"Welcome to The Guilt Free Parent"

Here you'll find quick & easy ideas for making everyday life as a parent a little less hectic.

Change the Way You Introduce Yourself & Gain Self Confidence

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

As women, it can be easy to use certain words to downplay and minimize what we do, or even who we are.  Maybe we do this to make others feel more comfortable.  Perhaps we might be self-conscious about the role we’ve chosen to play.  Additionally, we may not even be completely aware that we’re doing so in the first place.

One word that demonstrates this sneaky minimizing effect is “just”.  We may say, “I’m just a housewife”, “just a stay at home mom”, or in my case, “just a nanny”.  It seems harmless enough, but in reality, it can shape how you and others see you.  It’s as if you are saying that you are only (another restrictive word) one thing, and that thing is something you’re a little bit ashamed of.

One of the first things someone may ask when you meet them here in L.A. is “what do you do?”  Asking about your profession can be a quick way for someone to get a glimpse of who you are.  Answering that question has always made me feel a little uncomfortable.  Among the production assistants, tech gurus, and aspiring actors, saying that I’m a nanny makes me feel a little beneath the people I’m talking to.  Here I am in the land of glitz and glamor, and I spend my days wiping noses and changing diapers. I have tried to find a more creative way to describe my career, but I often end up saying, “I’m just a nanny”.  It’s said almost as an apology, and I’m left feeling a little bit like “the help”. I get the sense that people are judging my intelligence and the decisions that led me to be what some may consider a glorified babysitter.

I’m not JUST a nanny.  Deep down I know that I’m much more than that.  I have an incredibly unique background, a vibrant life, and make a huge difference in the lives of those I work with.

  • I spend my days teaching little minds to think BIG, and that anything is possible.
  • I show them that life is full of surprises and joy.
  • I’m in charge of their safety, health, and happiness.
  • I’m trusted with people’s flesh and blood so that they can go out and pursue their dreams.

I don’t say any of this to puff myself up and boost my ego, but to acknowledge the reality and value of what I do.  In doing so, my hope is to encourage you to gain confidence in yourself and what you do.

Think about how you really feel when it comes to what you do for a living.  Are there any underlying fears or disappointments that you are hiding from yourself?  Does the way that you describe your work give others permission to think or feel or treat you a certain way?  What would it be like if you decided to make the conscious decision to do one of more of these things?

  • Realize that you are not defined by a single description.  There is value and depth to your being.
  • Be confident in the choice(s) you’ve made to do what you do – whether that’s stay home with your child, go back to work, or switch careers.
  • Find the value in what you do, and even if you don’t tell others, tell yourself.

Are there any words that you find yourself using to describe yourself that you wish you could remove from your vocabulary?  How can you change the way you talk about yourself to encourage others to respect and appreciate what you do?  If you describe yourself as “just” something you’ve subliminally influenced the person with whom you’re speaking to before they can come to their own conclusion.

Making the simple change to remove subtle key diminishing words like “just” can create a stronger first impression when meeting new people, and hopefully help you walk a little taller, too.

From now on when someone asks me what I do, I’m going to proudly say, “I nanny for a living”.

As always, I’d love to hear from my lovely readers with any feedback or suggestions.  missnannyshanny@gmail.com

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Save Your Back – Spend Less Time Picking up Toys

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Home Organization | 1 comment

The kids are asleep, dinner dishes are “soaking” in sink, and you’re finally getting a chance to catch up on the DVR. Before you become a permanent fixture on the sofa for the rest of the night, you decide it’s time to head to bed. A quick glance around the room shows a pile of books your 3 year old pulled off the shelf, your husbands shoes where he kicked them off, jackets that didn’t quite make it to the coat rack…this goes on and on. 
You’re exhausted and it seems like a never ending (and thankless) job keeping the house picked up.

I’m a huge follower of FlyLady over at flylady.net She’s been teaching home and life organization to women for years. One of her tips for keeping everyday clutter at bay is a 5 minute Room Rescue. It’s as simple as it sounds; for 5 minutes pick up and put away those things left lying around in each room. This is an effective way to leave your house looking pulled together, and it’s great for when you’re expecting company.

Now I don’t know about you, but there are some times when I can’t imagine spending 15-20 minutes walking around putting away things at the end of the night. I can barely manage to brush my teeth and wash my face.

So let’s take baby steps to going gung-ho on that clutter by picking up THREE things. That’s it! Just doing this basic act can start the ball rolling.

It’s easy for me to be in the bathroom and go “ok, let me just put away the hairbrush, my makeup bag, and this dirty towel”.   I’ve noticed that once I’ve made the effort to clean off a few things, I’m more likely to decide to take a quick swipe with a paper towel and bathroom cleaner to clean out the sink.  Now, don’t guilt yourself into thinking you have to spend the next hour cleaning every surface in your bathroom.  The three things you’ve put away are enough for now.  If you want to take an extra 30 seconds to give things a once over, great.  And if this inspires you to do a little more than that, it’s okay.  But, if there’s a herd of wild children peeking under the door asking when you’re going to be out, put away three things and get back on with life.

Something I discovered as I experimented with this little life hack is that by paying attention to putting away just three things, I was more likely to put stuff away in the first place.  Picking up after ourselves makes such a HUGE difference in battling the war on clutter.  It can be hard to do with a million things going on around us, but by putting something away as soon as we’re done with it, where it belongs, it can really make cleaning up a helluva lot easier.

If you have a hard time getting stuff to fit in a drawer, or feel like there’s just not enough room, it may be time to do a purge of all that stuff.  Check out Fly Lady for great ways to start.

So take a second to look around.  Are there three things you could put away right now?

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The Keys to a More Effective To-Do List

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Time Management | 0 comments

There will ALWAYS be more to do at the end of the day.  By setting priorities for what truly matters to you and your family, you can go to bed knowing that you got done what was necessary and important to you.

Here’s what my usual to-do list would look like:

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These are all things that I WANT to or feel like i SHOULD get done (in 4.5 hours I have before I start work).

 

A great way to prioritize more effectively is to write out your list and then divide it into two categories.

Category 1 is What absolutely HAS to be done BY ME today.

- Those things that, if not done today will cause financial consequences and/or have a dire effect on your family’s well being and happiness.  The task can not be reassigned to someone else and can ONLY be done by you (pay rent, appointments that directly affect your health…)

We often feel that everything has to be done by us right away, but often if we really examine our list we can see that very few things have a do or die deadline and not everything has to be done by us (I really struggle with this concept; I mean, it’s just easier to do it myself).

Category 2 is the rest

- Yes, that pile of laundry is driving you crazy and has practically started it’s own twitter account (@neverfolded), but if it doesn’t get tackled today it won’t be the end of the world.  This is where we can stretch our delegation muscles.  Assign older children age-appropriate tasks; you’ll be surprised what they can do.  Get the whole household in on the spirit of being a team.  Together you are all responsible for the care and upkeep of the home you share.  You may not feel that you’re kids need chores, but think about the last time you were still awake at midnight loading the dishwasher.  Wouldn’t it be nice to head to bed without feeling utterly exhausted?

            Examples: laundry (unless there’s an event that REQUIRES an item be cleaned immediately), taking out the trash, organizing your freezer, making a detailed meal plan with shopping list full of organic, Paleo-approved items…

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Check out that left column!  Such a more manageable list.  I was able to get all of this done, and even managed to squeeze in some time to work on this here blog.  The stuff on the right does need to be addressed, but none of it is going to be the end of the world if I don’t get to it immediately and I’m able to go bed knowing that I did what was absolutely necessary for our family.

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The 3 year old helping fold some laundry (he loved doing it too!).

As you get things done quickly and efficiently (since you’re not bogged down by a super long list) you may find that you have the time and energy to complete some stuff off Category 2’s side.

You’ll be surprised at how much more you’ll actually get done with this method. As an added bonus, the guilt of procrastinating on certain tasks will disappear because you’ll be tackling them first.

I wish you a week of feeling accomplished and unburdened.  Let me know how it turns out!  missnannyshanny@gmail.com

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Communicating with Your Spouse About the Schedule

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Time Management | 1 comment

Do you have days when you feel like nothing you set out to do is getting done?  Does it often feel like you’re behind before you even get started?

Between chores, errands, cooking, & cleaning it’s hard not to feel like something gets left undone.

I want to show you how you can conquer the clock and become confident that you’re giving your children all the love and attention they need.  Let’s not waste any time and get down to how to control your calendar.

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As a full time nanny for the past 6 years, I’ve gotten a “behind the scenes” look at parenting couples, and the issues that they face – not only as parents, but also in their own relationships.  One thing that many couples struggle with is a lack of communication.  This can seriously throw a wrench in how smoothly your day runs.

Be sure to talk to your spouse.  Let them know what’s coming down the pike for the next week.

There are lots of ways to communicate with each other these days, but it often feels like we are more disconnected than ever.

     – Shoot each other a text if an event comes up that needs to be added to the calendar.

     – Have a shared calendar on your smart phone and add the event to the calendar so you are both aware of the commitment.

     – And please for the love of God, check with your spouse BEFORE saying yes to something to see if there are any time conflicts.

By communicating with your partner you’ll be able to adjust the schedule if necessary and hopefully delegate drop offs, errands, or homework duty accordingly.  By managing your time more effectively you can feel less harried, less stressed, and be free to be a more patient, engaged, and confident mother.

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**Note:  Timing is everything when it comes to going over the calendar and coordinating schedules.  Right when you’ve walked in the door from work and the kids are clamoring for dinner and/or asking for help with homework is not the ideal time to sync schedules.  Find a calmer moment, and it’s more likely that everyone will remember just what it is that they’re supposed to do tomorrow at 3:45.

What’s the most frustrating thing you deal with when it comes to managing your calendar with your partner?  Let me know at missnannyshanny@gmail.com

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