This week I had an article featured in WRAL Go Ask Mom. I shared my thoughts about building the birth team you deserve with the help of a doula and the benefits of continuity of care. Check it out and please share!
Happy New Year! How is 2022 going for you so far?
True to human nature, the new year is a time of resolution and planning. We commit to making changes, ditching old habits and shy away from what is no longer serving us. One of the biggest bandwagons of the new year (aside from the health & fitness fads) is reconsidering your job or a major career change. So many people think and talk about changing, but don't actually take the steps to leave behind the old for new beginnings. When we make room for new things and opportunities, we are asking for growth. We want better for ourselves and we seek to make that happen.
While I don't usually go around giving out advice, I will say this: If you aren't where you want to be in life, make a change. Take a class. Get involved in the community. Become a mentor. Any positive change made with intention will most certain lead to something greater. And no, it doesn't have to be big. I am not telling you to quit your job tomorrow with no prospects, okay. Start small, write down goals and begin to plan your next move. Little things can make a big impact.
So, what new things are you planing for 2022?
Are you planning to take a leap of faith?
Maybe you are called to birth work...
If so, I want to you to consider the Best of Both Worlds Doula Services Mentorship Program.
Birth work is not your average job or career. You may hear a lot of doulas, including myself, refer to their work as their "calling" and it is very true. This work requires the very best of yourself... your whole, authentic self. You have to trust our instincts and the depths of your soul because that is what will guide you above experience and education. I say all the time that birth work ain't for the faint of heart and as each year passes, it couldn't be more true. So before you dip your toe into this work, you need to really know that you are called. It could be one transformative moment in your life or a series of events that led to your calling. But you will know. And if you don't, you will be "driven" or guided to it one way or another.
The BOBWDS Mentorship Program is unique in that it is a 'mentee-led' program focused on business development specific to birth workers. I will provide simple, yet effective guidance that will assist others in determining what type of doula or birth worker they want to be and how they want to market and run their business. This rigorous 8 week program will consist of
▫️Weekly birth work & business classes held on Zoom/Google Meet
▫️Weekly homework assignments to develop each part of your business plan
▫️Researching your local community, health care system and ideal clientele
▫️A summary/overview of what you learned during the course, an outline of your business plan, a community referral list and a business resource list for networking
BOBWDS Mentorship Options:
▫️Business consultations are available to those interested in a career in birth work (recent college graduates, newly trained doulas or doulas new to the area) who may be seeking general advice or guidance. One-time 30 minute consultations are $35. One-time 90 minute consultations are $75.
▫️The BOBWDS 8-week program will explore birth work and business and help each program participant develop a unique business plan based on their interests, personalities and passions. Modules will include:
Cost for the 8-week program is $350.
▫️Ongoing mentorship is provided to mentees who have completed the 8-week program. You will receive monthly business development check ins via phone or Zoom and access to additional educational tools and business opportunities in my private Facebook group. Ongoing mentorship is $60/month.
How to apply:
▫️Fill out the application here. (Applications are now closed)
▫️Application deadline for the Spring 2022 session is January 31st, 2022.
▫️Applicants chosen for interviews will be notified in February.
Each program participant will receive a syllabus & program guide as well as a certificate of completion once the program requirements are fulfilled.
Limited spaces are available for my 8-week Spring 2022 session. Classes begin in March. Please email me at email@example.com with any questions.
Personal Note: I became a mentor to fill a need. I have learned that while fulfilling, birth work isn't for the faint of heart and I want to guide those who have a true interest in supporting families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum and how to best serve each one. I will provide the foundation to build a sustainable business, your way, while supporting families with purpose & passion.
This blog was originally written on September 1, 2014.
I wrote a post last year sighting the differences between a nanny and a babysitter. But I didn’t even scratch the surface when I began to describe what a day in the life of a caregiver entails. While we try our best to keep routines and schedules, each day is different and we have to be prepared for surprises and all things unexpected. I am grateful to have a wonderful relationship with my current nanny family, but that has not always been the case with other families. Over this past year my eyes have been opened to so many different scenarios and situations. I don’t have many nanny friends so I decided to join various nanny groups on Facebook and I started following some nannies and doulas on Twitter as well. I’m amazed every day at what we as nannies go through. I remember reading a post from a fellow nanny stating that she found a business card for a nanny on the coffee table when she arrived to work that morning. She asked the group if she should be worried. My answer: Hell yes! I don’t know her or the family she works with, but I do know the holidays were approaching and many families decide to make changes during that time. And the truth of the matter is that she could be let go. Hopefully she has a contract in place. But then again, I could be totally wrong.
I thought I would share just a few things that I feel would be helpful to my fellow nannies and the families they work with. These things can also be applied for other household employees as well.
As a nanny:
As a family:
Is there anything you as a parent or nanny would add to this list? Comment below!
This blog was originally written on August 29, 2013.
So you’ve decided to hire a nanny? Now what?!
As parents and parents-to-be, the most stressful part of preparing for a new addition to the family is not making sure you have the nursery ready and stocked or adjusting to a new schedule, but searching for child care. It has to be one of the most difficult tasks that all parents face. Should I choose a day care center or hire a nanny? This question can be daunting for those who may not even be expecting yet, but it definitely requires a lot of thought, time and research. Both choices are great for their own reasons, but the bottom line is that you should have a plan in place (and a back up plan just in case your situation changes) well before your bundle of joy arrives.
Hiring a nanny versus placing your child in day care has numerous advantages. With a nanny, you get a very personal kind of care. And not just for your children, but for the whole family. Generally, a nanny not only cares for your children, but they look after your household and pets too. Nannies offer routine and consistency, but they can also be flexible when something unexpected arises as well. With a nanny, your children can have excellent care in a familiar environment and get the same educational and developmental experiences they would get at a day care center (but with less germs).
When hiring a nanny you should have these things in mind:
When contacting potential nannies about their services you should be open and upfront about what you are looking for and what you are willing to offer. You may include things such as:
Also, be sure to ask for a current resumé, a list of references and any letters of recommendation and a contact number for a phone interview. Phone interviews help narrow down your choices.
When interviewing potential nannies, here is a list of questions to be sure to ask:
Additional questions may need to be asked to fit your family’s individual situation. Just be sure to be open and honest.
After you have narrowed down your choice for a nanny there are a few things you should do before she/he starts. Formally offer the position to your potential nanny by phone or email and set up at least one “trial day.” Trial days are set so that you, the children and the nanny can get acquainted and see how a typical day would be for everyone. Also, if the nanny requested a contract, details should be discussed at length, agreed upon and signed BEFORE he/she starts. This will protect both you and the nanny if anything happens.
Nannies also have their own requirements and preferences when looking for potential families. They may want a lower hourly wage than others, but they may ask for benefits. Be willing to compromise on things for the right nanny. I have worked in the child care industry for over 14 years now and I have learned a lot about what I want in a nanny position. Generally, I look for a warm, young family with a traditional work schedule and bit of flexibility. I really appreciate families that have been understanding about me having a family of my own. Especially the ones that have allowed me to bring my son with me to work. Openness, honesty and genuineness are my top priorities when searching for potential families.
Hiring someone to care for your children is never easy, but I hope this helps you with your nanny search-Good Luck!
This blog was originally written on October 15, 2013.
I love my work. I truly do. I believe caring for children and families is my calling. But I have been through a lot over the years. I’ve worked with some fantastic families and I’ve also worked with a couple of families who didn’t appreciate or acknowledge my hard work. I have been in the childcare industry for half of my life now (wow, I feel old) and the most debated issue that always seems to come up, whether I’m at the library with the kids or speaking with other nannies, is the difference between a nanny and a babysitter and the lack of respect we sometimes receive for choosing our profession.
When I first started what is now my career, I was 14 years old and just a babysitter. I must admit, that’s what I thought everyone in the industry was called. But then I went to college with the intention of becoming a teacher. I spent 5 years working towards something I didn’t really want. If I had listened to my heart, I would have spent that money on certifications and trainings. All through college I had numerous jobs, from a style consultant at the mall to telecommunications. I even interned at the N.C. General Assembly for a senator one summer. But I always seemed to gravitate back to childcare. I’ve worked in day care centers, been both a part-time and full-time nanny and I’ve also been a tutor. Nothing fulfilled me more than being with kids and helping them develop and learn. So a few years ago I decided I wanted to be a Career Nanny. Now, to the average person that sounds insane. Why would you want to spend your life caring for other people’s children? Besides, that’s not real work. I’ve never heard these words personally, but I get the looks and stares sometimes. And the fact that I could pass for a teenager doesn’t help at all. But realistically, nannies are teachers that work both inside and outside a home setting. We just don’t have to deal with all the politics and paperwork. I chose (yes, chose) this profession and it is real work.
The statement that a babysitter and a nanny are the same simply isn’t true. These terms should not, at any time, be used interchangeably. The main differences between a nanny and a babysitter are based upon education, experience and duties. A babysitter may be needed occasionally for after school care, evenings or date nights. They are only expected to care for the children and perhaps prepare a quick meal and put them to bed. But a nanny provides a multitude of services not only for the children, but for the entire family. These services can include but are not limited to childcare, housework, cooking, errands, pet care, carpool & driving to various activities and homework help. Nannies usually have an extensive background in childcare, advanced training and may be highly educated as well. There are more college-educated nannies in the field now than there used to be, most of them coming from other fields. We also continue our education with trainings & workshops and make sure we keep up with the latest certications. On top of all of this, nannies provide a very personal aspect to their charges and families. We are counselors, nurses, friends, confidants, body guards and some people even refer to us as second moms or dads. Never aiming to take the place of the parents, but special aides to the families we care so dearly about.
Nannies are also employees. We have a work agreement and get paid a salary. We get sick/vacation days and yes, we have to pay taxes. Some nannies even get incentives and perks such as a nanny vehicle, credit cards, health insurance, gym memberships and access to summer homes. And you do what for a living? Right…. :-) But it’s not about the extras. It’s about having a passion for what we do. Most nannies wouldn’t do it if they didn’t absolutely love the job. Truth be told, it can be exhausting. But the children we care for are like our own. We invest time into them and we see the pay offs and rewards each and every day. That is enough for us.
As a nanny, every day is a new challenge because you never know what can happen. You have to be prepared to expect the unexpected and be able to handle it quickly, calmly and most importantly, safely. When you hear comments like, “How can someone pay that much money for a babysitter?” it can be a bit disheartening. But each one of us knows exactly how much we are worth. We don’t have to prove anything to strangers. It would be nice to be taken as seriously as a doctor or lawyer though.
I am currently searching for a new family to work with after the new year. This will be my 7th family in nearly 6 years. I began my nanny career right when the “bubble burst” and the economic turmoil began in America, so I was not prepared to change families so many times. Every family has different circumstances. I was let go in some instances and other families I chose to leave because they didn’t meet my personal standards and expectations. Again, every nanny knows their worth and I definitely know mine now.
I am a nanny. I offer a wide range of services to the families I work with from potty training to registering the kids for activites and arranging play dates. I invest my time and effort to make sure that the children I care for are mentally, emotionally and socially well-rounded and the parents are secure in knowing that someone like me is there when they can’t be. I am also a mother. A mother who has the privelege of bringing my son to work with me. Until recently, he was with me every day. He now goes to preschool part time. The thought of leaving him with someone was scary at first, but when I thought about it, I realized that I am in that same position. I am the trusted person that cares for Baby N when her mom and dad leave each day.
So why is there so much stigma around our profession? Why don’t people respect what we do? Maybe because they simply aren’t educated. I have read a few articles and heard so many stories in the last few months from different nannies. Their awful encounters with strangers and even family members is hurtful to hear. We give virtually hugs and support each other in our online groups. It is difficult enough to work for a family that may not appreciate all that you do, but not being respected by others who have no clue what we go through each day is annoying and dare I say ignorant. If you are not a nanny and you are reading this, I hope I opened your eyes even a little bit. If you are a parent looking to hire someone, be careful not to make the mistake of asking for a nanny if you really need a babysitter. If you are a nanny and you are reading this, know that I appreciate you. Keep up the good work! Babysitters are great, but please refer to me as a nanny. We are special.
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