nannyChoosing someone other than a family member or friend to care for your children in your absence is one of the most difficult decisions a parent can make.  To help us in thinking about this critical choice, here is a list of the top ten things to hope for in a nanny:

Ten:  You want your nanny to be reasonably strong and agile.  Watching kids is strenuous work.  Your nanny should be up to the task.

Nine:  You want your nanny to cook well.  There’s no need for a gourmet chef, but you don’t want someone who can’t handle the basics of food preparation.

Eight:  You want your nanny to be tidy.   You don’t need a maid, but you want a nanny who keeps the areas around your little one clean and doesn’t wreck your home.

Seven:  You want your nanny to be self-assured.  Kids emulate personality traits.  You’ll want yours to learn confidence.

Six:  You want your nanny to be creative.  You don’t want someone who sticks to the same routine every day.  Children crave variety and imaginative inspiration.

Five:  You want your nanny to be chatty.  Babies need verbal stimulation to develop their minds.  You want a nanny who talks to your baby as much as you do.

Four:  You want your nanny to have a good memory and presence of mind.  Absentmindedness is okay for professors, not so okay for caregivers.

Three:  You need someone who is consistently reliable.  Half of life is showing up, and you need your nanny to do so.

Two:  Judgment, judgment, judgment!  You need your nanny to have excellent judgment in every situation.

And the number one thing to hope for in a nanny is:

You need your nanny to love your children.

Don’t be threatened by this last hope.  Your nanny will never be your child’s parent.  Only you can be that.  Ideally, your nanny will form a relationship with your child, one that may outlast the limited parameters of employment.   Let’s all hope our children have as many special relationships in their lives as good fortune, and good parenting, can provide.


workathomeSurely numerous articles have been written about the challenges of working at home with young children, but anyone who attempts “actual productivity” with kids on hand knows you need every bit of help and reassurance you can get. With that in mind, here, for what they’re worth, are three thoughts on the topic:

First off, you’ll need complete flexibility in your computing power. If you really want to work efficiently, you can’t be tied to a desktop, or even a laptop. You’ll want as many options as you can afford. Tablets and smart phones can be extremely useful on the go and in the various rooms in your home, and not just for social media and answering emails. You can, and you will, draft substantive material on your phone if you have to. Make use of your phone’s notes and recording functions. Your kids will need you to be in a thousand places at once, and you’ll need to get work done in most of them. Be as mobile as possible, and you’ll actually get something accomplished.

Second, if at all possible, don’t take sensitive calls when your young ones are awake. You know this, but when the pressure mounts, you’ll try anyway, and you’ll regret it. You can’t rely on the mute button for conference calls. Your input will no doubt be called upon at the worst possible moment. You’re way better off managing expectations than having your toddler melt down while you’re on the phone with an important client.

Third, manage your own expectations. You’re juggling here, and some of the balls you’re juggling — your kids — are little people with their own agendas, and those agendas have nothing to do with the project you’re currently working on. Most parents who work at home will admit that at times they get frustrated and angry when their children act up. But such behavior is to be expected. We all know this, of course, but we need to remind ourselves every day: They are children, and we should expect that they will act up often. If we go into the day with the right expectations, we’ll be much more apt to handle the sometimes insane situations our kids can create.


Pair of twinsDue in part to the advances in fertility treatments, more and more parents are having twins these days. It’s no longer unusual for a kindergarten class to have two or more sets of two. Here are some helpful pointers for navigating the challenges of double-duty parenthood. (Many of these tips apply to the challenges of raising newborns in general.)

We’re Both Hungry!

If you’re trying to juggle a career and two tiny ones, you’ll need all the convenience you can find. One great help, depending on whether or not you’ll be bottle feeding and on what formula your babies require, is to use “two ounce nursers”. They’re basically little disposable premade bottles; you open them up and pop on a disposable nipple. When you have two babies to feed, especially in the early months, you don’t want to spend too much time mixing formula and cleaning bottles. You may be given a few of these nursers in the hospital after delivery. The supply you get in the hospital will soon run out, but you can order more online.

Another trick, for when your twins are a few months old, is the use of the Podee Baby Feeding System. This is a conventional baby bottle attached to a flexible tube; at the end of the tube is a nipple. Long before your babies can hold their own bottles, they can keep these nipples in their mouths. Podee bottles are incredibly helpful when you need to feed two crying babies at once, and they’re also useful for traveling. You can find them on Amazon.

Out For a Walk

When it’s time to take two little ones out for a stroll, you’ll need a convenient and practical stroller. You have a choice between side-by-side twin strollers and front and back versions. One thought on the selection: The side-by-side strollers, due to their extra width, are sometimes difficult to navigate in tight spots.

In the Car

If you have the option, don’t place your babies’ car seats right next to each other. You’d be surprised at how soon that causes trouble (e.g., by one twin inadvertently tossing a rattle into the other’s face). Of course, you’ll want them interacting a lot; that’s the magic of twins. But when driving you can’t intervene very easily and you’ll want to keep as much control as possible.

One More Tip

Don’t worry. Your babies are going to get more than enough attention. Enjoy the ride!