Tag Archives: WWW

WWW – Sheryl Sandberg and “Leaning In”

Sheryl Sandberg has been in the news a lot this week, showing her incredible strength and drive as not only an executive, but a woman as well. We wanted to honor one of the world’s most visible  working women by highlighting some of her infamous “Lean In” tips.

Sandberg’s notes in her best-seller, Lean In, that it is difficult to manage both career and motherhood even before giving birth (something many women can relate to as they head to work in the same flats they wore before their feet ballooned up a size!).

Sandberg believes despite obstacles many women face in the workplace (discrimination, lower compensation, etc), it is possible to still “lean in” with careful planning and a supportive partner. Forbes notes that the five best pieces of advice Sandberg offers are as follows:

  1. Be more open to taking career risks
  2. Skip the people pleasing
  3. Visualize your career as a jungle gym, not a ladder
  4. Allow yourself to fantasize about your career
  5. Start a Lean-In circle or peer group of women you can talk to monthly

 

Do you agree with Sandberg’s tips? Leave a comment below about your experience with working and motherhood!

WWW- Annie Riley Fashion (Pt. 2)

Annie Riley, BFC Chicago sitter, shares some additional fashion looks for moms. Annie has been featured on WGN Chicago, Fox News Chicago, and Fox Magazine addressing “how to make the most of your wardrobe” and “what styles to look for when shopping.” You can check out some styles Annie shared on our blog last week as well.

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A green cargo pant, blazer, with v-neck tee or sleeveless blouse, and oxfords or flats.

 

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Grab your favorite white button down, a fun sweater, your distressed, painted, or plain jean with a kitten heel or flat.

 

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Maxi skirts are easy with a boxier top, loafers or flats, and a long necklace to “grab and go.”

 

 

WWW – Run, Carole, Run!

Today, we are feature BFC’s resident marathon runner, Carole Dempsey.  Carole has been with Bell Family Company for three years, and has really enjoyed meeting other great sitters and families. She’s also passionate about her job as an Associate Buyer at Macy’s in the Fragrance division.  Originally from Maryland, Carole moved to NYC after graduating from Dickinson College 3.5 years ago. She also played basketball all four years in college and still plays during the week, when she’s not training for marathons that is.

We sat down with Carole to hear about how she balances training for a marathon, why she’s running, and more! 

headshot for BFC

 Why are you running the NYC Marathon?  

I have run 6 half marathons and always thought I wasn’t interested in doing a full marathon, but it was so inspiring to watch the NYC Marathon last year! There was so much excitement and support for the runners, and it was so cool to see people travel from all over the world to run in the race.

 Why did you choose to fundraise for the Michael J. Fox Foundation?

In recent years, Parkinson’s has affected my family and changed our lives. I never knew much about the disease until a few years ago, and now I feel the need to make others more aware about it. I’ve also never had a charity or cause that I was passionate about until now, and this is such a great organization with a huge support system.

 How do you balance training for a marathon with the other parts of your life? (I.e. family/ friends/ work)

It is extremely difficult, but I just think about how much easier the race will be if I make the time to train. There were a few half marathons that I did not train for, and they were HARD. I do not want to experience that during a 26.2 mile run. Family and friends will be supportive of something that is important to me, so that is what also makes it easier.

 Is this your first marathon? 

Yes, this is my first! And I want to finish this one before I start thinking about the next.

 Many adults want to be physically active, but don’t think they have the time in their days to go for a jog or work out at the gym; do you have any advice?

I struggle with this as well. However, having a marathon, half marathon, 10K, or some goal makes it easier to stay active. I also feel much happier when I’ve been active. When I start to take a week or two off, I feel sluggish, tired, and eat more junk food. And a friend of mine always says, “You never regret that workouts you do, only the ones you don’t.” It is so true! 

Any other comments?

My goal is to raise $5,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, so I have a ways to go and need all the support I can get. Any donation, no matter how small, would be SO appreciated!

You can donate to Carole’s run here:  http://www2.michaeljfox.org/goto/caroledempsey

 

Good luck, Carole! 

WWW – Let’s Play!

As parents and caregivers we all know how fun it is to play with the children we love and care for. Depending on the child, their age and developmental level the way we play will vary. One of my favorite ways to interact, engage and be an active participant when working with children is facilitating Child Direct Play (CDP). CDP can be used with children ages 2-10 years old (will vary with age). Once the grown-up has the basics down you expand on this and use this as a foundation piece when interacting and wanting to play with your kids. This approach truly eliminates power struggles, empowers the child to choose and direct, builds self-esteem and confidence, creates positive time with the caregiver and child, promotes self-regulation, foster independence, & increases creativity.

Here is the Who, What, When, Where, Why & How:

Who: Parents, Caregivers and Teachers- (Grown-ups)

What: Child Directed Play- CDP

When: Anytime that you (Grown-up) can focus your undivided attention on the child/charge/student for a 10-15 minute duration.

Where: Distraction free environment with a variety of safe, age appropriate toys, crafts, instruments etc. Typically done where your children play in your home.

Why:

  • -Build language and fine motor skills
  • -Practice parenting skills
  • -Share time and space with your child/charge
  • -Child gets your undivided attention with positive interaction
  • -Builds self-esteem and confidence
  • -Increases self-regulation and social awareness

How:

  • -Grown-ups- follow the leader- the child is the leader.
  • -Move closer to them and get curious about what they are doing.
  • -Acknowledge verbally what they are actually doing.  Use as few words as possible, esp. with kids 5 and under.
  • -Imitate the child’s play. If the child is building Legos, acknowledge and say, “Wow, good idea, I want to build a house too.”
  • -Expand descriptions for more learning and language building (older kids deeper rapport)
  • -Notice and praise child’s wanted (good) behavior, “You are so gentle with the baby. What a good mommy you are.”  “You are so careful with the paint, good work.” Be specific.
  • -Allow the child to switch gears if need be. They are the leaders. Clean up can happen later. There is no right or wrong way for a child to play with toys. Support imagination.

For more helpful hints and do’s and don’t, click on this link: http://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/PDF/TF-%20CBT/pages/7%20Positive%20Parenting/Client%20Handouts/Parenting%20Skills/Child-D

-Ali S. our in house nanny placement coordinator

WWW – Child Car Safety

Recently, on a shopping trip, I approached a fellow mom. Her completely adorable infant was buckled into a bucket style carseat which was perched precariously atop the store’s shopping cart. I complimented her baby and then gently informed her that those seats are not made to be on top of the cart; it causes a top-heavy situation which makes the cart prone to tipping, and could even damage the locking mechanism made to keep the seat safely secured to the base your car.

She snapped at me to mind my own business before continuing on down the aisle.

I get it. We, all of us moms, are trying our very best. We are taking in all of the research and making decisions that work for our families, and very resentful of unwanted advice and perceived judgment. 

I was not always a CPST. I did not always use best practices with my car seats. I didn’t know! Every day, I am learning more, and I, like you, am just trying to do my best. This is a picture of my son at four months old, and while he is adorable, this is practically an advertisement of what NOT to do. Dangerous aftermarket car seat insert? Check. Overly bulky coat affecting the harness fit? Check. Too low placement of the chest clip? Check. I don’t remember a specific instance of putting his seat on the top of a shopping cart, but I probably did.

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I am so, so lucky that we were never in an accident that could have proven my errors to be fatal. So please, don’t be mad if I stop you and critique your car seat – you never know if you might not be so lucky.

Here are few car seat tips to keep everyone safe:

Most of the car seat accessories in the big box stores are not recommended, or even illegal. 

The sleeping bag style car seat inserts, neck pillows, and fluffy shoulder strap covers are not crash tested with your seat, and may alter how it works in a collision. If it did not come in the box with your seat, use extreme caution before using it. Check your manual – use of these aftermarket items is forbidden and can void your warranty.  Additionally, many states have a “proper use” clause in their child restraint laws, and going against the manual would actually be illegal.

 

State laws are minimums, and do not reflect best practices.

Just because something is legal, does not make it the safest. Most states allow for turning your child to forward facing at one year and 20 pounds. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until at least 2 years, or until your child outgrows the limits of his seat. Best practices is for children to ride rear facing until age 3-4, forward facing with a 5 point harness until age 5-6, in a booster until age 10-12, and in the back seat until age 13.

 

Get your seat checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Tech. 

Car collisions are the leading cause of death for children up to age 13 in the United States, and up to 85% of child restraints show critical misuses. An improperly used car seat can actually be MORE dangerous than not using one at all – CPSTs are trained in the various types of car seats and safe installation, and checks are often free. Find a tech near you here: http://cert.safekids.org/find-tech-0  Remember that car seat safety does not end when your child graduates to the next stage. The misuse in boosters is higher even than for newborn seats!

 

Read your manuals – for the car seat AND for your vehicle.

Make sure you are getting the safest possible installation every time! Your vehicle manual will tell you which seating positions allow for child restraints, where the LATCH and tether anchors are located, and anything you need to be aware of for the air bag system. Your car seat manual will tell you when the seat is outgrown, weight limits for use with the LATCH system, and how to properly use the seat. Car seats are not accessories; they are critical pieces of safety gear – make sure you are using them properly!

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-Sarah Ludwig is a former teacher and mom of two. She is a childbirth educator, doula, baby wearing educator, and child passenger safety tech; she is also on the Westchester Safe Kids Advisory Board. You can also find Sarah on her own family blog, lovetheludwigs.com.

WWW – Returning to Work After Baby

New Parent? Thinking about returning to work?

The decision to return to your career part or full-time is one that can be beneficial to both you and your family.  Many women struggle to “have it all” and balance work and family life simultaneously.  While many are aware of the sacrifices working mothers and their families must make, there are a lot of benefits too.  After reading Lynn Berger’s book “How to Land, Create, or Negotiate the Part-Time Job of Your Dreams” I’ve outlined some important points she made below:

Ms. Berger is an experienced career coach and counselor

Ms. Berger is an experienced career coach and counselor

The Benefits of Returning to Work:

  • -It will keep your skill level/resume current
  • -It will be much easier to switch to full-time later if you have already been working
  • -Extra income for your family
  • -Social interaction and validation outside of your home
  • -Studies have shown a positive association between the number of roles a woman occupies and her psychological well-being- if one role is overwhelming, you may feel successful in another area of your life
  • -Feelings of self-worth and accomplishment- may help improve spousal relationships
  • -Positive role model for your children- they see their parent as successful/hardworking

How to Make it Work for Your Family:

  • -Consult your spouse and work out a family budget- outline what your salary will be, how much time you will allot for childcare, etc.
  • -Make sure your career options match your current priorities- you want to be at a job you feel benefits you, and is worth giving up family time
  • -Be diligent in searching for the right job with the right benefits for you and your family
  • -Communicate with your partner about any concerns they may have in your returning to the workforce
  • -Prepare for a shift in responsibilities in your home- you may need to divide home/childcare differently
  • -Take quality time-even if you are not spending as much time with your children, make sure when you are with them you are focused on them
  • -Lower your expectations- understand that your family will have to make adjustments with a busier schedule.  You may not be able to go to everything

Find the Right Nanny

Ms. Berger does a great job of presenting options and offering support to parents making the leap. BFC is here to also support you and your family in this transition. There is no need to feel guilt about returning to work when you know your child(ren) are left with a quality caregiver that can provide for all of your family’s needs.  Our nannies are available part and full-time and in addition to childcare can provide light housekeeping, cooking and laundry.

-Lindsey Garibaldi is our in-house operations intern and full time student at Fordham University majoring in communications. In her free time she loves spending time with family, friends & children.

WWW -Just Do It

Now that the holidays are behind us, I’ve had some time to reflect upon coping with the juggle of increased social commitments, shopping, and travel.  Though it was hard and I was often sleep deprived, I am happy I pushed myself to finish the holiday projects.  In the end, I was happy to create memories with Kermit.

kermit

Timing of the holiday demands was not ideal.  Kermit started solid feeds right before Thanksgiving and so did his teething.  He would not tolerate anything near his gums and went on a hunger strike from Thanksgiving to Christmas, resulting in a decrease in his growth development and a stern talk from the pediatrician to double his milk volume and increase solid feeds to three times daily.  In her exact words, “make a valiant effort.”

I attempted to feed him every 2-3 hours throughout the day and night.  Kermit was not happy with the early morning feeds because he would always rather sleep.  At one point, to my dog’s dismay, he learned that screaming his high pitch cries was most effective.  During this time, Kermit was evaluated for the Early Intervention Program in New York which comprised of a series of 3 scheduled meetings with a service coordinator, developmental and occupational therapist, and a physical therapist.  On top of these activities, I needed to plan a 3 month move to the west coast and pack up our New York home by early January.  When time was a valuable commodity, I found myself wishing there were more hours in the day.

To accommodate all the meetings and holiday dinners, I learned to schedule Kermit’s meetings (doctor’s visits, evaluations, and play visits) in the morning.  Social dinners were scheduled early so I could return home to Kermit and administer his feeds when he was more amenable to eat.  Solid feedings were given routinely after he woke up and diligently every 3-4 hours afterwards.  All shopping, holiday gifts and grocery, was done online.  Organizing and packing was completed when everybody else in the house slept.

I remember making the conscious decision sometime in early December to forego the Christmas tree and holiday cards.  I was too exhausted.  I thought I was at peace with this decision but was haunted by the nagging thought, “Kermit’s First Christmas.”  The voice in my head got louder and louder every time I went to the mailbox filled with holiday cards or opened my email and received discounts from online card makers.

By mid- December,  I resolved to pull a few all-nighters to get what needed to be done.  I kept telling myself, “I can do this.”   The holiday card including a series of 12 photos was completed in one night and it took another 3 nights of compiling everybody’s current addresses.  Decorations were purchased online.  I broke my personal vow not to pay for express shipping.  Thank goodness I did or else everybody would have received a card in mid January instead of December 26.

It makes me smile when I go to a friend’s house/ apartment and see our card hanging on their wall or when we receive compliments from our friends.  I feel like our card served as a conversation starter among our peripheral friends, too.  It was so nice to catch up with them.  Mostly, I am so glad I have something to show Kermit when he gets older.

A little bit of effort goes a long way.

-Jeanne Oh 

WWW – Calling Out Sick

I am not sure what feels worse being sick or calling out sick. It is that time of year and colds, flu and illness will happen! The weather is changing and the heat is on whether you want it or not. No one likes being sick, but it is inevitable. Being sick as a nanny can be emotionally and financial stressful too.

Childcare providers know their families depend on them to be at work and when they cannot make it due to an unexpected illness it can cause havoc on the family finding last minute coverage. It is a hardship for everyone. How can childcare providers and families work together to make sure the nanny can take time off for illness without the emotional or financial stress? How can families get the coverage they need? There is a solution!!!

Bell Family Company offers on demand, last minute sitters for many reasons, but in particular when a family needs a sitter fast. It is easy to register and get linked with a variety of experienced vetted sitters. Every BFC sitter is hand-selected, college-educated and undergoes a rigorous interview and background check process.

sick

I am grateful for the amazing families I have worked with over the years that understood the importance of health and overall well-being. In a standard US work week an employee works 40 hours. A typical full-time NYC nanny works 50-60 hours a week (10-12 hour days) plus the commute home. Does your nanny’s compensation package include, paid sick days, personal days, holiday’s etc. vacation? I know that not all childcare providers are afforded these benefits, but it definitely creates positive morale in the workplace/home. Have a conversation with your nanny/sitter and set up some healthy boundaries and strategies so families can have enough time to line up alternative coverage and providers can take the time they need to rest and get better without the stress of missing work and possible financial burden it may cause. It will make a huge difference in the long run if everyone feels valued!

 

 -Ali Sheppard, MSW 

mindy fam

WWW – We Love Fall!

I’m pretty sure there is no better time of the year as a kid than fall…which means there is no better time of the year as a parent!  Although the temps are dropping, especially at our home in Chicago, there is just something special about this beautiful season.  Avery can always tell Fall has arrived when she gets to start wearing her boots and jackets to school every day.  As she gets older (now 3 ½ years old), she is much more into the typical fall activities…hayrides, fall festivals, pumpkin carving, apple picking, and camp fires to name a few.  And her little sister Sydney (now 6 months) is simply along for the ride.

This past weekend, we planned a family trip to Sonny Acres, a local farm that hosts their fall festival in September and October each year.  As we pulled into the parking, Avery’s eyes grew wider and wider as the animals, rides, and pumpkins came into view.  We spent the next several hours on pony rides, feeding goats, picking pumpkins, and spending way too much money on silly rides and comfort food.  At one point, my husband pointed out how much  money we had “wasted” on these silly rides and I asked him to look over at Avery’s face.  She was taking her 5th ride on the tilt-a-whirl and could not control her laughter.  She was having the time of her life, as her little care-free spirit got dizzier and dizzier.  At that moment, the money didn’t seem to matter.  We paused and realized how blessed we are to be able to provide her with these types of experiences.

mindy horse    

As we packed up the newest additions to our family – 2 very large pumpkins Avery hand-picked – we were all smiling ear to ear.  Our noses were pink, our hands were cold, and our feet were tired.  But our hearts were happy and our tummies were full of elephant ears, home-made apple cider donuts, and pink cotton candy.  Another amazing day with the family…thank you Fall!

mindy pumpkin

 - Mindy is a Sitter2Mom with 2 active (and soon to be) little girls residing in the Windy City.

How to pay your Nanny!

I recently attended a very informative seminar about how to pay your nanny and learned a wealth of information about having a written contract, decided on the standard weekly hours, tax information , health care and worker’s compensation.

Nikki Kristol, MST is a Upper Westside wife and mother of two with a Masters degree in taxation. She is an enrolled agent with extensive domestic and international tax experience. She is also the owner of My Home Payroll, a Total Nanny Solution Agency.

Nikki facilitated a very informative, easy to understand seminar about the simplest and most straightforward ways to pay in home domestic employees. In addition to assisting her clients completing the necessary forms, she showed how families can help their nannies get health care coverage at reasonable rates and show families how to apply for possible subsidies to off set the cost.

Did you know that worker compensation is an absolute necessity if you employee domestic workers? Nikki and her Home Payroll team know exactly how to navigate the often ambiguous, confusing tax and government process so your nanny and your family can be prepared and covered.

My Home Payroll is also offering all NY Nanny Center and Bell Family (BFC) Families  20% off the setup fees when you enroll for services. In addition to providing you all the needed support, knowledge and action to pay your nanny on the books and save your family money, My Home Payroll can take care of processing your nanny’s (and other domestic worker’s) paycheck with direct deposit.

For more information about paying on the books, compensation packages, taxes and payroll services, please contact Nikki Kristol at 917.929.9486/nikki@kristol.com or visit www.myhomepayroll.com