Do You Have to Either Be a Full-Time Career Working Mom or a Stay-at-Home Mom who Doesn’t Work? No

Do You Have to Either Be a Full-Time Career Working Mom or a Stay-at-Home Mom who Doesn’t Work? No
I used to think that if I left my career to stay at home with my kids, my income would drop to $0 but that turned out not to be true. Just because I wasn’t working full time in my career didn’t mean that I couldn’t be making an income. As it turns out, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to working and being a stay-at-home mom.

Many stay-at-home moms work from home. They work part-time or full-time, depending on their family's needs. It is possible to work from home and still be a stay-at-home mom. This allows for the best of both worlds - the income from work and the flexibility to be there for their children. Stay-at-home moms who work can provide their families with extra income, while still being able to be present for their children. This provides a wonderful opportunity for families to have quality time together while also bringing in needed income. Stay at home moms who work are truly doing it all!

It's not just for people who work in tech companies or start-ups anymore. With the rise of the internet and the culture of work-life balance, more and more stay-at-home moms are choosing to work from home. And why not? It's a great way to earn an income while still being there for your kids. But it's not always easy. 

Here are some things to keep in mind if you choose to be a stay-at-home mom who works from home:
1. Make time for yourself: When you work from home, it's easy to let work take over your life. Trust me on this one! Make sure you carve out time for yourself, whether it's going for a walk or taking a yoga class.
2. Get dressed: When you work from home, it's tempting to just stay in your pajamas all day. But trust me, getting dressed will make you feel more productive and put you in the right frame of mind to work.
3. Set boundaries: It can be hard to turn off work mode when you're at home with your kids. Set realistic boundaries for yourself and stick to them. That way, you can enjoy time with your family without feeling guilty about work.
4. Take breaks: Working from home can be isolating, so make sure you take breaks throughout the day to socialize and de-stress. Meet up with friends for coffee or have lunch with your spouse.
5. Have fun: Remember, you chose to work from home because you wanted a better work-life balance. So don't forget to enjoy the flexibility and freedom that comes with it! Embrace the chaos and find the humor in every situation. Stay at home moms who work from home are definitely a unique breed - but we wouldn't have it any other way.
6. Celebrate the flexibility: Change your perspective from "I have to" to "I get to". When one of your kids gets sick, remind yourself that you get to take care of them because you have a flexible schedule. 

If you are thinking about leaving your career but concerned about not having any income, look into the things that you could do from home. You might be surprised by the number of opportunities out there. 

Looking for support from other moms who have left their careers? Join my group here.

A Few Things to Consider Regarding Money Before Leaving Your Career to Stay at Home with Your Kids:

A Few Things to Consider Regarding Money Before Leaving Your Career to Stay at Home with Your Kids:
Leaving your career to stay at home with your kids is a big decision. It's one that can be filled with endless amounts of happiness and satisfaction...or regret and frustration. Before you make the switch, here are a few things to consider from a financial perspective.

How much money do you need to live on each month?
This question can be a difficult one to answer. On the one hand, by staying at home, you will not be spending money on child care costs, which can be a significant expense for working mothers. On the other hand, stay at home moms often have a lot of other monthly expenses, such as groceries, gas, and entertainment.  The amount of money that stay at home moms need to live on each month can vary widely depending on their individual circumstances. Track your expenses for a month and see where you spend money that you wouldn’t spend if you were not working.

What is your family’s estimated yearly income if you were to stay home with your kids full-time instead of working outside the home?
Take your spouses yearly income and see if there are any expenses currently being paid out of it that would go away if you were not working. Think about gas money, eating out at lunch (although you may still do that from time to time), dry cleaning for clothes, dress cloths and shoes, etc. 
One way to test if you can manage on one income is to take your income and put it into savings and then use it only to pay those expenses related to you working (child care, gas, etc). Pay all other bills through your spouse’s income. Will it work? Trying it out before you make the final decision can help you see how realistic leaving your job can be from a financial perspective.

How will leaving your career impact your plans for retirement? 
If you leave your career, you are likely to end up with less money saved since you won't been working. On the other hand, you may have more time to focus on how your savings and investments are doing. Ultimately, it will come down to a balancing act between saving and spending. Stay at home moms who are leaving their careers need to make sure that they have a solid plan in place for how they'll continue to save for retirement. They may also need to adjust their expectations for what their retirement will look like. but with careful planning, it is possible to make a successful transition into retirement regardless of how you've left your career.

Before you quit your job to stay at home with your kids, these are a few money issues you should consider. Although your yearly income may drop down to zero, that doesn't mean you're not worth anything! Stay at home moms are definitely worth their weight in gold.

If you’re feeling unsure about transitioning to stay at home mom life or just want some support in making this decision, join my group and let’s chat about it.

3 Reasons Moms Leave the Workforce

3 Reasons Moms Leave the Workforce
Becoming a mom is a life-changing event. It's a time when you learn to adjust to a new way of life, and suddenly everything is all about your little one. As your baby grows, you realize that there are more changes ahead and the time comes when you have to make some big decisions. One of those decisions is whether or not to stay in the workforce after becoming a mom. While there are many factors to consider, here are three reasons why moms may choose to leave their job.

1.    The inability to find affordable, high-quality child care
For many working moms, finding affordable child care is a struggle. Daycare centers can be expensive, and finding a babysitter who is both reliable and affordable can be a challenge. 
I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing the sticker shock of full time childcare. I was thrilled when my kids aged out of full time care, but even after care during the school year and camps or other care during the summer gave me heart palpitations.

2.    The challenge of juggling work and family responsibilities
It can be a constant struggle to find a balance between the demands of your job and the demands of your home life. And it doesn't help that society often expects working mothers to do it all. We are expected to be perfect employees and perfect parents, without ever missing a beat. But the reality is that working mothers are often just trying to do their best. We are working hard to provide for our families and to build successful careers. We are juggling a lot of balls, and sometimes we drop one or two. But overall, we are managing to keep all of the balls in the air. And that is an accomplishment in itself.

3.    The lack of workplace flexibility and support
Working mothers are more likely to feel stressed than working fathers. And it's no wonder why. In addition to managing their own workloads, working moms also have to juggle the demands of family life. This can often mean working late into the night or getting up early to squeeze in a few hours of work before the kids wake up. What's more, working mothers often feel like they have to do it all themselves. Not only are they expected to be the primary caretakers of their children, but they're also expected to maintain a clean house and cook dinner every night. It's no wonder so many working mothers end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.

So there you have it. I left my career to be at home with my kids, and while it’s been a challenge, it’s also been incredibly rewarding. If you’re in a similar situation and are looking for support, please join my group on Facebook here. We offer advice and support to each other as we navigate this tricky but important stage of our lives. Thanks for listening!

Earth-Friendly Gifts for the Holidays

Earth-Friendly Gifts for the Holidays
The holidays are upon us and so is the gift-giving season. Consumerism is not an earth-friendly habit, but we can find some middle ground when we choose gifts that are earth-friendly; things that someone can use to replace disposable or single use items.

Here are a few of my favorite options:
  1. Reusable cotton rounds. These are great for cleaning your face. Just squirt on some of your favorite face wash or wet them and apply soap. Rinse after use and then throw in the washer and dryer. The ones I have, I have used for over a year and they are in great shape. To keep tabs on them as they go through the wash, it’s best to put them in a lingerie bag.
  2. Bamboo toothbrushes. Use these as stocking stuffers or gifts for Hannukah. Bamboo is a much more earth-friendly material than plastic to make toothbrushes, so introducing someone to a bamboo toothbrush is a fabulous idea.
  3. Reusable produce bags. This is my all-time favorite gift. Grab a set of 5-10 bags and that will set someone up for shopping success. Choose a set made from cotton to be the most earth-friendly option. They can be thrown in the wash and when they’ve reached the end of their usefulness, they can be composted.
  4. Beeswax food wraps. Although you can make your own, finding someone who makes these locally alleviates the work and supports a small business. If you can’t find someone locally who makes them locally, look for a seller on Etsy.
  5. Zippered silicone bags. These help to replace the single use version that often go straight into the garbage after being used once. I have several versions of these and they are all fantastic. Different sizes help to accommodate different foods and these are perfect for adding to school or work lunches.
  6. Reusable cloth napkins. The ones that I use are from a seller on Etsy. They are made of two-ply diaper material and are super absorbent. We’ve been using the set I have for at least 5 years and they look practically brand new. These go straight through the washer and dryer and require no ironing.
Remember that with holiday giving, less is more. Consider giving experiences rather than items. Experiences gain in value over time whereas items lose value. Give a gift that creates memories.

Tips for an Earth-Friendlier Thanksgiving

Tips for an Earth-Friendlier Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks and gathering with family. It can also be a time of great waste, so let’s see if we can find some ways in which to be more earth-friendly this Thanksgiving. 

  1. Purchase products in glass and metal containers that can be recycled. There are lots of foods that are easier to purchase than make. I get it. I used to try to make my own gravy but after not being successful for too many times, and since only a few of us actually eat it, I have opted to purchase gravy. I make sure to always purchase it in a glass jar. Glass can be recycled, so I’m taking a small step to be more earth-friendly in that regard.
  2. Make turkey broth from the turkey carcass. I know more than a few of my friends who talk about wanting to cry when they visit family and they see the carcass going straight into the trash. I have learned over the years to make broth from either turkey or chicken and freeze it, and I have found it to be quite simple. 
Here’s how to make broth: Put the turkey or chicken carcass in a slow cooker, cover with water and let simmer for about 8 hours. Let it cool, remove all of the bones and ladle the broth into jars. All you need are some pint mason jars with lids. Leave about ½ inch of headspace in the jar to provide room for expansion when freezing. Make sure to label the lid with the month and year that you made it and put it in the freezer. You’ll have plenty of broth for the winter months. When it comes time to use it, just move the jars from freezer to refrigerator a couple of days ahead of time and they will thaw and be ready for use.

  1. Use reusable containers to store leftovers. We used to set a box of zippered plastic bags next to the leftovers to store them but have learned over the years to embrace the reusable containers. We even have some that go in the freezer, so we use all that we have. 
  2. Freeze some leftovers to reduce potential food waste. Estimate how long the family will tolerate leftovers for meals and then freeze the rest. One of the things I do is to chop up leftover turkey into 2 cup portions and freeze. The 2 cup quantity is perfect for adding to casseroles. Make sure to label the turkey and add a date so you know what it is and when it went into the freezer. 
  3. Make your own pies rather than purchase pre-made pies to reduce the amount of trash. Buying premade pies is really convenient, but between the box and the foil pie pan, it can result in a lot of waste. Instead, consider making your own pies and using reusable pie plates. I’m not one to make my own crust, so I purchase that premade, but otherwise, it’s homemade. Perhaps I should call it home assembled instead.
No matter how you celebrate Thanksgiving this season, make sure to take some time to be grateful and to give thanks. 

What To Do With Your Jack-O-Lantern After Halloween

What To Do With Your Jack-O-Lantern After Halloween

Carving pumpkins to make Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween is a long-standing tradition, but from an environmental perspective, there are some concerns. For one thing, pumpkins take a lot of water and pesticides to grow. For another thing, they are often disposed of in the landfill after their time of usefulness is over, leaving them to rot and emit methane.


But, all is not lost. What if we could have some good come out of our favorite gourd?


I know lots of people who toast the pumpkin seeds to eat later. That’s a great first step in putting to good use material that would otherwise be thrown away.


As far as what to do with the pumpkin after Halloween, there are many options besides throwing it in the landfill.


1.  Compost it. In our area, we have curbside food scrap collection, so putting the pumpkin in the food scrap bin will ensure it doesn’t end up in the landfill. You can also compost the pumpkin in your back yard. If you don’t have a compost pile, you can put small pieces of it in your flower or garden beds to feed the worms and other insects that inhabit the soil.

2.  Leave it out for the wildlife. If you have woods on your property, you could put the pumpkin out for the wildlife. While I don’t advocate putting food out regularly for the wildlife, this is one exception. The best thing to do is split the pumpkin open so that the squirrels, deer, foxes, rabbits and mice can get to the flesh on the inside.
Do you have friends who have chickens? Chickens love pumpkin. Offer to supply your friend’s chickens with a tasty treat.

3. Donate it to a farm or animal sanctuary. This is becoming a more popular option in my area. There are pig farmers who accept pumpkin donations and there’s even a directory to help you find them. Check out They have a directory of pig farms and animal sanctuaries that are updated every year.


Whether you are composting, leaving it out for wildlife or donating it to a farmer or animal sanctuary, it’s good to encourage your neighbors to do the same. You could offer to collect up some of the pumpkins and deliver them together to their destination.


Make sure to plan ahead. If you are planning to choose any of these options, make sure that you don’t put anything on the pumpkin that would be toxic to wildlife. Do not spray bleach or any other toxic substance in or on the pumpkin.  

Conflict and Compromise Between Homeowners’ Associations and Earth Friendly Living

Conflict and Compromise Between Homeowners’ Associations and Earth Friendly Living
Earth friendly practices are often in direct conflict with homeowners’ associations (HOAs) due to the desire for HOAs to avoid any activities that may negatively affect property value. HOAs don’t want homeowners to do things on their property that others would find distasteful. Visual appeal is a common desire and HOAs determine what is aesthetically pleasing and what is not. Laundry hanging out to dry and compost bins are considered visually unappealing. Although the conflict exists, there is room for compromise. 
One of the best ways to dry laundry is to hang it outside and let the sunshine do its job. In Maryland as well as many other states, HOAs are not allowed to ban clotheslines. However, many HOAs do not allow permanent clotheslines to be built on their homeowners’ properties, so they need to find a compromise. My HOA’s guidelines state that homeowners are allowed to use umbrella or retractable clotheslines, but the clotheslines must be removed when not in use. Furthermore, the clotheslines must be located as close to the rear of the house as possible and fall within lines defined by the sides of the house. So, although we can hang our laundry out, we must do so only within certain guidelines. It’s a compromise.

The same is true for compost bins. It makes sense that people do not want stinky rotting materials hanging out on people’s properties, but that doesn’t have to be the case. A well-maintained compost pile should not smell and does not have to look unsightly. To compromise on this issue, our HOA has some guidelines in place. First, the location of the compost bin/tumbler must minimize the “look and smell” of the compost bin on neighboring properties. Plants can be installed to further “hide” the compost bin or pile from neighboring properties. 

The compost bin must also be located close to the rear of the house and not be in open or common space. Townhouses are not currently allowed to have compost bins or piles but applications for them are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, failure to maintain your compost bin is a violation of the maintenance provisions of the covenants. I think these are all reasonable requests on the part of the HOA, so it seems like a good compromise.

For clotheslines and compost bins, paperwork must be filled out indicating the location of the item on the property, the materials it is made of, plantings put into place to screen the structure from other properties, etc. Basically, there are a whole lot of hoops you must jump through to establish earth-friendly habits, but it’s a compromise, so we need to be willing to do our part. 

Clotheslines and compost bins appeal to the sustainability-minded individual; however, they are sometimes considered unsightly by HOAs. To live an earth friendly life within a community governed by an HOA, be sure to learn about and follow the guidelines in place so that everyone is happy. Although conflicts exist, there can be compromise between the two so that we can all practice earth friendly habits. 

I Already Use a Reusable Water Bottle, What Else Can I Do to Reduce Single Use Plastic for Beverages

I Already Use a Reusable Water Bottle, What Else Can I Do to Reduce Single Use Plastic for Beverages
Many of us have adopted the habit of bringing our own water bottle with us rather than purchasing bottled water when we are out and about. If you already do this, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. It's a great step toward sustainability!
If you haven't started using your own water bottle, look into how you could make that change. If you’re looking to purchase a water bottle, the best version will be stainless steel or glass. There are some great insulated stainless steel bottles on the market across a wide price range, so as we move into the warmer months of the year, that insulation factor will come in handy and purchasing one or two won’t break the bank. Beyond that, let’s look around at the other beverages that we might be consuming that are packaged in plastic. 
When my kids were younger, playing soccer, parents would always bring bottles of sports beverages or juice boxes for the kids to drink after games. I thought it was a waste of money and not necessarily healthy, but I didn't ever think about the plastic issue. The sports drinks come in plastic bottles and the juice boxes are either plastic or have a plastic straw in a plastic sleeve attached to the box with glue. Of course the whole bunch of juice boxes or sports drinks was wrapped in plastic as well, so there was a lot there.
Are there drinks that you consume regularly that are in plastic containers? If that is the case, is there a way for you to decrease the amount of plastic that you consume with them? For instance, is the beverage offered in cans or glass instead of plastic? That could be one way you could make a change. I know that for us, one beverage that we drink often is milk. We purchase milk in plastic jugs. This is something I will be looking into changing.
Is there a powdered form to the drink mix that you prefer that could be added to water instead of buying it premixed in plastic containers. I know a lot of people like to add some sort of flavor to their water, so buying small packets reduces the amount of plastic you are purchasing and throwing away. 
Do you purchase hot or iced coffee from a chain store like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? Have they started back with the ability to bring your own reusable cup? Once that changes back, consider bringing your own cup with you rather than using their single use version. Typically, during the holidays, Starbucks gives out reusable coffee cups, so they want you to use them. Take them up on it. Also, what about getting a reusable straw for that iced coffee. It’s a small gesture, but if lots of people did it, it would make a difference.
The first step in changing a habit is noticing what you’re currently doing and becoming aware of areas in which you need or want to change. So, take some time to observe your current habits and pick one thing you want to change. Make that change stick for 90 days and then move on with the next.

5 Creative Uses for Coffee Grounds

5 Creative Uses for Coffee Grounds

For those who drink coffee on a regular basis, you can quickly build up a supply of used coffee grounds in as little as a few days. You can certainly throw those used coffee grounds in the trash or your compost pile, but why not put them to a second use around your house first. Here are a few things you can do with them:


1. Use them to fertilize your indoor and outdoor plants. The coffee grounds provide a natural source of nitrogen for your plants and they will thank you for it. Add a spoonful or two to the top of the soil and mix in with the upper layer to help them blend in.


2. Make yourself a coffee scrub to pamper your hands, face or entire body. The coffee grounds serve as a gentle exfoliant and they are packed with antioxidants. Making a coffee scrub is super easy. You can combine equal parts coffee grounds, sugar (white or brown) and an oil (almond, grapeseed, apricot or jojoba). Apply to your skin and then rinse off. The caffeine in the coffee grounds helps to tighten the skin and the grit in both the sugar and the coffee grounds helps to exfoliate.


3. Use them to absorb odors. If you’ve ever been in a perfume or candle store where they have a jar of coffee beans handy for you to sniff between scents, you know that coffee deodorizes odor rather quickly. After you’ve made your daily pot of coffee, spread the wet grounds on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven at 250oF until they are dry. Then, you can place the coffee grounds in bowls or jars in areas where you need some odor absorbed.


4. Use them to clean your hands. Since coffee grounds are useful as both an exfoliant and an odor absorber, you can use them to clean your hands after preparing particularly aromatic foods like onions or garlic. It is also a nice cleansing agent after spending time outdoors in the yard or garden.


5. Use them for traction on icy sidewalks. It’s nearly spring now on the east coast, but in colder, wetter weather spreading the grounds on top of ice will help you have traction and lessen the need for salt or other chemicals.


No matter what you do with your coffee grounds, know that they can be put to all sorts of different purposes. If you’re already drinking coffee, you might as well find another use for them since the additional application of them is free and could save you money by not needing to buy other things like plant fertilizer and ice melt.

3 Earth-Friendly Products That Can Save You Money

3 Earth-Friendly Products That Can Save You Money
Many of us are trying to adopt more earth-friendly habits, and while some people think that this lifestyle is expensive, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to buy all new things, but some small purchases can help you save money in the long run.
If you’re looking to make a few small purchases to save yourself money, these are 3 that I would suggest.
1. Wool dryer balls – I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. This was one of the switches that I resisted for a long time. I put this off for so long! I thought they wouldn’t work as well as dryer sheets. I thought they would get lost and I would be on a constant search for them around the house. I thought our clothes would end up all staticky and my family would hate them. I was wrong on all counts. In hindsight, I wish I had made this switch years ago because what I thought would be so hard was actually really (laughably) easy.

Here are a few tips:
  • Drop your drying temperature down a notch.
  • Drop your drying time down a smidge.
Doing these two things will help reduce the amount of static that builds up in your laundry. The static tends to build up in the final minutes of the drying cycle when dry clothes are rubbing together. You reduce this when you drop the drying time and temperature.
Some people report still having issues with static and end up using a safety pin pinned to the dryer ball or a balled-up piece of aluminum foil, but I’ve never had to do anything other than drop the temperature and dry time, and I’m now on my second dryer using these. It’s worked for both.
If you want a source for a good set of dryer balls, go here.
2. Reusable Cotton Rounds – everyone washes their face differently. For me, I use a face wash solution that I squirt onto a cotton round to wipe the makeup and dirt from my face. When I first started using this method, I purchased sleeves of disposable cotton rounds from one of the big box stores. 

After some time, I started to feel rather wasteful, so I went searching for an alternative. Sure enough, there are companies out there that sell reusable cotton rounds made from cotton, bamboo or some other mixture of materials. There are even some crafty friends who have made their own.

These work great! I have even bought sets for my kids to use so that they develop good habits while they’re young. After use, you throw them into a laundry bag and throw it in the wash. You could add them individually to your laundry, but you’ll be searching for them and they could become another item lost like that single sock that has no match. If you’re looking for a source, go here or here.
3. Cloth napkins – when my kids were infants and toddlers, we went through a lot of paper napkins. I remember buying a huge package of them a couple times a year. Over time, I decided they were both wasteful and expensive, so I sought out a reusable alternative. I’m not a fan of the fancy napkins that you can buy in the kitchen section of department stores as I’ve always found them stiff, rough and not very absorbent.

I went to one of my favorite websites, etsy, to see if I could find something that would work. Lo and behold, I found someone making everyday napkins from the same fabric as cloth diapers. The first set that I ordered were single ply, but I did not like them as they seemed too thin and they crumpled up like a paper fan in the laundry. Ironing is not happening in my house, especially for something we use everyday, so that was not an acceptable solution. Those single ply napkins were soon relegated to the cleaning rag supply. I went back to etsy and found that the same person made a different version with 2 layers. Voila! They have worked perfectly and have lasted at least 10 years at this point. The small investment has saved us (and the landfill) bundles.
If you would like to see the ones that I use, you can find them here.
Friends, living a sustainable, earth-friendly lifestyle does not have to be expensive and just like anything else, you can make small changes over time. Once you find a solution that works for improving one lifestyle habit, move on to the next. This is not a race or a sprint. It’s a marathon. Pace yourself.  

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