THIS WEEK IN MOM…Lil kids, BIG MESSES! Oh dear, you only turned your back for a second…

  • Girl Sweeping
    Discover the secret to getting your kid to set the table or tidy her room without being constantly on her case about it.

    By Beth Howard

    My daughter, Zoe, was 5 when I decided to give her a couple of chores: making her bed every morning and putting some of her clean clothes in drawers on laundry day. Let's just say she blew off these tasks for months. I was beyond frustrated that my sweet kid, who eagerly pitched in at school during cleanup time, couldn't care less about lending a hand at home.

    Sound familiar? While chores are typically greeted with enthusiasm in the preschool years ("Look, I'm helping Mommy!"), by the time a child is 5 or 6 -- and genuinely ready for more responsibility -- her natural excitement wanes, says parenting expert Deborah Gilboa, M.D., the founder of Don't let your chore-dodger off the hook. To spur her on to action, enlist the help of these motivational tricks from the experts.

    Pull Out the Big-Kid Card
    If you've never specifically g

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  • Last fall I took a leap of faith and quit my stable, well-paying job in pursuit of two dreams. One, to become a freelance writer, and two, to stay home with my children.

    The decision to walk away from my job took no less than 18 months of careful planning, about a thousand prayers, a flood of tears, and a healthy dose of courage.

    The worst part about making a decision so large is the not knowing. Not knowing if the decision is the right one. Not knowing if the decision was an emotional one. Not knowing if I was making the decision for the right reasons. Not knowing if it we were going to be OK. Financial considerations had taken precedence over my personal desires and for many, many years because it just felt safer that way. But who did it hurt in the end? It hurt more than just my soul. It hurt my chances of becoming the mother I was meant to be - the mother who not only dared to dream, but had the courage to make her dream come true. I wanted my children to see me succeed wit

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  • What is it about watching our children sleep that casts such a spell over us parents? Is it the serene, unguarded look and fluttering eyelids as they dream, oblivious to the world around them, that holds our attention? Or is it the sheer relief that they're finally down for the night and we can have a few blissful moments to ourselves? I'm not sure, but I do know that I have several photos over the years of my twins asleep in their beds, and they never cease to make me stop and smile.

    There's an evolution to the pictures. In the first year, the boys are sharing a crib at naptime. It used to touch me so much that I would place them at either end of the crib to keep them from waking each other up with their movements. Yet, invariably, when I checked on them, their heads would be touching. Even as they rested, they were a unit. As the years went on and we traveled extensively, my sons would often find themselves sharing a sofa bed. My husband and I would hear them giggling as they to

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  • I'm fairly certain that my daughters may grow up to be card sharks. I couldn't be prouder.

    When I was growing up, before the advent of On Demand television viewing and portable DVD players, every trip to my grandparents' homes included card games. Crazy Eights, Go Fish, Kings in the Corner, and even Blitz, Rummy 500, and Hand and Foot were popular favorites among my sisters, cousins, aunts, and grandparents. There was always a deck of cards around, a game to be played, and someone to play it with.

    Now I've got children of my own. I'm thankful that I'm still able to take them to my grandparents' houses. My daughters have grandparents, great-grandparents, second cousins, first cousins, cousins once removed, and their own siblings around to play with them.

    It was only this past summer when, for the first time, my daughters were schooled in card games. It's not that I wasn't interested in playing cards anymore. It's just that with the busy lives we have (after school activities,

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  • As I drove to my doctor's office for a routine checkup, I had a mission. I wanted to ask about the option of freezing my eggs. I half-wished that he would just tell me that I'm too old, my eggs are done, and it would be a waste of time and money to freeze my creaky, 38-year-old eggs. Hearing that would instantly save me from taking action regarding my reproductive future, not to mention, thousands of dollars. But that's not what he said.

    He told me that the time is now. That I shouldn't even wait a year. Oh boy. Here we go. I'm a divorced single mom of a four-year old boy, who is the light of my life. I never thought I'd be the woman willing to spend thousands of dollars on conceiving my own biological child, but when I look at our faces in the mirror, or him playing with my parents, or see how similar our expressions are, my heart swells. I never thought my marriage would end, and I never thought I'd be a single mom at 38, contemplating the end of my natural fertility. But here I

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