When Shauna Bona and I started McKinnon-Mulherin Inc. almost sixteen years ago, our goal was to create a company where we would want to work. That included offering flexibility to our employees and trusting them to be professionals who could meet project deadlines with high-quality work. So far, it has worked quite well.
Nowadays, I can’t imagine a company not offering some sort of flexibility to its employees. Employees demand it and rightly so. And, although I laugh somewhat at the term “work-life balance,” which implies that work is not part of your life, I understand its intent. I think that Shauna and I go out of our way to accommodate our employees’ need for flexibility with family, school, volunteer time, or any other activity outside of work. It’s one of the benefits you can offer quite easily as a small company.
Currently, all of our employees—whether project-based or salaried—work at home. This, of course, offers a sort of built-in flexibility, but we do have guidelines so that people know what we expect. We have a comprehensive employee handbook, checklists, templates, and procedures so that people do not have to reinvent the wheel on each new project. That means they can get their projects done efficiently and enjoy their flex and free time.
Also, working at home does not mean that employees at McMul don’t have to meet deadlines, be available for phone calls, or be on site at times. We are not that flexible. However, all of our project-based employees are able to accept or turn down projects as suits their schedule.
We also are flexible as to start time as long as people include prime time business hours (10 am-3 pm) in their daily schedules, and if people on a full-time job want to work a ten-hour day four days a week, that usually works. We have an online calendar for people to post their availability and keep updated schedules. We are a bit stricter with our salaried employees, but they receive a generous amount of vacation, holiday, compensatory, and sick time.
Overall, we feel that if you offer good benefits, such as flex time, you attract good people. If you have good people, you can make your clients happy. If you make your clients happy, you stay in business. That may sound pragmatic, but that’s reality. We want people to enjoy their work, work hard, and get well compensated for it. Flexibility is part of that compensation.
So, in closing, we are not trying to be the most fun company around and we don’t pretend to be part of our workers’ families. Instead, we aim to keep our reputation stellar by treating our employees and our clients well and enabling people to spend time with their families, at school, or volunteering, and we work with them so they can accommodate and enjoy their lives outside work.
Kate Reddy is a co-owner and president at McKinnon-Mulherin. McKinnon-Mulherin offers writing, editing, proofreading, and desktop publishing services to clients worldwide.
Software Technology Group
is one of the most flexible, fun, and friendly employers that I have ever worked at. When I started working at STG, I was a single mother. I was nervous about juggling work and home. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my employer cared just as much as I did about work/life balance. I have the flexibility to be there for my kids when they need me, and I am able to perform my work as well. I feel supported by my company, a very rare feeling. I feel like STG’s culture, ethics, and practices enable me to be my best self, produce my best work, and become better.
STG is a software company that builds custom software applications for our clients. We have 150 highly skilled employees. The quality of work that we put out as a company proves that we take pride in the work we do. Because we do many different projects with a wide range of clients from all aspects of the IT market, our employees get the opportunity to grow the breadth and the depth of their skills.
STG offers many benefits for their employees, a full benefit package with 401k and company paid life insurance. We also offer our salaried employees paid overtime. STG values the time that their employees take to work extra hours and we want them to be compensated for their work. Work/life balance is also very important to STG. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting, are offered on certain projects to help employees maintain the balance in their lives.
STG believes in the education and training of its employees. We pay for any certifications and trainings that the employees want to take to deepen their knowledge and skills. We also assign a mentor to each employee, giving employees a point of contact at the company to help them if they have questions or problems. We believe in giving our employees the tools that they need to be successful. Each technology is broken into a practice, each practice has regular meetings where employees can discuss trends in the market, new technologies, and problems or successes in their projects.
STG is also a debt free organization, making it a very stable employer. We are very financially secure, we take seriously the fact that there are families depending on the success of the business. STG also cares about the culture in our organization. Our culture is one of creativity, mentoring, learning, and fun. We get together four times a year as a company. In the summer we have a zoo day where the employees bring their families to have breakfast and then enjoy the animals. In the fall we have a bowling night where we rent out a bowling alley and have pizza and drinks and bowl the night away. STG also has two nice dinners, one if January for our Holiday party, and one in April for the anniversary of when STG was founded. It is so important to STG to have a culture where our employees feel appreciated and have fun together.
I have worked in HR in many other companies and I have never seen a company that is more proactive. STG cares about making decisions that are right for the employees and their families. I have never been at a more ethical, hard-working, caring company. I come to work every day excited about the work I do, the people I get to associate with, the quality of work we produce, and the culture I am part of. STG is not just a job to me, it’s a family.
Martha McKay joined Software Technology Group in June 2011. She loves working with people and interviewing potential STG staff. She has her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Utah in Management, emphasizing in Human Resource. Martha has several years experience with employee relations, benefits, and staffing. In her free time Martha enjoys spending time with her two children. She loves to spend time outdoors, enjoys music, and is also a vocal teacher. Martha also thinks that nothing is better than curling up with a good book.
I often tell my friends, family, and peers that I have the best job ever. And I firmly believe that I do; although not necessarily for the reasons some people may think. I don’t make an exorbitant salary, I don’t receive “luxurious” perks, and I work in an environment where I must consistently fulfill multiple roles…all very common characteristics of working in the nonprofit field. Other than doing a job that helps people in need, which inherently feels great, my job is amazing because of what Fair Credit Foundation’s management team does each day to value every employee individually. Fair Credit Foundation
is a four-time recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility
. This annual award recognizes companies across the nation that are taking the lead in implementing innovative practices that give their employees the ability to achieve a healthy work-life balance. When Work Works, the organization that presents the Sloan Awards, refers to award winners as a “dynamic and prestigious group of organizations.” I think this is an excellent description and am proud to be part of one such organization. What exactly is workplace flexibility?
That’s a tough question to answer mostly because effectiveness and flexibility are different for every company, and sometimes even within departments of the same company. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing flexibility practices. Many companies, including Fair Credit Foundation, that have found success with flexibility practices have done so through trial and error. The common thread among such companies is that they listen to what their employees are asking for in a workplace culture and look for ways to create that culture within their current business framework. How is Fair Credit Foundation a flexible workplace?
In a nutshell, the organization does its best to help employees build successful careers without negating their personal needs, their family needs, or their lifestyle needs. The challenge for Fair Credit Foundation is accomplishing this on a very, very tight budget. As a nonprofit organization, we have to be creative to achieve this goal and maintain high employee morale.
For our corporate culture, this includes a few stand-out policies:
· Employees have personal input on their work schedules
. While we still have to make sure we are effectively serving clients and maintaining optimal office hours, our managers are excellent at coordinating schedules to maximize each employee’s ability to have time for what’s important to them, not just at the office, but at home.
· Birthday Holidays
. Every employee, whether full or part time, receives their birthday as a paid holiday. It’s one little way to recognize each person’s hard work and give them time to celebrate their important day.
· PEAK Program
. Employees who work 30 or more hours per week receive one paid hour each week for personal development. This time can be used to exercise, participate in a hobby, improve their professional skills, obtain additional education, volunteer, etc. The program is operated on the honor system, meaning we don’t require employees to submit proof of what they do during their PEAK time.
With just these few small practices, Fair Credit Foundation has experienced tremendous benefit. We have little-to-no turnover and an average employee tenure of approximately 5 years. Plus, we have loyal employees who are happy when they come to work, love what they do, and as a result are phenomenal in their roles. Past employees often stop in to say hello and often comment that working at Fair Credit Foundation remains one of their favorite jobs.
A tremendous compliment to our corporate culture indeed.
______Fair Credit Foundation
is an award-winning nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding financial capability for all. Services include the Utah Individual Development Account Network, Utah Saves, free credit and debt counseling, debt relief programs, financial education resources, HUD approved foreclosure prevention counseling, credit report coaching, identity theft assistance and budget planning assistance. www.facebook.com/faircredit
Jennifer Rohn is the Director of Communications at Fair Credit Foundation, a Salt Lake City based non-profit dedicated to expanding financial capability for all. For the past 7 years she has worked with the agency in developing and promoting community outreach and education programs specifically targeted to help individuals and families better understand personal financial management concepts and build long-term self-sufficiency.
Introducing the first guest post in my series highlighting Sloan Award-winning businesses that promote flexibility.
Julie Jakob moved to Utah in 2004 from Sacramento, CA, bringing with her a full-service marketing agency--Jakob Marketing Partners (JMP). Before starting her own business, Julie worked for Wells Fargo Bank, where she moved up through the company to various marketing positions, ultimately serving as the vice president for the Home Equity Group's nationwide direct mail program.
Workplace flexibility and teamwork are important to Julie. One of the core values at JMP is to have fun, so Julie organizes company-wide offsite events, has contests, and incorporates silliness in many aspects of day-to-day work, in an effort to create an enjoyable atmosphere. JMP was the only company in Utah to be named one of the 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For™ two years in a row.
Julie understands firsthand the challenges of being a busy working mom, so JMP offers a variety of flexible working options to support her employees and help alleviate the stress experienced when having to choose between work and family. She also solicits suggestions to make the office run more efficiently. JMP provides employees with a well-stocked refrigerator and pantry that has drinks and snacks available at no cost, a paid holiday on their birthday, and daily fitness breaks. JMP is also dog-friendly, so employees can bring their dogs to work.
She is currently a member of the Women’s Philanthropic Network, the Holladay Chamber of Commerce, Smart Women In Marketing (S.W.I.M.), the Park City Women’s Business Network, Mountain West Capital Network, Corporate Alliance, and Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), and is vice president of membership for the Utah Chapter of the Nation Association of Women Business Owners (N.A.W.B.O.). She is also on the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund’s review committee.
Julie and her family relocated to Utah so her children could pursue their ski-racing careers. She is an avid hiker, reader, and vegan cook, and enjoys being outdoors as much as possible with her family and her golden retriever, Rocky.
Today's guest post comes from my awesome sister, Melanie Watson, who lives in Perth, Ontario, Canada. Besides taking care of her family, she also takes care of elderly people as a (soon-to-be) nurse. She might not think she's extraordinary, but I admire her lots.
I'm just a typical mom. I have 2 kids, an 11 year old boy and a 6 year old girl. I work and so does my husband. We own a house, we have a dog and a couple of cats. Our biggest issues are having too much month at the end of the money and trying to keep up on housework. All in alll, pretty average.
But there is one thing I would like to talk about. You see, I work in a nursing home. If your mom/dad, grandmother/grandfather needs help, I'm the one doing the helping. I feed people, dress them, change their "diapers" when they're in a mess. When they have no cognitive ability left and are confused and lost, I'm the one who is calming them and showing them where to go. When they are dying, I'm holding their hand.
And this has given me some perspective on life, especially on growing old and dying. Death is not to be feared. It is peaceful. Having seen more than one person die, I firmly believe that (with the possible exception of people who have had traumatic accidents) people make the choice to die. They do not go until they have decided it is time and they are ready. For some people, they want their whole family to be there, others will wait until they're alone. I mention this because I see many family members feeling guilty that they weren't there. Often, the children will sit with their mom/dad while they're dying, step out to get food and the parent will pass while they're gone. For those who are in this situation, I wish I could take that guilt from them because I know that guilt is the last thing the parent wants them to feel.
I think that most people, when they die, would like to tell their families not to mourn: don't grieve my loss; remember the times we had together. I know I will be missed and I wish I could take that pain away. Celebrate my life, don't focus on my death.
Everyone must die sometime, what matters is what they did with their lives while they were here. Love and family are the most important things in life. Never forget this. This is the message that I believe people whose lives are ending would like to get across to their loved ones. I have been on the other side of this experience. In the last year I have lost several family members that I have been close to, and I can say that no matter how much you know they wouldn't want you to be sad, grieving will happen anyway. You've lost this person, and can't see him/her anymore. Holiday are particularly bad as you most notice that they're not there. It is hard, but it gets better. As time goes by, you miss them less, don't notice as often that they aren't there. You get used to them being gone. For those who have recently lost someone, I think that the best thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself the chance to grieve.
For those who have parents or grandparents who are older, and who have relatives in nursing homes, I have one message that I wish everyone could live by: visit with them! Spend time with your loved ones. More than anything, that is what they want. Even if they can't talk to you or don't know who you are, find time to fit them into your lives. Your mom may not know who you are anymore, but will love spending time with you. Speaking from experience, people with Alzheimer's give the best hugs! If your dad is paralyzed and can't tell you he loves you, I guarantee you he feels it just the same. He loves hearing about your life, no matter how trivial your stories may be. And they all LOVE children. Bring your kids or your grandkids. Give them a chance to get to know this person who has been so important to you. Tell stories of what this person was like when he or she was younger.
I know life is busy. Believe me, I know. Sometimes you don't have time or live too far away. Your loved one understands and doesn't hold it against you. He or she is undoubtedly proud of you and is probably telling stories about you to whoever will listen. But trust me, if you can find a way to visit, even if it's only once a year, the rewards will be huge. Because that's the one thing you can'lt get back after this person is gone. Time and memories. They're so important!
I hope you find my words helpful and maybe even comforting. But most of all, I hope I have convinced you to go visit your loved ones before it's too late.
Today's guest post comes from Becky Strain. After graduating with a history degree from Brigham Young University, she went on to become a mother of six children. But since that wasn't hectic enough for her, she decided to go back to school and is now a first-year law student at J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. She also can play a mean organ and has great stories to tell about her days as a BYU phone operator.
You have six kids and you are going to law school? Are you crazy? Why yes I am, and proud of it. Being a full time law student at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU and trying to still be a full time mommy has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. But, it is a gift and a blessing and I am grateful for the opportunity. My children range in age from 2-13 so I am in the throes of motherhood, yet there is more for me to do.
For the typical law student, law school is the equivalent of a full time job. When I started school I vowed that I would do my best academically, but family would come first. I was not comfortable leaving my home for 40+ hours/week. My children need a mommy, especially since my husband is often busy with work and could not take over my role as well as maintaining his job. I study and research whenever I get a chance while doing my mommy duties. I am used to keeping law books in my car, so as I run children around to and from school and activities, I can read a case or two in the car while sitting in parking lots waiting for kids. I keep shopping and other errands to a minimum. My three oldest children do their own laundry and help with meals. To review what I am learning, I discuss the cases I am studying in class with my husband and older children at dinner, in the car or as we do chores. Also, my youngest two children enjoy hopping on my bed with a stack of picture books to look at while I study.
There are some definite disadvantages. No more bargain or coupon shopping for me; I don’t have time. I am not as connected with friends and neighbors as I was before. The biggest challenge is feeling as if there is not enough of me to go around. I could always devote more to school on one hand, and on the other hand there is always more to do at home.
The benefits are becoming more evident as time goes on. Using my brain has been great. I didn’t realize how dormant it had become after being out of school for almost 15 years. I love that I am learning to think and reason at a new level. Most importantly, my children are learning. Having a dad and a mom with graduate degrees is showing them the value we place on education. When I can, I take my children to the law school for classes or other events so they feel part of my education. It is quite rewarding to overhear my son brag to his friends that his mom is going to be a lawyer. My kids are also becoming more independent. They know that I cannot do as much for them as I used to. They have to be more responsible. No running last minute errands for them or helping them with a school project that they put off a bit too long.
BYU’s law school has done a remarkable job at creating a family friendly environment. They provide family support rooms for moms who occasionally need to bring a child to class or need to nurse a baby. The support rooms allow me to keep a sick child with me yet still get credit for attending class. Also, many professors allow for their lectures to be listened to at home over the internet when getting to school isn’t possible. The library has a special reading room with children’s books and toys. It is a great place to bring my kids when I need to be at the school. The kids, young and old, love going to the law school to “study” with mom. The Dean of Students often goes out of her way to check up on me and my family. I am also frequently asked if there is anything the law school can do to help law school moms survive. The school is doing an excellent job in making higher education a real possibility for women with children.
Anything that helps individuals grow and become strong requires leaving our comfort zones to do hard things. It is too easy to sit back and avoid challenges, but it results in limiting our abilities and potential. I am grateful for the challenge that we have chosen. I don’t know what the future will bring after law school. For now, we hold on and enjoy the wild ride that I have chosen.
Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/. Learn more about her by visiting http://www.nannypro.com/blog/sara-dawkins/.
Every parent wants to be a good mom or dad. But when you have commitments to your employer as well, sometimes things can get tricky. What do you do when your children get sick and they have to stay home?
How you handle the situation depends on whether you have other people nearby who can help. Some can simply ask a spouse. Others might have a trusted extended family member that could step in and take care of your child. Do you have a sitter that is willing to take care of your child when they are ill? There are also a few daycares and hospitals that will take on sick children during the day while you are at work.
I was often faced with this dilemma when my children were younger. I worked for a large corporation that actually offered a medical center hospital stay to kids too sick for school or daycare. I never used this benefit, but I also had access to family members that my children loved and knew who could stay home with them during these times. But this may not be an option for you. Many people hesitate to watch a sick child, especially if they are contagious, and this is where the problem comes in.
I was once challenged by a supervisor when I stayed home with my child with the chicken pox. My child was really sick and even though I had access to a close family member and to their dad, my child needed me. It was not that no one else could have cared for them but there are times when they just simply need their mother.
My supervisor (even though she was also a mom) asked me why I did not take my child to the hospital day center and I told her my child needed me. She insinuated that I may be hurting my career to which I responded that my children were much more important than my career.
Now I understand that not everyone feels free to respond this way, that some may be the only breadwinner your family has. When this is the case you will need to prepare in advance and not wait until a child becomes ill to handle the situation. If you do not have a spouse that has more leeway to stay home than you do, look for an extended family member and have them bond with your child before they ever get sick. If there is no extended family close by then find a sitter that is willing to stay with a sick child. Get them to babysit for date nights or while you do your errands so that the child can bond with them. There is no feeling that is worse for me than to leave my sick child with someone they do not know and that you do not have substantiated confidence in.
When there is no one else to care for your child and you must stay home, be upfront and honest with your employer. If you have been faithful in your work and given your employer the time and effort that is due your job, you should be able to take time off to care for your child when necessary. Most employers are parents themselves, but every once in a while you will run across someone who has absolutely no parental emotions or feelings whatsoever even if they are a parent.
Pick the times you take off with your children wisely and do the best you can to build good relationships with those near to your children to help out in a time of need. Maybe even a neighbor or someone from your church. Just make sure to have the child spend plenty of time with these people so that they feel comfortable and you do as well when it is necessary.
These are just some ideas that may work for your situation. It is never easy but all you can do is to do your best in any given situation. Things must go in your child’s favor when it comes to a choice between a very sick child and an employer. Just do your best to prepare in advance and be a faithful employee the rest of the time.
Jason Miner plays a vital role for www.blogcarnival.com. He is an expert in writing topics of different categories. He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this an even better place for bloggers.
There are many of us who work extensive hours every day to provide the life for our families that we want. However, do you realize that extensive time away from your family can be worse than not having creature comforts? Spending most of your time at the office instead of with your family can have detrimental effects over time. Your family could begin to feel comfortable without you around. Instead of a couple, your relationship with your spouse begins to feel more like a roommate role. The finer things in life are the moments of your children's life that will never happen again, not the fancy toys you have in your possession. Structure your time to be a part of your family's life before it is too late.
- Make a schedule for your time that involves your family. Treat this as important as you'd treat a client. If you wouldn't allow your Secretary or assistant to interrupt your meeting with a client, don't allow them to interrupt your time with your family.
2. Less Responsibilities
- Many of us who work in an office setting take on an immense amount of work so we can make that extra dollar. If your family doesn't know who you are, that extra dollar is meaningless. Reducing your workload to increase the time with your family can help create a more pleasant home-life. Isn't your family's happiness worth more than that 52" LCD you want?
3. Working From Home
- Bringing your work home with you can be a double-edged sword. On one side, you can spend time with your family as you work throughout the day. On the other, you could become so enthralled with your workload that distractions from your family could cause immense stress. Scheduling time to work at home and balancing time with your family could be tricky at times and could depend solely on the type of work you do.
4. Isolate It
- For those who are unable to bring their work home with them, keep it at work. Your family doesn't need to experience the stresses you face in your work-life. Although this is easier said than done in many circumstances, it is a practice that you need to work on implementing in order to keep work stress at work. Try to switch off your work ethics while at home and be a part of your family.
5. Their Needs
- There are a lot of people who wind up getting roped in to doing extra work in order to further their career or pay. Although your heart may be in the right place, you could do more damage than good. Missing your child's recital, first baseball game, birthday, and more can drive a stake between yourself and your child that isn't easily removed. The child doesn't care how much money you make, just that you aren't there when they need you the most.
Making time for your family should be your greatest concern. Even for those who have little time to spare, there are always methods that can be implemented to ensure your family doesn't forget about you. The family is the most important aspect of your life and should be second to nothing. Jobs will come and go, but your family is permanent.
Janet Thaeler is an internet marketer and writer specializing in SEO online press releases and online PR. She is the author of I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What???, and the companion DVD “Killer Online Press Releases" (both available on Amazon). She consults for a variety of clients and works as the social media consultant for OrangeSoda.
She won the 2009 award for “Best Social Media Content Guru” from the Utah Social Media Club, and her webinar entitled “Creating a Killer Publicity Strategy with Online News Releases” for PR Web was attended by thousands and earned her a spot on PR Web’s list of “Best PRWeb Webinars of 2009.
Janet has spoken around the country to the PRSA, PRSSA, at major universities, on webinars and at many conferences.When I started my career I was newlywed and newly graduated with a degree in conservation biology. I didn’t plan on starting a career. In my mind I was simply supporting my husband through grad school. Yes, I was starting a career, I just didn’t know it yet.
I remember a woman who said God gave her jobs. I thought it was a bit strange but later I saw her point. I feel I was pointed toward my career as an online marketer. I recognized the impact the moment I heard about it. I think angels started singing and it instantly became the focus of my professional life. When I look back it all makes sense, but at the time it didn’t seem to.
My first job out of college was answering the phones at an internet startup. I got a lot of calls about broken links so I taught myself HTML in order to fix them. In the process, I learned the internet in depth. This was key to my future.
Years later I had my first child and stopped working full time. I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but the problem was it was boring and isolating. When I looked for friends I found that I didn’t fit in with the other moms. We also needed money, so I started thinking about finding a job.
I saw a flyer for a neighborhood meeting and decided to go. That’s where I heard about a part time job as a community organizer through Americorps. It was a one year commitment. My only question was, could I bring my son to work with me? The answer was yes and that became the next step on my journey.
That job proved to be a godsend and provided a soft landing for me. A year after I finished my work, when I was getting a divorce, they called me to interview for a job I hadn’t applied for. I got it the job the same day, which was good. My life was in upheaval and I had no money at all, only a credit card. There I did PR (public relations) because there was no one else on our small staff to do it. I was the default network administrator too. My first PR win was to land a story about one of my projects on the front page of the local newspaper. Later I took what I learned as a community organizer to online communities. Each of my jobs taught me something I needed or introduced me to people I learned from. For example, being a recruiting assistant at Novell demystified the hiring process. I learned to interview and market myself well, a skill I’ve used almost every day. Due to my time at Novell, getting a job has never been difficult for me. In fact, one of my friends teases me about how I can get a job easier than anyone he’s ever met.
I found that this community of online marketers and developers were incredibly open and gracious. I gained and learned so much from many amazing people, such as my friend Paul who was the first person to tell me about internet marketing. We bought ebooks, shared ideas and blog posts. We talked about ideas for marketing online whenever we worked together.
Since I have a bad memory, I wanted to document what I was learning about internet marketing. So I started my blog Newspapergrl.com, which helped me gain a following. My book, I Need a Killer Press Release, Now What???, and the reputation I built finally led to what I’ve wanted all these years.
Penelope Trunk cites research about how most women want to work part time or do freelance work once they become moms. She writes, “The best way to stay home with kids and not lose your mind from boredom is to pay someone to take care of your kids while you do freelance work.” That’s what I hoped for and what seemed possible since I can do my work from just about anywhere.
It worked. Today I help businesses become more visible and findable online. I organize blogger events for local businesses, manage social media (blogs, Facebook and Twitter) and write optimized press releases. In addition to driving online traffic and sales, some of my press releases have landed clients on TV, in newspapers and magazines.
I feel blessed to be where I am now. There were times it was scary and I never want to repeat them. It was fun but still really, really hard. However, life is good. Not only do I get to do what I love on my terms, I'm a mom and I have a supportive husband. In fact, according to him, I’m the highest earning “paid at home mom” on the block.
Today''s guest post comes from Nancy Parker, a former professional nanny who loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, nannies, and more at www.enannysource.com/ . You can reach her by email at nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.
If you are someone who is has the responsibility of caring for an older person, it is also important to take care of yourself. When you are in charge of the day to day comfort of an elder, it is easy to let your own needs slide. Remember that taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of them, so consider some of these techniques to help you stay refreshed and in charge. Get Help
Elder care can be exhausting. If you are someone who caring for a parent or loved one twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you will find that you are running fairly close to the edge. Talk to the people around you and ask for help. There are volunteer organizations that you can seek for day to day help, and there are also facilities that can help if you need a longer break. Elder care can be a tough job, and simply knowing that you are not going at it at alone can make a huge difference. Eat Well
Sometimes, taking care of an older person can feel like you are hopping from one disaster to another. Everything can be a crisis, and everything can turn into a problem, or so it feels. When you are running at a fairly intense rate, you need to keep up your strength, and this means eating well. Be honest with yourself and realize that sometimes, you are just going to need to consume fast and convenient food to get by. On the other hand, think about making large batches of food that you like and freezing it in portions. Having good food around will help you stay energized and patient. Talk to Friends
When you are caring for an elder, you may be uncomfortable and shocked to find out how angry and resentful you can get at times. These are natural feelings, and while it is important that you be fair and kind, you’ll find that these feelings need to be expressed as well. Make some time every week to talk to someone you like. When you are caring for an elder, particularly if the care is very demanding, it is easy to isolate yourself. This can lead to situations where you end up exploding in anger or frustration, which is far from productive. Whether you text, phone or do a voice chat, make sure that you have some time to talk to someone who is not involved in the situation. Group Activities
Group activities can be enormously beneficial for you and for the person that you are caring for. When someone is in a condition where they need care, they can also become quite isolated and lonely. Look in your area for people who are in similar situations. Sometimes a group outing with people in similar situations is exactly what you need. These outings are usually geared towards the capabilities of the elders, and can be a wonderful way to get out of the house. Exercise
Oftentimes, being a caregiver means that you are very homebound, and that in turn can mean that you become significantly less active. Because of this, you will often find that you lose energy and muscle tone, two things that are quite important when you are dealing with elder care. Make sure that you have a way to stay fit even when you are stuck at home. Choose a form of exercise that suits who you are and what you like. For some people, it is weight lifting. For other people, it is a dance instructional video. Think about your favorite ways to work out and bring them into your home. Connect With Others
There are many support groups online and locally (click here
for a short list) that are designed to help people taking care of older family members. While your friends may be a sympathetic ear, they do not necessarily know how to handle the problems you are going through. Connecting with people in a similar situation can be an enormous help.
When you are thinking about caring for an elder, remember that you do not necessarily need to do it alone. There are many resources out there that can help you maintain both the quality of care and your own quality of life.