s July 2010 - The Kim Six Fix
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Paper Mache Plates: Not As Messy As You Think

We came across this art project in a library book and thought we would give it a shot. We had all the materials on hand, and although I was nervous about what kind of mess we would end up with doing paper mâché, it really wasn't bad at all.

First we wrapped our mold (we decided to make a plate but you also could use a bowl) in plastic wrap. We used the bottom of the plate since it had a raised pedestal that we wanted to show on the surface of our paper plate.
Normally paper mâché is made of recycled newsprint, however we didn't have any newspapers lying around so instead we used old office paper. We used about 20 sheets cut into small strips and squares.We then mixed 1 part water with 2-3 parts school glue. ThePrincess was NOT happy about getting her fingers dirty so she used a paintbrush to brush the glue mixture onto the strips while I dipped them by hand. You need to get them pretty wet, so the paintbrush alone would not have been effective.
We layered the strips onto the mold until they were 5-8 layers thick making sure we allowed plenty of overlap on the edges. We placed the plate on a coffee mug and allowed it to dry. This took 48 hours. I think it would have been faster if we had used newsprint, but the office paper took quite a while to dry.
After drying the plastic wrap made it simple to remove the plate from the mold.
We then trimmed the excess paper from the edges to make the plate perfectly round.
ThePrincess decided she wanted a pink plate (of course) so using tempura paints we painted both sides completely
and allowed that to dry overnight.The final step was to decoupage the top of the plate with tissue paper. We used solid pink and floral which is what we had on hand. Multiple colors of tissue would give you a fantastic stained glass effect but we didn't have any other colors. We just placed the tissue paper squares on the plate and painted over it with undiltued school glue.

We completely covered the top of the plate and left the bottom plain pink. This took (yet another) night to dry.
So finally 4 days later we eneded up with our final product. A paper mâché decoupaged plate:
All things considered it was a relatively easy project, and not too messy. It did take a lot of time, but that worked out pretty well since a four year old's attention span couldn't handle doing all the steps back-to-back.

We are now looking forward to making a bowl. Who knows? At this rate we end up with an entire service for 12.

My life as a Full-Time Work Ouside the Home Mom: A retrospective

Life as I know it has evolved. There aren't many more 180 degree turns you can make in life like the one I just chose. Full-time, outside of the home, kids in daycare, 9-5 Monday to Friday working mom to 24-7, car-pool driving, playdate attending, mini-van sporting Stay-at-home mom.

There are so many misconceptions and generalizations about both of these roles, and now that I have experienced them both, I have never been more secure in my choices. I am right where I need to be right now and (all things considered) I am pretty happy.

Giving it all up has really made me take a long hard look at what kind of mother, wife, employee, friend, and woman I had been. It is reassuring actually, looking back.

Often, as a full-time working mom, you are find yourself questioning if you are doing a good job.

"Am I a good mom?"
"Am I a good employee?"
"Am I sacrificing too much?"
"Am I not sacrificing enough?"

I often found myself wondering what it would be like if you weren't working.

"Would things be easier?"
"Would my kids be happier?"
"Would I be happier?"

And now I can say:

"I know for sure."

I have seen both sides of the coin and I don't need to wonder. I was a GREAT mom. My kids were happy and well-adjusted. They had a great life with people who loved them, they had balance, routine and support. They thrived.

I was a GOOD employee. Maybe not great, but I did a damn good job. My boss was happy, my co-workers were (at least mostly) happy, my work got done and I supported my family.

Win-win.

Was I always happy? No. Did I sometimes question what I was doing it for? Sure. But that was mostly my insecurity talking.

If I knew then what I know now (like the tears and leg-clinging when I dropped off my 2 year old wouldn't scar her for life, or that the numerous sick days you accumulate with a germ-attracting toddler would not affect your work productively that much) maybe my happiness wouldn't have been a problem either.

So, how am I adjusting to my new found role of Stay-at-home-mom?

All things considered, great really. I am getting to do things I haven't been able to do before, like taking my kids to the local storytime at the library, spending all day in my pajamas, surprising daddy with a picnic lunch, or playing dress-up for hours on end. My weekends are no longer jammed full of family time on top of errands and chores. The pace of life has definitely slowed down. And that is okay with me.

Do I miss my life as a working mom? Sure. There are parts that I definitely miss. But am I unhappy as a Stay-at-home mom? No. Am I happier? Not really. It is different not necessarily better or worse.

But now that I have stepped away from it I realize that when and/or if I return to being a working mom, I can give myself a break. I am a good mom no matter what career path I choose. And this just happens to be the right path for me right now. I would let go of the guilt and ignore other people's judgment (both real and self-perceived.)

It is easy to condemn working moms for 'choosing their career at the expense of their family', when in fact they can have both without losing out on much of anything. It really is true that you can give 100% to both. It is possible.

And it is easy to dismiss stay-at-home moms as taking the 'easy way out' when in reality they are far from spending their days lounging around. Being at home all day can be isolating and lonely. Being with your kids 24-7 can be a draining experience that nobody should readily dismiss as having time 'to yourself.' Nothing is much further from the truth. Those kind of assumptions are a disservice to the profession of motherhood.

It is ironic that as mothers some of our toughest critics are often other mothers and even ourselves. Some of the nastiest, most judgmental comments I have heard about the choices I have made have come from my fellow mothers. (Frequently from those who have chosen one path and have never veered from it.) It is hard to not take those sentiments to heart, when in reality they are untrue and usually born from their own insecurity and self-doubt. I now believe it is easy to lose perspective when you haven't seen the other side.

So I will defend every mother's right to choose which path is right for her family. Working or staying at home. As long as you are making the choice out of love for your family, it will be the right one. Neither choice is wrong or right.

I should know, I've made both.
 
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