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My Mom and I went on vacation to Missoula July 22 to visit my sister who has a house in the woods by a creek, and a cabin on Flathead lake. We jump off the dock into the frigid water and swim like crazy till we turn into icicles.

Februrary, 2013
This year was different. Two days after we arrived, my 94 year old Mom lost her balance stepping up on the curb while heading into an REI store, breaking her femur. The doctor took us aside before the surgery to install a titanium rod, and said, “”Just to let you know, 30 % of people in her category are dead within the year.”
But of course, he didn’t know my Mom, and her plan is to come out of this stronger than when she went in, but it’s going to be a full year of recovery. It’s been hard, really hard. Discouraging. Depressing. Every day is a fight. This morning she didn’t want to get up. She reminds me of what a wonderful gift it is to be able to just stride down the street.
She spends her days working out on a recumbent exercise bike, lifting weights, and I now go with her to her water aerobics class. The first day back, her classmates cheered and clapped as she climbed down the ladder. She disdains going in the slow way, but prefers the ‘all at once’ method, so as not to drag out the pain of getting wet. For the past decade, she’s gone year round, three days a week. On some cold, dark days, she’s the only one in class. And she’s looking forward to driving again soon.
My Mom exemplifies her generation–independent, determined, a classic depression kid.  Sharper than I am in many ways, hard working and thrifty. Before the accident, she was driving everywhere, shopping, cooking, doing  laundry, ironing, gardening, and charity work. She published her autobiography  just before this trip. But she’s quickly getting back in the groove. Today she did laundry and ironed a stack of clothes.
I feel closer now to the families who call our office needing companions for their seniors for a few hours during the day, a weekend, overnights or on a regular basis. Sometimes seniors have kids who want them to have help, but the seniors aren’t ready to hear of it. But it’s a relief nonetheless to know that a trusted professional is available when they’re ready.
Beth Weise

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As I drove with my three youngest children in the back seat, I put them through their Spanish vocabulary words. When they didn’t get the right answers, my arm flew back involuntarily as if to wop one of them in the back seat, but of course I hit the bucket seat next to me. “What just happened?” I said to myself, stunned by what I had just done. “Was I going to hit one of my kids because they didn’t know a vocabulary word? Was that me?”

I’m not a yeller, not a hitter, not an angry person. So what triggered that crazy action? It never happened again, but I began wondering about my bottom line. Was I a needy Mom? Was my kid’s job to make me look good? I slowly began to realize that my significance was enmeshed in: 1. How well they did and 2. How good they looked. When my youngest moved out, I shifted to finding my self worth in my business.

In the movie Chariots of Fire, an athlete was going for gold in the 100 yard dash. “Why are you working so hard?“,  he was asked. “When that gun goes off, I have 10 seconds to justify my existence,“ was his reply. “I want to know that I’m justified being here. I want to know that my life counts, is worth something, that my existence is justified. The gold medal he wins is his justification. It makes him feel validated, worthy, accepted.

A newspaper reporter interviewed movie producer Sydney Pollock  just before he died in 2007, and although the grueling movie making process was wearing him down, he couldn’t stop working.  “Every time I make anoher picture, I earn my stay for another year or so”, was his explanation. What’s he saying? The same thing as the runner. ‘I feel I need to earn my stay. Here’s why my life is worthwhile, acceptable, valid.’

A writer, feeling his career wasn’t progressing, and wondering what value his life had, shared in a newspaper article, “When I look at my two little daughters, then I know that my existence is justified.”

There are parents, a lot of parents,  who look at their children and think, “There really isn’t anything I do that makes me feel valuable, that justifies my existence. My life is worthwhile because of them. I’ve always said: “I’m writing five books.” Meaning, my life is all about the five kids I’ve raised.

Parents who make their children the focus of their lives will be disappointed. Their passion for their children’s success is basically selfish. Children will disappoint us. This misguided focus is actually one of the causes of child abuse. We need something bigger, higher to give us significance.

But this is the “default mode” of the human heart. Our computers run in default mode automatically unless we deliberately program them to do something different.

We habitually and naturally look to outside things to justify our significance and give us security: work, approval from others, power, influence, possessions, children, marriage. We may think we don’t, but on a deeper level these things are the foundation of security and significance. Therefore, we’re driven by fear, a lack of self-control and anger.

The truth is that we’re valuable just because we are.

Change comes as people realize their own value and worth. Knowing their inestimable value gives remarkable status–one that power and money and even family cannot give. One thing that makes an object valuable is being one of a kind. Each person is unique. There’s no one on the planet like me, even if I’m an identical twin.

Consider the love we have for a newborn–an infant who brings us endless work, sleepless nights and the loss of thousands of dollars. They poop, pee, eat, cry, keep us up all night and don’t contribute in any way to the household. They haven’t performed a sonata or won a scholarship to Harvard, yet our hearts are amazed by the torrent of joy and love we feel.

You are that beloved infant.

We don’t need work, children, or marriage to give worth. Knowing our own intrinsic value will restructure our motivations and identity. A child-centered world view puts unhealthy pressure on  children to play the role of being the perfect child and it destroys them. Children aren’t going to always make wise decisions and will inevitably disappoint us. Our unspoken expectations push them away.

With the truth of his own value centering him, a parent has a winsome, peaceful attitude, because he no longer needs the child to give him meaning and worth.

A single, pregnant Jewish Mom in New York was about to put her signature on a rental application, when the landlord mentioned, “By the way, you’ll be glad to know we don’t accept Jews here.” She quietly put down her pen and said, “Actually I’ll take my business elsewhere.” She resolved then that if she had a boy she would name him Yehudi, which means “The Jew” because she wanted him to be proud of his heritage. Yehudi became one of the greatest violinists of the 20th Century. When asked how he played such beautiful music, he answered, “To play great music you have to keep your eye on a distant star, something beyond yourself, something transcendent.”

Reach for the heavens, as it were, keep your eyes on something bigger than yourself, something bigger than a star, than a child. You’ll make beautiful music in your home.

It’s all right if your child is the center of your universe. All children are the apple of their parent’s eye. But while you’re responsible for your child’s happiness, your children are not responsible for yours. You need to love them for who they are, not because they  complete you.

Are You a Needy Parent? Take this Free Test  and see how you rate!
http://www.parenting-advice.net/the-needy-parent-test

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Ashley, our Nanny Recruiter began choking on some taffy candy in the office, and a discussion ensued about our mutual choking experiences. We discovered that just between Jenny and Ashley, seven lives have been saved by performing the Heimlich Maneuver! Ashley used it on her first day on the job as a live-in nanny in England!

Jenny observed a Mom jumping out a car ahead of her while at a street light, running to the back seat, grabbing her baby out of his car seat, flipping him upside down and pounding on his back right in the middle of the road. Watching this scenario made an impact on Jenny. Ashley witnessed a petite wife perform the maneuver in a restaurant on her husband  twice her size. She failed twice, and with no one else coming to her rescue, she desperately slammed his front side into the table edge and he survived.

Jenny was with her son Carter, age one, eating chips in a Mexican restaurant when he began choking. With the picture of the roadside rescue in mind, she immediately flipped him upside down, and performed the Heimlich Maneuver  to dislodge the chip. Another time, she was in a Moms’ group and the mother of a six month old was feeding apple slices to the infant,

who began choking. Jenny gave her step by step direction to perform the procedure, and their teamwork paid off.

Popcorn is one of the biggest dangers for young children.  A three year old boy died soundless, in a movie theatre, while choking on popcorn with his family right next to him. Another incident was of a three year old girl, whom after choking on popcorn,  had a piece of the popcorn lodged in her throat and had to have it surgically removed.

Any age child can choke. Jenny was tutoring a third grader who got a chicken nugget caught in his throat. Jenny quickly did the maneuver on him, and the nugget went flying across the room. When Mom arrived home, the boy said, “Mom, Jenny saved my life today!”

Another time, Jenny (who has 13 years of nanny experience) was nannying for a family. She and both parents were in the kitchen and the one year old, strapped in the high chair, began choking. The Dad was pulling off the tray and trying to unlatch the straps, but in his panic, was fumbling. Jenny grabbed the scissors, cut the straps, and did the maneuver, saving he child’s life.

Jenny won’t leave her children with a sitter until they’ve demonstrated the Heimlich Maneuver to her satisfaction. “You can train for it, but I don’t think anything can prepare you for that moment when you have to use it.”

Her own son Carter, age two, climbed onto her bathroom counter and opened a Tylenol bottle and other over the counter medications and she found 50 pills scattered over the floor when she discovered him. They rushed to the ER and kept him there for observation. “I had every inch of my house baby-proofed, but they still got into things,” Jenny shared.

While Jenny was taking a shower, Chase, age two, scooted a stool to the counter, climbed up to the medicine cabinet and open the “child-proof ” cough syrup bottle. They called Poison Control and rushed him to the ER, where they monitored him over the next six hours.

One of the boys sprayed a poisonous cleaning substance into his face after breaking the child-proof latch on the cabinet below the kitchen sink. “I love those babies, but that age from 18 months to age three, is really challenging,” Jenny groaned!

Consider these facts and cautions:

  • A child’s trachea is the size of a drinking straw in diameter, which is why a popcorn kernel is so dangerous.
  • Choking is the fourth leading cuse of unintentional death in children under five.
  • Never leave a child unattended while they’re eating
  • Meal and snack time need to be calm and unhurried.
  • No eating while walking, playing or riding in the car.
  • Children need to sit upright while eating and have sufficient teeth plus the muscular and developmental ability for the food chosen
  • Cut food into small peices, cook or steam vegetables to soften them and cut hot dogs lengthwise and widthwise.
  • Use only a small amount of peanut butter or cream cheese, as these foods can stick to the roof of the mouth and cause choking.
  • Coins and small toy parts can be dangerous for babies and toddlers who are discovering the world through their mouth.
  • Regularly review the Heimlich Maneuver
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National Nanny Appreciation Week is September 22-28, 2013. Nannies do a remarkable service in loving, nurturing, training and educating the children in their care as if they were their own, as well as easing the day to day burdens of the parents by performing countless household tasks.

When families show appreciation to their nannies, it only heightens the relationships and creates a desire in the nanny to want to give even more.
It’s easy to take your nanny for granted, because you work hard also, you’re very busy, and you pay her well. However, unless you’re giving your nanny lots of verbal appreciation, she may feel like you have no idea how hard she’s working.
Consider taking her out for a family dinner and giving her a card and a gift. Just think about how much more

difficult your life would be without her!

Here are 5 ideas to spark your thinking about how to honor your nanny.

  1. Give her a paid half or full day off or a cash gift.
  2. Give her a weekend at your summer cabin or a paid vacation.
  3. Designer purse or spa gift certificate.
  4. Handmade card and or video created by the children.
  5. Specific and heartfelt verbal praise

It’s easy to forget to say thank you. If you’re a Mom blessed with a great nanny, or if there is a nanny in your past, take time out during the 2013 National Nanny Appreciation Week to let her know how special she is to you and your children. We at Caring Nannies are so grateful for all the terrific nannies and babysitters and mother’s helpers for their hard work and dedication!

Beth Weise

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Webinar Date/Time and Info
Part One: Respect
Sunday September 15, 2013
Time: 6pm PST/6

TEACH RESPECT: It is not what you say,  but how you say it! Back to school means back to basics with character building skills. Kids and adults need help to interact respectfully. Dr G gives concrete tips and tools to teach respectful behavior towards others and oneself!

Registration for the first of three Doctor G webinars, “Part One: Respect” will end today.

Learn more and register today athttps://www.nanny.org/doctor-g-webinar

Beth

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If your student needs a little push to get homework done, you can help with these tips.
Get rid of all distractions. Make a rule that TV, cellphones and video games stay off till homework is completed. Create a well-lit, serene and comfy study space. This increases her focus.
Break it down. If your child is feeling overwhelmed, break the tasks into bite sized portions. Only have one task in view at a time. Take five-minute breaks occasionally for a snack, exercise or talking.
Give suggestions, not answers. Encourage your child to work independently. Be available to answer questions and help, but beware of doing the work for him.
Keep in touch with the teacher. What does she recommend for how closely you need to monitor the work? Check teacher comments daily on completed assignments. If there is ongoing trouble, and homework isn’t getting done, talk to the teacher about it.
Stay positive. Be consistent and firm for those times when they just don’t want to do it.
Caring Nanny’s after-school nannies are hand-picked to be able to help with math, algebra, writing and reading!

Beth Weise

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This is a good time for our families to compare their nanny salary and benefits package to the national average.
Nanny Pay.

  • Half of nannies are paid hourly, one third are paid weekly
  • The average hourly wage is $17.44 and the median is $16
  • 36% of nannies are not compensated for overtime

Nanny Profile

  • Only 10% of nannies are live-in.
  • 71% of nannies have some college education

Nanny Benefits

  • 66% of nannies get paid holidays
  • 64% of nannies get paid vacation (89% get two weeks)
  • 13% of nannies get no benefits
  • The average holiday bonus was $324

Aspects of nanny job

  • 72% of nannies get paid when employer does not need them
  • 11% of nannies care for special needs children
  • 76% of nannies have been with their current employer more than three years
  • 79% of nannies work for couples where both parents are working
  • 66% of employers withhold federal taxes
  • 3% of nannies are paid through a payroll service
  • 66% of nannies say they earn more than they did in 2008

Click here to see the entire survey

Beth

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Growing up in the 50‘s and 60‘s I remember hearing about Thomas Malthus and the Population Bomb and that overpopulation would cause mass starvation. Margaret Sanger thought the wrong people were having too many children. My first crosss country plane ride left me puzzled as I observed vast stretches of empty countryside.

Jonathon Last in his bestseller, “What to Expect When No One’s Expecting”, explains that what threatens America’s welfare is underpopulation rather than overpopulation. Our grandchildren won’t be able to collect their Social Security checks because there won’t be enough workers to support them. Our generous immigration policy doesn’t help much, because within one generation, immigrant birth rates decline sharply as well.

“At the heart of the West’s fertility crisis and America’s One-Child Policy,” quotes Last, “Modernity has turned us into a deeply unserious people. Yet it’s encouraging to note that while our fertility problem is more dire than it has ever been, neither the predicament itself, nor its root causes, are new. Having children is difficult but important work and the main threat to fertility comes from a worldview that places the self at the center. Children are seen as a burden rather than as a source of joy.”

The Population Bomb never exploded. It was all bunk, and European countries are fading away even faster than the US. Italy and Greece are ‘museums’, and Japan already sells more adult diapers than infant diapers.

A sensational Time Magazine article by Jennifer Senior a few year ago called “All Joy and No Fun” describes her life as a parent. A comment about the article quipped, “Well, she has it half right!” Being a parent really is hard work and expensive, no one can deny.

An August 12 Time magazine article featured “The Childfree Life, When having it all means not having children” on it’s cover. The article points out that one in 8 high income women expect to remain childless. Women put off work because of work, education, or the lack of a good mate.

 Last and his wife moved out of Old Town DC before having their second child “because we believed that family life was more important. And if you believe in anything seriously enough–God, America, the liberal order, heck, even secular humanism–then eventually babies must follow.”

After exploring failed efforts in France, Spain, Singapore, Japan, and other countries, the author comes up with some simple but radical and practical ideas:

1. Better roads. Parents are more likely to have more children if they can live in the suburbs in a home with a grassy yard, impossible to afford in the major hubs where the jobs are, like LA, Silicon Valley, New York or DC.

2. Telecommuting. Telecommuting has the capacity to return us to a world where the extended family is a part of daily life and returning the home to the center of economic activity in America. The advent of a three generation household, or at least living in the same neighborhood, and having grandparents care for children and children being close by seniors as they age, would make child-rearing more doable. Industrialized Day Care Centers and Retirement homes is a 30 year historical abbertion, according to Last.

3. College. Changing he college system by allowing a nationalized standardized testing. College costs have risen 1000% . While goods and services have decreased in cost, and increased in value, college has increased 1000% while the quality has gone down. NPR reported this week that in Ivy League colleges, dorms and meals cost even more than the tuition! Young people hold off on marriage and bearing children to finish

college, then they have huge debts to pay off, so marriage and childrearing wait. The more education a woman has the lower number of children she generally has.

4. Immigration. A lesson from Japan and France is that every Industrialized country needs immigration to prop up its fettility. Because of Europe’s “policy choices made by adherents of a truly radical faith: multiculturalism” they are now realizing that they have made a terrible mistake, and it is now publically acknowledged. Europe as we know it will fade away in the next few generations, “replaced by a semi-hostile Islamic ummah.” Only the name will remain the same. However in America we have done a good job of integrating immigrants.

5. Social Security: Last has an interesting idea of exempting parents who raise more than two chidren from Social Security since they are raising the future workers who will be supprting the rest of us.

I highly recommend this new book which explains a complicted problem clearly. It’s provocative, deep, and presents heavy thoughts without selling doom. It will make you laugh, cry and think.
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An after-school nanny can be the perfect solution for working parents if children are in sports, have appointments, music lessons or just need extra help with homework. She can help the entire family, having the homework, shopping, dinner, laundry and errands completed by the time the parents walk in the door. A nanny can provide a customized solution and quality family time at day’s end.

Follow these key steps to make sure you get a perfect fit for your family and a long-term solution. Give some thought to what your needs are and bring a detailed list of expectations and needs to the interview and ask each candidate the same questions.

What qualities and skill sets are most important ?

Does she need to be able to do algebra or go on the internet and monitor school assignments?

Is she a good role model? Find out what her values are, and during the interview, ask to see her Facebook page. School-aged children are very alert to the values of their nanny and tend to admire them because they are closer to their own age. Nannying is different from all other childcare positions in that the nanny is largely unsupervised. Look for someone who will make the right choice when no one’s looking.

What household chores is she willing and able to do well?

What were her responsibilities in her last position?

Involve your children in the interviewing process Do they like her personality? They’re old enough to voice their opinions now.

Does the nanny agree with your parenting style

How would she settle sibling squabbles? A dynamic and energetic leader with a good sense of humor helps

Does she show a preference for one age or sex over another?

Can this be a long-term match?

Frequently a college student makes a good choice, since they’ll have similar school holidays and can help in the summer with longer hours. Is she able to keep her job her top priority and work her classes around the family schedule for a year of two? Usually a freshman or sophomore can give a longer commitment than an upperclassman.

How’s her Driving? Is she a responsible driver?

Ask for her three-year Motor Vehicle Record

Is she mature enough to handle an emergency?

Has she driven children before? Ask her last employer about her driving. During a trial week, have her drive to the children’s school and back and see how carefully she drives.

What’s the cost of an after-school nanny? $15 per hours seems to be the going rate for an after school nanny working 20 hours per week in the Phoenix area. Caring Nannies follows the recommendation of the IRS to reimburse nanny mileage at the current rate of 56.5 cents per mile. If you’re paying a household employee over $1800 per year, the IRS requires that a 1040-ES is filed along with a 1040 tax form and a W-2 form. Best to pay via check or direct deposit and not cash so that you have accurate documentation. If both parents are working, your cost should be a wash.

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Most families will tell you that their first priority is the family, but their actions don’t always reflect their goals. Why not use everyday moments to full advantage? When you’re driving together, for example, you have a captive audience. These are prime times for bonding as well as transmitting family values.

1. Do household chores as a team. Work together to clean up their messes when needed and invite them at an early age to learn how to fold laundry, or put away silverware and plastic dishes from the dishwasher.

2. When driving with children, ask questions about how they are thinking or feeling. My favorite questions are: “What’s the best and the worst thing that happened to you today?” Teach them your childhood songs. Remember “Zippa-De-Do-Dah” from the Lion King?
3. Reading bedtime stories together. Use a dramatic voice, make animal noises and use gestures to heighten interest
4. Enjoy washup and bathtub time together.

5. Standing in line at the store? Use these moments to ask questions to draw out their intellect and understanding, like, what’s this made out of? Metal or plastic?
6. Take a walk together. Point out the beauty and amazing details of nature.
7. Play a game together.
We’re in a society where family members may be too busy for their own good. It’s crucial that we utilize these overlooked moments that fly by so quickly. Right now you may feel that the drudgery, sleeplessness, dirty diapers or soccer practices are overwhelming. But blink your eyes and they’ll be packing for college. You have just a few years to teach your values, to produce mature, respectful, responsible, service-minded adults. So reclaim those daily opportunities for your well-thought through long-term goals, because these down times are largely the stuff of life.

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