7 Tips on Getting a Break from Children with Little or No Money

Does it seem that your children are dominating every part of your day?  If you feel overwhelmed with your children lately, here are some suggestions on how to get some free time throughout the day to catch your breath.

1.  Utilize a room in your residence that isn't dedicated to children.  If you don't have one, create a space.  This will be your time-out spot.  Explain to your children why this area is off-limits.  Reward them when they are not in that area and are keeping quiet.

2.  Busy your children with some toys/activities that they haven't done for awhile.  Electronics with headphones are a plus.  Also, most wanted new toys (without sound and have parts that stay intact) will keep their interest for awhile.  If you don't have money to buy new toys, take old ones out and rotate toys.  It will feel like Christmas all over again for them.  Take building blocks and dump them in the middle of their floor and let them create while you do what you need to do.

3.  When you can get away from your children (because someone is at home to watch them or you dropped them off elsewhere), visit with loved ones, go to a park, eat at a restaurant alone, or just sit in your car somewhere peaceful.  The needed break will rejuvenate you!

4.  Purchase popular movies (Thrift store, yard sale, online auction, bookstore) or borrow them from the local library, they will keep the children entertained for at least a couple of hours.

5.  Send children to bed early or encourage a nap or "Do Nothing" time.  This is so helpful when you need to get things done in the middle of the afternoon or late during the evening through the night.  Of course, they will put up a fuss but at least you gain your needed free time!

6.  Make plans to go to bed early then awake early (hopefully before the children get up).  This way you will be in the frame of mind to at least start what you need to do, rather than tending to their needs. 

7.  Take them to events where you are able to drop them off ie.) birthday parties, extracurricular activities, etc.)

When all else fails, always look for opportunities for help ie.) school counselors, community centers, welfare office, non-profit agencies, etc.

Nicholl McGuire  

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Is it Right to Make Mother's Day a Vacation Day Away from Family?

The Mother's Day holiday is like a personal day a worker takes off from his or her daily job responsibilities for many moms.  It isn't a question of right and wrong for a mother to want to be alone for Mother's Day it is simply a request.  Mom says, "I just want a day off of work." 

For some mothers, they know that if everyone comes over Mom's home--especially if she is a senior citizen, the need to advise, cook, clean, and more will kick in, so instead of feeding into those desires, she just wants peace and quiet.   Frankly, look at the many days when children and spouses could have celebrated mom during the year?  Is it so bad that Mommy doesn't want to be celebrated on a day that someone long ago said, "Make this day Mother's Day."  Maybe the family could pick another day. 

Let's keep in mind, many moms have mental and physical issues that can come during certain times of the month or are daily challenges.  You don't know what mood you are walking into when a mom is adamant about being left alone--take heed Sons and Spouses. 

Why do we assume we know what Mom is going through even if we are moms ourselves?  Why convince her that spending time with her children is best for her when we know that sometimes we are a reminder of the many sacrifices she made for us--which wasn't all good?  Let's just be honest!  Give mom a break when she says, "I'm not celebrating the holiday, but thanks for the well-wishes."

Nicholl McGuire


Protecting Your Children from Sexually Abusive Relatives, Friends, Strangers

Whether a relative or friend is sexually abusive is unknown for many mothers, because the abuser doesn't typically give off any obvious signs that he or she has or will be abusive toward one's children.  However, in circles like: the family, the online world of dating and in many family friendly establishments there lies someone, somewhere who is an uncle, cousin, father, step-father or has other ties to a family with little girls and boys.  Their hidden issues are exposed when a child says, "Mommy, he touched me here...Daddy they do bad things over at that house...I don't want to go over there anymore."

Too often busy parents, or even lazy ones, will ignore a child's non-verbal or verbal cries for help.  In a recent news report, a mother didn't bother to go along with her 7-year-old to the bathroom at a public restaurant.  Little did she know, there was a sexually abusive patron behind the closed door.  He hurt the poor child, got away and to date, is still at large.

What are some things that parents can do to keep children safe:

1.  Keep your children in view from public restrooms to a house party, watch them and get others to help.  Don't permit children to play with adults such as:  sit on their laps, sleep in their beds, or play games like Hide 'n Seek or House.  Don't permit them to watch movies and shows with sexual scenes and conversation.  All of these things can happen if you are not paying attention to your children.
2.  Don't assume a relative, friend or even stranger is trustworthy because he or she has kids too.  Watch how the children behave with one another.  Are they acting in ways that are inappropriate for children their age?  Do the children wrestle, hand-hold, hug, kiss, and touch one another in ways that make you feel uncomfortable?  Chances are they have seen or experienced something sexual at home.
3.  Notice a partner or relative's interest in pornography.  It doesn't matter the type, ask yourself, "What is going on in this man's mind that he feels the need to look at nude people having sex during his private time?"  Be wary of him.  Also, if he is very flirtatious, likes to touch, stares at the young women's and girl's bodies, and makes so-called playful, sexual comments about everyone (boys too), keep your kids at a distance.
4.  At home, break nightly routines at times.  Stay up later and periodically check on your child through the night.  Do the same when staying at someone else's home or have them sleep in the room with you.  Ask a partner or relative, "Was there something wrong the reason why you went in Johnny's room?"  Notice how long he or she is in there and listen at the door.  Don't worry over offending the person and don't respond when they become defensive.
5.  Converse with your child about his or her body parts and ask questions, "Does anything hurt?  How do you feel when (fill in the person's name) is around?  How does this person make you feel?  Does he or she do things that make you feel afraid or say bad things when I'm not around?  Did he ever tell you not to tell me anything or else he would hurt you?"
6.  Tell other children to pay attention when the parent or relative is around certain children.  Talk with them as well.  Sometimes abusers target the one who is the weakest and the least likely to share secrets.
7.  Set up recording devices when you have that nagging feeling in your gut that doesn't seem to go away about someone your child is around.  There is a good possibility that someone else or something non-related to abuse might be going on that is keeping you anxious.  Don't leave the child with this person who makes you feel uncomfortable anymore (even if you don't have any proof).  This way you will be less likely to have a major falling out with the relative or friend just in case he is innocent of wrong-doing.

There are women who sexually abuse their children as well or are accomplices to such despicable acts.  Some will do such things because a boyfriend has put them up to doing such things.  Other times these women have been abused themsleves and don't think too much about whether what they do with their own children is right or wrong especially when money is involved.  A mother reasons, "Well, their dad has bought us nice things, keeps a roof over our heads...I won't say anything...maybe he will get better."

Keep in mind, men who think they can get away with abusive acts will target single mothers who have children.  These trusting moms will permit these men to come into their lives because they believe they are "good."  But the reality is that there is more to a lonely man besides his looks, a charming smile and gifts, he is by himself for good reason and it is up to a discerning mom to figure out why he is divorced more than once, alone, or doesn't have an amicable relationship with his ex. 

Naive moms believe what they want to hear, smart moms do some investigating!

Nicholl McGuire, author of When Mothers Cry



Why Put Children in the Care of Mentally Unstable Relatives?

Every now and then a tragic story of a parent, step-parent or other relatives murdering children left in their care makes the front page news on a website.  These painful stories remind all of us why we shouldn't leave children with people who have a history of mental instability alone with them for any length of time.  One doesn't know when the voice or voices in their heads might snap! 

Sometimes, as moms, we don't trust ourselves when we are grieving, overwhelmed, or busy doing other things to watch our own children, so we will leave them in someone else's care.  Now who this person is should be carefully observed for a period of time before dropping them off, and we must have some understanding when it comes to his or her mental history.  You can find a bit about their background simply by interviewing others who have had their children watched by them.  You can talk to the children being cared for by this person.  You will also want to know your child's temperaments well, because he or she might be a challenge for some caretakers who may be use to obedient children.

Unstable relatives come in all shapes and sizes as we very well know.  It doesn't matter how nice, beautiful, or good with children these people might have been in the past with them, how are they now?  Is the potential caretaker easily upset by bad news, often appears nervous, extremely talkative, quick-tempered, moody, or has a history of suicide?  We falsely assume that because someone hasn't exhibited any noticeable signs recently that he or she has mental issues, everything must be okay.  Keep in mind, the world is filled with good actors and actresses.  This is why when someone is murdered so many will say, "I would have never thought he/she was capable of killing an innocent baby...a small child."  As long as there is evil in this world, anyone can potentially go crazy!

Don't trust that someone who has recently received bad news is going to be okay with your children.  Never put one's selfish needs above the safety of your sons and daughters.  When you know a caretaker is taking medication for anxiety, depression, nerves, and other things that affect one's mind or has any type of substance addiction, know that this person has some area of his or her brain that when pushed enough will push back.  Think of a grandmother who doesn't make herself available to watch grandchildren.  Why do you think she acts that way?  Because she knows that she has little patience for them, so in the best interest of one's children, a discerning parent would not leave her children with nervous grandma even if she insists, "I'm alright...just be sure that you aren't gone away long...and make sure you bring something to entertain the kids...and oh by the way, I could use some cash...and another thing I might take the children out...and call if you are going to be late..."  Grandma is coming up with a plan in her head to cope with grandchildren despite not wanting to be bothered with them.  So the more she comes up with to control the situation, the more she is attempting to convince herself she can do it. 

There are those mentally unstable people who believe they can take on any task and do anything, but they deceive themselves.  After enough crying, yelling, and other child related issues, it won't be long before the confused mind is cursing and wishing the children to be gone by any means necessary.  While some overwhelmed parents and relatives may cry out of frustration, yet keep on going; others will do unspeakable things to children as if they can achieve some personal relief by hurting them. 

You can save your children as well as someone else's a lot of trouble, if you just avoid the temptation to drop children off with people that might look sane, but up underneath their act, they really are not.
Learn about recognizing mental disorders in people and never assume that because you grew up with someone, "They would never..."  I'm sure that all those families who no longer have their children as a result of insane relatives who abused or killed them, never thought they were capable of wicked acts either.

Nicholl McGuire    


Growing Up with a Mother with Schizophrenia: Anika Francis

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