New Directions: Michelle

This series called “New Directions” features  interviews with former nannies that branched out into another aspect of the business, had to add something to be able to stay in the profession, or left the profession entirely.

My goal during the course of these articles is to show you that you have choices, and that sometimes “new directions” can take you to new growth.
Glenda

Today we are talking with my friend and respected colleague Michelle LaRowe.

How long were you a nanny?

I worked as a full-time career nanny for 15 years.

How long have you been out of the field?

While I no longer work as a full-time nanny, I am still heavily involved in the nanny world. I currently serve as Executive Director of the International Nanny Association, write parenting books and articles, offer consultation services, operate The Cape Cod Baby Planner and teach workshops and speak on parenting topics across the country.

When did you realize that it was time to make a change?

I was in a full-time position working for a family with 4 children, including newborn twins, when I learned I was expecting my first baby. Two weeks later, the father of the children in my care decided to make a change and be a stay at home dad. When I started the position, the eldest child had some significant behavioral issues. I had helped facilitate real change and he began to truly enjoy being a dad.  I was fortunate that the timing and the situation worked out the best for everyone.

If you left to become a parent, how is parenting your own child different than parenting someone elses child/children?

The biggest difference in parenting my own children from parenting others is that when you parent others, you love them like your own but know they are not.

I know my experience seems to be the exception to the rule, but parenting my own children has really been the same as parenting others. I think this is because I started a position with newborn twins and was there full-time for nearly 7 years as their primary caregiver. When you’re given a new baby (or two) to care for and they are your responsibility for 50-60 plus hours per week, it’s something to take very seriously. At the time, I gave them all the love I could and knew how to give.  That’s what babies need! I do the same with my babies now.

In some ways, parenting my own children is much easier. I don’t have to answer to anyone or sell someone on why my way seems best. I can opt to lounge around in my pajama’s with the kids and that’s okay. And, when Monday comes around, the kids are still potty trained ;-).

I also learned from my experiences, the importance of having an involved dad. My husband is an awesome parenting partner and cares for the children while I work each day.

Was it difficult to come to the realization that you were going to have to leave the nanny profession?

Yes, that’s why I never left! I love this profession. You don’t choose being a nanny, it chooses you.

Did it come to you gradually, or was it an epiphany when you realized there was something else you wanted to do?

I feel very fortunate to be able to be a work from home mom and work in an industry I love and am passionate about. It’s nice to be able to take my experiences from working as a nanny and serving on the boards of non profits and apply them and my skill set to my current position.

Did you view it as a positive change or a negative change?

I am so grateful that I can raise my children and financially contribute to my family.  Since I work for an association that has only one employee, I can really say that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am truly grateful for it.

Do you miss working as a nanny?

Yes, that’s why I do a lot of consulting with new parents, especially those of newborn twins. It’s nice to see I haven’t lost my touch and to see how a little guidance and education can make a world of difference to new parents.

Do you stay in touch with any of your nanny friends?

I am in touch with many of them each day through my work with INA and on Facebook. Honestly, I have a very hard time relating to other moms who don’t have a child care or early childhood education background. I feel like I don’t quite fit in with the moms at preschool, so I am grateful I can stay connected daily to my nanny friends.

Do you stay abreast of what is going on in the field today?

I am in the middle of all things nanny all day, every day. From monitoring legislation, to reading news articles and blogs, to analyzing data from salary and benefits surveys to answering questions from parents and nannies, I feel like I have a good handle on the industry. If you know me, it’s no surprise I always like to be the first to know what’s going on!

If yes, what do you miss the most?

This is easy- spending other people’s money!  Some days I wish my debit card charges went to someone else! I’ve found working as a nanny for affluent families; I’ve come to have the taste of the families I’ve worked for.  This is great for me, but bad for my wallet!

If no, what do you miss the least?

The fear of having to call a parent and tell them their child got hurt, the fear of losing a position, the anxiety that comes from having to talk about difficult topics, like developmental delays, to parents. The fear of always knowing that someday you will no longer be needed.

Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now.

In addition to being a mom of two beautiful children, Abby and Luke and a wife to Jeff, I currently serve as the Executive Director of the International Nanny Association. I manage everything relating to member services and oversee daily association operations, conference planning and special projects. I also do a lot of freelance writing and parenting consulting. I write for various parenting magazines and websites, field media questions relating to the books I’ve written (Nanny to the Rescue!, Nanny to the Rescue! Again, Working Mom’s 411 and A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists) and operate The Cape Cod Baby Planner. I serve on the boards of a few non-profits, teach courses for various organizations and speak at conferences and events.

Tell us what you learned as a nanny that is helping you in your current job, career or profession?

My nanny experience has most definitely helped me to be the best parent I can be. Understanding child development, knowing how to set loving boundaries and being able to discipline without emotion has helped me to be the type of parent I want to be.

My nanny experience and relationships with those in the industry help me to do my job well. Being able to answer questions with knowledge and experience helps me be a better employee and resource to those who reach out to INA.

What advice would you give to nannies who are still in the profession but struggling with whether or not they should stay or go?

You have to discover what you love and figure out how to get paid for it. I heard that from Bill Cosby in 1999, when I was graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and knew I really wanted to work as a nanny. I had to follow my passion and I am sure glad I did.

You can’t be a good nanny if you don’t love what you do. Working as a nanny is too emotionally, physically and intellectually draining. It’s not a job where you can just go through the motions.

There’s a lot of responsibility with being a nanny- but there is also a lot of freedom. Going from doing your own thing all day to being micromanaged in an office, is a major change. Evaluate your heart and follow where it’s guiding you.

What advice would you give to other nannies?

No one understands the daily joys and struggles of a nanny like another nanny. Being a nanny is the only job you sign up for and the ultimate promotion is to be let go because you are no longer needed; not by any fault of your own, but because the kids have grown up or the family has learned how to sustain itself and thrive without you.

Get connected. Join a local nanny group, attend trainings and conferences. You’ll be surprised how empowering it is to connect with others who get what you do.

What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

That my employers needed me as much as I needed them. Sometimes, as nannies I find that we feel like we need the job so much, we forget that the need is often mutual. I wish I had spent less time worrying about job security and more time realizing that the relationship with mutually beneficial.

In hindsight, do you think your decision was a good one?

I feel like I really have the best of both worlds. I get to parent my children full-time and work full-time in a field that I love.

Would you do it again?

I am not sure if I will be a full-time nanny again, but I will always work with families. In my future, I see myself consulting with parents more. I see myself working with families of newborn twins and helping them to get off on the right track. I also would like to foster babies who have medical conditions and needs. I think that with my experience and my husband’s and children’s love for babies we could make a real difference in the lives of babies who need a little extra love and support.

Would you ever consider working as a nanny again?

I see myself working as a consultant more as a nanny, but anything is possible.

Feel free to add other questions or whatever kind of information you might like to add.

As a parent now interacting with other parents and preschool educators, it’s become even clearer how undervalued educators and child care providers are in our nation and how misunderstood our profession truly is.

Recently there was a child who was doing very inappropriate behavior and a mother who wasn’t paying any attention to her child at a play group. As a result, one of Abby’s classmates was injured. The mother of the injured child asked me about it the next day at school drop off and I told her what I’d seen. She then asked me if I was sure it was the mother and not the nanny who was supposed to be watching the child.  Needless to say, I was the wrong person to ask that question of. What did that question really mean? Why would she assume a mother would be watching her child, but the nanny wouldn’t? The interaction served as a reminder to me that unfortunately people still have a bizarre idea of who and what today’s professional nanny is: a childcare professional with a working knowledge and genuine love for children.

I hope this chat with Michelle has been insightful. If you are a nanny who has changed directions or know one who has and would like to be a part of this series, please email us at Regardingnannies(at)gmail(dot)com ATT: New Directions

New Directions: Deanna’s Story

This series called “New Directions” features  interviews with former nannies that branched out into another aspect of the business, had to add something to be able to stay in the profession, or left the profession entirely.

My goal during the course of these articles is to show you that you have choices, and that sometimes “new directions” can take you to new growth.
Glenda

Today we are talking with Deanna Aboud, stay-at-home mom of Brianna (5 ½  years) and Jack (3 years)
Full-time student at the University of Central Florida

39 years old, from Orlando, Florida

How long were you a nanny? 15 years

How long have you been out of the field? 6 years

When did you realize that it was time to make a change? I got married and had my daughter.

What prompted your change? I was on maternity leave but my family decided to go to a part-time nanny since the boys were getting older.  They also wanted more of a housekeeper.

Was it changes in your job? Changes in your life (like getting married or having your own child) frustration in not being able to find good families to work with, or did you just decide to do something different? It was very difficult for me to find a nanny position in which I could take my daughter to work with me.  Families either were very wary about me neglecting my work or did not want to pay a fair wage because I was bringing my daughter to work.  

If you left to become a parent, how is parenting your own child different than parenting someone elses child/children? Completely different!  I was more confident as a nanny.  Parenting makes me second guess everything.  My husband will often tell me, “Take off your mommy hat and put on your nanny hat.”  I am getting better about panicking over little things, like not calling the doctor’s office for everything.

Was it difficult to come to the realization that you were going to have to leave the nanny profession? Yes, I loved being a nanny.  I thoroughly enjoyed all the roles that being a nanny meant.  I had the opportunity to meet people and have experiences that would have never happened if I had not been a nanny.

Did it come to you gradually, or was it an epiphany when you realized there was something else you wanted to do? It was gradual.  I tried to get a nanny position where I could take my daughter with me.  Becoming an elementary school teacher seemed to be a natural transition.

Did you view it as a positive change or a negative change? Being a mom is definitely a positive change.  I also chose a new career that I enjoy as much as being a nanny.

Do you miss working as a nanny? No, I have moved on to a new chapter in my life. Oddly, I thought I would really miss it.

Do you stay in touch with any of your nanny friends? Yes, although not nearly as much as I would like to.

Do you stay abreast of what is going on in the field today? I do not follow current news as much in the last couple of years.  My focus has shifted to what is happening in education.

If yes, what do you miss the most? I am home with my own children and that is a huge reward.  However, I miss being paid for the things that I do every day. Additionally, although being a nanny is not like a regular 9 – 5 job, I miss being able to leave work at work.  The role of wife and mother is fabulous but never ending.

If no, what do you miss the least? General frustration when parents catered to every whim of their children.  There were also those who would not work with you or thought that you had no idea what you were talking about because you were not a parent.

Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now. I am enjoying my children (99.9% of the time) and earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.

Tell us what you learned as a nanny that is helping you in your current job, career or profession? There are so many things that I can take from my nanny career to teaching.  Such as child development, patience, fundamental education, networking, professional education, contract negotiation, planning, budgeting, scheduling, time management (still working on that one) and much more.

What advice would you give to nannies who are still in the profession but struggling with whether or not they should stay or go? All I can say is follow your heart.  Why are you struggling?  Is it the family?  Is it job stress?  Is your personal family not supporting you in your decision to be a nanny?  Do you feel like you were meant to do something else?  It sounds “old school” but I often make a pro/con list.  It has helped me make decisions many times because my reasons are there in black and white and not so abstract.

What advice would you give to other nannies? Get and stay connected with other nannies, go to the conferences, embrace your profession.  Make sure that you have a personal life.  Your happiness should not depend solely on your role as a nanny and you should not let your work family take advantage of you.  On a side note, if you are a live-in, do not treat your pay check like an allowance, save, save, save.  It took me a number of years to learn that lesson the hard way.  

What do you wish you had known then that you know now? I wish that I would have known about online college classes.  I would have completed my education while I was working as a nanny and would be done by now.  I tried a couple of night and Saturday classes, but my heart just was not into going to class at those times.  

In hindsight, do you think your decision was a good one? Yes!

Would you do it again? Absolutely!

Would you ever consider working as a nanny again? Possibly, if I could have my kids come to my job after school.  Definitely, if trends in education keep going the way that they are right now.

If you would like to be featured in our “New Directions” series contact Glenda(at)regardingnannies(dot)com

February 27-March 2, 2012

Weekend Round Up:
We know how busy your lives can be which is why we always offer a round up of  articles to make it easier for you to catch up on what we featured this week.

We started off the week with an article by Becky Kavanagh from the Nannies of the Heartland about why it is important to teach and encourage children to play independently.

Tuesday Tips had the always busy Karen Yatsko giving advice on managing busy schedules and sharing an overview of her workshop she will be presenting with RN Team Member Kellie Geres at the INA conference in May.

Wedneday on Creative Nanny, Glenda shared with us Sue  Downey’s own version of “March Madness” and asked the question “What Makes a Great Childrens Book” Don’t miss out on this fun project!

Thursday Table Talk featured Shelly Buller a professional nanny who is heading up a project near and dear to her own heart, a card drive for her boyfriend’s niece who was a victim of another senseless school shooting.
We hope you will do this with the children in your life.

Financial Friday ended our week with Alice sharing some of her favorite finance related blog posts from around the net.

Here are the links!

Monday Moxie : Independent Play and Why it is Important

Tuesday Tips: Managing Busy Schedules

Creative Nanny Wednesday : What Makes a Good Children’s Book

Table Talk Thursday: Cards for Amina

Financial Friday: First Financial Friday

Surviving Valentines Day

by Glenda Propst

Today we are re running a Tuesday Tips from our first year of Regarding Nannies.
It’s called Surviving  Valentines Day. I hope it reminds you that we all deserve to be loved and most importantly….we all need to love ourselves.

Surviving Valentines Day

You may wonder why I am writing about this topic since I am married but for the majority of my adult life (until I was 42) I was single and I would have to say that for the most part I enjoyed being single.
However the advertising industry has a way of making you feel like if you don’t have a significant other in your life you just aren’t normal.
They start advertising for Valentines Day as soon as they take the Christmas promotions down so it’s in your face everyday, everywhere you go. It’s on the radio, it’s on TV and it’s all over the stores. So by the time Valentines Day arrives if you are sensitive about being single you are feeling pretty alone and even if you aren’t sensitive about it, it still takes its toll.Whether you are single or engaged or married, we all deserve love. If you are single and you don’t want to be, or if you are newly single, it’s especially hard. If you are newly single I have a great book to recommend to you. It’s called “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” It’s a great easy fast read and you can click here and buy a hard copy on Amazon.
If you have children, or if you have special children in your life you can do something special to show your love for them, or you can help them show their love for someone else. Here are  2 great projects from  Creative Nanny Wednesday.
Decorated Purell Bottles from Nanny Gael Ann
A Dozen Poses from Kellie Geres
If you have family (parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles etc) you can spend time with them, go out for a meal, or simply send a card.
Sometimes being close to family is just not realistic. Many nannies live far away from their families and being with them is just not an option. In addition to that, a lot of nannies live in and it’s not a night they want to stay home alone.
It took me a long time to learn that if I didn’t love myself, I couldn’t expect someone else to love me. It sounds trite when people say “Take care of yourself” or “Take time for yourself” but it is so important. If you are alone, you should do something for yourself. If you have the money to indulge yourself, by all means do it but, if you don’t have the money, it doesn’t mean you can’t do something nice for yourself without breaking the budget.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be as simple as buying your favorite magazine, drawing a hot bath, making yourself a cup of tea, and shutting out the world. When you take time for yourself, whether it is 30 minutes in the tub, or 10 minutes with a cup of tea it is only important to be completely in that moment at that moment. It means forgetting the load of laundry in the dryer, or taking a break from the computer, or even putting off fixing dinner for 10 minutes to relax, to dream, to think, or just to stare off into space and not feel guilty about what you should be doing.
When I was single I didn’t have a lot of money to squander but when it was a special occasion I always bought something for me. I loved buying the latest shade of nail polish or a new lipstick, coloring my hair at home, or buying a new outfit.
It’s always a great day to Celebrate You! Celebrate another year of being on this earth. These special days are a great time to reflect and set goals, to remember and to laugh but they are also a great time to just revel in the person you have grown to be.
Our lives constantly change and as individuals we are growing and changing and learning everyday but we should love ourselves for who are today, not what we could have been, or what we should have been. If you are playing “woulda coulda shoulda” watch the movie “Frequency” You might change your mind. We have to let go of the past, and look to the future. We have to remember that love always looks forward.
It is what it is and what it is, is what it was meant to be.
Don’t get sucked into the commercialism of a holiday that is a huge money maker for card companies, jewelry stores and florists. Remember that Valentines Day is a day to celebrate love not marriage, not couples, simply love……… and anyone can celebrate that.

If you are someone who enjoys quiet, buy yourself a new book and give yourself permission to read into the wee hours of the morning or rent all your favorite movies and make your favorite snack.
If you enjoy writing buy a new journal.
If you like to cook, make yourself a great meal or a favorite dessert.
If you enjoy music, buy a new CD from your favorite artist.
If you love art, go walk through a museum.
If it’s a hard night for you to be alone, gather your friends. Start a yearly tradition.
Gather your girlfriends and go out for a nice dinner.
I heard a great idea the other night where someone invited their single friends over for game night where everyone brings their favorite board game and a snack for a fun night in.
Whatever you choose to do, remember:
Valentines Day is a day for love and you should love yourself the best.

So this year on Valentines (and on your birthday and any other day you choose) celebrate yourself and love yourself and do something you enjoy.

Ten Affordable but Still Fun Birthday Party Ideas

Today on Creative Nanny Wednesday , I am going to share with you an article from Molly Cunningham over at the Live In Nanny Blog.


Themed birthday parties seems to be a growing trend even in today’s economy. Not everyone can afford to pull out all the stops for a Birthday Extravaganza but here are 10 Fun and Affordable Ideas for themed parties.

Ten Affordable but Still Fun Birthday Party Ideas

Introduction by Glenda Propst
Regarding Nannies Development Team Member

New Directions: Kat

This series called “New Directions” features  interviews with former nannies that branched out into another aspect of the business, had to add something to be able to stay in the profession, or left the profession entirely.

My goal during the course of these articles is to show you that you have choices, and that sometimes “new directions” can take you to new growth.
Glenda

Today we are talking with Kat:

How long were you a nanny? 15 years (most full time, but some part time)

How long have you been out of the field? 8 years

When did you realize that it was time to make a change?
After I had my son, I wanted to be able to offer more – to have a degree and change the world for him. That is not to say that I was not fulfilled being a nanny, but I needed a new challenge and my girls (the two I had nannied for for several years) were in school full time and did not need me like they had so it it seemed like the right time. I went back to school and got my degree. It all worked out because my last day was the Friday before my daughter was born.
Having my own son and daugher on the way and looking for new challenges made me realize I did not want to go through the stress of finding a new family when I had two young children of my own who needed me.

Is parenting your own child different than parenting someone elses child/children? Totally different. In some ways, I was a better nanny than parent…While I loved (and still do love) my girls, I was not as emotionally invested in them and their happiness so I was able to set more boundaries and stick to them in a way that as a parent I can not do because above all I want my children to be happy and it is really hard to know that I ( my rules and or boundaries) am the reason that they are not happy. Plus the obvious- a bad day with my girls was over when I went home. I can’t leave my own children when there is a bad day.

Was it difficult to come to the realization that you were going to have to leave the nanny profession? Not really, I think that everyone knew it was time for me to move on.

Did it come to you gradually, or was it an epiphany when you realized there was something else you wanted to do? Both: I had not really been happy for a while, but had no clear direction of where I was going to go and what I was going to do, then one day at lunch someone mentioned what a great teacher I would be, and that was it. I had been fighting being a teacher for a long time for several reasons, but I finally realised that I could run, but not hide from what I was really meant to do (my destiny)

Did you view it as a positive change or a negative change? positive

Do you miss working as a nanny? yes

Do you stay in touch with any of your nanny friends? yes

Do you stay abreast of what is going on in the field today? yes and no

What do you miss the most? my girls

What do you miss the least? taking orders from someone else and doing what was sometimes not in my job description (grunt work)

Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now. I teach 7th grade life science and I love it. I also coach basketball at my school and sponsor several clubs. I was also honored this year as the Teacher of the Year at my school.

Tell us what you learned as a nanny that is helping you in your current job, career or profession? First – that all kids are different, even those who live in the same house and have the same parents. Second – sometimes you just have to shut up and do it, even if you don’t want to. If you don’t no one else will. Third- all kids need guidelines and rules and structure and last but definitely not least, all kids want praise and love, they need to know that you are going to be there for them, no matter what!

What advice would you give to nannies who are still in the profession but struggling with whether or not they should stay or go?
Follow your heart

What advice would you give to other nannies? Know that what you are doing is important and you should do it as long as you enjoy it and feel pride in it. And above all- Do Not let your bosses take advantage of you just because you love the kids you are taking care of. Remember – you are a very important person in that family and if they do not treat you as such, it is time to move on!

What do you wish you had known then that you know now? I wish I had had more self assurance, that I would have stood up for myself a little more often. I was very young and that is a lesson I think only age can teach.

In hindsight, do you think your decision was a good one? Yes


Would you ever consider working as a nanny again?
Maybe during the summer when I am off, but probably not full time again. It would have to be a pretty amazing position for me to do that…are Will and Kate in need? LOL

I do want to comment that I try and keep in touch with all of the families that I nannied for, but I am closest to the ones that live near me. In fact, there have been days where I have had a bad day at my job and I have called my girls or stopped by just so that I can hear their voices or get a hug and feel the love and hope that they give me. I am so proud of what they have become. They will always be my girls and I will always be their Kathleen. (they still know that they can call me if they ever need anything and that will never change!)

Kat lives in Virginia Beach where she teaches  7th grade Life Science. She has two kids an 8th grade boy and a 3rd grade girl. In her spare time she likes to read, cook, hang out with friends, listen to music and watch quirky crime shows (AKA Burn Notice, White Collar, Leverage, Castle, Hawaii 5-0, etc.)… all of which are even better while  enjoying a nice bottle of wine with her husband! She doesn’t enjoy working out, but does it anyway. :) She volunteers with local groups like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the American Cancer Society. She works (for free wine) at a local winery occasionaly. She loves road trips, especially the types where she can stop at bizarre/cheesy tourist traps and enjoys scenic overlooks.

Wax Paper and Crayons by Glenda Propst

I grew up in the 50′s. Times were different then. It was long before Wal Mart and Target, we didn’t drive to the city very often and when we did, we didn’t drive on the interstate and for most of my childhood my mom stayed home with us.
We didn’t do a lot of crafts but the crafts that we did were memorable and special.

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that the same things that amazed me as a child, usually amaze the children in my life. So today I want to remind you that sometimes the most basic art is the best.

If you have wax paper, crayons, a pencil sharpener and an iron, you create something amazing.
Use the pencil sharpener to shave the crayons, sprinkle the crayon shavings between wax paper, iron on a low setting and “Voila” magic!
My mom always let us use our Wax Paper Creations for place mats which made our dinner just a little more special.

What are some of the basic crafts that you enjoyed when you were a child?

Fractured Christmas Carols

Fractured Christmas Carols

No one can fracture a Christmas carol better than a kid. I found this list in an old NAN Newsletter and I thought our readers would enjoy them.

Sing along with these new takes on old favorites:

Deck the Halls With Buddy Holly

Olive, the Other Reindeer

We Three Kings of Porridge and Tar

With the Jelly Toast Proclaim

In the Meadow We Can Build a Snowman,

Sleep in Heavenly Peas


then Pretend that He is Sparse and Brown

Oh, What Fun it is to Ride With One Horse, Soap, and Hay

You’ll Go Down in Listerine

He’s Makin’ a List, Chicken and Rice

On the First Day of Christmas My Tulip Gave to Me

Later on We’ll Perspire, As We Dream by the Fire

Frosty the Snowman is a Ferret Elf, I Say

You’ll Tell Carol, “Be A Skunk, I Require”

Good Tidings We Bring to You and Your Kid!


I have a  fractured carol that I remember from my childhood.
It’s from: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, when I was little, I would say “And they shouted on with “GLEEM”
One of my all time favorite fractured Christmas stories is from the days when I was a Child Care Center Director. We were acting out the Christmas story for our pageant, and I got distracted. I turned to the children and said “Oh dear, I forgot where we were” One of my four years shouted out “Miss Glenda…we were at the part where the shepherds were coming with the paste” (And the shepherds came with haste)
Do you have any Fractured Carols of your own that you would like to share? We would love to hear them.


Turkey Napkin Ring

There are so many easy, fun and colorful crafts you can do with the children in your life for Thanksgiving. If you do traditional things like napkin rings, and place cards for you table, they can be wonderful memories that you can use and treasure for many years to come.

There are lots of ways to make turkeys and the great thing about making turkeys is that they don’t have to be perfect to be adorable.
Today I am going to share with you some turkey napkin rings that I made with my now 18 year old when he was about 4.

For our turkey napkin rings, we used fun foam, but you could also use felt, or even construction paper.

I cut a strip of black fun foam about 7” long and 1.5” wide.

I made a base for the feathers to be glued on to and then we cut our feathers out of different colors of fun foam. I didn’t use a pattern, I simply drew loosely around each of his fingers for the feathers. I cut out a turkey shaped head and a gobbler and he glued it on.

You could add more details like googly eyes or other decorations but I love the simplicity of  this because it was easy for 4 year old hands to do, and when I come across them in my drawer, at this time of year, it brings back a happy memory of time spent with someone I love.

If you do this with the children in your life, we would love to see pictures!

How Do You Know?

How do you know?

by Glenda Propst

You can find books about being a nanny, books about what a nanny needs to know, and books about how to hire a nanny but you can’t find a book that tells a nanny how to heal her broken heart when she either outgrows her job or the job ends. When I left my first nanny family in 1993 after being with them for 8 years (4 as a live in) I could find very little information about getting through this difficult time. I used what I learned as I worked through my own grief to develop a workshop called “Gentle Transitions” which I have presented at professional nanny conferences and support groups over the last 17 years. In 2009 I was inspired by Dr. Lynn Kenney “The Family Coach” to brand my “Gentle Transitions” workshop and start my blog “Nanny Transitions”.

The subject of leaving a family, and the grief that follows, is a topic that very few nannies or parents have a desire to talk about.

If we do our job and do it well, we work ourselves out of a job.

One of the hardest aspects of the nanny profession is that no matter how hard you work, or how well you do your job, it is inevitable that your job will come to an end.

Sometimes you can plan for those endings and sometimes they come unexpectedly.

Jobs end for many reasons:

• Children grow up

• Parent change jobs or have to downsize or lose their jobs completely

• Parents find alternative care that is cheaper

• Nannies find jobs that pay more

• Parent and nanny no longer agree on lots of issues

As a professional your goal should be to sit down with the parent talk about the upcoming transition and plan for it together.

But more often than not it ends badly. Even when you are trying to work together to make it a good parting, it can still end badly.

If the nanny chooses to leave, sometimes the parents can feel hurt or betrayed.

If the parent decides to end the relationship, sometimes the nanny can feel hurt or betrayed. No matter who chooses to end the relationship, it is always highly emotional and difficult especially for the nanny and the child/children who have formed very close bonds.

If the writing is on the wall, you need to pay attention and make a plan because if you don’t, you might find that your employers will make that decision for you.

It is much better for you to choose to leave, than to be told the job is over.

Emotionally, even though it is still painful, when it is your decision, not someone else’s you have a tendency to feel more in control.

To better prepare yourself, it is smart for you to know what the warning signs are that a job is coming to an end.


How do you know when the writing is on the wall?

I asked nannies online what are the signals that it is time to move on and here are their top responses:

1. When you stop communicating.

2. When the parents stop trying to be respectful or accommodating to your needs.

3. When the parents start to take on responsibilities that used to be yours.

4. When everything is an issue and you feel like you can’t do anything right.

5. When everything is an issue “for” you and you feel like the parents can’t do anything right.

6. When the parents don’t back you up even after a discussion on the importance of doing so. For example:  *You tell your charge no TV while eating breakfast but you walk in every morning to the TV on and the kids eating breakfast in front of it.

7. Your paycheck bounces.

8. Lack of respect.

9. Your employer belittles you in front of others.

10. Parents correct you in front of the children.

11. Parents disagree with everything you say.

12. When you start the day and wish it was already over.

13. When you dread going to work.

14. When your employer avoids you.

15. When you avoid your employer.

16. When the parents stop responding enthusiastically to plans you have made or things you have done.

17. When your employer asks you to return all credit cards etc. in an effort to use only cash to better track expenses.

18. You stop having regular meetings.

19. Your employers start going back on promises that they made you.

20. You don’t get a raise.

21. When you are asked to make unusual concessions.

22. You feel like you are walking on eggshells.

23. The children have outgrown your level of expertise.

24. Mysterious phone calls or messages.

25. A general feeling of being left out of the loop.

If you are seeing any of those signs in your job, it’s a good bet that changes are coming.

Weekend Round Up August 15-19

Monday Moxie:Greta’s Nanny 101 offered great information about “Finding the Perfect Job” She was quick to point out that there is no “perfect job” but there are things we can do during our job search to be sure we make the right choices for our needs.

Tuesday Tips: Marcia Hall started her 4 part series about Familes Grown through Adoption. Her first part discussed books about adoption and included a list of books that you can share with any child to give them a better understanding of what adoption is all about.

Creative Nanny Wednesday: Glenda talked about why it’s important to be silly with the children in your life and shared with us some favorite silly songs from our Facebook fans. She also shared a great resource for songs and lyrics called Kididddles.

Table Talk Thursday :Marcia had the 2nd part of her series on adoption. She explained about different kinds of adoption, and offered some great tips.

Financial Friday: In our monthly article from Breedlove and Associates, Tom Breedlove talked about planning for retirement, how being paid legally offers you security for your future and they also offered information about IRAs and why you consider starting one if you don’t have one.

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It would mean so much to us if you would take the time to vote!

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