inexpensively. And that was the whole goal here. She didn't set out to change how the world eats. She just wanted to prove that you could eat a healthy, fresh diet without breaking the bank.

Take a look at her blog. It raises some interesting points and provides some good ideas for families that are concerned with offering fresh foods without spending an arm and a leg.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Work At Home Scams

A lot of stay at home moms look for ways to earn a little extra money working from home. And the internet is filled with ideas. If you search "work at home idea" on Google, you get 94 million hits. 94 million! So, is it possible to earn significant money working from home?

Of course it is, but you have to be careful. There are a lot of quick money schemes out there looking to pray on people that want to make a few dollars working at home. Like the sites that talk about making thousands of dollars a month with just a few hours of work a week. Remember what your mom always told you, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." That saying certainly holds true in the work at home world.

Fortunately there are plenty of resources out there that help you spot and avoid work at home scams. My personal favorite is Work At Home No The website is updated about once a week with different scam news. They also have a search function that allows you to search for specific scams.

I also liked this article on the Top 10 Work At Home Scams. This article actually talks about specific types of work at home businesses that are, more times than not, scams. It really comes down to doing your research and being very cautious. Even a simple Google search can uncover significant concerns with work at home ideas that you see every day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eating Out While Eating At Home

Eating out is not really an option for most single-income families. It just costs too much and can be more of a hassle than it's worth. But I still like to eat out. It gives me a chance to try new dishes that I would have never thought about or do not have the culinary ability to create.

We've actually found ways to emulate foods that we really like at restaurants. Our kids are addicted to bean burritos right now (which for a very gassy crew by the way). So instead of hitting the Taco Bell drive thru every time they want a burrito, we have started buying Taco Bell refried beans at the grocery store and making them at home. You can also find recipes that mimic your favorite restaurant meal on the Internet (like Panera's Brocoli Cheddar Soup, Papa John's Garlic Sauce or McDonald's Southwest Chicken Salad).

There are even websites dedicated to these "copycat" recipes. Check out CDKitchen and The Recipe Link for some more ideas.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Decision to Become a Stay-At-Home Mom

For most families, the decision to become a single-income family is not easy. You get used to life with two incomes. There tends to be disposable income every month. Eating out and taking trips isn't such a big deal. Need a new pair of shoes or an upgraded plasma screen TV? Not out of the question. But a single-income family does not have that option.

There are definitely sacrifices that have to be made. For us it was all about prioritizing. What do really need and what can we do without? Sometimes it's as easy as giving up your daily Starbucks or making a dinner out a special occasion. Sometimes it is a much bigger sacrifice.

Our biggest sacrifice was a second car. We traded in 2 cars for one SUV. Now we had to upgrade size-wise with a 3rd kid on the way, but we didn't have to go down to one car. It's taken a while to get used to, but I think we've got it figured out.

Our other big sacrifice was convenience. It is much easier to hit the drive-thru than it is to cook a meal at home. But you pay for that convenience. Since we're not running around like chickens with our heads cut off all the time, we actually have more time and energy to make most of our meals at home. The money we save is amazing.

So I'm curious what other sacrifices you've made for the opportunity to stay home with your kids. Share your budget cutting decisions with others and maybe pick up a few ideas at the same time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Please Respect Your Local SAHM

As if being a stay-at-home isn't hard enough, my wife got to interact with a first-class citizen today. She took our 2 toddlers to the public library (a wonderfully free activity for kids of all ages) this morning. Our library is pretty popular, so the main parking lot is usually pretty full.

As she was herding our 3 and 1 year olds to the car, a gentleman (and I use that term VERY loosely) pulled up behind and waited to take the parking spot she was about to vacate. He proceeded to sit and watch a 8 1/2 month pregnant woman put a 1 year old in her car seat and a double-wide stroller in the back of the car. As she started to help the 3 year old climb into the car, our kind middle-aged man asked, "Are you leaving or not?" After his obviously well-meaning question, another spot opened up a couple spots down. Here's where things get fun.

As he drove by my about-to-burst-pregnant wife he said, "Don't hurry!" SERIOUSLY?!?!? What is wrong with you? Always the diplomatic one, my wife ignored him, finished strapping our son in his car seat and got into the car. As she pulled out and started to drive off, our hero (read: jackass) slowly walks across the parking lot directly in front of the car at the slowest pace possible. He actually waited so he could slowly cross in front of her!

My wife used to be a middle school teacher. This is the type of thing her students would do. But this was a grown man. Shouldn't he be at work? Shouldn't he recognize that she is pregnant and putting 2 kids in the car. Hell, a nice guy would have parked and helped her with the stroller. This guy certainly does not heart SAHMs. Sometimes people just boggle the mind. OK, I'm done. Rant over.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gifts for SAHMs: Bed & Breakfast Retreat

While I realize that most of the people that read this blog will be actual SAHMs, I do want to provide information and tips for the SAHM lovers out there (significant others, parents, teachers, etc) that may be looking for ways to pay back the SAHM in their life that does so much.

One of the ways I plan on doing this is to share gift ideas that are perfect for SAHMs. While I think almost every woman loves flowers (so I've been told) you can only rely on for so long. Some times you need to think outside the box (or vase).

Our first idea is a big one! Don't worry, not every idea will be this expensive. But I wanted to start with something special. Something that I like to give my wife every once in a while (OK, like every other year). Today's gift idea: a romantic get-away weekend to a bed and breakfast!

SAHMs spend so much of their time cooking, cleaning and catering to everyone else's needs, sometimes they just need to be pampered. No need to get up early and make breakfast, someone else can take care of that. Leave that towel on the floor, someone will be in later to pick it up and give you a fresh one. Spend all day in a comfy robe curled up watching old movies or reading a book, there are no kids to entertain today.

The weekend get-away obviously requires finding someone to watch the kids for a couple of days (are you listening Nana?), but once you get away it is time to relax. As opposed to a typical hotel, a bed and breakfast offers a little more of a cozy setting that is perfect for romance. Or for sleeping if you just need to catch up on your Z's.

Choosing a B&B can be a bit of a daunting task, especially if you have no idea where to look or what to look for. We'll start with the "where." There are a number of websites that can help you find a B&B near you. My favorites are,, and Each site allows you to narrow your search by state and by region within your chosen state. So if you are looking for a B&B in the Napa Valley, you don't have to search through 100 B&Bs in Southern California.

That "what" part of this equation is much more personal. B&Bs come in all shapes and sizes. You might have to try a few out before you find your niche. For instance, my wife and I prefer a bed and breakfast with a more contemporary look. We're not much into doilies and flower pattern wallpaper. And for us, a 2 person jetted tub is basically a deal breaker. If you don't have one, we're not interested. As an example, this is our favorite B&B in the world: Hermann Hill Vineyard & Inn in Hermann, MO.

So send the kids off the see Grandma this weekend and treat your SAHM to some well deserved rest and relaxtion at your favorite B&B.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tax Credit for SAHMs

In Missouri we currently have a bill pending before the state legislature that would offer SAHMs $600 in scholarships every year in an effort to help them re-enter the workforce after their kids are grown. House Bill 498 excludes SAHMs that claim a dependent day care credit on their federal income taxes, submit claims for dependent day care through a cafeteria or flex spending program, or earn an annual income over $1,000.

As a side note, this bill also specifically excludes stay-at-home dads. As a dad, this really ticks me off, but that's a rant for another day.

While this bill has about a 0.21% chance of passing (the sponsor is INSANE and not really that fond of SAHMs), it made me wonder if any other states have similar laws on the books. Does anyone know of any state that provides some level of scholarship, tax credit, etc., specifically for SAHMs?

Tips For Saving Money on Groceries

When my wife and I decided it would be good for her stay home with our kids, we knew we were going to make sacrifices. Fewer trips to our favorite restaurants. Significantly less disposable income. We even traded in one of our cars to free up some more money.

Then my wife said something that has really stuck with me. She told me that one of her new "jobs" was to find ways to save money. That meant buying less and making our purchases have more "bang for the buck." As time has gone by, we've found a number of ways to stretch our dollars. Today we're going focus on the grocery bill.

One of our biggest expenditures every month is on food. Remember, one of those things you sacrifice as a one-income family is eating out. As a result, you spend more money on groceries (but save a ton of money in the long run). Here are a couple of ways to save money on your monthly grocery bill without spending a full day travelling all over town to buy a few items at 4 different grocery stores.

  • Consider shopping at a discount store. For us, that meant Aldi (find your local Adli at I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first. I mean, the whole paying a quarter to get a cart thing is a little strange. But the savings were undeniable. Our food bill was slashed when we started shopping at Aldi. There are some things you can't find at Aldi and some of the products there are way below par (the pre-packaged filet mignon tasted a lot like hot dog), you have to understand there will be a trade-off for saving that much money.

  • Coupons, coupons, coupons! You're not going to cut your bill in half by using coupons, but the minimal effort can save you a few dollars every trip. At that adds up. Look for websites that provide coupons ( and for instance). There is really zero work for you. Just take a look at the sites before you head to the store (or before you plan your week's shopping list) and find coupons for things are plan to buy.

  • Speaking of coupons, we've found that Hy-Vee actually has a coupon by e-mail service (sign up here). We signed up at our local Hy-Vee and have used a number of the coupons e-mailed to us. I'm not sure if other stores do this, but I would be shocked if Hy-Vee was the only one. Ask at customer service to see your favorite grocery store has this type of service.

  • Finally, embrace the leftover! I know some people just do not like leftovers. They practically refuse to save anything from a meal to eat later. Seriously?!? As a single income family, that just isn't an option. We regularly make meals for dinner that will provide lunches for the at least one or two days during the week. The cost of making a little extra pales in comparison to the cost of making a full meal at lunch every day.

These are just a few ways to save money at the grocery store. I would love to hear other people's tricks and tips.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Inspiration For This Blog

So you might be wondering why a guy would start a blog dedicated to stay-at-home moms. I guess that's a valid question. I would probably be curious why a stay-at-home mom would start a blog dedicated to working fathers. After all, what could I learn about being a working dad (which I am) from a stay-at-home mom (which I'm definitely not!). It does seem a little counter-intuitive.

So here's the deal. Seven months ago my wife became a full-time SAHM. She quit her job as a middle school reading teacher (a job she LOVED, by the way) to stay at home with our 3 year old son Moe and 1 year old daughter Franki. We really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, but we quickly realized we had a lot to learn. It has taken a while, but we seem to have hit our stride.

Before we get too far, let me say that I realize my wife has by far the most difficult part of this setup. It's not easy to chase 2 toddlers around all day. To make it even more difficult just shortly after we decided to change our lives dramatically, we got some BIG news: we were expecting ANOTHER baby. Baby #3 (tentatively named Henry) is due March 20th. That makes 3 in 3 1/2 years! All that being said, this was a joint decision and has definitely been a joint venture. I am definitely NOT a hands-off dad. I still do dishes, help clean the house and do my share of the laundry. So when I say "we" instead of "my wife" in certain places, I don't want anyone to get offended.

So anyway, my wife's introduction to the SAHM lifestyle has been a little rocky. But we wouldn't change a thing. It's been a tough transition, but we have turned the corner and seem to finally have things under control.

After watching my wife over the last few months, I decided it would be interesting to share a dad's perspective on the stay-at-home mom. And while I'm at it, why not share some resources, tips and ideas that make it just a little bit easier to be a SAHM. And I would love to hear what people think. About my ideas, my stories or anything else SAHM. I really want this to become a conversation that can help SAHMs succeed or convince families this is a step they can take.