Tag Archives: granny nanny

Teacher Accused of Putting Sleeping Pills into Toddler’s Sippy Cups

Anyone else outraged about this news story?

For parents and many grandparents, the idea of entrusting precious babes to strangers is pretty terrifying – I know it was for me.

The comments on this news story magnify the investment grandparents also have in the quality of care for their grandchildren.


When I talk with other families who have a multigenerational household or have grandparents as caregivers (aka – granny nannies), the top reasons are:

  • More flexibility with childcare schedule.
  • Feeling more comfortable and secure with a family member caring for the child.
  • Less guilt, for the working parent (typically the mom), about being away from the child.
  • Easier to trust that love will prevail – even in the most challenging childcare situations.
  • The grandparent will not drug the kids to take a nap! (Ok – it’s not that specific – but parents feel the grandparents will not intentionally harm the grandchild.)

Nanny News Network lists 10 great reasons why a Granny-as-Nanny could be a potential option if it hasn’t crossed the minds of parents seeking childcare.

Having a granny nanny may not work for many families – or it may not even be a viable option due to health of grandparents, relationship issues, location/proximity, level of childcare needs, and other factors.Anytime a parent entrusts their child to a caregiver – they are always taking a chance.

The biggest thing, I think, parents should remember is to always trust their intuition when it comes to their children.



During one of my recent presentations on Grandparents as Caregivers, I discussed ways to turn power struggles, between parents and grandparents, into empowering alliances.

As parents, we all have skills, values, ideas, and a vision we bring to the table. When parents elect to invite grandparents to be caregiving partners – or when grandparents elect to step up and in as caregiving partners – the skills, values, ideas, and visions can create a deluge of over-the-topness.

The parents and grandparents love and are committed to the child/children in these caregiving situations, but without the proper strategy or plan – the caregiving ideals become too concentrated causing parents and grandparents to dig their heels in and hoard power or control.

Parents and grandparents have to be open and honest about the way they envision and see their caregiving partnership playing out. They have to be willing to own and express their apprehensions about joining this caregiving partnership. They also have to be clear on how their needs mesh with that of the parents, grandparents, and the child/children.

This may sound scary, complicated, and un-fun – but it doesn’t have to be.  We all know parenting can be challenging and rewarding. When parents and grandparents are empowered in this caregiving partnership, their collaborative efforts can inspire and motivate each other. They can tap into their inner wisdom and share ideas from a place of openness and love – instead of from a place of power and control. The caregiving partners can tap into their unique energy to positively impact the daily life of the child/children – as well benefiting from the byproducts of teamwork (between the parents and grandparents) as they grown, learn, and nurture their connection to the child/children.

In order for empowering alliances to work effectively, the following should be in place:

Set some norms.  No one likes to be blindsided when they are in a caregiving partnership. Creating norms for communication, scheduling, compensation…and whatever criteria you need on your list, should be established right away. The list of norms does not have to be long. The norms have to be specific and doable. They need to empower the caregiving partners to be safe while building and nurturing the empowering alliance.

Be clear about roles and responsibilities. The worse thing caregiving partners can do is be well intentioned while tripping over each other and then wondering what happened.  Make a list of what the partners feel are their best parenting/caregiving talents and strategies.  Decide which talents and strategies are needed at the time – for the caregivers and the needs/age of the child/children . Then create a roles and responsibilities checklist or poster.

Meet regularly. Meetings can be face-to-face, conference all style, or virtual (email, skype, etc.). Select what works best for your caregiving partnership.

In our multigenerational nest, we have a caregiving partnership meeting 1-to-2 times a month (2 times when things are bit busier and more likely to cause a rift). Our meetings involve hubby, my mother-in-law, and me. They take place after dinner and don’t involve my children. We discuss upcoming events, needs, and any changes we need to make to keep things flowing smoothly. If there are any conflicts or grumblings – based on our norms – we have agreed to speak in “I” statements and then work to find a solution to the grumbling. We don’t focus on who caused it – we focus on how the grumbling surfaced and what to do to alleviate it.

Cross train. In some caregiving partnerships, you may have 2 parents and 2 grandparents – or 1 parent and 4 grandparents – or 2 parents and 1 grandparent. The point is, the make-up of who is on your caregiving team can look a variety of ways. Based on this, it is important the caregiving team members know and understand the roles of all the caregiving partners. Leave room to create ways for information flow and caregiving apprenticing to take place. This will keep the caregiving team functioning well and the empowering alliance will grow stronger.

Celebrate often. Caregiving is not always easy. It’s also not always easy for parents to share their parenting role or for grandparents to rethink their parenting role. As you develop and build your empowering alliance – celebrate small and large successes. Acknowledge what is working and thank each other for a job well done. Celebrate what makes your caregiving partnership unique and vibrant. Notice the daily joys and empowerment that radiates through your caregiving partnership.

How have you built an empowering alliance in your caregiving situation?

I’d love to hear your ideas and tips.


photo credit


Too stressed to have sex?

Cleaning out your inbox for your work email takes a bit of time, especially when you let things pile up. (Whoops!)

During this clean-up process, I came across an email thread between a working mother friend and me. The email message was from March, and you’re probably wondering why I would still have that in my inbox. Well, a big chunk of the thread was about sex.

My friend, let’s call her Sally, sent me a link to a blog post entitled New Study: Working Parents Too Stressed to Have Sex.

What? Yes, I was going to have to read this post right away.

Sally and I both agreed as working mothers we are both stretched and sometimes wearily look at our task lists. Neither of us is overly concerned about the state of our houses. Neat is good, immaculate is overrated – so we feel liberated in not keeping that front going. Sally and I live in different states and we have leaned on each other by sending text messages to help get us to the gym and applying some friendly peer pressure.

We both have leadership positions in our work organizations, and Sally feels a tad bit more stressed than I do in this area because she’s in a male-dominated field. To combat this, Sally has contracted me to do some leadership coaching.

We agreed that sometimes we are overly plugged into work through technology, so we have been encouraging each other to have some “unplugged” downtime – such as dinner, exercise time, time out with friends, wooing the spouse moments,  cocktail hour, and bath/story time.

As we discussed this blog post, we were both patting ourselves on the back for being open and honest about the aforementioned challenges. We were thrilled neither of us were trying to wear a super-working-mother cape because that is not who we are trying to be. We want as much work/life balance as possible, thriving families, girls’ nights out, and healthy relationships with our respective spouses.

Then Sally went back to this section from the article:

“This survey finds that despite successful careers, our work is impacting our personal lives in unhealthy ways.  Working moms, particularly those with young children, are exhausted and stressed by a workday that for many never ends because we are tethered to technology 24/7,” Sachs said. “It’s no surprise that moms who are toting buzzing BlackBerries in their bags chock full of work emails, can feel tapped out and not eager for sex. Stress kills the libido.”  

Sally said to me,

“I’m not sure if I’m getting a gold medal in the bedroom.”

My response,

“Who said we needed to be Olympians in that area?”

This moved our email discussion to childcare challenges and how that does play into the on and off button of our libidos.

Sally has a full-time nanny and I have a full-time granny nanny (my mother-in-law). Sally does worry about her nanny getting sick or getting a better offer to work with another family. I have brief moments of worry that my mother-in-law may run off with a leather-clad motorcycle rider, but I’m sure she’d give me proper notice before she would leave her grandchildren.

If one of Sally’s children (she has two) is sick, Sally typically misses work because her husband is a key player in his organization, so it’s difficult for him to get away. If one of my kids is sick, my mother-in-law usually takes care of everything because (1) she ran an in-home daycare for many years, (2) she used to be an EMT (3) she raised three of her own kids and she knows exactly what to do, and (4) she is invested in helping my husband and me raise our children and not have to worry about childcare while we are at work.

Sally said she has considered having her own mother be a granny nanny, but she knows they could not live in the same house. I totally get that. I also know that multigenerational living is hard work and depending on how healthy that living arrangement is, a couple may or may not be going for the gold in the bedroom.

The wrap-up to my email thread with Sally ended with me saying, “Hey, you’ve got to set your own libido goals. Shoot for a realistic target and go for it. Don’t listen to a study to tell you how often you should be having relations with your husband.”

Sally’s response,

“So you’re saying I should take up archery?”

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Asking for help. {Do supermoms do this?}

My friend and I were talking about work travel and how nuts it can be when it comes up at the start of the school year.

Both of us are fortunate enough to have granny nannies to support us as we balance successful and busy careers, childcare (2 kids for me – 3 kids for my friend), and making sure our husbands are managing well in our absence.

My mother-in-law only had to manage my 12-year-old for one night while I was on my work trip. Hubby and the four-year-old were able to accompany me, so that was a nice perk.

My friend’s children haven’t started school yet, but they will start next week. In her case, her husband will be traveling for the entire week and she will have a lot of late nights at work. Her mother (aka granny nanny) will be stepping in to support additional childcare, but what about evening and witching  hours?

I told my friend it was OK to seek out additional help to support while her husband was traveling. Her response, “Don’t you think that is a bit indulgent since I already have my mother helping out?

{scratched record sound}


No, I do not think it’s indulgent to ask for additional help, and even it is – who cares? If you need more help, go get it.

My friend said she sees other working mothers handling all the work and parenting duties with no sweat. They have their acts together and manage things effortlessly with little to no help.

I told her there is always something more lurking behind the curtain. I’m sure there are a lot of “supermoms” out there who can get it all done without breaking a sweat. Hurrah and good for them.

Then there are the rest of us – me included – who want help, need help, and have no problem asking for help. I think I lose more when I buy into the myth that I can handle it all by myself. Nope – not true, and I will not put additional pressure on myself to make it true.

I asked my friend to tell me who told her it was wrong and indulgent to ask for more help while her husband was on travel? Her response, “Myself.

We spent the rest of our conversation brainstorming who she could reach out to and how she would talk to herself if the “indulgent talk” crept up again. We came up with a list that would calm her inner naysayer:

  1. I want more help and that’s OK.
  2. I deserve to take care of myself – this is not negotiable.
  3. Asking for more help allows me to take better care of myself – and my family.
  4. If anyone is judging me because of this – that’s their problem – not mine.
  5. Doing it all, by myself, is not the path I want to take.
  6. It’s OK to ask for help. (Needed to be repeated – in case the inner naysayer because boisterous.)

Do you ask for additional help when you want or need it? How does this make you feel?

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Guilty pleasures {Tiffani Thiessen + granny nanny}

One of my [many] guilty pleasures is to read the magazine, US Weekly. Yes, I read it every week and I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I also hold my good friend, Teresa, a tiny bit responsible for this indulgence because she renews my subscription each year for my birthday. (Thanks, girl!)

I always laugh at the “Stars – They’re Just Like US!” section of the magazine because the pictures are of the rich and famous doing mundane, non-glamorous, and day-to-day stuff. I read US Weekly to be transported to the land of the rich and famous, not to see celebrities sitting at the airport, shopping at Whole Foods, totting furniture, etc.

My slight disdain of “Stars – They’re Just Like US!” came to a screeching halt when I read this online article (not from US Weekly), Tiffani Thiessen Has a Granny Nanny, Do You?

Why yes, yes I do!

It seems Tiffani Thiessen (and it’s hard from me to forgo the Amber part of her name – since Saved by the Bell. YES, dating myself!) enlisted the help and support of her own mother, as a granny nanny, for the same reasons I have my mother-in-law living with us.

I didn’t want to be an insane parent and feel stretched all the time. I wanted to continue to grow my career and make sure my children were well taken care of. I knew I needed additional help with childcare due to my husband’s intense work schedule. My husband turned out well (with the exception of his socks never making it into the laundry basket) and my mother-in-law raised him – so that’s a definite plus in having her as a granny nanny.

The article goes on to reference the downturn in the economy, foster care, and various challenges that go into grandparents moving into the role of caregivers of grandchildren. I especially liked the mention of discipline vs. spoiling of children. I know all too well how that can be a challenge.

In my experience of having a granny nanny, here are the top things to consider:

  1. Know what type of parent you want to be and be OK with that
  2. Express this parenting style to your granny nanny (or granny manny) and actively listen to what he/she has to say
  3. Put all potential conflicts (based on #2) on the table and discuss them openly. You may need a coach or mediator to help with this.
  4. Decide, as a team, on core caregiving philosophies or techniques. Decide which are negotiable and non-negotiable.
  5. Have a  team meeting at least once a month to do a check-in. You want to make sure communication stays open and clear.
  6. Love and forgive each other – because we are all trying hard at raising happy, healthy, and thriving kids.

The most important take away, in my opinion, is when Julie Ryan Evans wrote,

“As unique as each family is, so is each grandparent’s relationship with their grandchildren. The most important for any of them, however, is open communication and a commitment to work together to do what’s best for the children regardless of any situation.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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Cupcake = Sweet multigenerational connections

Prior to going on vacation, work had been very busy and super intense. Some weeks ago, during lunch, I decided to exercise some self-help; I treated myself to a cupcake.

As I stood in line waiting to be served, the woman standing next to me leaned over and said, “I just love Tuesdays!” She went on to explain she came to the bakery each Tuesday to pick out two cupcakes; one for herself and the other for her two-year-old granddaughter.

Of course I smiled and wanted to know more about this sweet rendezvous. I asked what they did on cupcake Tuesday and this proud grandmother beamed and said they had tea (well the granddaughter had milk in her sippy), ate their cupcakes, and then went to the park.

And then this grandmother said something that made my heart skip a beat, “I feel so lucky to get this one-on-one time with my granddaughter. She’s my only one and it’s so great for me that I live with my daughter and her family.


I asked her how long they had this multigenerational living set-up (they were entering their 3rd year), what made them come to it, and any other multigenerational related question she was willing to answer.

Turns out she had grown-up with her maternal grandmother living with her family (mom, dad, herself, and two siblings). She knew after her own daughter married she would move to live with them to help with any grandchildren. She said she feels it’s the best gift she could provide for her daughter and son-in-law so they have time to nurture their marriage, cultivate their careers, and raise happy children.

I couldn’t talk fast enough as I described my own multigenerational household with this wise woman.

Then the conversation ended, we smiled, and she gave me a hug.

Yes, a cupcake helped me make a multigenerational connection and get my sugar fix!

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