A Recap On Managing Your Village - A Mother Untitled x MoMommies Event
Last night, Jennie Monness and I gathered our communities at a new homebase for Flatiron families, Union Square Play. Jennie and I had previously been talking about my own experience reevaluating my village in terms of paid help and her experience making shifts as she’s gone from pausing, to part-time to starting Union Square Play.
Maybe because the creativity and connectedness that we’re all looking for in this chapter depends on having some support in place, the topic is evergreen among friends. We decided to bring the conversation about communication and navigating the day to day with caregivers - nannies, babysitters and grandparents - to life with the help of a couple of lovely local experts, Susan Groner, author of Parenting: 101 Ways To Rock Your World and The Parenting Mentor and Erin McConaghy, founder of Curated Care.
Some themes that came up on the panel:
In hiring help:
Embrace baby steps - in new motherhood, don’t be afraid to keep reevaluating what your needs are and do what feels right
Trust your instinct and your child’s in evaluating candidates - 99% of time it’s on point
Consider that even if a person isn’t exactly a carbon copy of your style, that that might actually benefit your kid
Ask questions not only for their caregiving capacity but about who they are as people
Always do a one or two week trial for the sake of both parties
Don’t hire under pressure
In managing help:
Be direct about routine asks (maybe write them out before hand so they can famliarize) and nip things in the bud early
If you’d like to share a specific approach, share articles when appropriate but tee it up first to make sure they’re interested and open
Over-communicate (both sides appreciate it)
Stay calm and positive - kids can pick up on the vibes
In navigating grandparents (this was a hot topic!)
Core universal issues between grandparents and parents is a feeling of judgment between generations
If there’s a sensitive issue or a stylistic thing (like a grandparent that repeatedly offers screen time when that’s a no no in your house), don’t call it out in the moment as it may result in defensiveness. Try finding a quieter time to bring it up.
Blame the pediatrician (if you’re experiencing resistance from a grandparent to something you’d like done a certain way - i.e. sleep routines)
Know and accept their limits (i.e. your mother may be great at errand-ing but not great with playing with the baby)
As usual, looking around last evening, I felt so grateful for the trust that this stage of life brings about. Everyone was so forthcoming about their own experiences and so respectful and supportive in the dialogue.
We’d love to hear from you - any specific situations you’re working through or advice you’d add?