Monday, October 12, 2015

Touched by a Nanny named Becky Kavanagh

Submitted by Karen Yatsko

One of the very first nannies I ever met was Becky Kavanagh and I was very lucky! She took me under her lovely feathered wing and kept an eye on me my very first nanny conference.  I will never forget her compassion, laughter and friendliness to a newcomer.  Since then our friendship has been a constant source of fun!  You cannot mention Becky’s name and not think of the word fun!  Attending one of her presentations at an INA Conference, I have the fondest memory of her asking everyone to remove their shoes and have fun!!  I was always sitting in the front row whenever Becky presented something as you might be singing and dancing barefoot.

One year I had the pleasure of going to visit Becky on her home turf and stay at her employer’s house.  I fondly remember meeting some of the children and got to peer inside Becky’s world as a nanny.  She really is a smooth and constant beacon of love - from the ups and downs of helping raise many children through her employers divorce, Becky had my admiration.  I never once heard Becky complain or have a bad day - her positivity had such an impact on me!  To this day, I try to always be positive because of her!! 

I also had many INA adventures with Becky!  We traveled to the NAEYC one year in Toronto to give a presentation on “Nannies as a Career Choice” representing the INA.  One Conference, Becky brought her sister and she fit right in with the nanny crowd!   Becky and I were both were nominated for Parent’s Magazine Caregiver of the Year Award, which Becky won!!  We both have served on the Board of the INA, and I remember Becky’s calm demeanor at many discussions and her personable tact with people.

We may be old friends, but I will never be tired of her smile and genuine love for nannies!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Taking Inventory During Times of Transition

I would like to thank Michelle LaRowe for contributing this helpful article.
It is great advice on preparing yourself for the next step going forward.

Taking Inventory During Times of Transition
by Michelle LaRowe

Whether your nanny job has a hard end date or you sense that the end of your position is coming near, you’re heading for a time of transition. But before you take the next step in your nanny journey, stop to take inventory so that you don’t forget to look forward as you’re focusing on your soon to be past.
Are You Ready to Move On?
If you’ve been in the same job for a number of years, chances are you have a strong emotional commitment and sense of loyalty to the family you’ve worked for. You may feel a variety of strong, conflicting emotions about the job ending and may be emotionally and physically drained if the job was particularly intense. Oftentimes nannies are more concerned with the well-being of the family than of themselves and as a result will put the families’ needs first when it comes to navigating their departure.  It’s no wonder that once a nanny job has finally ended, nannies often walkway feel completely exhausted and burned out.
Before committing to your next position, it’s essential that you access your readiness. Ask yourself if you’re ready to give your physical and emotional best to your next family. If you’re not, take some time for you. Picking up temporary and short-term assignments can be a great way to ensure you get an emotional break while still bringing in an income.  Doing so can also serve as career insurance,  ensuring that you keep your reputation and references intact - as it can be quite common for a nanny coming out of a long-term position to go through a string of jobs, some which may end badly,  before finding her next right match. 
Are Your Expectations Realistic?
If you’ve been off the job market for a while, you want to get in touch with current nanny industry trends and industry standards in the area you are looking to work.  The wages and benefits package you had at your last position don’t necessarily transfer to your next one. The way you communicated with your past employer won’t necessarily translate to your new one.  While you may approach the job and your new employers the same, the way they interpret you and your approach may be quite different.
When starting your new job search consider what is negotiable to you and what isn’t. Know what your bottom line is when it comes to pay and benefits and consider carefully what duties and responsibilities you are willing to take on. Be prepared to justify why you are worth your required wages and why you will be picky about the job you accept, rather than expecting to have the perfect job at the perfect pay handed to you on a silver platter. Remember, the agency or parents you are working with won’t know your job expectations unless you tell them. If you don’t sell yourself to them during your search, they won’t know what they have the opportunity to buy. 

Are You Easy to Work With?
After the first few nanny jobs, most nannies know what types of families they work best with and what types of jobs they are best suited for. Because they’ve been through a job search before and have high expectations for their next position, if not careful, their confidence can be portrayed as arrogance.  Consider when you go to a new doctor for an exam. The doctor has done hundreds of exams on new patients, but for you, this is your first experience with this doctor. How would it make you feel if the doctor rushed through the exam with an all business approach, expected you to take his word on everything without evidence, and showed no care as to how you perceived the examination process to go. Be careful not to be perceived as that doctor. Even when an agency representative knows you personally from nanny organizations or networking, she still needs to put you through their process to ensure you the highest level of representation.  Nannies who expect exceptions make it incredibly difficult for placement specialists to represent them successfully. And for many parents hiring a nanny, it’s their first time interfacing with potential nannies.  A nanny who comes across as arrogant or entitled will be a huge turnoff.
As you prepare for your job search, put yourself in the shoes of parents and nanny placement specialists. Consider how your attitude may be portrayed by them. Ask yourself if you’re prepared to consider the needs of parents and agency representatives as they put you through the screening process. Are you giving off the impression you think you are?

Transitions can be hard, but you can set yourself up for success in your next position by taking inventory of your readiness. Once you are truly ready to commit to your job search and next job, that is when you will have the greatest success.

Michelle LaRowe is the 2004 INA Nanny of the Year and executive director of Morningside Nannies, a Houston, TX based award- winning nanny placement agency.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Touched by a Nanny named Gael Ann Dow

Touched By a Nanny: The Wonderful Gael Ann Dow
Submitted by Becky Kavanagh

When Glenda first started this series I was eager to write about the wonderful Gael Ann Dow. For some reason I was having a hard time coming up with the right words to describe the person who is Gael Ann. Her unassuming nature belies the many facets hid within. She’s certainly a kindred spirit when it comes to her philosophy around children – providing rich activities and experiences while allowing them to discover and learn at their own pace. She’s absolutely brilliant with children. It’s just a fact.

Naturally creative with an artistic flare, Gael Ann brings so much to the children in her care. To those who know her she is warm, caring and tender-hearted. While she doesn’t seek attention, she’s happy to volunteer to serve or help when asked.  

Her quiet, self-contained demeanor may be the reason that Gael Ann is a great listener.  I’ve never known her to offer advice unless requested to do so. When she shares, listen carefully because it will be filled with wisdom that comes from an innate understanding of children, families and years of experience. She is the consummate professional nanny who goes above and beyond – a true model for others.

I have been fortunate to know Gael Ann for many years and keep learning new things about her all the time. What a wonderful nanny, mentor and friend!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Touched by a Nanny named Deirdre Bellows

Touched by a Nanny named Deirdre
Submitted by Glenda Propst
I have been in the nanny industry for many years. When I was younger I never felt out of place or uncomfortable at any conference I attended.
As my charges grew into young adults, I was always happy to share photos of them with my nanny friends as we sat around catching up and chatting. When they were young, everyone thought that they were adorable (because aren’t all babies adorable?) but as my charges grew up there were times when people simply did not know what to say to me, or how to respond.
It usually made me feel a little awkward.
As one of the older nannies when you spend as many years with a family as I have, you lose a lot of the common ground with younger nannies. It isn’t that they are mean or rude, it’s just different.
A few years ago, I was a conference and I was feeling very “out of place”
I had been in the hotel lobby and I had decided to walk up to my room and just order room service and nap, when someone walked up to me, was so happy to see me, and asked if I had lunch yet?
I said “No” she said “Would you like to have lunch with me?”
This was someone I knew but not someone I knew well. We walked across the street and had a wonderful lunch, laughing and talking and discovering how much we had in common.
At the end of lunch, when it was time to pay the bill, she said “I would like to treat you”
It was the highlight of my trip and it was also the beginning of a wonderful long distance friendship.

I was touched by a nanny named Deirdre Bellows . I know she didn’t know how much her gesture or reaching out meant to me, but it meant so much and I thought she should know.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Every New Beginning Starts With an Ending

I haven’t been able to change my Facebook status, it’s just too hard to see it staring me in the face, but after 3 months short of 31 years, I am officially retired.
I spent just 3 months short of 22 years with the same family. I had no idea in 1984 that this career was going to be so fulfilling, so life changing and so much fun.
If I had to sum it up in 2 words I would say “Incredibly Blessed”
I had not 1 but 2 great families.
My first nanny family I stayed with for 8 years and when the children got to be old enough not to need a nanny anymore, I moved on to my next family.
Leaving my first family was my inspiration for Nanny Transitions. My nanny training had prepared me for every kind of situation, every kind of emergency, every age group, every social situation but nothing prepared me for leaving a family with 2 kids that owned a piece of my heart and soul. As I went through that very difficult transition I learned so much about myself, about life and about how as nannies we grieve the loss of those children in our lives just as we grieve any kind of death or loss.
I realized that if this transition was this hard for me, it had to be equally hard for other nannies so I developed a workshop to help nannies know the signs a job is ending, to help the parents prepare the children and support them through the transition and most importantly how to take good care of yourself as you go through this transition.

When you stay with a family for over 20 years the difference is that you stay “through the transitions” My charges transitioned from me working 5 days a week, to 4 days a week to

3 days a week, to not working in the summer, to 2 days a week and finally 1 day a week.
When my youngest charge got her drivers license last year it was always understood that it would be my last year with this family but then those years went by way too fast and we discussed that maybe I would do every other week this year.
My husband and I are starting a new chapter in our lives and I made the very difficult decision a few weeks ago not to return to work.
I think my nanny family was a little shocked but my decision surprised even me. I am very at peace with this decision because about 6 years into this job, my boss made me a promise, she promised me that she would never take her children out of my life. If you are a nanny, you know what an incredible promise that is for an employer to make concerning their children, and I could never thank her enough for this gift.
After I had been with this family for about 10 years I realized one day that even though this job would end one day, our relationship was going to last forever. We had been through all kinds of life experiences, good, bad, happy, sad and we always found a way to work through our issues so that everyone felt like they got some of what they wanted.
I will never forget the night that my employers interviewed me, we had discussed that I would be willing to do Household management, errands etc and the mom turned to her husband, and she said “Honey…I’m going to get a wife!”
Great nanny /employer relationships are very much like a successful marriage. They require all those key elements, of mutual respect, good communication, willingness to go the extra mile, give and take and the ability to know that you can work through things together.
I could not have asked for a better family, and they are my forever family. That will never change.

Nanny Transitions helped me prepare for this major change in my life.
At one point when I was in a bit of denial, I realized that it was time to take the advice that I give to nannies on a daily basis.
Trust your gut, watch for the signs, and most importantly remember that Love looks forward……………….always.

One day as I struggled with my decision….it occurred to me that you can’t have a new beginning without an ending. I had to let go of what was to move on to what will be.
My heart is open to what comes next. Nanny Transitions will certainly continue to be an important part of my life.
Terry and I are making big changes in our life this year but I believe with all my heart
“The best is yet to come”


Monday, August 17, 2015

Touched by a Nanny: Cindy Wilkinson

Touched by Cindy Wilkinson

Submitted by :  Stephanie Felzenberg

When it comes to nannies there are only a handful of ladies I consider mentors, as true professionals, and as the type of caregiver I strive to be like. There are even less I would hire in a heartbeat to be my nanny if I were a mother.

From what I can tell, Cindy Wilkinson  is the perfect nanny.  She is passionate about her career and the children in her care. She gives 100 percent of her heart, time, love, and energy to those in her care.

Then, there is her music. Music can be inspirational and fun for anyone at any age, but especially for children. Her musical albums,
"Jumping Up to the Moon" and "Jumping Down the Road" are excellent and all of my charges love her interactive songs. But to see her in action -- singing with kids -- is magical. I emphasize she sings with children (not to them) because she gets them laughing, singing, jumping, and dancing.

As a nanny, Cindy is the best role model and mentor of a caring, professional, and passionate caregiver. Working as a nanny is truly her calling and she is an inspiration to other nannies. Any family would be lucky to have such a kind and loving caregiver as their nanny. I am lucky to call her my mentor and friend.
If your life has been touched by a special nanny, send your submission to

Monday, August 10, 2015

Touched by a Nanny named Sara Green

Touched by a Nanny Named Sara Green

Written by Greta Schraer
Pictures shared with permission. 

I wish the local Cincinnati nannies had the benefit of knowing more national nannies, and vice versa. I so desire to see each excellent nanny respected and appreciated. Truth is we all deserve to be honored for specific and tangible things done to impact the lives of children. But today, I want to share with you an unknown hero. I want her to represent all of you that stand in the shadows, serving, with very little glory. (May your moment come, too.)

Meet Sara Green: A red head beauty with style galore. An itty-bitty dog lover, gold spray painter, and wine appreciator. She is a talented photographer and even before I met her in person (at Target by surprise) she let me into her life through pictures. She began nannying part-time while studying interior design, but she quickly found fulfillment and purpose and decided to make it a career.

We first connected online through CincyNanny, our community here. Her recent job is where I have watched her shine. She recalls the chemistry she had as she interviewed and felt instant trust. There was a sweet bond between them. Even as first time parents, her employers made her feel confident and capable. Sara has cared for twin girls L & K for 5 years now and tells me about the first days of setting routines and loving those babes. As the girls grew it was navigating discipline and timeouts. L is very self-driven, kind, comforting, and laid back. K is the spitfire, go-getter, sporty, funny, but also caring and sensitive. She loves them both unconditionally, appreciates their differences and sees them as individuals that need to be loved and disciplined differently. She is wise and in-tune.  Sara has routinely ended days with conversations with the girls’ parents. She is part of their village. Valued. Needed.  They have been generous with her and lavish her with gifts. She also recalls a hard week when they referred to her as “our anchor”.  As I hear her talk about her job, she beams. Radiates. She loves them and knows their love in return.  

To know Sara is to see love. She loves easily and loves strong. She is solid, faithful, a constant that has taught her girls and community around what it means to know trust. Her words are careful and thoughtful. She is open. She is easy to read and easy to know. It’s no wonder why she has found a solid place in this family.

This summer marks the end of her job. The family has transferred to Switzerland and asked her to join them as they make the move. Sara is there right now, transitioning her girls to their new life. It’s been a whirlwind, but she takes pleasure in the adventure. She knows her role, even as it comes to completion: to see them settled.  To feel the peace seeing them start their next season. I watch her live for each moment. She captures the joy in the girls’ eyes; I see it an ocean away in pictures. I believe their joy is impacted by the years of love, care, and trust she has planted. Those seeds will continue to reap a harvest throughout their lives.  They talk about saying goodbye and missing each other. L & K speak love and Sara soaks in every ounce of it. Though she won’t see them daily like she has, she will always know them…that is for sure.

Sara has already found her next job with a newborn and in just a few weeks that new adventure starts. Even as things change she knows that she is in this career long-term. She is one of those nannies that just emulate the role. This little one now gets to have Sara as her hero too. What a lucky little girl.

Written by Greta Schraer
Pictures shared with permission.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Touched by Jenn Gay

Submitted by Carli Lintemuth

When I started my current position I was a bit nervous. I had never worked with teens, how was this going to work? Would they hate me…would they be miserable, hormonal, teens filled with angst?!

But I had a lifeline, someone to hold my hand. You see, Jenn Gay has been with her nanny family for 22 years. You read that right, TWENTY TWO years! She has been with Alex, Kyle, and Marisa from birth through college. Jenn is a shining example of the kind of relationship you can have with your older charges. To hear her excitement when Alex comes home from college, or when Marisa FaceTimes her after a trip to the mall, or just sharing a meal with Kyle and his girlfriend. Jenn has been a wonderful mentor to me, showing me how to develop and cultivate solid relationships with my teen charges.

These days Jenn does’t work much as a nanny, her career has shifted. But as we all know, the title of “nanny” doesn’t necessarily describe a job you do, but rather it describes the person you are. 

Jenn has shown me that while jobs change, and relationships evolve, the special bond between a nanny and her charges is something that can last a lifetime.

If your life has been touched by a nanny, please send your submission to


Monday, July 27, 2015

Touched by a Nanny Tara Lindsey

Touched by Tara Lindsey
Submitted by Beth Taylor

When I was starting out in the nanny industry, I was really clueless about a lot of things. I joined nanny groups online and came across a great group of nannies in my area.
 After some time, and getting married, my husband became a truck driver. It was my nanny community that helped me.

 It wasn't until I was pregnant and my husband was away 5 days a week that I really got to know Tara more as a nanny. She had worked as a birth doula before. I remember being 28 weeks and thinking I was alone when I suddenly had super bad Braxton hicks contractions. She assured me that they were just my body's way of preparing for labor down the road. When I got closer to my due date and worried about my husband being home, I remember posting one night about being sent to L&D for observation, I immediately got a text from her asking if I wanted her to come sit with me. I felt like I had a true friend in her.

 My daughter Abby came a couple weeks later, and she came with her nanny kids to visit me. She has been a great influence in my life since my daughter was born now 3.5 years ago. I wish I could tell you how many times I have second guessed myself as a mom, and she has provided sound advice, but It's too many to count. 

She really is a true gem in this industry! thank you Tara Lindsey!!!

Has your life been touched by the kindness of a nanny?
We would love to hear your story, email it to nannytransitions(at)g(mail).com

Monday, July 20, 2015

Touched by Donna Robinson

Touched by Donna Robinson
            Submitted by Kim Dillon

I am honored to share with the world, how a prized and precious Nanny has touched my life and career.
Enter “ Donna Robinson”… aka The Traveling Nanny, on behalf I write this loving blog/note.

I met Donna 14 years ago, at an INA Conference. Little did I know, the organization assigned Donna and I to speak together at the same workshop. Speaking engagements are not exactly my forte, and I was quick to share this with Donna Robinson.
However, being coupled with Donna in the same room blessed me beyond belief. We had an instant rapport with one another.
I clearly remember turning to her and saying, “You go first!” and she did.

As Donna spoke, with such enjoyable humor, and delivered the message amazingly, I knew I wanted her to be my nanny friend forever. I also learned something very valuable from Donna Robinson that day… “ Private Victories precedes Public Victories.”
Save me Donna, and she did!

This blog/note is about Donna Robinson, but it is about much more than that. As I chronicle the past 14 years, (and counting)
of friendship, mentoring, guidance, advisor, cheerleader, sisterhood and buddy, she is so much more. I am especially grateful to her.

A memory of light so many years ago… and today, a beaming light - beaming strong! Thank you Donna Robinson, for being one of my earth angels and guiding spirit. God sure knew what He was doing when He let us cross paths.

Your Texas Friend,
Miss Kimmie

              Kim Dillon      

Monday, July 13, 2015

Touched by a Nanny: Angelita Fechino

As told by and to Donna Robinson:I first met Angelita Fechino at a NannyPalooza conference which is a small conference where you get a chance to really get to know each other.  She was sitting with a group and when she said she was a newborn care specialist out of New York, we struck up a friendship as I am in New York quite often.  What drew me to her was the discussion on the conferences needed more diversity and how many do not understand the barriers of Hispanic nannies.  That stuck in my brain and later talking to my daughter she reminded me that we do not have to think about those things being born white middleclass. We don’t often go out of our way to understand another culture.  I didn’t want to be one of those people. I knew this was a very special person who would help me understand.  We had a lot in common because we both had our own business and we both liked to think “out of the box”. The next time I was in New York we met for lunch and that was the start of a lasting friendship. Her story is inspiring, but her determination and her commitment to her dreams brought her a long way and I want to share her story so that she can be an inspiration to you as well.  .As a teenager, Angelita felt she wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps in the medical field working with newborns.  Her mom discouraged her as she felt Angelita was just too sensitive to deal with the life and death of the neonatal ward.  Her family was big on education so she went to college and got her BA in Foreign Language Ed and Translation and Interpreting focused on English and French.  She graduated with honors.  She said she was a people pleaser and struggled with the self confidence that would have allowed her to stand up for what was really going to make her happy. Angelita is going to share her story  of how she went into the business world and became very successful but still broke away to start a career working as a nanny with newborns an later a Newborn Care Specialist before she even knew that career had a name. Angelita says:While in college in Chile in 2000, I got a job in a hotel as a Phone operator, then I was moved to Front Desk. But I was too short so they moved me to sales which wasn’t my thing! I moved within the company to become a Housekeeping Supervisor but was moved back into the Business Centre (that was a full state of the art office facility and it was like being personal/executive assistant of different guests). That Hotel was next to the Government Palace so it was pretty iconic to work there. While working there I met an executive for Sam Ash Music and started working assisting in different cultural matters and coordinating meetings and things while they were doing a Market Research over there. Then they brought me to Miami to do translation into Spanish of some of their catalogues. I then started to come to the US occasionally on vacation and decided I wanted to move here. It didn't happen for a while as I started working in the Mining Industry (main activity in Chile) as a Translator and Interpreter and Executive Assistant. I got to meet many wonderful people. My real passion was put aside, which was still working with pregnancy, birth and newborns. I was an only child and didn't really have any major experience until my best friend got pregnant. I fell in love with that special time and I "doula-ed" her without even knowing that was a thing (that was 16 yrs ago when I was 20 at the time). I wanted to be around newborns, I wanted to tend to moms and I knew other than doing it on-the-side in Chile, if I wanted to really become a professional I had to move to the US. (Australia and Canada also crossed my mind).I moved to the US in 2007 as I applied to work at Marriott online and they called me, I explained I was willing to move and they said it was up to me to figure out how to do it. I went to the US Embassy and showed them my job offer and proof I could afford to move. I quit my job, gave away most of my things. One month later I arrived in New Jersey and started working the overnight shift at the front desk of the Marriott. I also started to work as a nanny to a newborn during the day. Even though I got promoted to Front Office Supervisor/Overnight Manager in less than 6 months I never thought I wanted to stay on that career path.  I was becoming more and more convinced than ever that newborns was "my thing".” Donna Robinson says:Can you imagine how difficult it is to give up a successful career to go into a field where you never know when you will have a job? She said the first couple of years she worked mainly on instinct and read everything she could that would guide her. She realized she needed more education to be the best and did a NCS course in NY. She felt that the course was lacking and brought nothing new to her knowledge base. She felt she could not call herself a NCS until she had the correct training. How is that for integrity?She said that while she was attending trainings and interacting with others in her field, she felt out of place.  She respected their views but realized she didn’t always share their views on newborns. So she did what she was best at—seeking out education that would enable her to be the best.I am so impressed with her continued desire to educate herself.  After the INA conference last year she became a Happiest Baby Educator. She also had become deeply interested in being a Doula and started training with a wonderful Dona International Doula. When she told her she believed “Doulas are born, not made”, she knew at last she had found her calling. She started with a passion to seek out training.  She did Labor and Postpartum Doula Trainings, she became a Lamaze Educator and completed training as a Lactation Counselor. She found a glitch when she failed one of the tests but she hasn’t given up and will continue to study “till she makes it!She said that many times as she attended trainings and interacting with others, she has felt out of place as she didn't always share some of the common beliefs others in the field held, but she respected other's points of views as she said “we're all individuals after all.”She also became a CPST. She did a seminar in Postpartum psychosis and several other webinars in many other subjects related and is currently attending an international lactation conference online.She did training as a Labor doula with Prodoula as well and is planning on doing the Sacred Pregnancy. She offers this advice:  ‘I say do your research and find the right institution that shares your vision or train with them all and find your own values”.Sometimes I get dizzy listening to her next “goal”!  She is just so amazing with her deserve to always be learning.  For example, she said she will also be training as placenta encapsulation specialist and belly binding and several other trainings this year. She does this she says “while working a lot of hours every week, trying to keep my sanity and my family together and my beloved doggies well-cared for”..She told me she feels blessed by her journey.I knew she had a bad accident in 2009 where she was told she might not walk afterwards. But after months of hard physical therapy and a cervical replacement later, she said she was happy to be standing and keep moving. In three months she was back working with a newborn even though her mobility and strength were very limited.She said that life was never be the same after her accident.  She still struggled with chronic pain. She said it was very difficult to “clean herself from pain management meds”. For a couple of years they were the reason she could keep working and moving forward as pain was excruciating.She admits she had to break some barriers as sometimes she felt judged just for been Hispanic. She felt at times the pay offered was lower than it would have been if she had not been Hispanic. Yet, rather than being bitter, she feels she can help others by continuing to break down this barrier.  Her optimism has always amazed me.She found that by offering herself as a volunteer in a Hospital, she got the opportunity to start a very intense Internship. This would lead to a part-time job preparing material for the childbirth department and she started teaching classes to expecting parents. She found she truly loved teaching. She said, “I have put my heart and soul into learning and I feel honored to be able to give back to others. I love that I can help them gain the confidence they need as new parents. We talked about our friendship and she told me I was someone she looked up to as she found me strong and honest and that we share ideas that might not be industry standard but that we stay true to ourselves. I just kept thinking, “my dear YOU are the inspiration!”I am always touched by Angelita.  We meet when I am in NY and she brings a smile to my face as we share and laugh together.  She touches my heart and makes me so proud of our profession.In closing, I asked her has she met all of her goals now. “Well, she said, I want to become a professional trainer/educator and travel to South America and other places someday. I would like to open their minds and hearts to do some things differently than what is now neonatal care.  I want to become a mother more than I want to breathe but only God knows if it will ever happen...I want to keep growing as a human being and I want to always be able to be amazed by small things.”I ask you now, are you not touched by this nanny? 
If your life has been touched by a special nanny, please send your submission to nannytransitions(at)g(mail)dot(com)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Touched by a Nanny : Janna Jones

Touched by Janna Jones
Submitted by Donna Robinson

Janna runs a home day care.  Many may not consider this a “real nanny”.  In fact, she talked about this at a conference. She loves the workshops and truly wants to constantly upgrade her skills. “I know some might not think I am a nanny”.  I had to cut her off right there.  I told her that it was obvious she had a passion for children and she was helping parents who could not afford a nanny but wanted to bypass the big childcare centers.  She didn't just sit them in from of a TV!  She has organized activities and tries to do outings when the numbers allowed. She will stretch herself when a parent calls in a panic and needs to drop a child off.

Doing MAD money takes time and money.  I try to plan a little as the year goes along.  Janna Jones touched me through the years with offers of “how can I help you?”. She constantly donating something to MAD or the auction.  This year when I had a big MAD event, she and I texted 3-4 times a week with items she was able to get by using her gift cards.  I once said, you should use these for yourself!  She brushed it off that she bargained shopped and these would be great for MAD.  She doesn't ask for any credit for her efforts.   She just wants the nannies to have a great experience.  She appreciates their hard work and how hard it is to get the finances for many of them to come to a conference.  I thought at one point, this is truly a giving person.

This conference a lot of my personal extra income went into MAD.  It was a special anniversary for me and I put all my emotions into MAD to help me cope.  It was private and while I didn't explain, it bothered Janna I wanted to do the Dolphins but might not be able to do it.  The next thing I knew, she and Cindy Wilkerson had paid it for me!  I am not used to being on the receiving end and yes, I was a little choked up.  This person, who worried sometimes she was not seen as a real nanny reached out to make sure  someone in her Sisterhood was shown sincere love.

Janna to me, is a real member of the Sisterhood.  When not doing MAD she is giving things to the Auction so we can have a great experience and raise money for a worthwhile children's charity.

It is her dedication to this conference and NannyPalooza, learning as much as she can to help her children that continues to touch my heart.

Thank you Janna for touching my heart and for your devotion to the Sisterhood  of nannies.

The Transition of the Online Nanny

When you stay in an industry for 30 years you see lots of change and lots of transition.
So much of that transition has been good but today I wanted to share something that has been heavy on my heart and get people talking about it.
So please head over to Regarding Nannies
and read my article The Transition of the Online Nanny

Monday, June 29, 2015

Touched by a Nanny:Kenda Horst

 submitted by Marni Kent

As a nanny of many years, I have, like many of you, moved to a new city and state. In 2009 when  I moved to San Francisco I  settled into work just fine but there was always that need to connect with other  nannies for play dates, professional support and of course “Girl Talk”
 Another  nanny friend Deirdre Bellows told me about a nanny named Kenda I should get to know.
 Our charges were a few months apart so we had a lot in common. We did lots of playdates and outings and had similar work ethics. We became good friends.
Kenda is someone who does not seek recognition for her work as a nanny but as a nanny she is a great example of what a professional nanny should be.
She also deserves recognition for her ongoing work as a volunteer in the LGBT community.
As a nanny she is a child advocate, nutritionist, cook, and nanny whisperer. Even my 3 year old usually shy charge loves to be with her.
 She and her longtime partner are always willing to open their home to others.
Kenda became my friend when I really needed another nanny connection and my life is forever changed because she is my friend.
Kenda Horst is someone you should get to know and she has touched many families and children for over 20 years. She has my deepest respect, and I'm glad to call her my peer and good friend!

If you would like to write about a nanny who has touched you, please email nannytransitions(at)g(mail)dot(com)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Touched by a Nanny Kim Dillon

Submitted by Donna Robinson

Touched by Kim Dillon

In 2001 I became the traveling nanny.  I had no idea what I was doing--just an idea. I found the INA annual conference for 2002 and living in Florida, I decided to attend.  Sasha of Nannies and More called and asked if I would co-workshop with Kim Dillon on Alternative Careers for Nannies.  I was pretty scared as only in business for 6 months but figured I would just follow Kim’s lead!  It seems my quiet shy Kim was expecting same of me.  She was one of the first of her kind to take newborn care on the road and became my mentor.

She did more than encourage as she gave me jobs when she had to leave and they still needed someone.  It was terrifying to follow a nanny everyone loved!  She encouraged me to believe in myself and she was always a phone call away if I needed advice.  After the job, she would call me with feedback from the clients.  She never failed to make me feel good about myself.  Through the years she was my best cheerleader and to this day she watches over me and tries to help if I need work.

Fourteen years of friendship would be enough to qualify for Touched by a Nanny. But in 2010 she gave love a new meaning.  We had lost our son to cancer and we were just trying to survive emotionally.  You know that "face" you put on for the world?  Kim looked right past that and into my soul.  She was busy and didn't often have time off but she made a 3 day weekend possible to travel from Houston to Austin to see us.  I didn't feel I could handle a visitor but Kim pretended not to hear and came to help us heal.  I consider that the turning point of surviving grief.  She held me, let me cry and then would say “we need to go get some barbeque" and forced Jim and I to go out.  She would even make us smile at a time when laughter was not possible.  Her last day she pulled me aside and said "we need to take Jim to a movie.  We will let him pick one of those action movies.”  She told him we were all going to the movies as a treat from her.    She would not let us pay.  By the time we said goodbye, I felt like a tiny chip of pain had been erased.  Jim is not easily touched but as he held me that day, he said “you have a great friend.  She didn't have to do that..”

I was not just Touched by a Nanny, I was Healed by the Touch of a Nanny.  I love you Miss Kim!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Touched by a Nanny: Stephanie Felzenberg

Submission by Cindy Wilkinson

     A nanny’s professional life can have challenges that are unique to our particular kind of work.  The isolation that comes along with working in a private home, rather than in a traditional workplace, is one of those special challenges.  Which leads me to the important work of Stephanie Felzenberg.

     In 1993, Stephanie began her journey as a professional nanny.  With her home base in Montclair, NJ, she has served many families in that region, caring for her charges for the past two decades. Stephanie also saw the need for connecting nannies to one another.  She understood our need for sharing, not only new information and educational ideas with one another, but also tackling some of the more difficult aspects of this profession. 

     So, in 2001, Be The Best Nanny Newsletter was born.  It was a publication she created for nannies, enabling them to share, learn, and network with one another.  And now, in the age of the internet, Be The Best Nanny has evolved into a popular blog.  You can also find Be The Best Nanny on Facebook as well, where she has over 4,000 likes.  Her mission for continually finding new topics for discussion, and added guest writers contributing to the education of nannies, has had an extraordinary impact on our industry!

     Stephanie and I have been friends for most of her nanny career.  We have been roommates at both International Nanny Association and Nannypalooza conferences.   I truly admire her for the tremendous work she has done, both as a nanny and as an editor/blogger.  But, I find her passion for fostering the camaraderie of nannies as equally important. 

     While I was vacationing in the New York area several years ago, Stephanie played the perfect host for me during the first days of my trip.  She had planned a surprise excursion into the theater district for me, where we saw a performance of Mary Poppins on Broadway.  The following day, we met up with nanny friends from as far away as Westport, CT for a cruise around the city. 

     Stephanie’s role as a mentor expands beyond the written page and into the lives of those who know her personally.  Her efforts to provide nannies with a stronger voice and a connection to others in our profession, has benefited us all greatly.  And, this contribution, which she has made, and is still making daily, will affect the lives of countless nannies for the better ! 

    If you have a nanny you would like to write about please email nannytransitions(at)gmail(dot)com

Monday, June 8, 2015

Touched by a Nanny: Clelie Bourne

Submission by Cindy Wilkinson

     Clelie Bourne is a long-time newborn care specialist, one of the pioneers in this area of the nanny profession.   She has cared for newborns, often those from multiple births, for over two decades.

     As with most of my nanny friends and colleagues, I first met Clelie at a nanny conference.  Being that she is from the state of Kentucky, I was instantly drawn to her warmth and openness; it’s a part of her southern charm that defines her no-nonsense, yet caring personality.

     Over the years, Clelie has become one of my most influential mentors.  During a past job search of mine, I was considering a move to her home base of Lexington, KY.  Via a couple of phone calls, she shared with me everything I was curious about in her neck of the woods, painting an elaborate picture for me of that part of the country.  

     Clelie and I have always had a “just call me with any question” kind of relationship.  Whether it was a specific question about infant care or my need for a listening ear to work through a more complex issue, she has always served me as a most trusted sounding board.  I appreciate her direct and honest approach. Sometimes I have found her guiding me to a conclusion I have known in my heart all along, as only a close friend and someone who truly knows you well can do. 

     I will end these accolades of my friend Clelie with one of my more memorable International Nanny Association Conference stories.  Years ago, I suddenly found myself homeless at our hotel in Dallas.  My INA conference roommate had greeted me at our door that her husband would soon be arriving to share our hotel room with her… a last minute decision.  As I wandered the halls of the hotel at 11:00 PM, teary eyed and with suitcases in hand, I came across Clelie and her roommates, Janine Gardner and MaryAnn Meddish.  Without any hesitation, they reassured me that they could make room for me in their room and took me in.  My problem was quickly solved by this act of generosity and TLC, an act I have always greatly appreciated and never forgotten.  We have often laughed at the various scenarios I might have faced, had they not rescued me that night!

     Our mentors will serve us in many different ways.  Clelie Bourne has provided me a trusted confidante.  She is someone who I can bounce off new ideas and always get an honest response; she is someone who will keep any of my concerns in strictest confidence.   And, above all else, she is a most loyal friend.   These are the mentors who will impact our lives the most: those who provide us with wisdom, support, and lasting friendships.  Thank-you Clelie!

If you know a nanny that you would like to see featured here please email
nannytransitions (at)g(mail)dot(com)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Touched by a Nanny: Mallette Parry, Julie Martinson,Monica Schoenborn, Connie Wegner

(Submission from Becky Kavanagh)

Dedicated, nurturing and caring are attributes of nannies but nannies who reach out to their peers touching them with care, concern and tenderness demonstrates a love of the profession beyond the norm. Often they are unnoticed except by those that receive the gift they offer. Sometimes the gift is in the form of mentorship, other times it someone to listen and still other times it is someone who offers sage advice. They are givers to the core, extending their help into their local community and beyond.

Four women who I know come immediately to mind when I think of this type of individual. Although they each are leaders they are not seekers of notoriety or the spotlight. Since that’s the case I would like to shine some light on them. They have all contributed to the growth and maintenance of the local nanny group along with giving of their time to the larger community.

Julie Martinson, Mallette Parry, Monica Schoenborn and Connie Wegner are to be commended for their work in the local nanny industry. Julie and Mallette are two of the three founders of Twin Cities Professional Nannies (TCPN). Monica and Connie are long time members. All have served or are serving as leaders of the organization. I commend them for their dedication to strengthening the profession. Each of them has also given their time and talent to the larger community. But it is in taking the time to council and listen to fellow nannies where their true gifts lie. To share what you know so that others can grow is a gift beyond measure. These women do so quietly, confidentially and with wisdom. To be touched by these nannies is a gift unparalleled.

If there is a nanny you would you like to write about please email me

Nanny Transitions presents "Touched by a Nanny"

If you are a nanny I don’t have to tell you that as much as our jobs are fun, they are also challenging and isolating at times.
When you are going through a challenging time on your job you need someone to vent to that truly understands.
We’ve all been through job challenges, and even life challenges and have experienced someone who stepped up and offered a word of advice or a listening ear that made all the difference in helping us get through.
I know that for me….there are countless nannies who have made a difference in my life….
We read about the nannies who win awards, the nannies who write blogs, the nannies who serve on boards and the nannies who organize events but what about the nannies who simply do ordinary things in extraordinary ways every day of their lives.
I have been mulling this project over in my mind for a while now and I decided to ask the nannies whose names you recognize to write about nannies whose names you might not recognize.
I did some brainstorming with my dear friend Becky Kavanagh and she helped me come up with the perfect name for this project. It will run on Tuesdays starting tomorrow on the Nanny Transitions Blog and will be called
“Touched by a Nanny”
It will shine a light on nannies who are quietly making a difference.

If you would like to write about a nanny who touched your life……I would love to hear from you.
Email me at

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Know if You Are a Pre Griever, or a Post Griever and Why it Matters

I love to hear from people on my facebook page or on the blog page. It's especially exciting when someone outside of the nanny community finds the page and shares information with me that can be applicable to nannies in transition.
Sarah E Smith shared this post with me today and I thought it was really insightful regarding nannies in transition and how we all grieve differently.
I hope you will follow the link and read the post and then take some time to explore her blog that she does with a group of wise and wonderful women who are serving overseas.

It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too. –H.W. Shaw

The two-sided coin for relationships when you live overseas is you get to meet a lot of wonderful people but you find they rotate in and out of your life more so than the average person living in your home country.
For the most part I have been the one staying with others going. Years ago, I was preparing to return to the States for a three year stint. Coincidentally, my dear friends were doing the exact same thing, departing for three years.  Having someone going down such a parallel path was a rarity and provided an interesting and unintended “emotional” laboratory as my friend Anne and I reacted so differently to the upcoming return to the US.
Please follow this link to Velvet Ashes and read the rest of this article and while you are there, look around and explore a little bit....and don't forget to leave a comment!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

When Your Employers Face a Crisis by Deborah Brown

Even the most seasoned nanny can be at a loss for what to do when her nanny family is in crisis.
My dear friend and colleague Deborah Brown shares practical and helpful advice that can be applied to lots of different situations.

When Your Employers Face a Crisis

Deborah Brown

As a nanny, you are present when your employers celebrate and when they mourn. When our employers face a crisis, whether it is the death of a family member, a divorce, or the loss of a pregnancy, we want to help. But often, we are not sure how we can best show our love and support during the most difficult times “our families” go through.
In my opinion and experience, a nanny's relationship with her employers gives her clues as to how to help after a loss. If a family is generally very private, they may have no wish to share more than basic info with their nanny. A more open family may be more likely to tell nanny exactly what is happening, and ask for her help as needed.
There are several things a nanny can do regardless of her level of emotional intimacy with the family. First and foremost, find out what language is being used to tell the existing children about the loss, and stick to that script regardless of personal beliefs. Ask if parents want children's questions directed to them, or if you are free to answer based on the script you have been given.
Second, do all you can to keep life as routine and normal as possible for the children. There may be a lot of people in and out, a lot of bereavement gifts, a lot of emotional upheaval going on all around the kids, and having nanny be their steady support is essential.
Third, ask what you can do when it comes to visitors, gifts, and other issues that pop up. Does your family want you to screen visitors, or do they want to see anyone who comes by? Do they want to be the ones to answer the door for gift deliveries, or do they want you to handle that when possible? Tell them you are happy to handle whatever they would like you to handle, and follow their lead.
Fourth, ask what they want you to say to your nanny circle and to their neighbors, then follow their wishes. If a crisis is changing the family structure, or if a pregnancy loss means multiple people will be asking you how the pregnancy is going, have a simple answer ready to share, and then direct the people asking for further information to your employers. Be discreet, and if anyone continues to press you for information, a simple, "I'm sorry, but I can't really speak to that issue. If you need to know about XYZ, you'll have to ask my employers. I know you understand!" tends to stop persistent questioners in their tracks.
And finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself during times like these. Find someone who will listen when you want to talk about what is happening, and find ways to practice self-care, whether that means a massage, a manicure, additional time at the gym, or carving out time to relax during the most hectic weeks.
Nannies want to take care of those we know and care for, and when our employers suffer a loss, that instinct kicks in full speed. The best thing to do is remember that your role is to offer support as needed and requested, and to act according to established family/nanny dynamics. You can respect privacy while offering help and support, but you don't want to cross any boundaries that cannot be put back into place.

About the Author: Deborah has worked as a nanny in the Atlanta area since 1993. She most enjoys working with new parents, and often stays with families until all of the children have started to attend school. Deborah is also the Executive Director of Metro Atlanta Nannies, a social and educational support group established in 2004 that is open to all local nannies. Find out more information about Metro Atlanta Nannies at, or by searching for them on Facebook.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'm Still Learning and I'm Still Growing

This post has been simmering inside of me for a while now.
In April of 2013 I was in Branson in one of my favorite shops and I happened upon this collection of wonderful canvas prints and notebooks and doorknob hangers and jewelry that had these beautiful messages on them about being brave and being strong and choosing happy. I loved the artwork and the colors and they had lots of birds and butterflies and I am a sucker for a whimsical bird or butterfly so I picked up several pieces of jewelry and some notebooks and doorknob hangers for gifts for special people when I went to INA (The International NannyAssociation Conference) in a few weeks.
I don’t know about you but when I buy something I love the first thing I do is find out if they have a website so I can go to their website and see what else they have that I need to buy as well. The name of the company was Brave Girls Club.

When I started to explore their website I discovered that they weren’t just another company out to make money, they were so much more. Their message and their motto was:

"We are on a wild and crazy mission to find all of the brave women of the help them find each other...then to change the world with good news, good ideas, good people, and good times. "
I started to read their blog posts. Three in particular struck a chord with me. ( I will link several of them at the end of this post)

I signed up for the daily emails (you can do that on their site and they also have daily affirmation emails for teens and tweens) and I started to read everything I could find that Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins wrote. (They are the sisters that started Brave Girls Club)
In July I read that they were going to be doing a special price on their online art and soul class called “Soul Restoration” In addition to that they were going to give away one free registration. All you had to do was post on their blog why you wanted to win. (I wanted to win because I was about to turn 60 and I wanted to approach my new decade with a positive mind and spirit)
Something happened to me as I sat and read the entries for why people wanted to win the registration. I read about women who were fighting cancer, women who struggled with mental and emotional illness, women who had just lost a child, women whose spouse was killed, women who were in true pain and suffering and I realized that not only could I not take away a chance for them to win that registration but I wanted to gift one of those women the Soul Restoration class.
So I contacted Brave Girls and told them what I wanted to do and they emailed me back with a lovely thank you email and told me we could do that.
And so we did.

If you have never gifted something to someone unexpectedly it’s hard to explain the happiness and joy that it brings to your heart but it’s a wonderful feeling and I loved doing it.
To my surprise, a few weeks later when the class started I found out that Brave Girls had gifted the class back to me. Now how cool is that? I was so excited and surprised about this that I could hardly contain my joy!
I had never taken an online class like this and I am definitely not an artist but I had decided I was going to do it anyway and make the best of it.
The class was called Soul Restoration and without going into all the details of the class I will tell you that not only was my soul restored, my life was forever changed. In this class I learned how to truly forgive myself for mistakes I made in the past, for regrets I had about how I handled certain situations in my life and choices that I made.
I also learned how to no longer dwell on the past and how to be happy in this moment.
No longer carrying those things around with me, made my load lighter, made my heart happier and I hope has made a visible difference that other people can notice.
In Soul Restoration I met some women that I became very good friends with. Women that have my back. It isn’t that I don’t have women like that in my life already but now I have a tribe of brave sisters  from all walks of life who give me words of encouragement and tell me “You got this and we got you”

You know how a really great book leaves you wanting more? Or how you savor the last bite of an amazing meal because you don’t want it to end? Well that’s how Soul Restoration was for me.
Brave Girls Club had a very special way of getting to the heart of your fears and I wanted more. I wanted to go to Brave Girls Camp!
 Brave Girls Camp was a 4 day retreat for women to do art and soul work with Melody and Kathy in their art barn and I knew that I wanted to experience that.
So Terry and I talked about it and I decided that June was the best time for me to go.

By the time June got here I was so excited and giddy I couldn’t stand it.
Our camp group had a facebook page, we had all done introductions and knew a little bit about each other and we were all incredibly excited about camp.
I left very early on Tuesday morning to fly to Minneapolis where I had to change planes to fly into Boise, ID.
I sat next to a very nice criminal attorney on my flight up. (Hopefully I will never need his services but we had a very nice chat)
When I arrived in Minneapolis I noticed on our camp groups facebook page that another woman on her way to camp was in the airport waiting for her plane. It suddenly dawned on me that she must be on my flight, I looked up and she was sitting right across from me. By the time we boarded the plane and were ready for take off we had connected with 2 more campers and I sat next to one on the flight to Boise.
We talked non stop for 4 hours.
Brave Girl Camp was beyond words. It was 4 days of whatever we wanted when ever we wanted or needed it. Fabulous food, incredible snacks, warm hospitality, great music, spontaneous dancing, art, soul searching and so much more.
It was 24 women who became instant friends and sisters. It was 24 women who didn’t snip or snap or act snarky or criticize each other or compare who had more money or a nicer house ….it was 24 women who laid open their souls for 4 days of personal growth……. and grow we did.

For me it was about reflecting on my journey as a nanny and on what my future will look like as my charges grow into adulthood and my job comes to an end. It was about learning to embrace the end of the journey and realize what an honor and a privilege it was to be part of this family for 21 years and to realize that we had done some great work together.

At Brave Girl Camp I realized that for me the best is yet to come. I don't know what my future holds but now I believe in my heart the best is ahead of me instead of behind me .

If I had to tell you 12 things that I have learned on this journey that you can apply in your life regardless of who you are or what you do I would say this:

1)Forgive: Even when your situation is difficult, try to forgive and try not to take it as a personal attack on you or on the person you are. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and remember that this is hard for them too even if they don’t show it.

2)Forgive yourself: We all go through emotional times….so if you make mistakes or if you made mistakes try to learn from them and forgive yourself.

3)Don’t dwell on the wrong. If there are negative things that have been done to you do not go over them over and over in your mind and say “How could they have done this to me!”
As Elsa says “Let it go”

4)Keep moving forward. Keep looking forward. You can’t move forward looking backward. Stop thinking about yesterday and start thinking about today and tomorrow.

5)Remember your value. You are an amazing person. You have wonderful qualities and gifts than no one else does.

6)We all make mistakes…don’t let yours define you.

7) Don't judge others. This is probably the hardest one but don't judge other people for what they did or didn't do or how they did it. We are all doing the best we can.

8)Find something to be grateful for every single day. Even if you have to dig deep to find it try live with a heart of gratitude. It will change you, it will make you appreciate the little things and it will make you stronger.

9)You will get through this. You are strong enough.

10)This is only a chapter of the book it is not the end of your story.

11)When the world is not being kind to you, make an effort to do something kind for someone else.

12) Be an encourager not a discourager and as momma (and Thumper) always said "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all"

So that’s really the short version of this journey but I do want to share some links with you of my favorite Brave Girl Posts and I hope you will check them out.
Their Soul School Classes are life changing.
It doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe, women of all beliefs can embrace the lessons of Brave Girls Club.

You Will Fly Again 
Here is the Youtube video version if you don't like to read:
You Will Fly Again
Since then I have found two new favorites:

Life Goes on Even if We Don't Feel Like We Can

Here a couple of my favorite Truth Cards I created in Soul Restoration