New Direction

To all my friends and family- I hope this letter finds you well!

As some of you may have noticed, recently I have taken a step back from posting and writing content. I have used this time to reflect on the direction of my professional path. I also used this time to dedicate more intentional efforts toward my husband and our marriage. All is well, and I am happy to be writing you once more.

 I would like to let you in on what new direction I have decided to move toward and what that means for the NannyBeth blog and more.

As many do, I found myself at a crossroads this past spring. I absolutely love what I do (and don’t plan on giving it up any time soon) however, there is a big reason why I had to begin thinking about changes.

My husband and I would like to start a family. I understand that many women choose to continue nannying even after they have had their children, but for me, I would like to stay home with them at least for the first year. The same amount of intentional time and efforts that I give to each of my little charges, I intend on giving that and more to my own. We are not there yet, but within the next couple of years we would like to grow our family. Exciting! This reality pushes me to think about stability and future professional plans.

Because of this, and the desire to further my credentials within Early Childhood Education, I have decided to go back to school. I have begun classes already and find myself enjoying the change! I am taking master level courses within Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. At the end of this accelerated program, I will be equipped to enter into the New Hampshire public school system as a lead teacher. As I expect of my little ones, I intend to keep learning, growing and pushing myself.

I am not done reaching and teaching as ‘NannyBeth’ by any means. I still have a strong passion for encouraging and equipping nannies and parents to train up their children in the way they should go! The capacity at which I will be writing and posting though, may change. I am now committed to clinicals within the school system, course work from multiple classes per term, as well as working the day job. This means that I will just have less time to dedicate right now.

I still intend on sharing and connecting with you, ladies! So, please, stick around! Thank you for your support and patience as I make these life changes.

Now, your turn…

Are there some changes that you are going through as well? Perhaps, you just started working for another family. Perhaps you are thinking of taking your nannying skills in another direction. Do you have a degree and have decided to pursue a different career path? Are you a mama and just found out your family will be growing very shortly here?

I would love to hear from you! Let me know what is going on in your world by commenting with your ‘New Direction’ down below and let’s connect!  

 

Hugs,

 

NannyBeth

Arrows In Our Quiver

This past week in young married couples Bible study, we were discussing parenting and its challenges. A particular group of verses were brought up for discussion- Psalm 127:3-5. It says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” When we were asked to give our thoughts on this verse and the relevance it has to parenting/taking care of children today, I really didn’t have a comment. Now I do, and here is my response.

A quiver is a container for holding arrows, bolts or darts that can be carried on an archer’s body, the bow, or the ground.

If the verses describe children as arrows and the quiver is used to carry them, I would think that a quiver could represent a household or a family.

It says blessed are those who have a full quiver, or blessed are those who have a full household. One is blessed when there are those for you to love and to love you in return. One could go further with this analogy and think of what one does with the arrows in their quiver. When the archer is good and ready and has chosen the target to aim at, they pick out an arrow and mount it on the bow.

The act of mounting the chosen arrow correctly on the bow and pointing it toward the target could represent the raising and training process of child rearing. Up until this point, this arrow has only ever been in the hands of the archer but once the archer has decided to loosen this arrow and send it on its way, much of the archer’s hands on work has been completed. In the same way, once we have fulfilled our responsibility of raising and training our little ones up in the ways of the Lord, the ways of love, to the best of our ability, it’s time to release and watch the arrow fly. It may be a painful process. Fingers may get bruised or blistered, cheeks may be left with scratches in the release process, but it’s all worth it when the arrow is soaring through the air. One may be filled with comfort that in trusting God and doing all that could be done, this little one is now headed toward life’s target.

It takes courage and faith to trust that once the arrow has left its quiver and left the bow, that God will carry it from there until the end of its journey. Perhaps some storms will blow along the way. The arrow may be knocked off course. The arrow may even plummet to the ground in a gut-wrenching change of course. But it is in these moments that the prayers and love that launch these arrows have to be recognized as pushing the arrow on and the deep love that our Heavenly Father has for His children needs to be remembered. Trusting God within the process and especially after “the release” is so crucial. Power, purpose and perfection, friends! He never misses.

We must trust that if we have sought after Godly wisdom and guidance in raising and training our little one, that He will continue the good work He started. He will take our child, our arrow, from where we have to release it and direct its path.

There is more imagery in this passage that I absolutely adore. It has a special place in my heart. When this Psalm speaks of a quiver, it is important to know that quivers differ. Their differences are based on the archer’s preferences and individual strengths. Some quivers are carried on the body, others are attached to the bow and some are even designed to be placed on the ground. Here, I picture the traditional quiver worn on the body as the womb. This is when the child comes from the body of the husband and wife within the household. But what about the quiver that is attached to the bow? For me, it is lovely and encouraging to picture the quiver mounted on the bow as a household where the child did not come from the mother’s body but has been joined to the household by either adoption or fostering. I’m not certain that God will choose to bless me with the miracle of pregnancy or birth, only He knows that, but I am certain that God has chosen me to be a mother and bless a little one of my own. It is heartwarming to think that though this little one may not come as a byproduct of the deep love that my husband and I share, he or she will be part of our family nonetheless. It’s still our primary job to set our little one on the straight and narrow path. It’s our job to mount our arrow and when they are ready, to release them toward the target- just as the birthmothers beside us will be doing.

And finally, what about the quiver that is placed on the ground? I think this could refer to the children who are given direction from someone outside the household altogether. These little ones are picked up and pointed toward the target just like the rest but the circumstances are a little different. These arrows could represent the children that are touched by the teachers that have been placed in their lives. From three years of age till twenty-three and beyond, our children are often placed in the love and training of our teachers! Monday through Friday, from eight until three, our children are learning, absorbing and being guided one way or another by teachers. Our teachers carry a great responsibility in directing our children toward purpose.

Not one way of wearing the quiver is greater than the other. Each one is beneficial in its own way. Each one works to serve the same united purpose. The purpose of bringing these arrows to their target- their purpose in life. When we are united in purpose, encouraging one another through this process, no matter where our quivers lay, we will all succeed! We will be truly changing the world for good. When we begin to look at the commonalities we have with one another, we will begin to see the beauty in learning and growing together!

Let us come together as one body of sound mind in raising and training our children up as unto God! The arrow has a long way to fly.

 

Ultimate Guide: Traveling with Your Nanny Family

So, you’re about to travel with your family, huh? Well, here are some things to consider and hash out before you make that Jamaica dream a reality.

So, you’re about to travel with your family, huh? Well, here are some things to consider and hash out before you make that Jamaica dream a reality…

Get EVERYTHING down in writing.

I know that many of you may have working verbal contracts with your families and that’s fine, but when you’re traveling with your family, especially for more than a day or two, it’s so worth it to write your terms down. This protects you. This protects them. Plus, if you do your write up and they refuse to sign it, you’ll know something’s not right. Then you’ll want to nix the trip altogether. I’d also suggest typing your terms ahead of time and presenting your draft to them. Make sure all points sound fair and you agree on each one. Then whip out a pen and get those John Hancock’s down to bind the agreement. With this signed, you’ll have the peace of mind that you’re covered and comfortable with all the expectations. And should there be any disagreement on your terms later on, you’ll have the contract to refer to. Two copies should be made, one for you and one for them. 

Clarify what YOU are paying for and what THEY are paying for.

You don’t want to be half way around the world before you have that dreaded money or responsibility talk. Get it all out on the table now, trust me. Ultimately, everything revolving around this trip is all up to you. Worst case scenario, you could decide you just wont go and they can’t make you. So stick to your guns when you are discussing what your services and time is worth. I would suggest that you have them at least pay for the minimal: the round trip ticket, your time while you are on duty, your SEPARATE room, your food when you eat together and all travel while you are there. Beyond this, you may have individual agreements as to who pays for what. 🙂

Get your own room.

Did I say that already? 😉 Well, good. It’s important! There’s nothing more awkward than sharing a room with another couple and their kids. (well, maybe a couple things) You’re not family as much as you may feel like it. And even if you were family, you still wouldn’t wanna be stuck in a room with a couple and their kids while they’re on THEIR vacation. Its just awkward. Save yourself some very tense and awkward situations, and just have them book you a very separate living space, OK? And remember me when you are able to take an uninterrupted shower, nap on your bed or stroll on your oh so quiet patio. 🙂

Write down your hourly schedule. Be very clear about when you’ll be on and off duty.

Most likely while you’re away in Rome, Greece, Ireland or wherever you’re flying off to, you’ll want to explore. And you should! In order to make this happen, you’ll have to be forthright about the YOU time on this trip. Yes, you’re going with them to work, but just like them, you would like to have a break from responsibility at various times too! I’d suggest starting no earlier than 7 am, taking a midday break for at least an hour or two, enjoying one meal separate from the family responsibilities, and ending your work day by 7 pm. Again, this is all up to you, but be kind to yourself and don’t overwork girl!

Things will run smoother if when you are on duty, YOU are the only one.

This will be the time when the parents can get a spa session, take a walk on the riviera or go out to dinner a la solo. There is a very good reason for this. Things can get very complicated and confusing for the children (and us) when there are more than 2 adults “in charge”. The roles are blurred. This begins to create tension between everyone. Maybe you’re traveling with more than one child. Great! The parents take one child to a park or zoo and while you keep the other around the resort. Then switch. I’m just saying, if they’re looking for a tag a long who is going to corral their little ones, wipe their noses, sing distracting songs to them while waiting for dinner to be served and carry the diaper bag around, then make sure you know that. If you go into this trip thinking you are going to be assuming the same roles as when you’re a nanny during a normal work week and they think you are going to be a travel helper with all the messes and tantrums, then this will make for some tension. You’ll begin to build resentment over not being respected as the professional that you are. Open and pre-trip communication is key. Know what you’re getting yourself into before you commit to be in an inescapable situation hundreds of miles away. Doing this will make roles, duties and everything a little less awkward and messy.

Be clear about expectations.

Think about your expectations for transportation, the flight, meal times, different excursions, who’s responsible for packing and managing items, etc. It may seem like a little much but take it from me, you can’t be too clear about how this trip will go.

Take into account the family you’re traveling with.

There are many, many, many different personalities within a family. Now you’re adding to the mix. To nanny for a family Monday-Friday, 9-5, is completely different from being on a trip with them. Now you’re technically available 24/7. (Even if you say you’re not, technically you ARE. So think about whether or not you can stand being with this family for a week or two) Once you’ve decided, yep, I can do this. Think about the personalities you’ll have to navigate and expect throughout the duration of the trip. Does the father like to control situations and get tense when they’re out of control? You may want to prepare for some of that. Do the parents get along or will you be needing to referee some disagreements on the trip? (That could get awkward) Think about it. Weigh the pros and cons.

Power to you, Nanny, who is choosing to travel with your family! You’re serving them in a huge way. Remember: know what you’re worth and own it. Hey, why not enjoy some sunshine and beach too? Go for it!

Buen Suerte!

X

NannyBeth

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5 Ways to Impress the Family

As nannies, we can experience a lot of pressure from the family we nanny for. Want to go above and beyond your family’s expectations? Make an impression by following these 5 ways to impress the family.

As nannies, we can experience a lot of pressure from the family we nanny for. Want to go above and beyond your family’s expectations? Make an impression by following these 5 ways to impress the family.

1. Dress for the job

Casual and Active attire is the name of the game. When we come to work dressed formal or to ‘uppity’ it doesn’t give off the impression that we will be interactive and relaxed with the children. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Will I be able to walk at least an hour, sit on the floor play, get spit up on, or climb a ladder in what I am wearing.” If the answer is yes, you are good to go. Some ideas for comfortable work attire would be: jeans or work out pants, simple t-shirt or sundress, and definitely sneakers, sandals or boots. (I tried heels when I first started out…not a good idea!)

2. Have an art or craft to show at the end of the day

A drawn picture hung on the refrigerator, clay creation on the dining room table or a fort set up in the living room is a perfect display of the fun you and the child have had! It is so nice for a parent to come home and see evidence of their child learning and being creative. I would say though, with the fort in the living room or bedroom, to just ask the parents before you venture into this project. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to come home and find sheets, towels and pillows strewn all over. Better to ask first than be greeted by an unhappy parent later.

3. Bake or cook a snack

This is such a fun thing to do with the children and also a great sight and smell when mom and dad come home from work! By baking or cooking with the child, you have provided an example of how they could include the children in baking adventures in the future, displayed one of your skills as a nanny, and also supplied a yummy snack for them to enjoy when you leave for the day. Toddlers could be your expert pourers/mixers and older children could practice their measuring and adding skills.

4. Offer to do extra activities and take interest in the ones they attend

Switching up the ol’ routine is a great thing to do sometimes to keep you and the kids from getting bored. A few creative and fun adventures could include a trip to the Zoo, Aquarium, local nature reservation or beach. Another great way to let the parents know you care about their children’s development, interests and activities is by noticing when their current activities end and start back up. A friendly reminder to their busy parent about when the next music class will be starting is so helpful and appreciated.

5. Be reasonably flexible

It is a good rule of thumb to plan for occasional overtime hours when a parent has to work late or is stuck in traffic. The original hours that you agree upon at the time of contract SHOULD be the hours that are normally kept. If the tardiness or expectation of you staying 20-30 minutes late becomes normal, then this should be addressed. But it is good to be somewhat flexible with the give and take that comes by nannying. For example, I have been asked to come in 2 hours early on Monday because a parent is leaving for a business trip, in exchange for me leaving 2 hours early on Friday. Likewise, I have asked for an early leave one day in exchange for a little extra work on another. Some parents and some careers do not allow for such flexibility and availability, but it is good to be aware that this could happen.

Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to blowing your family away!