Rockmybaby® Australia

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H-Appy Mum, H-Appy Baby?

Imagine being a parent in the 1950s? No smart phones or tablets, no blogs, Apps, or mumpreneurs? Wait! Most of these things didn’t exist when I had my first child in 2001! These changes were highlighted when I had my second child in 2012.

With an 11 year gap I found changes in the world of parenting astounding, and not only because cloth nappies were making a come-back! Techno-parenting had become the norm, but are we better off with all this technology at our fingertips? Let’s explore the pros and cons.

  1. Apps. “There’s an App for that” is a catchcry we often hear. I personally found that there wasn’t an App for everything which is why I developed The Baby Diaries, however there is an App for that now! There are some excellent lists floating around such as BornOnline’s “must-have Apps” for pregnant or new mums http://www.bornonline.com.au/category/technology/ Apps get my vote, especially those that replace pen and paper and help sleep-deprived parents remember important things like milestones.

Smart Phones and Tablets. Forget the 10 year gap, the Mums in 2014 Australian survey found that mums with a standard phone halved between 2012 and 2014, while those owning smartphones and tablets rose to 48%. Over half of all UK mums regard their smartphone as an “essential parenting tool” with 87% having smartphones. Don’t you wish you had shares in Apple? I love my iPhone BUT I make a big effort to put it down after hours to be present for my family. These devices are great, but you don’t want your children drawing pictures of mummy with her head in her phone. It’s a bit like chocolate – everything in moderation. You need to know when to stop and walk away from the fridge … umm the phone.

Social Media often gets a bad rap, particularly due to the damaging effects of cyberbullying, but social media has also opened doors for many time-poor mums, offering a vehicle to stay connected to friends and family. It can be a valuable information source and a wonderful way to share images and stories with loved-ones. Hands up if you’re on Facebook? Statistics suggest 99.5% of you put your hands up … and if you’re reading this in a public place there’s a good chance you’re getting strange glances (sorry). Funny glances or not, you’re definitely not alone, but I guess that’s the whole point.

Online Forums and groups – African Proverb say “it takes a village to raise a child”. Ok I’m hooked, but where is this village? Most of us are lucky to know the names of neighbours living two doors down. But let’s face it, parenting can be isolating at times, and more for some than others. This is where online forums and groups can play an important role in reducing isolation and increasing support. Postnatal depression becomes a very real, overwhelming and powerful influence for 15-20% of new mothers. Isolation and lack of support are some of factors that lead to PND however community support and contact with other parents can help manage and reduce the effects. Perhaps it’s not surprising that 70% of mums are engaged in online Forums or special interest groups.

Online Services. In days gone by expectant mums would attend antenatal classes with other expectant mums, often in a hospital environment. While many hospitals still offer this service, usually for a fee, there are a number of online antenatal programs where expectant mums logon and midwives provide information, advice and support. Similarly after baby arrived in the “old days” mums were encouraged to participate in Mothers Groups at Clinics where they met regularly to discuss any concerns, and baby would be checked by the attending Nurse. These groups have been replaced to an extent and we are now seeing an emergence of online “baby-specialists” offering information and advice about anything you can think of.

Having experienced both the in-person and online approach, I believe a combination of both are ideal. Online is a rich source of information, however the days of mothers groups were a great way to meet other mums, reduce isolation and, in my case, make lifelong friends. I still speak to these ladies most weeks only now we’re talking about the transition of our children into High School! Online is great, but don’t underestimate the power of in-person relationships.

So what did you decide? 1950’s or 2014? I know where my vote goes. Have a wonderful day … and come say hi on Facebook!

Tara O’Connell is Co-Founder and Director of The Baby Diaries, an App created to help parents across the globe keep track of baby’s daily feed, sleep, nappy routine, milestones, memories and notes. She developed The Baby Diaries concept in 2012 after the birth of her second child. Tara has a degree majoring in Psychology, a background as a CEO of a national not for profit, and runs her own consultancy assisting business and government with business and product development. http://www.thebabydiaries.com.au

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Rockmybaby Group founder honoured in Mumtrepreneur Awards.

Ursula Maidens has been announced as Winner of Best Online or Technology Business Category – Mumtrepreneur 2014 in New Zealand earlier this month.

Stephen England-Hall, CEO of Loyalty New Zealand which runs the Fly Buys programme, says the competition aims to recognize the additional trials Mumtrepreneurs need to overcome to achieve business success.

“The challenges for anyone running a business are huge and Mumtrepreneurs are handling the dual task of raising a family at the same time. There’s a lot of focus and energy needed and we thought it was high time that they were recognised and celebrated for their achievements.

There were five sub category awards up for grabs, including Best Product or Service, Best Online or Technology Business, Best Creative Business, Best Food and Beverage Business and the Southfuels Best Agri Business category.

Judged by a panel of experts including Trilogy co-founder Catherine de Groot, Creative HQ Deputy Chief Executive Tui Te Hau and Fly Buys CEO Stephen England-Hall.

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Ursula Maidens in the pink dress.

Jan Goldie – Lifestyle talked to  Fly Buys Chief Executive Officer Stephen England-Hall about the Best Online or Technology Business category:

What will you be looking for specifically in the ‘Best Online or Technology Business’ category? The judges will be looking for Mumtrepreneurs who have really embraced mobile, social media or web based tools to drive their business. The winner may be someone who runs a business solely online, a software developer or an app designer – someone who can show that their use of the web is a clear contributor to their success.

Won’t all category winners have a strong technology element, given the way business is carried out today? What will make a winner of this category stand out from other competitors? We’re after a business operator who has not only developed an online business or used technology to build their company, but who can show innovative thinking, strong financial performance and a clear vision for growth. We’re also interested in women who show strong leadership qualities in how they have overcome challenges in their business and personal lives.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur of the Year and Best Agri-business Bridgit Hawkins, Wellington/ Wairarapa, Regen Ltd http://www.nzregen.co.nz

Best Online or Technology Business Ursula Maidens, Hawkes Bay, Rockmybaby http://www.rockmybaby.co.nz, http://www.rockmybaby.com.au, http://www.rockmybaby.ch, http://www.rockmybabynannyagency.co.uk, http://www.rockmybaby.co.il  Offering home-based childcare, professional nannies and babysitters, Rockmybaby is one the largest childcare agency in New Zealand. Ursula started the company eight years ago and has built a nationwide and international brand, with franchises in Australia, Switzerland, Israel and the UK.

Best Creative Business Shona Grundy, Kingsland, Trigger Happy http://www.toonhero.com

Trigger Happy develops cutting-edge software for content creators on iPads. The company’s first product Toon Hero is an app that allows people of all ages to easily create their own animated stories without training or artistic ability. The app currently has over 120,000 fans on Facebook and is growing rapidly, attracting the attention of some of Hollywood’s top studios including Valve Corporation and Moonscoop.

Best Product or Service Diane Hurford, Devonport, Brolly Sheets Ltd http://www.brollysheets.co.nz Brolly Sheets sells high-quality waterproof bed-linen, a product Diane developed while toilet-training her children. The company started out with sales to friends and family but had since expanded into a multi-million dollar business, processing over 1,000 orders per month. Brollysheets has a strong online presence across the country, as well as Australia, the UK and USA.

Best Food and Beverage Sandra Finlay, Mairangi Bay, The Growth Collective http://www.ezlunch.co.nz

The Growth Collective is an online ordering system which links fresh food suppliers and local schools, meaning parents can order a low-cost and nutritious lunch for their kids. The company has grown to service over 57 schools around the country, more than 165,000 lunch orders, and has recently launched a new service called Kindo, making it easier for parents to pay for school fees, books, and uniforms.

 

 

 


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The tired mother’s creed

Take from Lisa-Jo Baker Blog page with her permission

For the days we are running on empty. For the days we just don’t think we have it in us to read one more story, play one more game of Uno, wash one more round of sheets. For the days when we think everyone else has it altogether. For the days we’re sure anyone else would do this job better. For those days. You know the ones .

Repeat after me:

  1. I shall not judge my house, my kid’s summer activities or my crafting skills by Pinterest’s standards.
  2. I shall not measure what I’ve accomplished today by the loads of unfolded laundry but by the assurance of deep love I’ve tickled into my kids.
  3. I shall say “yes” to blanket forts and see past the chaos to the memories we’re building.
  4. I shall surprise my kids with trips to get ice cream when they’re already in their pyjamas.
  5. I shall not compare myself to other mothers, but find my identity in the God who trusted me with these kids in the first place.
  6. I shall remember that a messy house at peace is better than an immaculate house tied up in knots.
  7. I shall play music loudly and teach my kids the joy of wildly uncoordinated dance.
  8. I shall remind myself that perfect is simply a street sign at the intersection of impossible and frustration in Never Never land.
  9. I shall embrace the fact that in becoming a mom I traded perfect for a house full of real.
  10. I shall promise to love this body that bore these three children – out loud, especially in front of my daughter.
  11. I shall give my other mother friends the gift of guilt-free friendship.
  12. I shall do my best to admit to my people my “unfine” moments.
  13. I shall say “sorry” when sorry is necessary.
  14. I pray God I shall never be too proud, angry or stubborn to ask for my children’s forgiveness.
  15. I shall make space in my grown up world for goofball moments with my kids.
  16. I shall love their father and make sure they know I love him.
  17. I shall model kind words – to kids and grown-ups alike.
  18. I shall not be intimidated by the inside of my minivan – this season of chip bags, goldfish crackers and discarded socks too shall pass.
  19. I shall always make time to encourage new moms.
  20. I shall not resent that last call for kisses and cups of water but remember instead that when I blink they’ll all be in college. ~ with love from one tired mother to another.

Written By Lisa- Jo Baker

Lisa-Jo Baker is the bestselling author of Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom, her writings on motherhood are syndicated from New Zealand to New York and you can catch up with her daily chaos at LisaJoBaker.com.

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And then there were 4!

My husband and I have two gorgeous boys. Our eldest is just over 2 and our newest addition is 3 months old!

People have been asking me what it is like going from one to two? The first word that comes to mind is that it is BUSY! Well of course it is busy, possibly a better word would be chaotic, challenging getting out the door on most days, tiring, there are a lot more nappies ( I honestly forgot how many nappies a little baby goes through) and generally someone always needs a new one just as you are about to walk out the door, much more washing, less time and it is more challenging as you have to meet both of your children’s needs.

And then there were 4!

I remember when I was pregnant I couldn’t imagine how I could love another child as much as my first born and found it hard to imagine going from the 3 of us to 4 of us.

However the warmth in your heart opens even more than you could possibly imagine and I get double the love with my beautiful boys. Seeing my eldest interact with his “baby brother” as he likes to call him is just so sweet and I truly know that giving him a sibling is a wonderful gift and I hope they will be really good friends or at least they will have someone to fight with.

Now that our second has come along I can’t imagine our life any other way.

I am certainly no super mum, some days are great and some days are perhaps more challenging and I don’t think that there’s any way to make a seamless adjustment from one to two children however I do have some tips that I would like to share:

1.SLEEP
You do forget how tiring it is having a newborn or perhaps you don’t really forget you may have just blocked it out. Try to sleep when the baby sleeps during the day. If there are days when you have both children getting a friend, family member, nanny or babysitter to entertain your toddler so that you can rest can make the world of difference. Also if you are able to get a night nanny or maternity nurse so that you can sleep especially in those early weeks can be wonderful.

Sleeping baby and mother

2.FORGET ABOUT COOKING
Crazy o clock is even more chaotic with two so not having to worry about cooking made such a difference. My husband is amazing and most days he walks in the door and makes dinner. Get your partner to make the dinner, order some pre cooked dinners which you literally need to heat up and throw a salad with can be great. Accept prepared meals from friends and family. One of my amazing friends made several portions of food and stocked our freezer which was very kind and much appreciated.

3.EMBRACE THE CHAOS
You will not get a chance to clean the house every day. Let’s face it some days it is a challenge to clean yourself. Some days you will just not get everything done but that is okay. Washing may sit on the line dry sometimes for days but it will get put away eventually.

The house may look like some form of war zone at times however as long as the children are safe, fed and happy it has been a good day.

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4.HAVING ME AND US TIME
I always remember my mum telling me that when you have children it is important to have some time away from your children and now I understand how important it is for your well being and to be a better parent. I never thought I would be excited to go to the supermarket alone! This does not count as me time! One is not the loneliest number.

A haircut, massage (now I really must make some appointments)!

Also your partner should also have some me time as they also are working hard and then it is all hands on deck when they get home.
We also can’t forget about US time and regular date nights. Contact Rockmybaby to book a babysitter so you and your
partner can have a child free night! Enjoy and maybe stay out until midnight! (yawn)

Me time

5.SPEND TIME WITH YOUR OLDER CHILD
It is a big adjustment for your eldest having a new addition as it is for the whole family.

Your older child who has been your baby, although they seem huge next to the baby is still your baby too and make sure you give them lots of cuddles and attention. Get your partner, family member, friend, nanny or babysitter  to look after the baby so that you can take your toddler out to the park, or on an adventure for some special mummy time.

And now that I have two children it is a lot easier to put things into perspective. The first time around I really didn’t know how fast it really goes. It really does and although some days are hard I wouldn’t change it for anything. Watching your children grow and develop is the most amazing thing in the world and enjoying every special moment.

Written By Mireille Blackmore

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Rockmybaby® Melbourne

Melbourne is renowned for hosting many special events throughout the year and is considered the sporting capital of Australia. Apart from the popular Aussie Rules Grand Final we host many international events including but not limited to the world famous Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington, the Australian Open and Formula 1 Grand Prix among others.

In 2013 we saw 1.83 million tourists visit Melbourne/Victoria and an increasing trend has parents travelling to these events with their children. Current tourism Victoria statistics indicate that the length of the stay is also increasing meaning that visitors will come to Melbourne for a major event but spend extra days  visiting the sites of the city or the state.

Child care is also evolving and it appears that travelling parents are now seeking the assistance of local agencies to book nannies and babysitters for their children while they attend these major events. This allows parents to enjoy the special event but continue to have quality time with their family during their stay.

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As a leading provider of babysitting and nanny services Rockmybaby® has experienced  double digit growth in bookings during special event periods in Melbourne with  many bookings coming from international guests staying in hotels in and around the city. As an agency we service all the major hotel chains including the exclusive Crown Towers in Southbank. Rockmybaby® also provides nannies and babysitters from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds ensuring international visitors can engage sitters that will use the language that their children are familiar with. Although sometimes challenging, to date we have been successful in placing all the special language childcare requests that have been requested of us.

We intend to increase our advertising and marketing presence during 2014 to further cater for these international sporting and or cultural events to ensure that we can accommodate the increasing demands for childcare during these special times.

Contact us directly 0800 900 735

Written by Rockmybaby®

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The Australian Nanny Association

ANA

The Australian Nanny Association has been in existence for the past 18 months and came about from the concern discussed by a number of women that were in the nanny business as nannies or owners of agencies.  They wanted the industry to become more professional and so they set about creating the new association. Their aims include bringing together the nanny community and educating nannies, families and the wider community on how the role has changed since the Elizabethan era. They want to increase recognition for nannies in the important role they play in the care of Australian Children.

Further to that, they want to lobby government, provide professional development and a set of minimum standards across the country.  For the Association to have the ability to share your voices and gain maximum exposure in the community, they are looking for new members who can feed into their processes.  They have been asked to prepare a submission for the Productivity Commission and have been instrumental in getting the plight of families looking at nannying as a viable childcare option, on the Governments agenda and in the local media.  Check out their Facebook page for more information.

The benefits for families, nannies and agencies are widespread and include being able to have your voice heard, participate in professional development, being able to post positions and contribute to the quarterly newsletter, post on their Facebook page and receive discounts on insurance and first aid courses for nannies. The professional development will be tailored to the needs of the industry and will take into account what the families are asking for as well as what the nannies themselves see as gaps in their training.  There are also a number of moves afoot to develop accredited training nationwide as there is a recognition that the standard Certificate III or Diploma in Childrens services does not include some of the idiosincricies associated with nannying in the home.

The recent AGM saw the Association adopt a Constitution and elect new representatives across agencies and nannies.  They are continuing to look for representatives from families and to make sure they have a voice across the board in each state.

We have a wonderful opportunity to support the Association and the industry and I invite you all to look at the benefits for you as a family, nanny or agency.

Written by Jen Bond

 


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Nanny Share – a real alternative to sitting on a childcare waiting list!

Having the flexibility of an in home childcare arrangement where you share the costs of employing a nanny with another family has many benefits including the fact that there are no waiting lists! Nanny share has become a popular childcare alternative as the squeeze on centre based childcare gets tighter and tighter in many areas throughout Australia, something that we hear a lot about from Rockmybaby® families in Newcastle, NSW.

 Nanny Share - Rockmybaby

What is Nanny Share?  Nanny share is where two or more families share the cost of employing a nanny. This can work especially well when the children are of a similar age and can be a wonderful way for them to play, socialise and rest in the home environment. Whilst under the care and guidance of a fully screened, experienced and dedicated Nanny, who has knowledge of child development and can plan appropriate learning experiences both at the home/s and on outings such as playgroup, library and park visits The location where the childcare takes place can alternate between each family’s home, for example, weekly or fortnightly.  This provides the opportunity for each family to take advantage of the extra benefits that employing a nanny can provide, e.g., nursery duties, children’s meal preparation and laundry to name a few.

So, how do you organise a Nanny share?  Contact your nearest Rockmybaby Nanny and Babysitting Agency!  You can come to us as a family looking for another family to share a nanny and we will match you with another family.  Alternatively you might already have another family in mind, who are keen to partake in a nanny share arrangement. Rockmybaby® only recruits the very best, saving you time and the stress of trying to select a nanny out of potentially hundreds of applications.  Once we have a thorough understanding of the job description and both families’ needs, we will invite our fully screened nannies to apply for the position.  Our consultants then assess each applicant’s suitability and send through CV’s for the families to review.  Rockmybaby® will then set up interviews and can provide guidance and on-going support to all parties throughout the recruitment process.

Nanny share really is a wonderful child care option with children (families and nannies) often forming wonderful friendships that can be on-going throughout school and beyond.

Written by Linda Dawson beautiful-nanny


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When Hiring a Nanny Goes Wrong

The pressure of finding a nanny in a hurry can cloud your judgement and make the final decision and hiring process a messy affair.

Finding a nanny using one of the many popular online sites that allow anyone to list themselves as a nanny is also a dangerous gamble for the family.

The best way around the problem is to use a recruitment consultant with  expertise in nanny placement which can save you time and money in the long run.

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 A reputable nanny recruitment agency will  help to avoid the following pitfalls when you are hiring your nanny.

1. Insufficient Reference Checking and Verification of Police Clearances

Taking the time to contact previous employers and families that have been nominated as referees is essential.
Failing to contact referees and speaking honestly about your needs and their experiences with the nanny is a common mistake.
identifying a common thread of ideas and values that have been shared and experienced by previous families is the key to a stress free working relationship with a nanny.
Not asking for a current Working With Children Police Clearance and verifying that it belongs to the nanny is putting your children at risk and not worth the omission. Further Police Clearances and Driving record checks can avoid hiring a nanny with a history of unsafe driving or worse still a previous police record of theft or fraud.

2. Offering a Lower than Standard Rate of Pay

Hiring a nanny can be expensive but offering a low rate of pay will undervalue their worth and commitment to you and the family.
The old adage,  “you get what you pay for” holds true for this attitude towards the worth of a nanny.
The nanny may find it easier to take a day off or to leave for a better paying job  leaving you stranded and in need of emergency child care!

3. Expectations for Housekeeping and Cleaning

Hiring a nanny is not synonymous  with hiring a cleaner. Being unrealistic and inflexible when considering what the nanny will be doing while the baby has a nap does not mean you need to fill every minute of their day with housekeeping duties.

Light housework IS expected and keeping areas clean tidy and safe are necessary. The kitchen benches and food preparation areas need to be kept tidy and clean. And yes a toilet may need to be cleaned if the children have soiled or “missed” the bullseye!
But expecting the nanny to hang the family washing, mop floors, vacuum and dust the house all in a day is both unrealistic and an unfair working condition.
Most nannies work independently, without assistance or regular breaks. Their working days can be 8 to 10 hours in length.
The chance to take a break, have a coffee or make a necessary private phone call will not lead to “bad habits” or a lazy nanny!
Making an effort to understand their day is an important factor in building mutual respect and a committed employee.

4. Not Providing a Contract with List of Duties and Remuneration Details

Offering a Nanny Contract could be considered overly efficient and even over the top, but you are not making a new friend.
You are paying the nanny to perform duties and tasks that require a level of skill, and competence that are appropriate to your requirements.bigstock_employment_contract_4878855

A contract of employment outlining expected duties and remuneration for any extra duties, such as use of own vehicle etc is a simple way to avoid misunderstandings.
Review the contract regularly and discuss any changes with the nanny. Allow them to also make changes and suggestions.
Remember to agree on the type of employment and payment schedule i.e. daily, weekly, monthly etc and add this into the contract.
It’s important that the nanny understands the terms of engagement the “Take Home Pay” after deductions etc Signing and dating it will seal the deal.

5. Not Explaining Your Style of Parenting
This can always be an after thought by many parents when interviewing a prospective nanny. The differences in child care styles can be immense and if not discussed and can be the cause of the end of the placement. Remember to always ask what the nannies view is on discipline and play. Ensure your philosophy on both these areas is clear and understood.
Your children deserve consistency.

6. Inadequate Orientation and Training
If possible have the nanny spend time with you and the family. This is a great way to orientate and welcome the nanny to your home and routine. Most importantly it allows the children to get to know and develop  a relationship with their new nanny.

7. Demanding Detailed Diaries and Work List
Asking the nanny to keep a diary of the days events is perfectly ok so long as it doesn’t become your check list to complain and find things they haven’t done. Micromanaging in this way will create tension and frustration on all levels.
Allow the nanny to manage their own day and if some days you receive art work and iced cakes instead of a detailed written account of the days activities it speaks for itself.

8. Failure to Compensate or Make Arrangements When you are on Holidays
This can be an issue if your family are away for long periods of time and the nanny is not required.
You may return to find the nanny has taken work elsewhere. An agreement for when she is not needed is a good way to avoid this problem and advanced warning is a courtesy that will be appreciated and reciprocated.

When you are planning to hire a nanny Rockmybaby Nanny & Babysitting Agency can offer you the best option to avoid these pitfalls. A professional recruitment consultant, interview tips, guidelines and a personalised planned approach to finding and placing the perfect nanny to suit your needs is the goal of every Rockmybaby Recruitment Consultant.

Written by Bernadette James

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