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Looking for Childcare? Have you considered Nanny Agencies?

nanny with childrenRecently we’ve been surrounded by friends whose work situation is changing. They’re either moving to a new city and don’t know anyone but have to find someone to watch their kids, they’ve taken on a larger roll at their companies, they’re starting their own business or their companies are decentralizing and sending them to their home offices. Families who may have never considered having a nanny are now looking at their options to find out which is most realistic and cost effective.  Below, Elizabeth Juline,  placement consultant and founder of Jack and Jill Nanny Agency, gives us the scoop on the growing trend of hiring nanny. 

Local versus online agencies

When families make the choice to look for a nanny, there are lots of choices.  In recent years, many online services have sprung up, providing everything from one-time baby sitters to long-term nanny services.  In many cities, local agencies have opened too. And each has its plusses and minus.

National services often have a larger database of potential care-givers, and their size may allow them to provide additional services like extensive background checks and care-giver training.  But many online agencies don’t have local or regional outlets, so families   might not be able to meet their potential nanny in person until they arrive on the job.

Local services have the advantage of meeting with your family, to determine what your needs and lifestyle.  For many, the “personal touch”  of meeting with an agency representative and meeting potential nannies in advance is a big plus to using a local agency. And should a problem come up, or a replacement caregiver be needed, the agency is nearby, instead trying to reach someone by phone or e-mail.

What makes a qualified nanny? 

Most parents agree that the most important aspects in finding a nanny for your family are:

  • Character
  • Experience
  • Background checks
  • Reference checks
  • Training and certifications (i.e., early childhood education, CPR)

And no one would argue that all of those are critical in the person who will care for your babies. But the truth is, each nanny also brings their own unique personality to the family they work for. It’s important to match the family’s personality to that of the nanny, so other factors are also important.  Before you select nannies to interview, think about things like:

  • Diet – if yours is a vegetarian family, or one which follows Kosher or Halal dietary laws, a nanny who shares that practice might be a better fit
  • Language – for safety sake, it’s important that the nanny understands and speaks the local language, as well as any other language usually spoken in your home
  • Lifestyle – for example, if your family typically enjoys a very active outdoor lifestyle, a nanny who can participate would probably be a better choice than one who prefers a more sedentary activity level
  • Philosophy on child rearing – chosing a nanny who shares your views on bedtimes, discipline, playtime and other elements of child care will make the experience better for you and your children

Odds are you have at least one or two more factors that are important to you. Before you contact any agency, make sure you have your requirements and preferences written down.  It’s easy to overlook some of these less traditional requirements, especially if you’re in the midst of career changes or relocation at the same time, so having a written list will keep all factors in front of you and the agency.

Look for positive results

The best agencies always work with your family on any concerns or problems you might encounter through the whole process. Pay attention to the agency’s response to your questions and concerns.  Do they take your concerns seriously?   Do they answer your calls or return message promptly?  If the answer is no, it’s time to look for another agency!

Many agencies will have a guarantee replacement on their contract if the placement did not work out. The right nanny agency will always be there when you need them.  Remember, the time spent on chosing a nanny agencies and finding the right nanny are an investment in your children’s future.  Make the right choice, and you will be able to go to work feeling confident that your child is in the best possible care.

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Friday 15 Featured Guest, Yasmin Diallo Turk, HOPE for Senegal

Yasmin Diallo Turk HOPE for Senegal

 

Thanks to Yasmin Diallo Turk, HOPE for Senegal for joining us for today’s Friday 15!   She’s committed to making a difference with kids everywhere, and we loved learning about how we can touch the lives of little ones no matter how far away, and get our own kids involved as well.

You can read more about HOPE for Senegal on their Facebook page. And if you missed hearing our talk with her, you can watch it below. I promise, you will be inspired.

If you’d like to participate in future Friday 15 events: add us to your Google Circles.

Not sure how to add MomCom to your circles? Visit our How to Participate in a Friday 15 Google Hangout page for more information.

For a list of all of our upcoming Friday 15 events and to add them to your calendar, please visit our online calendar!

Hope to see you this Friday and every other Friday as well!
More about Friday 15’s

[infopane color=”8″ icon=”0001.png”]Every Friday, we’re going to be “hanging out” with amazing women who will tell us their stories during our Friday Fifteen Google Hangouts. Don’t know what these are? Well, at just about the time you’ve had it, either with work or the kids, (that’s 1:30 p.m. CST for us), we’re going to rescue you and your friends and followers and our friends and followers by spending fifteen minutes on a MomCom Google Hangout session. We’re going to leave you revived and renewed and ready for the weekend. We’re going to help you wrap up your work week and give you that needed boost to be productive at the end of the week. It will be your “happy fifteen” before your Friday happy hour. Join us! Would you like to be one of our featured Friday Fifteen-ers? Would you like to get your organization involved? Fill out the form at http://momcomlife.com/get-featured and let us know that you have something to share.[/infopane]

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Finding Community…or where in the heck is my tribe?

woman with phoneOnce upon a time, in a land far, far away, moms had tribes. It didn’t matter if they lived in a village or city, moms, aunties and grandmothers came together to help and share and bond.  Not so any more.

There are many battle-fronts in the Mommy Wars. But when it comes to the need for community — and the problems with finding it, you might be surprised to learn that at-home moms and outside-of-the-home working moms are in the exact same boat.

Last year, ABC News did a piece on the social isolation working moms experience in the office.  The article quotes Carol Evans, the president of Working Mother Media,  as saying that “Working moms have a tendency to put their heads down and do the work. ”  They want to get their work done in a timely fashion, she said, because “they want to get home to their kids for dinner.” And that’s great for being efficient. But it often leaves moms out of the social world of the workplace. Not having the time or desire to attend after-work happy hours or other social functions can leave moms feelings lonely, even though they spend most of their waking hours surrounded by other adults.

On the other side of the coin, moms who spend their days at home with their kids can find themselves just as isolated. New moms and moms with more than one little one at home can feel overwhelmed with everything involved in getting out. And once they do, most of their energy might be spent focusing on, and keeping track of their children.  “I go to a playgroup”, said one mom, “but we’re all so busy keeping tabs on who’s crawling where or who needs a diaper change that I leave feeling like I hardly got to talk.”

So what’s a mom to do? Sites like Livestrong recognize the issue, but offer little in the way of help. (Take a bath…really? When was the last time a mom with little kids got to take a bath alone?  And how does that help with feeling lonely? Ditto for meditation and going for a walk.  All great things, but hardly a way to feel less alone! Who are these people?? Clearly NOT moms!)

Instead of turning inward, try finding a tribe outside of work or the playgroup set. Making time to attend events like MomCom (happening twice a year in Austin) or similar events can be a great way to connect with other moms who really get what you’re experiencing. And odds are, are also looking for a tribe of their own.  Once you meet other moms, try to create a once a month (or once a week, if you can arrange it) get-together in each other’s homes, a local coffee shop or the gym.

At-home moms can look for groups like Moms Club International that offer Moms Night Out in addition to the typical playgroups.  Moms who head out to work can make time to connect with other parents in the workplace at lunchtime or coffee breaks — even a chat once every couple of weeks can start to break down those feelings of being the only one trying to juggle work and family.

And when you are at home with the kids, or at work with your colleagues, try to make time to find inspiration from other moms. Even a 15 minute Google Hangout or 10 minute podcase can sometimes go along way towards reminding you that your tribe is out there somewhere, just waiting to be found.

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I want a picture of anything other than the back of her head….

teenagers at restaurant

Exhibit A

 

(Or how having a teenager turned me into a paparazzi!) 

For those of you who have babies and toddlers,  I have a bit of advice.  Enjoy them now. Even relish in the terrible twos and the I-can-do-it-myself threes. Why?  Because before you know it….

You. Will . Have . A . Teenager.

I know, I know. It’s hard to imagine that cuddly baby or energetic toddler turning into a teen, but it happens to the best of us.  And it’s best to be prepared.

Oh, it’s not all bad. They’ll sometimes cook supper for you (if the mood, the day of the week and the phase of the moon is in sync.) And they’ll introduce you to awesome new bands. (And yes, I really do love that!). And they are great company if you happen to love scary, spooky, ghost-filled movies (which I do!)

But there is one thing about the introduction to teen years that makes me crazy.  I cannot for the life of me get a decent picture of her!

Consider “Exhibit A.”  My daughter and her bestie were leaving in the morning to spend several weeks up north with the guy I like to refer to as “The Sperm Donor”.  (Long distance parenting with an ex-….another joy!)  In honor of the next morning’s 7 a.m. flight, we decided to take them out to dinner, and of course, snap a few photos of the travelers.

snack area in store

The “LOOK”

Would you believe me if I told you this was the BEST photo I got? Oh, I see a hand or two waving out there. Thank you!  You must have a teen! The rest of the photos are a mass of swirling hair, waving hands and the backs of two girls ducking under the table. I gave up. The bestie’s mom gave up. We settled for hair photos.

I do sometimes succeed in getting a photo. Don’t get me wrong. After raising two other kids throught their teen years and into college, I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to photographing teenagers.

But if my daughter catches on at all, the final photo inevitably features “that face.”

You know, the “I hate that picture without even seeing it and if you post it I will unfriend you on Facebook.” face. Oh, no wait.  Most of you don’t know.  Your little ones will still pose for snapshots on the beach, photos with Santa, and vacation pictures with mom.

Oh, those were the days!

I know that the day will come when she will once again face the camera with a smile — and even let me share the pictures with cousins and grandmom. But for now, having a teenager has turned me into paparazzi.

I’m serious!  When we’re out, I invariably end up hiding behind trees, around corners and just out of sight in the crowd, all in hopes of snapping a picture that shows more than hair or a scowl!  I’m sure people think I’m some creepy stalker, as I quickly pull my camera out, snap a picture, then hide the phone or camera in my bag! I fully expect a security guard to tap me on the shoulder one day, and ask me to explain my strange behavior.  When that happens, I can only hope they’re a parent of a teenager…

(Lindsay Shugerman is the mom of a teen, two college students, a dog who thinks she’s a person and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When she’s not photo stalking, she’s busy doing SEO and social media.)

 

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Friday 15 Featured Guest, Meredith Walker, Smart Girls at the Party

Thanks to Meredith Walker Smart Girls At The Party for joining me in today’s Friday 15! She is helping change the world by promoting fun, being nice and recommending play for your every day! She’s really cool too BTW. Check it out!

If you’d like to participate in future Friday 15 events: add us to your Google Circles.

Not sure how to add MomCom to your circles? Visit our How to Participate in a Friday 15 Google Hangout page for more information.

For a list of all of our upcoming Friday 15 events and to add them to your calendar, please visit our online calendar!

Hope to see you this Friday and every other Friday as well!
More about Friday 15’s

[infopane color=”8″ icon=”0001.png”]Every Friday, we’re going to be “hanging out” with amazing women who will tell us their stories during our Friday Fifteen Google Hangouts. Don’t know what these are? Well, at just about the time you’ve had it, either with work or the kids, (that’s 1:30 p.m. CST for us), we’re going to rescue you and your friends and followers and our friends and followers by spending fifteen minutes on a MomCom Google Hangout session. We’re going to leave you revived and renewed and ready for the weekend. We’re going to help you wrap up your work week and give you that needed boost to be productive at the end of the week. It will be your “happy fifteen” before your Friday happy hour. Join us! Would you like to be one of our featured Friday Fifteen-ers? Would you like to get your organization involved? Fill out the form at http://momcomlife.com/get-featured and let us know that you have something to share.[/infopane]