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This is not the path I started out on

This is not the path I started out on

Remember what we were like before we became parents?

Barely, but yes.

When my husband and I decided to create a family, for some stupid reason we thought our children would just easily fit into our busy lives like a new puppy. We had no idea the culture shock…the physical, mental and emotional transformation that would come about once our children became the centerpiece in our lives.

No matter how much we had prepared, how many books we read, how much research we did – everything took a detour once baby made 3.

For many of us, the desire to become our own boss didn’t fully transpire until we became parents.  Our careers may have suited us just fine before we took on the parenthood project. We didn’t necessarily leave our careers because we didn’t have time for them anymore. All of a sudden we had a new love, something that filled our hearts and gave us more purpose than before.  The dilemma came when we realized we still had more to give.

Now more than ever, there should never be a question how necessary it is that we claim our success and stand up for our smart and savvy selves. No one can travel down your path, hold your actions accountable, or celebrate your story as well as you.  All this requires is a little creative discipline, and you really can fit it all into one life. This may not have been the path that you started out on, but if your look closely, you’ll see that this one is better….for awhile.

Nothing stays the same.

Don’t mean to freak you out, but your kids will be grown and more self sufficient before you know it. I used to DREAM of a time that they could walk themselves to school and entertain themselves without interrupting my work day. I couldn’t wait to have time to myself to accomplish MORE.

Well, here we are.

We’ve accomplished a lot and now it’s time to venture back into the career (and the salary) we deserve.

If you are already there, and ready to bring all of your entrepreneur skills and experience back into the corporate workforce, you may be facing an uphill battle. Thousands of highly qualified women with prodigious value to offer are being ghosted and denied employment. We get it, and we are here for you. Our nonprofit services were created with you in mind. Visit us at OurMilkMoney.org to learn more.

Woah! You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

Woah! You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

Is it me? When did little kids get such big attitudes? Look I love my five year old son, but sometimes the mouth on this kid makes Damien from the Omen look like Opie from the Andy Griffith Show. He fights me on everything.  He talks back. He disobeys. He throws tantrums. I would blame it on my less than adequate parental techniques and I do tend to be inconsistent with my behavioral therapy and discipline at times, but I know it’s not just my kid. Apparently my niece has got a little mean streak when it comes to talking to her parents. And I’ve heard stories from other parents too. Is it the TV shows they’re watching? Has Sesame Street turned a dark corner? “Guess what Elmo’s thinking about today? YA TA DA DAA! Elmo’s been thinking about…manipulation tactics” I don’t know. Should I calm down? I mean is it a side effect of society today? Our children are exposed to more media with computers, the internet, and more shows on more channels so maybe that’s having more of an influence on their behavior. They’re growing up much faster now. Too fast. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to my 5 year old, “I HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS DURING YOUR TEENAGE YEARS! I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS NOW!” Of course he just stares at me…and then sort of giggles maliciously. Sends shivers down my spine.  Another problem is that his little protégé, my two year old, is starting to copy big brother, his hero, the way he always has. An angry frown and a “No, DADDY!” is a lot cuter coming from a 2 year old than a 5 year old…but he’ll get older. I’ve gotta nip that in the bud.

I know I sound like Old Man Loprete a la “what’s with these kids today?!”, but when I was the age of a kindergartener I wouldn’t DREAM of talking to my parents the way my kid talks to me. Now granted my father was 6’ 3” so a five year old talking back to him was somewhat frowned upon. Hell, a 40 year old talking back to him is somewhat frowned upon. My problem is that I’m 5’7” and my Amazon kid is already half my size. He’ll be taller than me by the 5th grade. Then I’m really sunk. I can just picture this conversation when he’s in high school.

Me (looking up at my 6’5” 17 year old): Son, you’re grounded.

Him (grabbing my hands and slapping my face with them): “Why you hitting yourself, Dad? Why you hitting yourself?

Okay now listen. My son is not Linda Blair from The Exorcist. He’s a wonderful, smart, funny, and mostly well behaved kid. We have a beautiful close relationship. No neglectful father Harry Chapin songs (Cat’s In The Cradle) or Springsteen-esque dysfunctional father/son stories (any Springsteen concert) here. If you watch Modern Family (and you should) the character of Phil Dunphy has a misguided parental approach called “peerenting”. Maybe that’s my problem. At times I think my son sees me more as a friend than a father. Not fair. I love teaching, playing, and spending time with my son…I just wish he would shut up and do what I tell him. I mean I waited a long time for this. Don’t you remember when your parents said “When you’re a parent you can tell your kids what to do.”? Come on, people! We’ve earned this! Let’s take back control! Occupy Our Kids!!!

40

40

by Chris Loprete
The “turning 40” clouds are darkening on the horizon.  By the time you read this the skies will have opened up and I’ll be soaking wet.  I was fully prepared to suffer hourly panic attacks and sink into a deep depression once the storm hit.  I’m definitely susceptible to a major mid-life crisis, but I think I can stave it off for a few more years.  So stay tuned because as readers of this blog, you’ll get to witness my descent into madness.  That’ll be fun for you.
I actually feel pretty good about turning 40.  I’ve always been one for new beginnings.  Every major calendar event is an excuse to start over.  January 1st?  THIS year’s gonna be different!  Birthday? THIS is gonna be my year! Arbor Day?  THIS is my chance to be more outdoorsy.  But I really mean it this time.  They say life begins at 40 and I don’t think you can fully understand that phrase until you’ve reached that milestone.  My twenties were fun but they don’t count.  I was a kid.  I was running all over the country (literally) and working in small theatres for no money, with no idea of what to do with my life or where to do it.  Then came my 30s and it took the full ten years to grow up.  Married at 31, homeowner at 32, father at 35, father again at 38.  And now the start of my 40s.  I feel like it’s time to start living the life I’ve worked so hard to build for the last ten years.  It creeps me out that I vividly remember my parents turning 40.  One should never feel like they’re catching up to their parents, ya know?  At the same time though I remember wondering where I’d be when I reached their age.  Would I have found the love of my life?  Check.  I woke up next to her this morning.  Would I be a father?  Check.  I have the two cutest and sweetest boys in the world.  Yes, I’m the one.  Would I love my job?  Check.  Would I be an Emmy or Oscar winner?  Okay…let’s stick a pin in that one for now.  Look, I don’t own my dream home.  I don’t sleep on a pile of money at night.  And as a friend once said “life is hard and expensive.”  But looking back at my past (as I’m notorious for doing) I’ve done okay.  And I’m ready to start living.  Another expression is that 40 is the new 20.  If that’s true that would also be great.  Buy that math, 60 would be the new 40 so life would begin then too.

Parents Unite!

Parents Unite!

Face it, you are not the person that you used to be.

Ever since you became a parent, you have a hard time recognizing yourself. Perhaps there is a bit of sadness because you’ve lost your own childishness, but there is no denying that you’ve developed a maturity that has absorbed itself into every fiber of your being.

You’d been in love before, but when you children came along, this love encompassed you in a way that you never could have predicted. This metamorphosis might have even been painful for you, but only because the intensity of this love was so vast and unanticipated, perhaps even astonishing.

Becoming a parent has driven you in ways you never thought possible. Parenthood has made you more devoted, more committed and more determined to succeed in providing for your family.

For some of you going back to work was never an option. For others, working for someone else to get that steady paycheck seemed like the only option. It doesn’t matter what kind of parent you became.

We understand your devotion to your children and the intense fervor you feel to provide for them.

Our Milk Money is an Organization that was built for parents like you.
But we are much more than just another business directory. We are an organization that provides a support network for parents who have chosen to stay home with their children, and we do what we can to encourage each of our members to make their purchases from each other- keep the money we are already spending “in house” because it’s more valuable to families than it is to large corporations.

We believe that we have a chance to make a difference, but we must all work together.

Our concept will succeed if everyone does their part. No other group has taken on a task so great, and the reason WE WILL SUCCEED is because we all have one thing in common: Our devotion to our children. We must not fail them.

You don’t have to be a member, or even a parent to participate in this concept. If there are children in your life and you want to make a difference, we welcome you to take part in Our Milk Money. Link your site to us.

We are not just another business trying to move up the ranks. We are an organization dedicated to parents who need support their children. If we all commit to this concept, we all have a better chance of rising up TOGETHER.

Imagine the possibilities.

We’ve started a campaign that will educate consumers on the value of purchasing from a mom or a dad. We believe that in time we will have created a mini-economy, and a better means of survival- especially during this recession where every dollar counts. We want parents to feel that they can make their own choices in how to raise their children, provide for them, and how much time they spend with them. Not be a slave to a job that promises a paycheck, or a boss that represents keeping that job.

Join the Our Milk Money Organization, and you will know immediately that you are contributing to a good cause, because it’s your own.

The Candy Bar Sermon

The Candy Bar Sermon

I buried the Snickers on a mountain overlooking a pristine lake. The other hikers in my group ate theirs days prior…like animals, but not me. A candy bar was given to us halfway through our 150 mile hike in the Cascade Mountains back in 2003. Food being scarce, a saved treat such as a Snickers had more worth on a mountain than Lindsay Lohan driving a Marlboro truck into cell block eight. And I buried it.

Why? Sacrifice. Now I’m not so pious that I came out of those mountains with tablets, but I did feel a sacrifice of that magnitude would help scrub my soul (if it got muddy during my early 20s). History is now repeating itself.

Fast forward to present day. I’m poor. Poor is a bad descriptive word because in the grand scheme I’m a zillion times more fortunate than most of the world’s population. Let’s just say I’m justifiably frugal. I’m also socially extinct. Few visitors to the house, no outside associates, and maybe one RedBox rental a month keep me pretty contained. What’s the reason? *Snickers* Not the candy bar, I mean that I just snickered as I was getting ready to write this: Because I’m a stay-at-home parent. Yet again, I’m sacrificing.

My wife and I have chosen to sacrifice a ton to make this happen. It’s not very apparent just how much we’ve given up until we talk to other people. As I listen to them speak I hear my thoughts saying, “What do you mean you went out twice this week…I get to eat out once every 60 days!” But it’s worth it. We believe in what we’re doing so strongly that we’re willing to sacrifice a lot to do it.

Antenna television – yes. Willing to be the crazy coupon person in the check-out line- yes. Toilet paper square limit three – yes (modifications to this rule arise from time to time).

Again, it’s worth it. I truly believe my kids and family benefit as a whole immensely from having an at-home parent. I also feel the sacrifices in my life, such as the Snickers and self-imposed fiscal-chop, have made me stronger. When viewed in a certain light those things we give up don’t really seem to big. In fact, the intrinsic gain is so great it’s as if nothing has been given up at all.

Now if only I could find that Snickers coupon.

Nathan Bright is a 30-something stay-at-home dad who resides near St. Louis, MO. He is a husband to an amazing woman and father to a doubly amazing 2 year old little girl. His blessed home is scheduled to be even more blessed in March, as Nathan and his wife will welcome a second daughter to their family. When Nathan is not blogging for OurMilkMoney.com’s The Daddy’s Den, he writes and illustrates his own children’s books. Available for purchase immediately is Maddi Patti and her Stay-at-Home-Daddy.