do not assume.

I remember my first day of class in Earth science in the ninth grade.
My teacher, Mr. Harman, wrote the word "assume" on the board...and proceeded with the old lesson of why not to assume...if you don't know it...ask someone.

The point is...by assuming something you stand to make a fool of yourself.

I have, in my short life as a stay at home mother,
had many people assume some things about me.

Let me just clear some things up for those people out there who may
not know these things about a stay at home mom.
And I only bring them up here because they come up in my life from time to time...leading me to believe there is a large portion of the population that actually believe these assumptions.

1) My job as a stay at home mom will not be done when my kids are both in school...so please don't assume that it will be. I have no intention of ever getting a "real" job again.

2) Do not assume that I am a stay at home mom due to any of the following:
being lazy, being uneducated, being weak willed (ie. my husband makes me), not wanting to get a "real" job, being overprotective, being controlling or that I have no other choice.

3) Please don't assume that I am dying for the day that I can get back into the work world and get a "real" job. I am doing my "real" job.

I told my husband on our first date that I had no intention of being a career woman, and that my calling in life was to be a wife and mom.
Amazingly he took me on a second date. :)

4) Please do not assume that my college education is "going to waste" because I don't have a "real" job. My job is "real" and I use my education on a daily basis.
Imagine that.

5) Please do not assume that because I am a stay at home mom, that my schedule is any more open than yours. No, I cannot run your errands, pick up your kids, watch your kids, etc, because I don't have a "real" job and therefore must be overflowing with free time that I am desperate for you to fill.

6) Please don't assume that part of my reasoning for being a stay at home mom is because I believe that no one else can raise my children as well as I can.

Actually...this one is true.

7) Do not assume that I watch Oprah.

8) Do not assume that your job is more important than mine just because you get a paycheck.
My treasure is in Heaven.

9) Do not assume that I am "so lucky" that I get to stay home.
Luck has nothing to do with it.
We make sacrifices every day to make sure that I am able
to stay home with my kids. We had to work at it.
It is possible for anyone, I believe. When I first became
a stay at home mom my husband was making about $18,000 a year but because we cut out the wants and stuck to the needs (tithe, bills, food and diapers), we made it. Me staying home was a priority so we cut what we needed to to make sure that happened.
And there was never any kind of government assistance.
We made it work because it is important to us.
It took a lot of faith in God and prayer.

10) And lastly, don't assume that I want your pity because I "have to" stay at home with my kids. It is my choice and I LOVE it. I love it. I love it. I feel as though I am fulfilling God's greatest purpose for a woman...being a mom and caring for my family.

Any other assumptions you would care to share?

:)
Pin It!

68 comments:

Emilie said...

Well said, Crystal! The same goes for our family.

La TempĂȘte said...

I love that you are living your dream...I hate when people make assumptions or say SAHMs are 'lucky' too.

Cristi - 2 If By Sea said...

I've been a SAHM for the last 4 1/2 years. It has been and will continue to be the hardest, most trying, most tiring, most demanding and most rewarding "job", compared to any "real" job I've ever had. I have never worked SO HARD in my life than I have being a SAHM.

Kudos to you for your honesty!!!

Erica said...

Great list. Thanks for sharing this, I just had a conversation today about this.

Christy said...

I don't know that I have ever taken the time to comment on your blog. So, first of all, I want to say...I love it. Second of all, thank you for this post. You say everything I wish I could say, well, you say it so much more nicely than I say it. :) Thank you. I love your stuff, too, by the way. :)

xoxo, Kate said...

ha! I get all the time "can you babysit since you stay home?" like you said we must have no life!! Now that my kids are in school now I am going to school. I had my first very young & I always said once they were all in I would go. I really hope to teach one day! It's also the perfect schedule when you do have kids!! We all make sacrafices & staying home is one of the best things you can do for your child!! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

Judy said...

You are blessed!

And, you know it.

I think that means you are doubly blessed.

Every day I thank my husband that he makes it possible for me to be a stay at home grandma.

Big Yellow Dog said...

Very well said. Even though I'm in school and work part time, I still consider myself a full time mom and make it my priority. When I'm finished completely with school (and a summer job obligation), I plan on staying at home with my kiddo (and maybe trying for another one). I'm so sick of people asking "Well, why are you even finishing school?" I also believe that my full time job will be wife and mom. Great post!

Nancy said...

Amen, girl. I am right with you on the Oprah thing. I used to watch it when I would feed my girls on the couch. But, I haven't watched it, nor do i really want to, in about 4 years. I know I might just get a huge gasp for this; but honestly.... I can't stand that show. THere. I said it. Sorry.

Beth said...

the 'lucky' thing always gets me so mad. some of my friends and family will say that and i have to laugh hysterically on the inside. my husband makes $54,000 dollars a year, we have four kids, no debt, and eat good. NO gov't help. NO parent or in-law help. just us making it work. you sacrifice the mcmansion, the fancy cars, and clothes, the out to eats, and you just do it. someday, i want to write a book on budgeting while still having a great life. i never feel like we go without, we have food, love, a warm home, we save for things we really want(a disney vacay may be in our future), we have life & health insurance, retirement...the whole kit and caboodle. and, really, that's all i can say about that without ranting.

excellant post, my dear!

ps love you 'sewing machine' t-shirt!

Karen said...

Great list!

Sara said...

Oh Crystal, you read my mind and typed it out! I've been amazed at the thought process of our society since I resigned from my "real" job. I got alot of comments from people that made me want to scream.

Sara said...

Do not assume that I'm sitting on the couch, eating bon-bons, and watching soap operas...

Do not assume that my house is cleaner than yours. (HA!)

Do not assume that I have more time than you do to get things done. We all get the same 24 hours. I do most of my things one handed with a toddler on my hip.


Do not assume that I'm "letting myself go". Some days a shower just isn't possible.

Ingrid said...

First off, I love your blog, this is my first comment, so here goes....THANK YOU! From all the moms who don't sit around watching tv and eating bon bons!

sara said...

you said it! thanks for the post.
i've been the main one that takes my grandpa (who lives an hours away) to his chemo & such because "i don't work." it's been a blessing though for me & my kiddos to spend that time with him.

Lindsay Thomas said...

I think it's so amazing that you get to stay home. You're right, that is a REAL job and what an amazing one it is. You are Blessed!

Mama Thompson said...

AMEN!

Megan said...

This is seriously the best post I have ever read! I think this is the first comment I have left on your blog. You read my mind exactly! I had a lady tell me the other week that to be 21 I have a easy life and I really should be working because after a couple more years I wouldn't be worth any thing to an employer if I have just been a sahm! Yes I am young but I have an associates degree and am pursueing my BA I am no idiot! I was also an asst manager of a home decor store when I was 17 so I know what it is to have a job. I stay at home with my daughter because my husband and I know that is what is best for her and I LOVE spending my days with her! We make sacrifices every day to do this but we wouldn't have it any other way! Thanks again!

Megan's Creative Corner said...

AMEN!! I also hate how people think I must be such a burden for my husband or that he must hate how he works so hard and I don't. Let me tell you, I work my tail off!! And as hard as it is for people to believe, my staying home makes his life better! He has a nice home cooked meal on the table every night, doesn't have to do any of the cleaning, and hardly any of the home repairs. While a lot of men work all day then come home to a long list of "honey-dos", my husband gets to relax, play with our son and work on his hobbies. All of his friends are jealous of his life and the reason things are so good for him is because he has the "burden" of being the only one with a "real job".

Shelly said...

I love this post, and feel like you were writing about US! We went through the same stuff...AND number 5 had me cracking up! Seriously, people!

Gordostyle said...

Amen Sista! I had the same issues when I was a SAHM! And when my son went to school full time (last year) I even got more questions about my time, etc.! Women are the heart of the home! And I truly believe it was a gift from God that I was able to do it too! I am thankful for every single second I was home... busier than busy! And I do.not.watch.ANY.TV. None. Why can't people get that?

Thanks for stating the facts!

I'd also like to point out to some SAHM's that don't enjoy staying home, complain about their kids non-stop, think I'm lucky to be going back to work, watch TV, let their kids be babysat by TV, etc. ... GO TO WORK. YOU ARE NOT MEANT TO BE HOME!

Smiles,
Jen

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

Don't assume that because I am a SAHM that I couldn't possibly have an opinion of current events or any issue other than diapers or where to find a sale on wipes.

LOVED this post :) My treasure too is in heaven :)

Mary Elizabeth said...

LOVE IT!!!!

I might just have to blog all our assumprtions!!! They are great! I knew I loved you for other reasons than your crafty-ness!

VA GIRLS ROCK .... even though I am now offically a NC GAL! (Born in raised in VA)

Stephanie said...

GREAT post, almost every single one of those is right on for me as well, the one exception being the working after the kids start school.

Scott & Malarie said...

I follow your blog, and this post made me cry! I feel like I have this battle with my mom everyday!! Thanks for making me feel like what I am doing is not crazy, and I have not lost my mind for wanting to stay at home with my baby!!!

The Pampered Mom said...

I love this post! Thank You!! Someone needed to say it!

Anonymous said...

I am sure that you may be hearing some of these comments about your life choices frequently to feel this way and I don't want to make it sound like I am invalidating your feelings, but your post is packed with "assumptions" about how others perceive Sahms. I agree that some people have those thoughts, but let's not assume most do.

I usually enjoy your posts, but every once and again they take on a tone that just alienates any of your readers who do not 100% agree with your choices/lifestyle. Kinda a bummer.

I don't have a blog or open I.d., but I will sign my name: Valerie

Rachel Marcussen said...

THANK YOU CRYSTAL!!!!!

When I told people while I was in college why I pursued a graphic arts career...so I could one day be a stay-at-home-mom, but if we HAD to have two incomes, I could work on my computer from the home....people looked at me like "Thats it? You want to waste a college career for that?" But you are RIGHT on the money! Nobody can raise your kids better than you, thats why God gave them to YOU, not the daycare system. And being a housewife is a 24/7, unpaid, no holidays, no vacations, job! Even when the kids are napping, or asleep at night, or even when they start school...you're still busy around the house!

Why is it that people look down at being a housewife, yet they praise daycare workers or maids? Did I miss a memo there?

You keep walking out His calling for you! And rock on Crystal!!!

Kristen said...

AMEN SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You have said all the things I want to say to people all the time and you did it all in one breathe! Staying at home with our kids is a HUGE blessing and I am thankful every day I get to do it, but by no means is it *easy* in any way! You are on cal 24/7 there are no breaks, no vacations and no sick days. And even when those little munchers go to bed and you have some down time, you instead sit and ponder your day and wonder if you did it the very best you were able to or if you messed up, or what could you have done differently, etc. I love this! I don't think I've ever commented before, but I love what you write and there are many a times you say just what i'm thinking! Keep it up!

Jingle said...

I have a similar list, only it's the assumptions people make about me because I DON'T have kids! Wanna know the funny part? Some of them are EXACTLY the same as the ones you deal with! Crazy! Great list!

Kristi said...

I used to take offense at some of the assumptions that people made about me being a stay at home mom. I used to take offense at a lot of things. A LOT. Then a friend lent me a book. At first it made me mad, I didn't want to continue reading it, but I pressed on. And my heart softened. And I realized that taking offense was like harboring little unforgivenesses. Which makes you a little bitter and waste energy feeling negative. And worse of all, the bible says it is a sin. I learned a lot, and now TRY not to take offense. And I feel freer. Life is simpler. The book I read was called "Bait of Satan: Living Free From the Deadly Trap of Offense" by John MacArthur.
Here is a blog post that explains this concept a little:
http://femina.reformedblogs.com/2009/11/08/taking-offense/

I'm totally not condemning anyone. I'm just sharing something that is changing my life for the better and I hope someone else will be able to benefit from this too.

“A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11 NIV

Camala Turnage said...

I think there are a lot of negative assumptions also made of working moms. How about just understanding everyone's choices are different and that makes no one better or worse.

Kat said...

Beautiful and well said!!!
So often the assumptions are unspoken - but you can see them on people's faces!

Wendy said...

How true your statements are! I don't know how many times I 've had to explain that just because I stay home with my kids doesn't mean I want to also take care of someone elses. This is not a daycare people!

Feather said...

isn't that the stinkin' truth? you know what question i hate the most?...
what did you do all day?
seriously, how do you answer that without being snide? do we ask full-time workers, "so, what did you do all day?" as if their work isn't valuable?

Peggy Rice said...

Hi there, I do think it was a good post, but I must remind you of your post on the mom who had all the babies (I believe people call her the octo mom), you made many assumptions about her, without knowing her story.

Grace said...

Way to go! That's exactly how I feel about being a stay at home mom, I love it. I have no intentions of being a career woman. I know my purpose in life is to be a wife and mother. God has blessed me with that. Don't mind the nay-sayers or critical people.

alyssa said...

This was a good post! I am not a Mom but I sympathize for the stay-at-home-mom. Even if I stay home for a few days (not on weekends) there is so much stuff just to do around the house, I cannot imagine what happens when you add a kid, or two...to that!

Celeste said...

I agree 100%! I don't have any kids yet - but I, too, plan to be a stay-at-home-mommy. (:

Anonymous said...

This just seems like another stay at home VS working argument. We both do what we do for valid reasons and there are sacrifices on both sides of the coin. We should honor that and not "assume" one is better than the other.

sometimes i get the same feeling the previous poster said...I read your blog everyday but this one bummed me out.

Anonymous said...

Oh soooo well said!! I have been a stay at home mom for 24 years. Next year my baby goes to school and I will NOT be looking for a job. MY JOB is to stay home and take care of my husband,kids,home:) I also LOVE every hour of everyday. I have been Blessed!!

Amy Bell said...

when you are comment #41, you have lots to read. lots.

i stay at home...and i do love it. i have friends that work and we have talked about how both situations are a balancing act. i have had people say strange things to me about staying home...and i can't say i have not had guilt when we have struggled to work more...but, ultimately, i believe every family is different. a friend of mine lost her husband..she works 2 jobs. i know that God gives her what she needs every morning...as He does me.

i stopped feeling guilty. i stopped asking what if...if i only...i have degrees i don't use...etc. etc. i am trying to live today. ask God what is on the agenda for today and then be willing to do it. i think He most concerned about what i do for Him...not whether i have kids in all GT classes..cook a gourmet meal every night or bring home 100K.

so...i think this year is the year i just gave it up...i don't care what others assume. i agree with you...i want God's greater purpose/will for me...being a mom, SAHM or working, is a tough job.

Russ, Anna, Pepper and Vesper said...

Thanks for putting the thoughts from my head down in word form for me, exactly what I think on a daily basis but didn't know how to "say." You rock! And a TON of your stuff on Etsy is on my want list for birthday and anniversary this year, LOL

Dena said...

period and amen! I couldn't say it better. My favorite is the assumption that one would return to a *real* job when the kids are in school...ummm no. We also have to give up alot for me to stay home and I think people assume we are lucky, I hate that one the most. Enjoy your job! I know I do....most days.

Anonymous said...

Ok but in defense of working moms, there are many who simply cant, yes I said the word CANT, stay home for one reason or another. Dont assume every mother can make the sacrifice without gov. assistance to be at home. This post had its good intentions but I sensed some subtle judgements being made here. Whenever you get into any topic such as this you cannot avoid it. I feel incredibly blessed to be a part-time worker. I have the best of both worlds. My kids see me at home being active in their lives AND using my education to help provide a good life for our family. They will know it is OK to be a SAHM, a working mom, or both some day! :)

1 Funky Woman said...

Love your honesty. I have been a SAHM for 10 years and it is one of the hardest things I have ever done. My sister lives in California and she works but she finally decided to have a child because she respects what I do everyday and she saw the joy it brings. To help sway someone's decision to be a mother is the most gratifying thing I've done. Even if others think it is meaningless it is my life.

My favorite quote that I use often but is so fitting for this because we can't make everyone happy is by Dr Seuss..

~Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind~

Keep doing what you are doing!

Megan

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm a little late on posting, but I have to comment. I completely understand your frustration with feeling that people are making assumptions about the fact that you are a stay at home mom. I am a working mom, so I'll leave you with a list of things that people have assumed about my choice to be a working mom:
1. I obviously care more about my career than I do my family (someone has actually said this to my face).
2. I don't care enough about my family to make the financial sacrifices that it takes for me to be able to stay at home
3. I think my career is more important than my calling to be a wife and mother
4. I am not living the Biblical life of motherhood that God has called me to (yep, someone said that, too).
5. I HAVE to work outside the home...nope, actually I choose to work outside the home.
6. My family isn't financially stable enough for me to be able to stay at home...nope, again, I choose to work.
7. I don't get enough quality time with my child and I miss out on special things because I am working....nope, my family does come before my career. We have plenty of special time together even though I work outside the home. We take trips, go to the park, make dinner together, and spend lots of time in the evening playing with trains on the living room floor.
8. My kiddo suffers because of my choice to work outside the home...again, nope. He's happy, healthy and thriving.
9. My home suffers because I work outside the home...again, nope. We even entertain friends in our home probably once (sometimes more) a week.
Crystal, I hope you don't take this defensively. I really enjoyed your post. I thought you might like to take a look at some other assumptions that people have made about working mamas. Everyone has their own idea of what being a good mother is. I think that I have the ability to be a good mother and take care of my family while working outside of the home.

Christi Pobst said...

I think Lucky is a good word for it. I am lucky I have the ability to budget and plan accordingly in oreder to stay at home.

I also think those who want to work are lucky they can do what they enjoy and still have and raise children!

We all have our own blessings!

Jess said...

Personally, I think there may be more assumptions made about working moms nowadays. My sisters and I were raised by a single mom who HAD to work in order to put food on the table and there were assumptions made about our family left and right. My mom was ousted from being part of neighborhood events because she was not a SAHM. Now that I am a mother, I made the personal choice to stay at home with my children but understand that it is VERY difficult to do so...mainly for financial reasons. We live in san Diego and the cost of living here is not cheap so it means sacrificing a lot. Either way a mother is a mother; inside or outside of the home.

Karen said...

Hi-
I love this post. I struggle so much with this issue. And honestly I think is has NOTHING TO DO WITH WORKING MOM VS. STAY AT HOME MOM!!! Many of the rude comments I have received came from peers, who do not even have children. I noticed many of the negative posts came from working moms... I really don't think it was directed at you... just people who are insensitive enough to think that we chose being a sahm to be lazy. I personally loved this post and nice to know I am not the only one receiving comments like this. I have a masters in engineering who is not wasting my education.

Molly said...

This was great!! Now I am going on a whole different note, I am a stay at home wife with NO kids :) My day is filled with helping my husband run our business and farm. Although my mom and others think I live a life of luxury, its not! They also think I have all the time in the world to help them with their problems and life. What they don't know is that by helping my husband run our business and our farm takes a whole lot out of me and him. We have no employees, its just US. I love how people assume that just because you "don't work" you have all the time in the wrold to help them or as you said it "fill your time". I can't wait to see how busy I get when we bring children into the family. Love your honesty Cyrstal! Hope you have a fab weekend!
~Molly P

Vanessa Washburn said...

well said indeed!

You have beautifully put into words the scrutiny that SAHMs face from their families and peers. I have several friends I'd like to share this with, some so they may stop assuming, and others to add to the hearty chorus of amens.

Susie said...

I really commend you for this post! It is such a great look at SAHMoms and those assumptions made. I am also quite proud of you for publishing the comments that were not pro your post. This is the wonderful thing about blogging. It's your soapbox. YOURS. I love your blog...from one stay at home mom to another.

Kat said...

Some good points made here for the working mom, too. I just wanted to say that I didn't get from your post that you were being judgmental of the other side, just voicing your perspective.

Dilem*mama said...

Amen Sista!

I'll second the thoughts of the stay at home wife. Before we had children, I stayed at home and your list is just as valid for those women, too.

Amanda said...

Haven't been around in a while, and so I have NO idea what happened but I just have to tell you I love this post!!!

Thank you! I love it so much I cried! It all rings true for so many of us who have plenty of assumptions about us as well. Thank you again!

*Oh, and I read this out loud while on the phone with my BFF....DH was sitting in the chair next to me. I love him, but he's one of the biggest assumers it is in my life! MEN! Wish he'd realize the financial aspects of me working! oh well! :)* So...Double, Triple, Quadruple THANK YOU!!!

Jana said...

ok so I was at blissdom and had to do a lot of catching up when I saw the other posts about this post

First of all you are lovely and I wouldnt follow you if you werent, after all I do find my time valuable and therefore what you have to say is important to me.

I am a sahm and I love it too. I havent always been able to since I was a single mom for awhile but now I can and I do. And I homeschool too.

I love number five, people do assume that I am their slave and I assume that they have lost their minds.

I am sorry about the snarky comments, like I said I wouldnt follow you if I felt remotely the same. I hope your not still bummed!

Tiffany said...

Hi. Just love that what I read sounded like you took the thoughts right out of my head. I also told my husband on our first date that I would stay home with my children, no matter what. It was important to me and thankfully, it was also important to him.

It bothers me to hear women say I am lucky and they "wish they could stay home". We have sacrificed like crazy to keep me home with our kids. I would not have it any other way. A flat screen tv or my kids in perfect clothing does not make up for the time that I get to spend learning and knowing them. It is an amazing job that I love and wouldn't want to do anything else ever. I have a masters in education that we are still paying for but I definitely use what I learned each and every day!

Thank you for this post! I love it.

piersonam said...

What an excellent post!!! My favorite part is the part about women saying we are lucky we can stay at home. You are so right: "Luck has nothing to do with it."
I love your blog!

SarahRachel said...

Agree with and appreciate this post so much, friend.

the thrifty ba said...

i just came across your blog. i ama sahm too, and i so understand #5.
i have a a family memeber that thinks that because she and her dh work, that i should be able to run her daughter around.
seriously, i never even offered because my own life (meaning my little family and my friends) is keeping me busy. (and honestly i dont like my sister in law. she thinks way too much of herself-but that i will save for another therapy session)
i do have to look for employment starting next school year (youngest will be in 1st grade) because dh work doesnt have much of a retirement program. i am morning my loss already. thinking about not being able to be there is KILLING me. sure, i look forward to getting dressed every monring and looking nice again. but i will miss what i have with my boys.
i am glad to hear another mom has the same feelings. because no matter what YOUR job is (CEO, house cleaner, teacher) no job is more important than MINE. brining up my kids is more important than even the presidents job.
i am now a follower of your blog!

Whimsical Creations said...

Well said!!

Ashley said...

I admire you!

Brooke said...

You just have to stand firm in what you know, which is who God says you are.
This just shows me one more reason why I think you're awesome :) This is exactly how I feel. I'm kind of dying to get out of my "real" job and into my "Mom" job. :)
Many people don't understand. Many people don't value the same things. It's kind of like politics. People get REALLY OFFENDED by stuff like this. But a lot of the time I think it's guilt...that's the reason they feel bad.
As a teacher, I raise kids for eight hours a day. I shape the way they make choices and treat others. I make them behave, offer rewards and consequenses, and love them. Although I am nothing like a mother, I WANT TO BE THAT PERSON FOR MY CHILD. I don't want some person I don't know, or even some pereson i do know dictating the way my child is raised or shaped.
Oops, there goes some strong opinions again.
Way to put it out there.
I think you rock.

Brooke said...

You just have to stand firm in what you know, which is who God says you are.
This just shows me one more reason why I think you're awesome :) This is exactly how I feel. I'm kind of dying to get out of my "real" job and into my "Mom" job. :)
Many people don't understand. Many people don't value the same things. It's kind of like politics. People get REALLY OFFENDED by stuff like this. But a lot of the time I think it's guilt...that's the reason they feel bad.
As a teacher, I raise kids for eight hours a day. I shape the way they make choices and treat others. I make them behave, offer rewards and consequenses, and love them. Although I am nothing like a mother, I WANT TO BE THAT PERSON FOR MY CHILD. I don't want some person I don't know, or even some pereson i do know dictating the way my child is raised or shaped.
Oops, there goes some strong opinions again.
Way to put it out there.
I think you rock.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time air travel was a great deal simpler than it is today. You called one of a few airlines that flew from your airport, the agent would tell you what flights were available for a given time, and you booked the one you wanted. Airports were always bustling places, especially during the holidays, but as long as you gave yourself adequate time, the process was usually the same. You would check your bags, go through the x-ray machine, get your boarding pass, and wait patiently at the appropriate gate. Once you got on the plane you ate the snack or meal that came with your flight and watched a movie.

In recent years travel by plane has become significantly more complicated. There are so many different configurations for flights and types of fares. Dire economic circumstances have caused airlines to raise rates and charge extra fees for everything from baggage to blankets. There are complex rules about what you can and cannot carry in your luggage. It can be very difficult to determine whether you are getting the best deal or the best services when you buy an airline ticket. The internet makes the navigation of airlines, airports, and flight itineraries easier, but, even so, be prepared to do some research if you want to find a flight at the best price.

Here is something up front that might save you time and money right off the bat. If you are traveling within the United States mainland, always look at Southwest Airlines first. Southwest is almost always the best deal you will find. However, Southwest itineraries do not appear on the major travel websites, so always go directly to the airline's website for information. Plug in your travel plans, and you will get a list of all the flights that are available. Southwest typically charges more reasonable prices than other airlines, and there are no hidden fees. The price you see is the price you get although tax and the government fee that is attached to all flights does apply. For lower prices than you can probably get anywhere else look at the "web only" fares, but keep in mind that these fares are not refundable.

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