A Family Friendly Small Business Nightmare

The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 was inspired by the desire to help working mothers manage family emergencies. Like many well-intentioned laws, the FMLA has been plagued by unintended consequences and expensive abuses, especially costly for small businesses. Like many bureaucratic programs, it has been abused by people who are savvy enough to scam the rules. Free negotiation by workers and firms potentially could provide a superior solution to the problems the FMLA was supposed to solve.

The rationale for the FMLA was to provide job security protection for working mothers. Women want to take care of their newborns without fear that their jobs will be gone after a maternity leave. Women who spent years obtaining academic credentials understandably fear losing jobs that are not easily replaced. But, like many politically driven projects, the FMLA had to cover enough people in different situations to build a political coalition large enough to vote for it. The Act calls itself "family leave" and insists that it be available for "compelling family reasons on a gender-neutral basis."

The Act provides leave not only for maternity or the care of a new born, but also for care for a dependent with a serious illness. Unfortunately, the Department of Labor has issued conflicting opinions on what constitutes a serious illness. While the legislative history clearly indicates that the leave was not supposed to be used for minor sniffles, employees have obtained certification for minor conditions such as allergies, migraines, or back problems.

Compounding the problem, the FMLA allows for intermittent leave: that is, people can take leave in "separate blocks of time due to a single qualifying reason." According to the Small Business Administration, intermittent leave is the most challenging part of the FMLA for small businesses. The regulations require that leave increments have to be awarded in the "shortest period of time the employer's payroll system uses to account for absences or uses for leave, provided it is one hour or less."

 Some small manufacturing businesses track time in increments as short as six minutes. The Employment Policy Foundation found that 50 percent of leave-takers provide notice either the day the leave begins or the day after. The administrative and scheduling challenges this presents are a nightmare. And the program hurts overall employee morale when other employees have to do the work of those absent.

Strong families are essential to the moral and economic health of society, and family-friendly work rules are a praiseworthy goal. One might argue that legislation is necessary because no company would bother providing these kinds of benefits. They would be better off doing as little as possible to accommodate their employees, offering a wage/hours package and telling them to take it or leave it.

But competition is a funny thing. If one company doesn't offer benefits that workers want, another company will. If enough families demand flexibility, companies will have to start offering it.

Let's do some math. According to the Employment Policy Foundation, the FMLA cost employers over $21 billion in 2004 due to lost productivity from absenteeism, continued health benefits and net labor replacement costs. Roughly $6.3 billion per year of those costs were borne by the 200,000 small businesses covered by the Act. That amounts to $31,500 per company per year. That's a lot of money those companies could be spending on benefits that would actually benefit the employees.

Small businesses want to retain skilled and dedicated employees without giving slackers an opening to abuse the company's good will. When problems arise, the firm and its employees can work out issues together. By contrast, when problems arise with federal legislation, there cannot be a carefully tailored, personalized response. The abuses and unforeseen consequences of the FMLA have to be dealt with by the federal government: litigation to determine the exact requirements of the law; further regulation to change the law; and a complex process of fact-finding in between.

Small, competitive firms need not limit their scope to providing generic "family leave." They try to create a menu of ways to tailor policies to the specific employee needs, with various combinations of leave policies, job sharing, flex-time and telecommuting. Companies might try one approach for new mothers, something different for people with elderly parents, and something still different for people with minor chronic illnesses — assuming the law would allow them to "discriminate" in this way. But as things now stand, the government has preempted a lot of experimentation with programs that might be better for the workers and cheaper for the companies.

Flexibility is an important competitive advantage to smaller firms in recruiting and retaining qualified employees. These rigid Department of Labor regulations are the opposite of what the workers and employers need. It is time to revamp the Family Medical Leave Act.

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  • Guest

    I'm sorry for the problems that have arisen from this, but I thank God for FMLA.  Otherwise I wouldn't have this time with my precious new baby.

  • Guest

    "But competition is a funny thing. If one company doesn't offer benefits that workers want, another company will. If enough families demand flexibility, companies will have to start offering it."

    This paragraph, and all those following, are the author's way of saying, "Don't count on that."  The more employees your company has, the more likely you're correct, but I find it hard to credit the notion that nobody would ever offer you such leave unless compelled by law — at gunpoint, if necessary.   

  • Guest

    As Catholics we should be less concerned about government intrusion in our lives and concentrate on the Christian family model.  All mothers are working mothers, but the woman who divides her time between her career and her family is just that – divided.  Likewise, the man who requires his spouse to work is not putting the health and welfare of his family first.  Unfortunately, our secular-humanist society has developed over the last 30 years in a way that requires this for many, at least if they want to keep up with the materialistic goals of this same SH society.  Thus the introduction of pills and chemicals to keep women infertile so they can get back to work quickly and keep the machine rolling.  This is why Hilary, Obama and the other devils want things like state-sponsored child care and government sponsored pre-school, so they can get the children away from their parents quicker.  Interstingly, former communist Russia is advocating the return to the traditional family in more ways than America.  God doesn't bless us with babies so we can spend a few precious weeks with them, and then put them into an institution.  This is the number one problem in our society, and the reason why we see more and more signs of post-christian behavior such as school shootings.


    Quit your job and stay home with your children if you want to raise healthy, happy and holy children.  If you can't, don't have them.

  • Guest

    In regards to the article, the FMLA does not preclude employers from offering the the benefits discussed here to encourage employees to use an option other than FMLA.  If employers would offer a better alternative, doesn't it make sense that employees would take advantage of it?

    In regards to staying at home with your children – it is certainly the best option.  Although I have to disagree with the divided comment.  We are all divided between responsibilities.  A man who who works is as divided between his career and family as a woman.  Providing for the care of your children is a joint effort between spouses and – just as this article suggests – there is more than just a one-size-fits-all solution. 

  • Guest

    "Quit your job and stay home with your children if you want to raise healthy, happy and holy children.  If you can't, don't have them."

    Within the sacrament of matrimony, we are compelled to remain open to life; suggesting that a couple should not have children unless they can live off the father's salary is not what the Church teaches. (it is also rather beside the point, since the children are presumably already here). This kind of overly broad generalization does not take into account the differing needs of every family, nor the reality that prayerful, prudent couples may very well decide that their circumstances dictate her working outside the home.

    Suggesting that it is impossible to raise "healthy, happy, and holy children" unless the mother stays home full-time places an unnecessary burden on parents who are already struggling. Saying that they are better off not having children is untrue, not constructive, and it is absolutely contrary to Christian charity. St. Edith Stein provides a wonderful example of a child raised by a mother who worked full-time outside the home (no doubt there are others, but I happen to know her story) … if my children turn out to be anything like her, I will be very happy!

    Heidi Hess Saxton Editor, "Canticle" Magazine Blogroll

  • Guest

    Death to business!  Death to the worker!  Death to the family!  Death to the working mother! 

    This is what I hear.  Conflict is just that … conflict.

    Where is peace?

    GK – God is good!

  • Guest

    Maybe I was mis-understood.  I am not saying the only way to have happy and holy children is for mom to stay home, but it is the surest way.  "Differing needs" and "circumstances" is classic moral relativism.  What if those circumstances involve a second home at the lake, a Hummer and yearly trips to Disneyland?  As Catholics, we should create circumstances that enable families to live the model of the Holy Family.


    A man who works is not divided between his family and career, unless he puts too much emphasis on one or the other.  He is living the christian model of marriage and family.  A woman who works and puts her babies into an institution is NOT living the christian model of motherhood, period.


    Remember, Jesus came into the world to bring conflict, not peace.  Thats sounds harsh, but I am paraphrasing scripture.

  • Guest

    My husband owns a small law firm and provides much flexibility for his 5 employees regarding leave.   None have ever abused his "soft" policy.  He is aware that he has excellent employees and doesn't want to lose them to another law firm for a variety of reasons (retraining costs, human interpersonal relationships, etc…).  Also, he treats his employees with the dignity one would expect from a Christian boss.  God has rewarded his virtuous behavior with loyal, hardworking employees.  It's a win-win situation and the government has nothing to do with it.

    The employees also are responsible to their coworkers because if one employee is absent the others must pick up the slack.  There is peer pressure ,in other words, to work! 

    I don't think it's the government's business to interfere with the staffing  decisions of a business since no 3rd party can know the needs of the business or pick up the cost associated with mandatory regulations regarding leave.  There are costs and somebody will pay it.  When the government intervenes, usually innocent bystanders pay the bill.  (And for some reason, whenever I shop at Sam's nobody volunteers their wallet!  Maybe "Uncle" should compel them too.)


    The issue of a two income family and/or working mothers is related to the article, however, it is a complex, highly charged subject which deserves its own 5000 page thread! 

  • Guest



    "Quit your job and stay home with your children if you want to raise healthy, happy and holy children.  If you can't, don't have them." 


    And what if the woman with children is a widow or has been ababdoned by her husband? You move from a position, based on the ideal, to a conclusion not applicable to the many cases in which peoples' live are less than ideal due to circumstances beyond their control.



  • Guest

    There are always circumstances less than the ideal which might mean a woman with at home aged children would need to work, such as abandonment or being widowed.  However, if our extended family and societal support were stronger, even these could be taken care of without children having to be cared for in institutions. 

    On the other hand, the many, many women I know personally who work say things such as, "I'm a better mother because I work" or "You are so fortunate that you don't have to work."  Fortunate?  Uh-huh.  How about not materialistic? I don't get my hair and nails done.  I don't drive a nice car or have a wardrobe nor do I miss any of those things that have absolutely no moral value.

    Not to mention, my husband who, despite not being a college educated professional, has worked hard in a industry to the point of holding a higher level managerial position and then took the initiative to start his own business to earn extra income so that we could make ends meet. 

    It's not surprising at all that the Editor of The Canticle takes issue with any comments that question women working especially "choosing to work."  She never leaves a comment without letting everyone know she is the editor of a magazine, as if that gives her some special authority or that just being a human being created in the image of a loving Father would never be impressive enough.  I have not noticed very many people giving us their credentials in comment boxes.

    It's also not surprising that the FMLA has unintended consequences.  For more on the issues of the working poor and the unintended consequences of goverment help, read Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple. 


  • Guest

    Andrew, I agree that ideally the mother should be home with the children.  In my case, this is not an option, unfortunately.  I am the primary breadwinner in my household, due to complex reasons which I have explained in the past and don't want to get into right now.  After my 12 week FMLA is up, I am going to return to work fulltime, working 4 10-hour days.  My husband is going to reduce his work schedule so that he'll be home on the days that I work, and he'll work the days that I'm home (other than Sunday, when we'll both be home).  I very much wish that I could be home fulltime, and I'm very thankful that I can be at least for these 12 weeks.  I'm also thankful that we're blessed that we don't need to use daycare, but I'm aware that there are some people who have no choice.  Please choose your words carefully.  There are some women, like me, who have no choice but to return to work, and we feel badly enough about it without having other Catholics rub it in.

  • Guest

    St. Gianna Molla, mother and physican, pray for us. 


    Particularly those of us, men and women, who must balance vocations both inside and outside of the home.



    As a stay-at-home (homeschooling) mother, I find meditating on St. Gianna a fruitful means of remembering that our vocations come in many different forms.

       It is also worth remembering that a modern man working away from the home, isn't living exactly the traditional model of family life either (in past centuries how many men worked so far away from the family home?).  He also has a serious balancing act to maintain. 

    To give concrete examples, my husband must create the opportunities that were more naturally there for my father (who worked a family farm).  I still remember the discussions that were somehow easier to have when working alongside my father milking cows.  It was good knowing that I could, most of the time, find him if I so desired and I knew what he did to support his family.  My husband must tell us what he does, he is unable to show us,  it is impossible for our children to work alongside him at his paying job.   


  • Guest

    Sabine, your comments to Heidi Saxton were unjust.  She is not touting some kind of expertise by mentioning Canticle in her signature line.  Rather she is promoting an apostolate — a lovely Catholic magazine for women — that is largely produced by Catholic women who write and work from home, as Heidi herself does. Heidi's efforts along with those of other Catholics in print and online media, have made it pssobile for a number of Catholic mothers to work from home.

  • Guest


    I encourage you to not feel badly at all that your life circumstances has you as the breadwinner!  It cannot be for us to know how God will use each of us and the talents and graces He has bestowed upon us.  If I am not mistaken, you are a lawyer.  I can imagine how wonderfully you contribute to others' lives and believe that you contribute to the kingdom in just that way as well.  I admire how you are always able to draw upon a grateful spirit in what you post and know that your gratitude for your new son is beyond compare.  Enjoy him and also the ways in which God uses your talents.  May God bless you and your husband and may your Sundays be a blessed family time!

  • Guest

    Hi Cheryl,

        No, I'm not a lawyer;  I think you're thinking of my brother, who is a lawyer and who helped us out financially with our adoption.  I am a nurse and work at a health insurance company.  I really try my best to advocate for my patients in that setting.  Thank you for your support of our situation.

          Sabine, I don't work so I can have a nice car, nice wardrobe and get my nails done.  I work so I can pay my mortgage and put food on the table.  My husband and I have old cars, I rarely shop for clothes, and I don't get my nails done.  I know that there are women who choose to work so they can have such luxuries, but there are also women like me who have to work out of necessity.  You are lucky that you're not one of them.

  • Guest


    First of all, may God bless your family, and congratulations on your new baby boy!! 

    I just want to let you know you are not alone.  I work in health care as well, and I have beat myself up over not being able to stay home full time.  But I make more working part-time 6 days a month than my husband does working full-time as a professional firefighter.  We, too, have played that juggling act of one of us always home but rarely both at the same time just to make ends meet.  I can't remember the last time I bought clothing for myself or my family at someplace other than the Salvation Army or something comparable, and for a while we were making so many repairs on our '95 Chevy van and '94 Geo Metro that our grocery budget was cut so far down that if I didn't bake bread from scratch we didn't eat sandwiches, and any beef product other than ground was a major luxury.  I think it obvious that my family takes precedence over my "career," but I still owe $50,000 on the student loan that afforded me the doctorate that pays so well, not to mention the two mortgages we have on our 1920's farmhouse that we bought "as-is" so that we wouldn't have to house our family in an area where gang and drug related crimes are ever increasing.  

    Yes, I "choose" to work, but only so that my poor husband doesn't have to work 80 hours a week at two jobs to pay for my education or that we need to rely on a ton of government assistance to survive on his single income.  And I wish I worked at a place where my job security didn't need protection from the FMLA, but as it stands, I have been grateful to have had a job to return to after having my children – I have more than once seen examples of how expendable my colleagues and I are .  I'd also like to point out that I have "chosen" to take a full 12 weeks on two occasions with little or no pay at all because my children come first.  

    I just don't agree that any of these issues can be so cut-and-dry that someone can suggest that if you aren't living the "Christian ideal" then you must be in some way too worldly or materialistic.  

  • Guest

    Please don't think I'm trying to be difficult, I am not, but I would like to ask a question and it has to do with this line: "I work so I can pay my mortgage and put food on the table."  Do you have to have a house/mortgage?  My wife and I discuss this regularly.  As a young man I made a lot of money, but over time that has greatly decreased as the work I do/did went overseas and dried up.  We had a home and mortgage, but as my pay decreased we realized she either had to work (she has a degrees in elementary ed and special ed) or we had to change our living arrangements.  Now I realize that I still make a bit more than the average Joe, however it's not enough to get another house (we live in an area of the country with a very high cost of living).  At this point I don't know if I ever will make enough.  So, what should our priorities be?  Should the kids get 100% parental attention and guidance meaning no house, or should we leave them in the care of strangers part time so we can have a house (relatives are not an option).  Again, I'm not trying to slam others choices, I know people have lots of reasons for using daycare, some I understand and I approve, others to be sure I do not understand or approve.  So the question is, is a house worth daycare?

  • Guest


    Actually, in my heart I knew you had a position that was related to helping others and that is a calling, indeed.  Enjoy your life and your new baby!  Enjoy the job God has provided and enjoy your home!  When your leave is up and you return to work, know you are covered in our prayers.  And if you feel a need to talk through some of those first difficult mornings, please open a CE forum as I am sure many of us will keep you company on a journey so many of us have been on.

    Peace and grace,


  • Guest

    Bibbit, if you're directing this at me, read my posts more carefully.  We don't use daycare.  I am going to work 4 days a week and my husband will work 2, so one of us will be with the baby at all times.  Furthermore, the mortgage I'm referring to is for a very modest two-bedroom home in which the baby's room is the size of a glorified walk-in closet.  Our mortgage payment is equivalent to the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment, yet it is a much more sound investment.


    Cheryl, thank you again for your support.  Much as I wish I could be with the baby fulltime, I am blessed that we won't need to use daycare, and I am blessed to have a job that puts food on the table.


    Stuff, thank you for your support as well.  It sounds like our situations are very similar.  I earn about twice my husband's salary.  He has offered to work two jobs so I can stay home, but I can't justify having him work 80 hours to earn what I can earn in 40.  Furthermore, I got married at 35, so my husband and I are making up for lost time.  I would hardly see him if he worked two jobs.   

  • Guest

    My comment was NOT directed towards any one person, that's why I didn't specifically mention any names.  I can see where the quote would've made you wonder.  I sincerely am interested in knowing what people think about this.  Is it worth putting kids in daycare to get a house?

  • Guest

    Well, I think it depends on the situation.  In some areas renting doesn't save much money over home ownership.  In other areas it does, and it's possible to get a nice apartment that would be a good tradeoff for a Mom staying home.

  • Guest

    Just a side note, I thought the FMLA only applied to businesses with 50 employees or more?? 

    First of all, we are grateful for FMLA.  My husband uses it regularly to take his dad to all his doctor visits and now to deal with all that involves hospice care.  At the young age of 37 my husband had to take care of his parents, his mother has alzheimers and his father disabled and now close to dying.  His mother lived with us first and then we had to find a facility for her and a seperate place for his father, even though they are still married.  We just had our 4th baby.  I know it may be difficult for smaller business owners, but because of FMLA my husband has been able to continue to support his family and take occasional time off to care for his parents.  In three years he's used 1 of his 11 vacation weeks for a real vacation.  All of the other time has been spent on taking off that time for his parents.  Right now he's hoping that he has 5 days banked up when his father does die.  My husband is a very hard worker and takes little time for himself.  I hope that those who he works with don't resent him if they've had to pick up the slack a little.  I know that he'd trade places with them in a heart beat to have healthy parents who can take care of themselves and their own affairs.  We've become the parents of his parents. 


    Also, someone asked if putting kids in daycare is worth getting a house.  Wow, that is a loaded question.  With my first child 12 years ago I would have said NO WAY; however, life experiences happen and one realizes not to be so judgemental!  Certainly purchasing a home is a secure investment and it should be a goal to achieve, but is it the goal in life to be "materialistic" or is the goal to be using God's money wisely.  That is the question that needs to be answered with a lot of prayer. 

    My children have never been in a "real" daycare setting, but we've sent them to part time child care on occasion throughout the years in order to be capable to purchase a home and pay the bills.  Most of the time we arranged our own work schedules around each other so no daycare was involved.  I think this is a great option if it's necessary.  Certainly mom at home full time is the most optimal situation, but in this crazy world, we all have to sacrafice.  Working outside the home for me is a sacrafice.  I'm a nurse with a flexible schedule.  After doing the budget this month I realized I need to come up with a car payment so I put in for 8 hours of work.  My heart and my vocation is at home with my children and when I'm gone the house does kind of fall apart, but it's a sacrafice for us all.  It's life and we're living it the best we can.

  • Guest

    Julie, I had the same impression:  that FMLA only applied to companies with at least 50 employees.  You also make a good point about daycare.  Part time daycare is a different story from a baby who spends 50 hours/week in daycare.  I am a nurse, also, and while I wish I didn't have to work at all, we are very blessed that we have professions that allow for flexibility so that the need for daycare is minimal, if at all.

  • Guest

    one of the problems with the FMLA as I see it is once you start to allow government to set policies that interfere with business decisions, even if they do help YOU, you open the door for government to interfere in ways in which you don't agree:  compel pharmacists to dispense morining after pill, etc….

    with the government and the institutional prerogative to grow, grow, grow it's an all or nothing game.  You can't chose what you want them to regulate or not regulate….Minimal government interference is my policy.  Let the market work in this case. 

  • Guest

    Compelling pharmacist to dispense the morning after pill is unconstitutional because it violates religious freedom. 

  • Guest

    Regarding whether or not Govco can compel pharmacists or not to distribute the morning after pill (and I've heard of extreme pressure placed on pharmacists)  my point was that Govco wants its fingers in every pot:  compulsary all day kindergarten for my 5 year old, vaccines for school enrollment, potentially tax dollars going for abortions (as under Clinton I).

    As you saw in my first post, I believe employers should act justly toward employees as my husband does (he's too small anyway for the FMLA) and I think market forces will work such that employees will work for the best employer.  There is a cost associated with employees taking extended leave.  Who bears it?  Should all of society?  Perhaps.  I'm not quite sure how family needs and the needs of an industrialized society should intermingle.  I don't think we as a people have figured it out yet either.  I'm just VERY leery of Uncle Sam aka GOVCO interfering in the "pursuit of happiness"…….how many "happy" government employees have you seen.  (JK)Wink

  • Guest

    Well, the cost factor can work either ways.  Yes, there's a cost to covering for an employee who is out for 12 weeks.  In my situation, however, it would cost the company a lot more if they had to replace me.  I'm a good worker, and it would be costly to have to train someone else to do my job.  Covering me temporarily is cheaper. 

  • Guest

    I agree with what you're saying regarding excellent employees such as yourself.  What I'm wondering is this, did the government need to tell your employer to do the right thing or would they have done it anyway because it was a good business decision?

    I know regulations, such as child labor laws need to exist and other OSHA kinds of regs, we can't have the wild west, but I'm just concerned about how much is too much interference.

    And, too the employee isn't getting paid, either unless they have enough leave accrued.

    Hey!  Here's a total aside.  Annaliese fell asleep at 7:00, well actually she was nursing, fell asleep, I put her in her car seat to sleep, she woke up, she cried, I wanted to eat in peace, I had my 17 year old put her up in my room so I couldn't hear her, I checked on her 10 minutes later, and……….she was asleep and still is!  Wow!  I just had a "let down" thinking about the fact that she should have been nursing for the past two hours.

    I hope Jeffrey is doing well. 

  • Guest

    That's great, Elkabrikir.  She sounds like a really good sleeper.  We had a good dinner tonight, too.  Jeffrey is usually fussy in the evenings, and requires one of us to tend to him while the other eats.  Tonight he was just really sleepy and mellow, so I put him in his bouncy seat and he sat there content for 20 minutes and then fell asleep!  (Very unusual;  usually if he's awake, he won't stay out of my arms for more than 10 minutes, especially in the evenings when he tends to be more fussy.)  I moved him into his pack-in-play (that we keep in the breakfast/computer room), and he slept for an hour, then got up, had a bath and feeding and went to bed around 9:45.  I still set the alarm for every 4 hours during the night because he's so little;  sometimes he wakes up after 3, other times I have to wake him to eat.  He either falls asleep by the end of the night feedings, or I put him down and he's asleep within minutes without fussing at all.  He's not a good napper, though.  Some days he'll nap well, other days he catnaps and sleeps really lightly.  He's very unpredictable.  If I don't shower before my husband leaves for work, I'm in trouble!


    You make a good point about whether my company needed the government to force them to do the right thing.  I sometimes wonder if having a government regulation makes the company more stingy.  This company, and the hospital I worked for before, only allow what the law demands.  They are female dominated professions, and I almost wonder if they would have been even more flexible on their own if there wasn't this imposed timeframe. 

  • Guest

    claire, my experience is that babies start to get into a sleep routine around 4 months old.  A good book on this subject is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby.

    I've also found that babies like to be held continuously for the first few months.  It makes folding laundry tough!Annaliese is laying in my arms nursing now….I just readjust my life to fit a "one armed" life style!

    James Madison said in the Federalist Papers, "If men were angels there wouldn't be a need for government".  I think we humans are always striving to have our various institutions, whether political, economic, or social, be just.  In our modern world in particular people think the government can do it best…I think Marx et al played a huge role in the modern socialist atheism that most western societies are moving toward.  Even people of good will don't realize the full extent of the contamination.  

    What the modernists fail to recognize or fail to accept is that the government can not create utopia… only following God can.  Since we're all fallen people utopia cannot occur on earth, sad to say.  Therefore, we continue striving toward perfection in our institutions.  Currently, as in the past 100+ years the inteligentsia have had a love affair with the government; and , that thought is now so well integrated into people's beings few can imagine life without "the government" making sure everybody is well fed and happy and playing fair on the playground.

    Enjoy your little guy.  His life will fly before your eyes.  Also, if you are blessed with another baby, God will provide.  I guarantee it. 











  • Guest

    Thanks for the book recommendation.  I will definitely check it out.  Another good one is "The No Cry Sleep Solution".  As soon as Jeff gets up to 8 pounds, which will be very soon (last Wednesday he was 7-7), I'm going to start carrying him in the frontpack so I have both hands free.