ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A ‘REAL-LIFE MARY POPPINS’??

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A ‘REAL-LIFE MARY POPPINS’??  Guess what?  They do exist! Okay, okay, it was a choice actually between finding a Millionaire (so you needn’t have to go back to work), or a Mary Poppins. Mommy Wellness soon discovered that finding a millionaire is like looking for a needle in a haystack, so we opted for the easy route and looked into the aspect of Nanny Services. There are loads of them, offering a host of services and all aimed at making the working Mom’s life so much easier. Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when many young Moms will be faced with the daunting thought of having to return to work.  Maybe we should have looked a little harder in the haystack! But hey ho, hey ho, it’s off to work you go!  Let’s face it, it is one of the hardest decisions to make, when having to hand over your little one into someone else’s care.   And this is where Mary Poppins comes into the story. Concern, sadness, worry and sometimes even guilt, tug at the heartstrings and choosing someone to take your place during your working day seems an almost impossible task. So, Moms will obviously pull out every stop when it comes to handing their child over to someone that they can trust, who will have been carefully screened and referenced for security purposes. Fortunately, as the phenomenon of Moms returning to work has become almost a norm, there are various options and choices available and many reputable Nanny Agencies, which provide well-qualified and nurturing Nannies.   By the way  Whilst being pampered at any of the Mommy Wellness Day Spas, Moms and Dads can rest at ease that their little ones will be well cared for by one of our capable personnel. The children will be kept busy with neurological and sensory integration activities and through play, attention is given to physical, perceptual and creative development. This service needs to be pre-booked when planning a pamper session at a Mommy Wellness Day Spa.   So, back to Nanny Services - What’s the first step?  It is always a good idea firstly to think about your child.  Think about his or her temperament, personality and the way in which they handle change. Does he or she have any special needs?  Then work out how these aspects will affect your working schedule and finances. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer, as all families and routines are different.  Choosing the most suitable nanny to enhance your and your family’s lifestyle is most important.   TO EACH HIS OWN  As in all competitive businesses, every Nanny Service Agency has a different way of operating, striving to render the best and most professional services to their clients. Mommy Wellness looked at the general way in which Agencies work (without including all bells and whistles which the individual Agencies offer).   This is generally how it works, (but not limited to):
  • You approach the Nanny Service Agency with information regarding your and your child’s specific needs
  • The Agency conducts interviews and the initial screening of Nanny applicants
  • Information on applicants who are qualified for the position is supplied to the family by the Agency
  • The final choice and appointment is made by the family who is requiring Nanny services
  • A placement fee is paid by the family to the Agency
  • Salary and benefits are negotiated between the family and the Nanny chosen for the appointment
  • The Nanny’s salary is paid by the family
A reputable Agency will always conduct careful screening and base their selection on prospective Nannies who display common sense, good judgement, patience and energy. Obviously, this is a huge consideration, as the safety and security of your child is a top priority. The choice of Nanny should include their ability to stimulate your child with toys, games and outdoor activities, not forgetting meal and rest times. Depending on the negotiations with your new Nanny, some will even perform light housework and chores, particularly related to your child.  Ie. Laundry, bathing, etc.   THE ADVANTAGES OF NANNY SERVICES:
  • You have more control You are only working with one person and able to direct your Nanny as to what your child will do during the day.  It enables you to keep your child in a set routine when it comes to naps, snacks and playtime. Ask for detailed daily reports and have her send a few pics during the day so that you are still able to experience part of the fun. (And bonus, you won’t need to clean up the mess afterwards).
  • Nanny Cams For added peace of mind, it may be an idea to install a Nanny Cam, obviously with the Nanny’s knowledge.  Discuss your reasons for doing so and reassure her that it is also your way of being able to participate in your child’s daily activities from a distance.
  • Personal attention and no competition Nannies provide a single attachment figure.  This provides the child with the security needed, particularly those children who may have strong reactions to new situations and unfamiliar people. The Nanny focuses solely on the child’s needs and competing for attention will not be of any concern.
  • A little breathing space A child-free commute to work often allows that essential ‘ME-TIME’, during which to plan your day, prepare for an important meeting or just turn up the music volume. Yes, you are entitled to! It can be quite liberating when leaving home with a laptop instead of a nappy bag or toddler rucksack! Breathing space also means that should by chance you have forgotten to put the casserole in the oven, it’s easy to call home and ask your Nanny to help, or not having to take off work when you need a plumber, etc.  Depending on your arrangement, most Nannies will even assist with light housework, kids’ meals and laundry.
  • There is always a back-up plan Nannies also get ill.  Nannies also need leave.  When using the services of a reputable Nanny Agency, you will avoid having to find your own back-up plan. The Agency will usually be able to supply an appropriate ‘stand-in’ during your regular Nanny’s absence. You could discuss this option during your initial communication with the Agency.
Yes, it is going to be tough for the first few days, maybe even weeks.  Once settled and back in the swing of things, you will look back and think: “what was that all about”?  Given the opportunity, children adapt far quicker than parents. Mommy Wellness is sure that you will be pleasantly surprised!
Read more...

First Day Of School

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

No matter how much it tugs at every heartstring, the first day of school is unavoidable - For kids AND Parents! “JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL” The time has arrived.  Be it dread or relief for you as a parent, your baby is moving on! Parents have little to no choice when it comes to the responsibility of ensuring their child’s education. This could, of course, include home-schooling, which if the case, will probably also turn your household routine upside down.  At least though, you will be spared the trauma that goes with dropping your child off for the first day at school. Whether off to pre-school, Grade R or the first year of primary school, for some reason ‘GUILT’ always seems to be the first emotion Moms and Dads experience. As an example, now would not be the time to beat yourself up about the fact that you were not able to take your (now school-going) toddler or child for ice cream, whilst your new-born was screaming with colic! There will be plenty of ‘makeup’ time if you plan well and come to terms with the fact that this is just the next stage of your child’s progress. Separation Anxiety is something most if not everyone suffers when even thinking about leaving your ‘little darling’ in the care of someone unfamiliar and in a totally strange place for the first time. No, you won’t be there when they graze their knees, and worse, you won’t be there if they even just feel that need for your encouragement or loving touch.  These two thoughts alone already trigger that ugly feeling of guilt we mentioned earlier. Just remember, hundreds of thousands of kids and parents have been and will be going through these feelings, many at the exact time as what you will. The bottom line is that as a responsible parent, you merely and importantly are fulfilling your obligation of giving your child an education and the social grounding which is essential for development, progress and success in the big, competitive world that awaits.   Let’s talk a little about over-coming Separation Anxiety on the first day at school Preparing your child for the first day at school can greatly reduce Separation Anxiety, which you or your child or both, may experience when parting ways for the first time.   Ahead of time It may be worthwhile if possible, considering a few of the following suggestions:
  • Introduce your child to common school activities like drawing and storytelling
  • Plan a visit to the classroom once or twice to familiarise your child with the new environment and if possible, arrange a brief introduction with the Teacher. This will allow them to form an initial relationship and it will be apparent that you trust and are at ease with the Teacher taking care and control.
  • A really nice touch is to get your child a digital watch.  Not only will it make them feel all grown up, but will also give them reassurance when they check, that you will be fetching them soon!
  It's Time To Haul out Your 'Big Girl Broekies' For The Occasion As difficult as it may seem, it’s time to put on those ‘big girl broekies’ for the big day. You need to wear your bravest, calmest and happiest face, as the more confidence you display, the more confident your child will feel. Also, don’t be tempted to ‘sneak’ away if you see that your child is pre-occupied. ALWAYS say “goodbye” and offer reassurance by saying something like “see you later”.  This maintains trust. Once you have said your “goodbye”, don’t linger longer.  Leave promptly, as a long farewell will only reinforce their concern that school might be a bad place. Mommy Wellness understands that by the time you reach your car or arrive home, you will probably feel exhausted and as though you are falling apart. It’s perfectly understandable and hey, it’s okay to shed a few tears on this emotional day!
Read more...

Money Wise & Mommy Wellness. Budgeting for 2020.

Money Wise & Mommy Wellness Quite coincidental that Mommy Wellness shares the same initials on this important and interesting topic, don’t you think? Crackers and Water for the rest of January? PROBABLY! It is not unusual during the month of December to spend excessively, running up credit cards or spending money that we don’t really have at our disposal.  (We won’t dare mention that crackers and water may also be the answer to losing some of those unwanted kilos which seem to have piled on from nowhere), so that’s another topic for another month! January is never plain sailing for many or most households. Mommy Wellness thought it a good idea therefore, to share some ‘doable’ ideas on how to save cleverly during the year. Hopefully some will help avoid another dreaded January but just as importantly, help save enough as a family towards an awesome year-end holiday! Banking statistics show that although South Africans on the whole display a healthy appetite to save, the current economic situation in which we found ourselves is sadly suppressing the hunger pains. Alarmingly, household savings have declined tremendously since the 1980’s and South Africans are currently only able to save on average, 28 cents per disposable Rand available. Recently, certain banks have introduced an innovative idea to save ‘left over’ change when customers swipe or use debit cards at point of sale terminals, without ‘feeling the pinch’ and with no strings attached. What a great idea to encourage a renewed savings mentality! It generally works along these lines: Transactions are rounded up to the nearest R1,00, R2.00, R5,00, R10.00 or R20.00, depending on the client’s requirements. The purchase amount is then rounded up to the client’s specification and the difference is then transferred (usually free of charge), into a linked Savings Account. Transfers between the Savings and Cheque accounts are also permitted and are also usually free of bank charges. Let’s face it, how much easier or ‘pain-free’ can saving be? You will be totally amazed at how much you can save by applying this saving method with your bank. Little by Little and also 'Pain-Free' Some of us still prefer the old method of ‘under-the-mattress stashing’!  Okay, maybe not, but using a built-in safe at home perhaps, where you can keep a beady eye on what’s coming in and what’s going out. Take a look at day-to-day household expenses and try changing just a few habits (yes, they are habits), like switching off the lights when leaving a room as an example This simple method of saving has been tried and tested!  It WORKS!! Start off by ‘stealing’ R10 from your pay cheque once a week for the first month. Put it far away and out of reach! Increase it to R20 the next month to R30 the next month and so on. Every month, you increase the amount by R10 per week, which if you come to think about it, is truly not excessive.  (Start by excluding the chocolate or crisps from your weekly shopping). By starting in January with R10.00 per week and increasing it by R10.00 per week every month, you should have potentially saved R2 640 by the end of November. Come on, how easy is that?  And just in time for a little Christmas shopping expedition too! Just a few arbitrary ‘use or lose’ tips, especially at this time during these annoying power outages:
Read more...