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A Homemaker's Cottage (Second Issue) by Sonya Haskins.
Featured 12 September 1998 and archived 14 September 1998
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Sonya Haskins is the full-time stay-at-home mom of Sarah, Micah and Christopher. She also writes magazine articles and is working on her first book. Sonya welcomes comments from readers and constantly seeks to meet new moms to interview for the book.

All this material is copyright protected and cannot be used without the written consent of the author.

I never knew parenting could be so easy one moment and so challenging the next. When Sarah was six weeks old I decided to join a mom's group at church. The other mothers were amazed that I could keep the house clean, prepare a nice dinner, take care of Sarah, and still find time to write and mow the lawn. I have never felt such pride! I thought that I must already have this parenting thing licked during my first child's second month of life. Then things changed.

It was a cold, yet sunny day in May when I was scheduled to take Sarah for her two month check-up. We both awoke having a bad morning I guess. I wasn't accomplishing anything I needed to have completed by 9:00 a.m. (Of course it didn't help that I had three phone solicitors call me within an hour and the cats wouldn't stop trying to trip me.) By the time I finally had Sarah bathed, dressed, fed, and ready to go, we had only 10 minutes until her 10:00 doctor's appointment.

I rushed to the car in a hurry and as soon as I began backing out of the driveway I realized I had forgotten her newly introduced, yet already treasured pacifier. Now I don't believe in leaving children in cars, but yes, I decided that we were in my driveway in a nice subdivision in a quiet little area of town so she would be safe there for one minute while I ran in for the passy. I thought that I better lock the car doors just in case anyone did happen to come by and I should leave the car running so the heat would be on for her.

I ran in, grabbed the pacifier, ran back out to the car and she was fine, of course. It was when I went to open the car door that panic struck. Since I had so thoughtfully left the keys in the ignition to have the heat on, I had locked myself out of the car. About this time Sarah saw me and began to scream. It was the banshee scream again, the same one she had during her first two weeks of adjusting to life outside the womb while mom adjusted to feeding on demand. I quickly ran in and got our portable telephone and called my husband to come home quickly, as this was an emergency.

While I stood in the driveway waiting the 20 minutes for him to arrive, I managed to drop the phone on the asphalt and break it. I was also sure that I was causing Sarah emotional harm that would last for the rest of her life. If not emotional harm, I was sure she would have damaged hearing from those obnoxious car commercials that kept coming on the radio that I had left playing for her. She would occasionally look out the window and stop crying long enough to make me feel guilty. I knew she expected mommy to do something about this predicament. After a moment, she would begin to scream again and this continued until my husband arrived with the keys.

So much for having things under control. Two years later and another child later, I rarely manage to keep the house clean, rely on sandwiches more than cooked meals, and now make phone calls instead of writing letters. I do play with the children, read to them, and take them "exploring" to the pet store, toy store, grocery store, park, creek, and any other place that offers free access. I also have learned many practical things like checking the diaper bag for extra pacifiers, diapers, and changes of clothing (learned the hard way with our second child.) Oh yes, now I also keep an extra set of car keys in the house!

Considering the numerous questions I've received regarding home-based businesses, the next couple of issues in this column will address that topic.

Please give all feedback on this column to the author Sonya Haskins.