March 20, 2017

5 Tips for Working From Home During the Summer

5 Tips for Working From Home During the Summer
By Kerrie McLoughlin
690 words

It’s hard for kids to understand the concept that “Mommy or Daddy has to work,” especially in the summertime when fun is supposed to rule and you are in sight. Of course you can attempt to get everything done early in the morning or late at night while they sleep, but that doesn’t always work out. I'm often asked how I work from home while caring for my own 5 children, as well as having extra kids over during the summer. Here are a few of my own ideas for making summer work for everyone!

Trade care. My next door neighbor's kid often knocks on my door to play while his dad is making work telephone calls from his own home. I'm a proofer/writer, so I can be interrupted and don’t need total silence, whereas his dad needs periods of absolute quiet to conduct his business. Believe it or not, tossing his kid into the mix often helps me out because now my kids have someone new to play with! If I take his kid a few days a week, he often reciprocates by watching my kids for a few hours on the weekend. If you have family who enjoy taking your child for a few hours and have a kid who can detach easily, take advantage of this!

March 19, 2017

Surviving Your First Year as a Stay-at-Home Mom

Surviving Your First Year as a Stay-at-Home Mom
By Kerrie McLoughlin
960 words without sidebar
1,053 words with sidebar

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

Congratulations! You’ve taken the plunge into the zany SAHM (stay-at-home mom) pool. While expecting your baby, you may have envisioned days of doing exactly what you wanted to do while your baby snoozed away, but you have probably by now realized that your tiny, new — permanent — houseguest is running the show. Now what?


I’ll never forget the time a family member asked me, “Are you bored yet?” Melissa Stanton, mother of three and author of The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide, says, “When a spouse comes home at the end of the work day, sees the breakfast dishes still in the sink, and asks, ‘What did you do all day?’ it can be hard to answer. All you know is that although you never sat down or stopped ‘doing,’ you didn’t accomplish anything of substance. Every nose wiped, snack served, doctor appointment made and errand run prevents a SAHM from being able to, say, balance the checkbook, write the great American novel or just relax and be the lady of leisure many perceive SAHMs to be.”

Why You Need a Mother’s Helper

Why You Need a Mother’s Helper
Kerrie McLoughlin
535 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

I have a confession: I am in love with my Mommy Interns, aka Mother’s Helpers. I have a few on call for when I am feeling frazzled as a mom. You know, those times when you can’t seem to get a dish done because of the laundry that piles up. Or when you can’t even shave your own legs because of all the hygienic upkeep your kids require (all those nails, hair and teeth!). A Mother’s Helper can take your kids to the park to swing and play ball, color with your girls, play Legos and — perhaps best of all — change diapers! Read on to find out all you need to know about the wonderful world of Mother’s Helpers.

How do you go about finding this Kid Whisperer of sorts?

Keep your eyes peeled in the neighborhood for girls about age 10 and up. Put the word out with your friends, family and neighbors, and you should soon have more help than you could ever use. One of my Helpers lives a few doors up and we met at the park, while another approached me at church and asked if I needed some help wrangling my crew (the answer is usually YES!).

6 Mother's Day Traditions

6 Mother’s Day Traditions
By Kerrie McLoughlin
461 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

Ah, it’s time for my favorite holiday: Mother’s Day! I always feel relaxed and pampered on this one day of the year and I definitely milk it and enjoy it. Here are some ideas for Mother’s Day traditions you might like to see in your house this year — or any year!

Note: Please don’t feel like your loved ones should hit all six or you’ll go on a laundry strike. Just print these ideas out, leave them lying around and surely they’ll catch the hint!


1.      Flower Mom with love. Flowers are a favorite – and very easy – way to make a mom feel special. My very favorite flower is Lily of the Valley because it reminds me of my own mother. One year my husband planted some in front of our house, and they bloom every year as a reminder of what he did for me on Mother’s Day. Consider hitting the local florist for a bigger bouquet in a colorful vase. A potted flowering plant or hanging basket of petunias would be low-maintenance and long-lasting.

Mother's Day Dilemmas Solved or Mother's Day Jugging Act

Mother’s Day Juggling Act
Mother's Day Dilemmas Solved
674 words
Kerrie McLoughlin

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

Remember Mother’s Day before you were married? The day probably revolved around your own mom, stepmom or other mother figure. Then your mother-in-law came into the picture, and you had to really split your time every second Sunday in May. Once YOU became a mother you probably realized that juggling Mother’s Day visits (as well as your own “selfish” needs and wants) should be an Olympic event. While it’s true you can’t make everyone happy all of the time, I believe you CAN honor all the moms in your life — including yourself — every year. Here are some ideas:

Dilemma: So many moms, so little time.
Solution: Change it up. Who says Mother’s Day should only be celebrated on that specific Sunday in May? I like to have my stepmom over for dinner one night during the week leading up to Mother’s Day. Then maybe we take my mother-in-law out to dinner the night before. When Sunday rolls around, I have my mom over to hang out with us at our house for part of the day, and we make sure to serve her a special meal and shower her with cards and flowers. I get the best of both worlds on Mother’s Day: being with my own mom and being with the little ones who made ME a mom.

Make the Most of Your Maternity Leave

Make the Most of Your Maternity Leave
By Kerrie McLoughlin
725 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

Many moms will tell you they think working a full-time job is easier than being a full-time stay-at-home mom. As a guest blogger at ScaryMommy.com so eloquently put it, “I want to go back to work. Not because I don’t love my one-year-old but because I want to escape him. … Rather than obsess over the nutritional content on his high chair tray. Rather than watch the Wiggles for one more minute.”

Allison Hahn, Psy.D. shares, “When you come back from the hospital beginning maternity leave initially it is an overwhelming experience in terms of how little you actually know, regardless of how informed you thought you were, about caring for a newborn.” She continues, “What can be particularly shocking for professional moms is how little they get done during a day. The typical thought is ‘I have the whole day at home for several weeks? I’ll get that re-fi completed, get the shed painted, write that novel and keep the house spotless.’ It is shocking to realize that you get NOTHING accomplished …”

Mompetition ... Don't Play Along!

Mompetition … Don’t Play Along!
By Kerrie McLoughlin
694 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

According to UrbanDictionary.com, mompetition is “the one-up rivalry that moms play making their child seem better, smarter, and/ or more advanced than yours. May involve two or more moms and any number of children, even full-grown.” I like the “even full-grown” part of that because it is so true. Ever see a couple of 60-something women comparing number of grandchildren and number of married children and their jobs? Oh, yes, it happens daily, and it has to stop.

I've never really been competitive; maybe it's the Only Child thing. I just don't really care what other people are doing and don't have the desire to one-up them. That being said, I always know when I’m dealing with mompetition. At a random outing, a mom might start by asking you a lot of questions about your life. These are not normal questions in a normal manner, but they are lots of POKING questions. These moms are trying to find your weak spots and decide in which areas of life they are BETTER than you.

Here are some examples of mompetition, then some ways to handle it:

·         "My kid is only 12 and is almost an Eagle Scout. Congratulations on your 17-year-old Scout getting his Fingerprinting badge!" (For those of you non-Scouters, an Eagle Scout rank is HARD to get, takes years, involves a major service project and is usually earned by an 18th birthday.)

8 Egg-citing Easter Traditions

8 Egg-citing Easter Traditions
816 words including sidebar
Kerrie McLoughlin

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

Easter was always an exciting holiday when I was growing up. I would spend the night with my grandparents the night before Easter, and I could SWEAR I heard the Easter bunny scooting across the floor in the night. Upon waking I’d bolt out of bed to see what candy and other treats I’d been brought, then we’d head to church for Easter services and a massive egg hunt. My day would end in a sugar coma on the couch, watching The Wizard of Oz with my parents. Below are 8 ideas for Easter traditions you can try with your own kids. Pick and choose a few of them each year … and stick with the ones your family loves!

1. There are so many great treats your family can make together a night or two before Easter. Dying and decorating hardboiled eggs is a classic, but you could also make something out of the ordinary like Jell-o eggs or egg-shaped sugar cookies. Last year my husband and kids made Rice Krispy eggs dipped in melted chocolate chips, then they added sprinkles before the chocolate set.

March 7, 2017

Things to Think About When Considering Homeschooling

Things to Think About When Considering Homeschooling
By Kerrie McLoughlin
705 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

We just started our tenth year of homeschooling at my house, and these days I’m teaching five kids in five different grades. Sure, there are nutty days, but 99% of the time it just works for us. If the thought of homeschooling makes you cringe, definitely don’t undertake it; it’s not for everyone and some kids thrive in a regular school setting. If you’ve been toying with the idea and are wondering if it’s for you, read on for some things to consider while you explore this thing called homeschooling that’s gaining popularity every year.

Socialization. It’s not all about the education, parents. Get ready to be Activities Director for your child because making friends and knowing how to deal with issues that may arise with those friends and other people are a big part of life and something kids need to learn. Co-ops are a great place to start since there is learning and socializing, just like in a brick and mortar school setting, only the parents are the teachers and are more hands-on. 

March 6, 2017

Gardening With Kids: Growing Memories

Gardening With Kids: Growing Memories
By Kerrie McLoughlin
746 words without sidebars
117-word optional pizza sauce recipe sidebar
66-word optional resources sidebar

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

I’ll never forget the first time I picked a beautiful, ripe, red tomato that I helped grow. I had watered and weeded the plant with love, and I was so proud of that tomato. And, because I wasn’t interested in gardening when I was a kid, this memorable gardening experience happened the summer I turned 40!

This made me determined to share the joy of gardening with my own kids. I’m already learning that gardening alongside your kids provides valuable opportunities for them to learn, to get some exercise and fresh air and to spend some time connecting with you. Check out these tips and ideas for gardening success, as well as a few reasons why gardening is one cool hobby.


Green is in right now, and there’s nothing greener than growing your own food. Composting is another fun, green aspect of gardening because kids get to toss “trash” into the garden (egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable shavings and rinds, etc.). Toss the “trash” from Halloween (leftover pumpkins and gourds) and see what happens next year. You can make the entire garden a compost pile in the off season, and if you like you can leave a section for composting year-round.

This piece goes on to spell out the word GARDENING, with fun tips and helpful information planted into each letter.

Christmas Nonprofit Appeal Letter Sample

Back when I first had my son in 2001, the company I had worked for needed someone to write nonprofit appeal letters and follow-up thank you letters, and this was something I could do from home while holding my baby! Here is a sample of a Christmas appeal letter I wrote long ago.

And if you are also a writer and want to learn how to do what I do to make money writing articles from home, please check out my print book or Kindle book here on Amazon.com.

Christmas 2001

            It’s Christmastime again! It’s a time to buy and make gifts, bake cookies, spend cherished time with our loved ones and, most importantly, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

            There’s always something special in the air at Christmastime. People are kinder, warmer, friendlier. We smile at strangers, we say hello to our neighbors, and we treat our friends and families just a bit better. We exhibit Jesus’s example of giving to and helping those who are in need.

            We’ve all heard that it is better to give than to receive. To know that you are helping to make someone’s life just a little bit easier or helping to make someone happy is an indescribable feeling. As I’m sure you realize, while you are busy buying and making gifts for your loved ones this Christmas season, there are so many people in need. While most of us take for granted having a merry Christmas, some among us can only pray and dream about it.

            For those of you with children in your lives, you know their joy when they open gifts on Christmas Day. It’s very sad for me to think of all the children in our area who won’t have even one gift to open this year. In fact, they may not even have a meal to eat on this special day. But there is hope for them, and that hope is you.

            Here at [nonprofit client], we pride ourselves on the help we have provided to those in need for so long. But we honestly couldn’t do it without your generosity. Please consider putting one more person on your Christmas gift list this year, and send a donation to [nonprofit client].

Go for the Green: 5 St. Patrick’s Day Traditions to Start With Your Kids

Go for the Green: 5 St. Patrick’s Day Traditions to Start With Your Kids
By Kerrie McLoughlin

507 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

Kids love any excuse to make a day extra special, so why not March 17 of every year? You certainly don’t need to be Irish to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day with your kids and to honor St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. On this day, everyone has a little Irish in them! Here are some ideas for traditions to start this year!

1.      Wear green so you don’t get pinched! If your kids don’t have much green clothing in their closet, head to a consignment or thrift store so you can go green for the planet while also wearing green. I have to admit sometimes I cheat and hit the local department store because they carry green T-shirts with cute St. Patrick’s Day sayings like, “Everybody loves an Irish girl.”

Go to a parade. Many cities, large and small, have a St. Patrick’s Day parade every year, and many have the parade the weekend before St Patrick’s Day so more people can attend (it happens to fall on a Saturday this year). Check out www.St-Patricks-Day.com for all kinds of cool stuff like Irish music, Irish dancing and even parades and fun runs/walks. The parade list is by no means complete, so Google “St. Patrick’s Day parade [your city]” to find one near you.

Straight Talk About Child Abuse

Straight Talk About Child Abuse
By Kerrie McLoughlin
583 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so let’s get some straight talk going about this important topic that is often avoided. Nobody wants to be seen as a bad parent, which means that often if we are having trouble in our family we don’t reach out for help because we are afraid of being judged harshly. Even the best of parents have a bad day now and then. It’s how they handle that bad day that sets them apart.

Why does it happen?

Families are busier than ever lately, and that causes incredible amounts of stress. It becomes easy to take that stress out on children, who need so much from us and require large amounts of our energy and patience. Other stress factors include situations such as a death in the family, divorce, and job loss/financial factors, as well as “positive” stress accompanied by change such as moving, a promotion at work, a new baby, etc.

This piece goes on to discuss how you can prevent it and how you can get help ...

5 Earth Day Lessons for Your Kids

5 Earth Day Lessons for Your Kids
By Kerrie McLoughlin
563 words

Please contact me at mommykerrie@yahoo.com if you'd like to see this piece in full to consider purchasing it for your parenting magazine, either online or in print!

My mother has been a recycler ever since I can remember. I have a vivid memory of her haranguing my dad’s family about recycling on a group vacation. She actually picked aluminum cans out of the trash while griping about landfills and started a special recycle spot in the condo. I’m sure everyone thought she was insane, but now I am pretty much the same way with recycling whatever I can.

When April 22nd rolls around, I enjoy teaching my own kids why we have Earth Day and how we can better care for our planet. Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better,” so a big step in doing better for the Earth is being aware of choices and appreciating where we live while making it a better place. Earth Day is a great opportunity to teach some great lessons to your kids!

Earth Day Lesson #1: Stand up for what you believe in. We laugh about the story of my mom on vacation, but we are proud of her for standing up for the Earth even when she was seen as strange and picky.


Earth Day Lesson #2: You can have an idea and put it into action with a lot of hard work. Earth Day was born from the mind of a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin who was outraged about a 1969 oil spill in California. He saw all the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and hoped he could channel that kind of energy instead into caring about the environment. With a lot of help, he made it happen.

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