What a Nanny Wants

By: Maggie Broadrick, Owner, Kiddie Up Nannies

As summer is amongst us, the increase of the nanny population in Denver and surrounding areas is at its highest. This means supply is low and demand is high! What can you do to ensure your nanny’s happiness? After all, a happy nanny is a happy family.

To understand exactly what nannies want, we polled Kiddie Up’s very own nannies! We had over 200 responses and we are excited to share!

As a nanny, where do you go to find a permanent job, summer job or occasional sitting position? (Nannies were allowed to vote for more than one category.)

  • 77% said why Kiddie Up Nannies of course!
  • 54% said by word of mouth; former employers, friends, neighbors, other nannies, etc.
  • 31% said online sources such as care.com, sittercity.com, urbansitter.com
  • 17% said other places, such as other agencies, Stapleton Sitters, or other social media groups.

When looking for a new position, what are you looking for? The top 5 requests in order are:

#1. Welcoming, kind and personable family

#2. Fostering a healthy employer/employee relationship

#3. Clear, precise and direct communication

#4. Hourly rate

#5. Benefits such as paid time off, holiday pay, health insurance, etc.

Other requests include:

  • Commitment length
  • Start date
  • Families’ plan on withholding taxes or not

Things that are not as important to the nannies were:

  • Location
  • Number of children
  • Age of children

Are you comfortable doing light housework (IE child's laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning up after meals, cleaning up after the days' activities, stocking supplies, meal preparation, etc.)?

  • 52% said yes, happy to help in any way.
  • 25% said they are open to a few chores.
  • 23% said they are willing to provide childcare only.

In general, have you felt appreciated by the families you work for?

  • 45% said yes
  • 42% said sometimes
  • 13% said never

If the family does not need you (IE they go on vacation or do not need childcare), do you request to be compensated for that time?

  • 62% said yes, absolutely, not negotiable.
  • 38% said they are willing to be negotiable.

What describes why you are a nanny best?

  • 62% said have a passion for being a positive role model and making an impact on a little one's life.
  • 21% said because I love children.
  • 17% said because they are a natural caretaker.
  • 0% said because of the money.

As an agency owner and a parent myself, some of these answers surprised me. Maybe they surprise you too. Five years ago, these answers would have been very different. With Denver’s rapid growth, there are just not enough nannies, daycare openings and school spots. Therefore, it’s vital for families who plan on employing a nanny, to consider, what can I do to meet my nanny’s needs.

In Motherhood and in Business, you are not Alone.

Thank you, Molly for this great reminder!

What I’ve learned as a mother, I’ve also learned as an entrepreneur. I designed my clothing line for nursing moms while I was breastfeeding my own son, so the business was inspired by my children, as well as a desire to help fellow moms. Challenges I face as a mom, are not unlike challenges I face in entrepreneurship – fear of the unknown, learning as I go, and asking for help, to name a few. The ability to trust my “mother’s intuition” also comes in handy when making difficult decisions for my business. Opportunities for growth and awareness are plenty. Working outside my comfort zone is a common daily occurrence. Which brings me to an important question – why is it so hard for us to ask for help? Instead of being wary, we should do it more often, and even embrace it. Because in motherhood, and in life, reaching out is where the magic happens. The Mamahood has carried my clothing line in their store since the start of my business 5 years ago. I connected immediately with their business model of being more than a boutique, but also a community and resource center for moms - a place for women to learn, connect, and grow through all stages of motherhood. Last year, Gabrielle from The Mamahood reached out to me about a collaboration. Could we use the Molly Ades Zippered Tank design and create an exclusive tank just for The Mamahood - I loved it. What better way to share our passion for helping moms, while also helping our small businesses. Working together feels much more powerful and fulfilling than working separately. And, running your own business can get lonely at times. Like entrepreneurship, it’s easy to get lost in motherhood – because there is always someone else who needs something. It is our very nature to want to care for others, so when our child, a parent, or a friend is in need, we feel compelled to rush to their side. Empathy and a willingness to help are good qualities, as long as they do not leave us empty. We need to find ways to fill ourselves back up, despite being pulled in multiple directions. It doesn’t matter if you stay at home full time, work outside the home full time, work part-time, run your own company, or enjoy a hobby/passion from time to time. All that matters is that you participate in a daily practice that is meaningful to your soul. In addition to being a mom and giving yourself fully to your children, you also maintain something that is yours – something else you can grow and cultivate, and that comes from within.

Guest post by Molly Ades - www.mollyades.com

the mama 'hood turns 5! Help us celebrate with moms supporting moms - access for all

THE MAMA 'HOOD TURNS 5! 

LET'S CELEBRATE BY MOMS SUPPORTING MOMS.

the mama ‘hood is celebrating its 5th birthday this year!

Our mission/reason-for-being is to help families find joy (not shame) in their parenting journey.  All families.  We do this through expert instruction, community, and helping them find the things they need.

Help us celebrate our 5th birthday by helping expand the circle of families we can reach through moms supporting moms Scholarship Fund. 

WHAT IS MOMS SUPPORTING MOMS?

We invite everyone who has benefitted from classes, groups or consults at the mama 'hood to contribute to our moms supporting moms Scholarship Fund.  The Scholarship Fund guarantees access for all.

We are thrilled and inspired every day that we have the honor of helping families such as yours find joy in this process and support through community.  And, we know that there are many more families who are not able to come to the mama ‘hood because they can not afford our services.  Between now and our 10th birthday,  we are committed to serving those families. Please help us do that.

Please support our Scholarship Fund by donating below.*

I WANT TO DONATE TO MOMS SUPPORTING MOMS!

* the mama 'hood is not a 501c3 - unfortunately, donations are not tax deductible. However, you can be certain that your donation will have massive impact on a family's life.

A Mompreneur's Business 101

the mama 'hood's Co-Founder & CEO shares a few tips on starting your own business for those mamas who are ready to go it on their own!

YOUR USP (unique selling proposition)
What are YOU uniquely good at?

  • Better than others?
  • What aspect of the business taps into your strengths?

    NETWORK
    Talk to EVERYONE who will listen to you about your idea/your business. (not always overtly) and go to of events of all sorts.

  • You never know when an important link will be made, a gem of info or a lead

  • Be open to SERENDIPITY

  • Promote all the time!

TIME
Time is one of your greatest assets

  • Good things don’t happen when we are under pressure.

  • Family must come first, otherwise, your heart won’t be in it.

  • Keep another other job while you are building your business to minimize financial pressure

  • Time gives you objectivity, clarity and truth – do you REALLY want to do this?

  • Allows you to course correct as you learn

  • It takes time for your name to get out there.

  • The average person needs to see something new 7x before trying something new

ENTHUSIAM
You MUST love what you do – this is hard work.

  • Speak using the language of enthusiasm. It is infectious.

BEST-IN-CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE

BE HONORABLE: ALWAYS do what you say you are going to do

  • Your reputation is everything

  • Say you are sorry if you do mess something up

    NUTS AND BOLTS

  • Write a Business Plan

  • Market Analysis

  • Competitive Landscape / SWOT  

  • Profit & Loss Statement

  • Statement of Cash Flows

  • Balance Sheet

  • B Corp Assessment is a useful tool to help you take a progressive 360° approach http://www.bcorporation.net

  • If you don’t know accounting, hire a bookkeeper to ensure you always know how healthy your business is. Then take a business accounting class.

Why You Need to Take a Break from Your Day and Meditate

When your toddler is fighting his nap again, do you ever shake your head in wonder? What wouldn’t you give for someone to put you down for a three-hour nap? It’s one of the ironies of motherhood; we spend so much time trying to get our little ones to sleep and, as a result, we ourselves are often totally spent and exhausted.

While the physical demands of motherhood are extensive, what many moms find surprising is the breadth of the mental and spiritual demands. Children are all encompassing. They come into our lives, and not only do we give them our bodies, but they also take up room in our once sharp minds and our now bursting hearts.

Even though we complain and sometimes fall apart, the truth is that in between the less-than-glamorous hours of motherhood, we are keenly aware that raising these children is an honor and joy we’d never want to miss.

But if there’s one admission every mother must eventually make, it’s we cannot do it all. We come to the end of ourselves faster than we think we will. If we intend to extend our abilities and energy, we cannot pour ourselves into our jobs, relationships and children without also drawing strength and peace from another source.

So what’s a mother to do when she feels like her limitations are standing in the way of a fuller enjoyment of her life? While there are many solutions or partial solutions, one that you can incorporate today wherever you are and with little to no financial investment is meditation.

Meditation addresses some of the most common issues busy moms, and women in general, face.

Stress

While motherhood is a fulfilling way to spend your day, it can also be stressful at times. Meditation is a well-documented way to reduce stress. The very act of sitting down and taking a few deep breaths is calming. As you bring your focus inward, your internal world becomes balanced so the demands of your external world don’t feel quite so daunting.

Impulse Control

When we hear the words “impulse control,” we probably think of our children more often than we think of ourselves. But think about it. How often do you snap at your kids? Or how often do you grab that candy bar for breakfast? When we’re feeling our most depleted, our ability to control these impulses (or even cultivate the desire to do so) is diminished.

Meditation trains our minds to control the flow of our thoughts, which allows us to control our response to those less-than-helpful impulses.

Grounded in the Present

How many times have you been told to enjoy every moment of raising your children? If we’re honest, there are times this well-intentioned mantra grates on our last nerve. Motherhood is hard, and the day-to-day is filled with a lot of moments we’d rather not remember.

This is one of the best reasons to meditate. If we can ground ourselves in the present, a clarity will come that allows us to appreciate this moment in time, to find the contentment that beats beneath the messiness of our days.

Improved Health

There is no doubt that a powerful connection exists between our minds and our bodies. Over and over again, studies have confirmed that those with healthy minds and spirits are better able to maintain good physical health. Meditation brings a holistic view to health by linking our mental health with our physical health.

Good Example

Sometimes we forget that our children are always watching us. When you halt your busy day and choose to make space for meditation, you show your kids that health and wellness is a priority. Not only do you increase the probability that they too will place value on health and wellness, but you also teach them that even though you are their mother, you have basic needs and deserve an opportunity to meet them.

Perhaps you once meditated regularly and have lost your practice. Or maybe you’ve never meditated a day in your life. No matter your level of experience, meditation is available to you. One of the easiest ways to start is to download apps of short, guided meditations to your phone. Some of the most popular and best-rated apps are:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Buddhify
  • The Mindfulness App
  • Smiling Mind

Each of these apps is available for both Android and iOS devices. Most of them offer a wide array of guided meditations, with subjects ranging from anxiety to issues at work to sleep problems. Because meditation is so intensely personal, you may want to install a privacy service on your phone. This will ensure you can work through each of your own personal troubles or situations without worrying that someone else (like your kids!) has access to your private sessions.

At the end of the day, the only person who can bring calm and perspective to your life is you. But the wonderful consequence of this choice is that everyone, especially your children, benefit from it. If you think you can’t find a minute to meditate, remember there will always be a million excuses not to take care of yourself. None of them compare to the two most important reasons to make space for meditation and self-care: Your kids are counting on you, and you are worth it.

About the Author: Caroline is a writer with a soft spot for anything that makes women’s lives easier. She meditates every single day, even when her mind is reeling with new ideas she can’t wait to share with the world.

Teach your kids to share, even their… nanny?!?

By: Maggie Broadrick, Owner, Kiddie Up Nannies

Nanny Share

Nanny shares are super popular- especially in Stapleton! You might wonder what exactly is a nanny share? There are two different types of nanny shares: 1) Multiple families sharing the same nanny at the same time. 2) Multiple families utilizing the same nanny at different times. (I.E. family A has the nanny Monday, Wednesday and Friday and family B has the nanny Tuesday and Thursday.) Regardless of the type of nanny share you chose, both are a creative option to ensure quality and affordable care for your little one!

Nanny shares are beneficial for a several of reasons. First, and foremost, a nanny share is economical. Especially if the nanny is caring for two families at the same time, the hourly rate can be divided between families. Although the hourly rate is higher, each family pays their portion of nanny’s salary and the cost can be similar to the cost of daycare. For instance, two families have one child each; they hire a qualified, professional nanny for $20 per hour- each family is responsible to pay $10 per hour.

Social interaction is the second reason nanny shares are advantageous. Children a part of a nanny share have the opportunity to socialize with other children without foregoing quality care. The nanny can accommodate each child’s individual needs, schedules and activities.

Although the advantageous outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to keep a few things in mind when considering a nanny share:

  • Because you are sharing a nanny, you are sharing their time and attention. It’s important to have a nanny whom has experience with multiples and capable of multi-tasking. It’s also important to be aware the nanny has to meet the needs of another family as well, therefore additional responsibilities like errands, or laundry might not possible.
  • Nannies can be cautious of nanny shares. Of course the salary is a huge benefit for a nanny; however, nannies can be weary of nanny shares because it is twice the work. And I’m not just talking about the kids! Essentially nannies are now working for 4 adults, 2 sets of parents! That is a lot of people to make happy!
  • You are dependent on not only a nanny but another family too. A successful nanny share depends a lot on the other family. It’s important both families share similar views, values, morals, parenting styles, and discipline styles. Believe it or not, finding the other family to share with is the most difficult part- finding a nanny is the easy part!
  • If a child is sick, they can’t be around the other children. Make sure you communicate common policies about illnesses.

There is a great deal that goes into a nanny share. It is important to be fully aware of exactly what you are getting into. When looking for another family to share a nanny with, consider these points:

  • Similar ages, hourly rate, and responsibilities. These items are important but definitely should not be the only aspects.
  • Parenting styles. Make sure your parenting styles are in sync and easy for the nanny to abide.
  • Comparable morals and values, such as rules in the home. Making sure the nanny has consistent rules which are easy to follow as opposed of different rules for each child.
  • Location. Where is the nanny share going to take place? Be aware if you offer your home, the nanny won’t be able to clean up everything. You will notice supplies go a little quicker than usual such as paper towels, toilet paper, arts and crafts, dish soap, trash bags, etch. There might even be more wear and tear on your home; toys break, batteries run out, things get a little dirtier!
  • Vacation or sick days. What happens if one of the other families goes on vacation, will you be responsible for paying the nanny their hourly rate even if the other child is gone? What if the other child is sick, do you feel comfortable voicing your concerns? Vacation and sick days are very easy to navigate but it is a must to be on the same page!
  • Activities and schedules. It can be difficult to have two children completely different ages in the same nanny share. It will be hard for the nanny to make sure everyone is getting what they need. For example, child A is 3 months and child B is 4 years old. Child A needs to have more naps and eats more often, this can be challenging for child B who wants more structured activities and play time.

It’s always a great idea to have a contract between the families. You need to include all aspects of the share including liability of each family.

I know what you’re thinking- Yikes this way too much! It’s not I promise! Nanny shares have the possibility of being very successful. You have to be knowledgeable and conscious of what you are signing up for. To learn more about nanny shares, or if you would like to meet other families please visit our website (https://www.kiddieupnannies.com/nanny-shares/) to learn more about how Kiddie Up Nannies can help!

 

Happy 2017

A very happy 2017 to everyone in our wonderful mama ‘hood community. May the coming year be full of health and happiness for you and yours.

With a new year, comes new beginnings, and, sadly, some endings. For the mama 'hood, the new year means we will be closing our Boulder location on January 9th. It is with heavy hearts that we make this announcement. We have loved serving all of our Boulder families and invite all of you to continue to be part of the mama ‘hood community in Denver.

We will be in contact with everyone who has a membership, outstanding punches, pumps or scales or has made a deposit or payment to a class that runs after January 9th to ensure that you are made whole. If you have any questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to us at allison@themamahood.com.

Thank for all your support.

Sincerely, Linda, Allison & Amanda

Find-A-Nanny Toolkit

We are beyond thrilled to release Kiddie Up’s Find-A-Nanny Toolkit! After years of research, studying industry trends, talking to professionals, nannies and families, Colorado’s very first, step by step nanny guide is here!

The Find-A-Nanny Toolkit is the one-stop-shop for the do-it-yourself parents out there. No more turning to Google, friends or your neighbors to learn about nannies, this Toolkit has everything you need to know! The downloadable, printable guide supplies you with every tool you need to do the process on your own.

The Find-A-Nanny Toolkit was developed by Maggie Broadrick, owner of Kiddie Up Nannies. Maggie has been working in this industry for over 10 years. Previously Maggie was a nanny then evolved into the agency role after her first child was born. Kiddie Up Nannies places over 200 nannies annually and reaches over 500 families per year through the Find-A-Nanny 101 & Nanny Share Social workshops. Along with Maggie’s knowledge and expertise, help from many others contributed. Such contributors include Colorado’s own nannies and families, employment attorneys, CPAs, pediatricians, lactation consultants, medical first responders, CPR and First Aide teachers, background check specialists and more! Trust us when we say, this is the all-in-one resource every parent has to have.

Purchase yours today! To take advantage of the mama’hood discount, enter coupon code MAMA at checkout.

2 Simple Self Care Tips for Moms-to-Be and New Moms

2 Simple Self Care Tips for Moms-to-Be and New Moms

1. Experiment with essential oils as a self care tool

Essential oils are powerful. They have the ability to be used medicinally in more ways than we can imagine. I use essential oils everyday for different things from uplifting my mood to healing sunburns quickly.

However, the most value I've found from essential oil is in the self care aspect. There's something so grounding about diffusing a cedarwood, Douglas fir, and vetiver blend after a long day of work. The smells actually change my mood and support my well being, more than I would have ever been able to suspect before experiencing it.

That's why I believe essential oils can be so incredibly helpful for moms-to-be and new moms. The process of being pregnant, birthing a baby, and raising a new child can be a beautiful time of overflowing love and joy, but it can also be a time of great upheaval. Simple things like diffusing an oil that grounds you can be the difference between an awful day and awful moment.

There are safety concerns around using essential oils during pregnancy so I generally recommend women who are pregnant refrain from ingesting oils at any time and stick to these 10, which are completely safe for pregnant and nursing moms.

  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Geranium
  • Black pepper
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • German chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Wild Orange

2. Experiment with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

EFT is a simple, yet powerful tool that I use in my practice all the time. It's a blend between acupressure, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy.

It can be used to overcome the normal concerns, fears, or insecurities that may arise during pregnancy and during child birth. By creating changes in thoughts and beliefs women can change their experience. The normal shift of hormones during pregnancy often brings a great fluctuation of emotions, and often issues that have been unresolved may come to the surface. this is true in both pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

EFT is well recognized for its ability to facilitate the release of negative emotions. Many of the physical symptoms associated with pregnancy can also be mitigated or relieved. And once there is greater comfort and east EFT can be utilized to strengthen your positive thoughts and visualizations of idea birth allowing you to move forward with greater confidence.

EFT utilizes the same system – the meridian system – that acupuncturists use during their therapeutic sessions. Rather than stimulating these points with needles, EFT creates the stimulations through a gentle tapping or ones own fingers while repeating short statements about a particular memory, belief, experience or physical symptom. Past experiences, even past trauma can be cleared away with this method. As the energy meridian system is activated through the tapping, the body memory associated with the incident or belief is transformed.

I’ve found that EFT is most useful in times of great emotional turmoil which are bound to come up during pregnancy during the birth process, and the postpartum period. It’s a wonderful tool to have in your toolbox for all phases of life and motherhood.

If you’re interested in learning more about essentials oils pertaining to pregnancy and children, and how to practice EFT, come to my workshop. The importance of Self Care Before and After Pregnancy at the mama ‘hood on October 21st from 1-2pm. Register by calling the mama ‘hood at (303) 643-5662.

To schedule a complimentary private 20 minute session email me at Ciara@clarawisner.com or follow this link.

Clara Wisner

Ciara Wisner is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach of rEvolutionary Lifestyle. She attended the Nutritional Therapy Institute in Denver, CO from 2012-2015. Ciara Wisner is also a Certified Primal Expert, an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, and a Level 1 Voice Dialogue Vacillator.

Ciara specializes in helping women ditch toxic habits and release the self-sabotaging beliefs that keep them from creating the health and happiness they desire with her unique coaching approach that addresses mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

Having a highly critical education in nutrition, Ciara blends this scientific knowledge of biology and physiology, with her deep and personal understanding of the emotional components of dietary and lifestyle change. By blending the clinical with the energetic, Ciara creates customized nutrition and lifestyle programs tat facilitate true mind-body transformation for her clients.

To learn more visit to her website at www.ciarawisner.com.

Rattlesnake Slide; The extreme importance of self-care.

Rattlesnake Slide; The extreme importance of self-care.

A few weeks ago I was hiking with my husband and kids in the hopes of going climbing at a small area not far from our house. Neither my husband nor I had been there before and it was a hot dry day to be out with a four and six-year-old and have high expectations. Knowing that they didn’t have much left in them and we had obviously passed the trailhead to the climbing area, I went on a quick off trail mission to locate the crag in order to scope it for our next attempt. The next thing I knew I was on a loose scree slope and hearing a rattlesnake’s rattle. My adrenaline surged when I glanced at my snake friend, clearly a youth, and simultaneously slipped and started sliding down the scree. Knowing that the young ones like to unload their entire venom arsenal I was terrified to see the snake sliding along above me and insanely grateful when I managed to run my way out of it without with just an abrasion on my arm and not a bite.  Whew! I made it.

Rattlesnake

 

What if I hadn’t? How long would I have felt ok enough to walk? How bad would it have hurt? Would I have been able to keep my mental state together enough to take care of myself and get out of there? My husband was close enough that he may have heard me had I screamed, but it was pretty windy and he may not have. It was hot and he most likely wouldn’t have wanted to leave the kids to go look for me and maybe would have waited quite a while to investigate since he knows that I love my alone time in the wilderness. If I had been bitten, what was intended to be a joyful day on the trail and the rock could have turned into a nightmare life threatening event. The reason that I bring this up today is not in the least to suggest you not go hiking, or to not go hiking alone, or to live in fear, but to reinforce the extreme importance of self-care. If we walk through our days in the best physical, mental, emotional states that we can, we are armed to handle the major incidents if and when they do come up. Here are five small things you can do on a daily basis to keep you living better so that when the road gets rocky you have 4-wheel drive:

Meditate. Just do it. You may not think you are doing it right. You will be thinking a lot of the time. Just do it 5 minutes a day at least for 30 days until it becomes a habit, and then do it more. Pay attention to your breath. Focus inward a bit every day. Express gratitude in your own head for your own life and if you need guidance, look to Susan Piver, she’s amazing.

Move in Nature. Exercise is great. Running, walking, skiing, climbing, dancing, yoga… I don’t care what you do, if you can do it outside in nature I believe it is much better for you. When I see people running on a treadmill watching stress and fear inducing television programing I think to myself, “what in the world are they getting out of that?”. If and when possible, get your exercise out in the open where you can think bigger and breath fresh air (hopefully unless you are in the Central Valley).

Change Something about the way you Eat. I used to hate fad diets and discount them at all costs. Lately I have done a few (Whole30 and the Plan) and I found great pleasure in learning some new recipes, observing the way my body responds to different foods, and just THINKING more about what and how I eat. My kids ask about whether something has too much sugar, and what’s good for them and why because my husband and I have been much more intentional about our eating. We all fall into patterns and habits with our diet. Change it up now and then, you might just learn something.

Sleep well. If you don’t sleep well, I know this is a hard pill to swallow. RIGHT just sleep well, it’s THAT easy! I get that sometimes it is not that easy, but what are you ACTIVELY doing to change it if you are not sleeping well. Have you tried consistently going to bed earlier? Have you logged how much sleep you REALLY need? Have you looked at the room and the bed you sleep in to see if it’s ideal for sleeping (dark, quiet, cool, comfy)? If your schedule doesn’t allow you to sleep enough, what can you cut out? This is YEARS off your life and if you are not sleeping well, so maybe late night TV should be cut. The right homeopathic remedy can help you sleep better if you have tried the items above. If you need a drug to sleep, something is not right.

Express Gratitude. Every night around the dinner table we exchange three things that we are grateful for. It’s amazing the things my kids come up with (but the constant is “Daddy coming home from work”). When you express gratitude you decrease your stress hormones and you are happier. Writing thank you notes and doing little things for friends and family can make YOU much happier. In this world of constant online communication and stimulation, take time to look people in the eye and thank them. Meditate on it. Gratitude blossoms love.

As I was sliding down the hill thinking I might be bit by a rattlesnake at any moment, these practices didn’t pop up and provide me with a coat of armor.  However, with a few years of meditating under my belt and self-care being something I do as well as talk to people about ALL THE TIME in my line of work, I know that in their own way, they really would have protected me if the bite had happened. I weather things much better and I walk through life MUCH happier because I practice these things every day. I know that implementing these practices might not be easy for you, and if I can be of some help, please feel free to REACH OUT! If you are doing all these things, I would assume you would not have read this far. Or maybe you skimmed down to here to find out that I DIDN’T GET BIT BY A RATTLESNAKE. Carry on with your lovely life and thanks for reading!

P.S. I’d now like to add JOIN A MASTERMIND to these pearls of wisdom. If you’re interested check THIS out.

The Microbiome by Stephanie Morish, Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Microbiome 101

The missing link in the health of many babies being born today is establishing the presence of a healthy inner ecosystem also known as the microbiome. You may have heard of the microbiome - the miniature world made up of trillions of microscopic organisms that flourish within the human gastrointestinal tract. For both mother and baby, we want the good microflora to outnumber the bad. If a mother does not nourish her gut microbiome during pregnancy, she will not have as much beneficial bacteria to impart to her child during birth. Babies who lack good bacteria at birth may be at risk for a number of health issues, including weakened immunity and poor digestive health that can lead to colic and constipation. Weakened immunity and poor gut health can also leave a baby vulnerable to more serious childhood diseases. Supporting your inner ecosystem during pregnancy is the best thing you can do for your baby's lifelong health.

There is also a lot mom can do after birth to ensure proper development and maintenance of her baby’s inner ecosystem. Baby needs a healthy gut with lots of beneficial microflora to build a strong immune system and be able to digest mother’s milk. Babies who lack an abundance of good bacteria at the beginning of life can suffer from uncomfortable digestive issues such as gas, colic, reflux and constipation. Additionally, babies need sufficient beneficial bacteria to prevent the development of allergies and food sensitivities that are so common today.

Mother’s milk is the gold standard for baby’s nutrition. Mom’s post-natal diet is very important as her nutrients and bacteria will be transferred to baby. There is also a place for probiotics in baby nutrition, helping to inoculate baby’s gut and digest mother’s milk. Every child needs a strong inner ecosystem to help them become healthy, vibrant human beings with strong immunity! In the Pre- and Post- Natal Gut Health workshop on Friday, September 23 rd , holistic nutritionist Stephanie Morish will walk you through everything you need to know about gut health. She will explain why a healthy microbiome is important for mama and baby’s health and how to establish a healthy gut in yourself and your baby, before, during and after pregnancy.

Stephanie Morish is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant and Natural Foods Chef. She provides one-on- one coaching to support clients in developing healthy and sustainable nutrition and lifestyle habits. Stephanie specializes in women’s health, hormone balance, digestive/gut health, fertility, pregnancy and weight loss. She combines holistic nutrition, Ayurvedic medicine and lifestyle counseling to assist her clients in achieving balance and reaching their fullest health potential. Stephanie’s private practice is located at Botanica Wellness Sanctuary in City Park, Denver. To learn more about Stephanie, check out her website.

Look Of The Week

Look Of The Week

Here's how to get the look:

Rebecca Minkoff Leo' Envelope Clutch

Open zip teeth trace the edges of a slim envelope-flap clutch crafted from scratch-resistant Saffiano leather.

Tory Burch 'Heidi' Ballet Flat 

An elasticized topline ensures a secure and comfortable fit in a classic ballerina flat given a modern update with a metallic snakeskin-inspired finish. The polished Tory Burch medallion tops the rounded toe, embodying the designer’s inimitable style and sensibility.

    'Hakuna Matata' Beaded Stretch Bracelets

    This wristful of beautifully beaded bracelets adds a boho-chic touch to any look while helping to empower women in developing communities. Track the impact of your purchase with the code on the back of your bracelet tag.

    From Missy Albrecht on Pelvic Floor Health

    From Missy Albrecht on Pelvic Floor Health

    Our bodies were built to carry, nourish, labor and raise a baby. But the way we treat our bodies before (years before!), during and after really affect how well they will handle the process.

    I'm excited to share with you some common themes that I see often with my patients, in hopes to alleviate any current issues or help prevent them in the future.

    the mama 'hood named Oustanding Social Venture in Early Childhood Education & Development from CO Impact Days

    the mama 'hood named Oustanding Social Venture in Early Childhood Education & Development from CO Impact Days

    The mama' hood is very proud to announce that we recently received a prestigious award from CO Impact Initiative.  We were among 600 applicants to be able to participate as an organization, only 66 were invited to the event and only 8 of us were selected as winners.  

    the mama' hood received a prestigious award for Outstanding Social Venture in Early Childhood Education and Development.

    What is Colorado Impact Initiative?  CO Impact Initiative is a unique opportunity for social ventures such as ours to receive support to help make a real impact in Colorado. With the support of the CO Impact Initiative we will be able to do even more in our community. Thriving Babies. Thriving Mamas. Thriving World.

    Our 4th Birthday Giveaway! Enter Here.

    Watch and share our fun 3rd birthday video and then enter the contest below!

    the mama'hood turns 4 on February 15! Why do you love the mama'hood? Tell us below for your chance to win a 5-Punch Class Card! Contest opens Feb. 1 and ends Feb. 29, with a winner announced by Mar. 2.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    42 Days for 42 Years by Sara Guenther

    As I sit down and attempt to put my thoughts on paper, I am flooded with an overabundance of emotions. My baby girl just turned seven and we’re headed up to the mountains with my own mama tribe to celebrate all our sweet Capricorn babies. This tribe of women met when our littles were teeny tiny and have continued to support each other as we’ve grown, expanded, and traveled this path of motherhood together.

    Not only are our children’s birthdays a time to celebrate their sweet, perfect little souls, it’s a time to reflect upon our own growth as mothers, as women, and as an expression of the divine. My own path as a mother has been filled with vast, expansive, epic growth. My children have and continue to be my greatest, most inspiring, nagging, and never ending teachers. They continuously reflect back to me what I most need in any given moment and when I do not listen the message only becomes louder and louder and louder.

    Yes, I’ve learned oodles and oodles and oodles these past seven years. I’ve learned about meconium minutes after birth. I’ve learned about engorged breasts and sore, raw nipples. I’ve learned way more than I ever intended about nighttime parenting, sleepless nights, night weaning, and co-sleeping. I’ve learned about elimination communication, cloth diapers, baby-led weaning, and potty training. I’ve learned about Depends, postpartum bleeding, and how to have a bowel movement again after having a vaginal birth. I’ve learned about leaking nipples and the best type of nursing pads and nursing bras. I’ve learned all about the pelvic floor and having less control over certain bodily sounds. I’ve learned about extended breastfeeding and how to talk honestly about why I’m still nursing my almost three year old. But most importantly, I’ve learned about the sacredness of the postpartum period, the “42-day sacred window.” Unfortunately though, I’ve learned about his through not honoring my own sacred window with both of my postpartum journeys.

    “The ancient texts of Ayurvedic medicine teach that if a woman is taken care of properly during her first 42 days after giving birth, a solid foundation is established for vibrant health, vitality, and the ability to mother and partner well for many decades to come.” ~Ysha Oakes, Ayurvedic Practitioner.

    Although the time period may vary slightly, most Indian communities practice postpartum “confinement” for 40-42 days. During this confinement period a woman is supported in her physical healing, her uterus returns to pre-pregnancy size, breastfeeding and milk supply is established, and the perineum or caesarean section incision heals. A woman is supported in her journey of becoming or expanding her role as a mother and is offered a precious window of time to bond and form a healthy attachment to her new baby. Additionally, this provides time to begin to process the birth and perhaps any emotional birth trauma that may have occurred.

    During this 42-day window, mothers should be allowed to fully rest, recuperate, and bond with their baby. Mothers should refrain from doing chores, grocery shopping, errands, preparing meals, cleaning the house, laundry, or hosting guests. Rather than stepping right back into her pre-pregnancy life, a woman should be allowed to rest, should be given hot oil massages daily, and fed simple, easily digestible foods and herbal drinks to promote healing and improve milk supply.

    As much as I fully intended to create a space supportive of rest and rejuvenation, I found myself entertaining, cooking, and filled with feelings of doubt, depression, and defensiveness. With my second, at 2 weeks postpartum my incredibly supportive husband had to return to work and I was not only responsible for my own healing and caring for a newborn, but was solely responsible for caring for my oldest child, managing the household, cooking, cleaning, laundry, groceries - oh and did I mention my husband travels regularly for work and I was caring for a newborn baby and theoretically my own postpartum healing? This unfortunately is the reality and trend for most women in our western culture. Thank goodness I was not working on top of the ever-increasing load I was managing at home.

    So, do you think my own postpartum experiences will influence me for the next 42 years of my life? You are damn right they will! Initially, I looked back on my own postpartum experiences with anger, exhaustion, irritation, regret, confusion, betrayal, etc. etc. etc. I felt stuck in the shadow of my own feelings of what I co-created postpartum. But with every shadow there is an invitation to celebrate and embrace the light. Through yoga, mindfulness, meditation, involvement in a spiritual community, and a vast openness to receive, I’ve been able to transform and cleanse myself of these toxic feelings and step into the light and my own dharmic path. Because of the work I’ve done around my own sacred window, I have been able to devote my life to supporting women with their own postpartum journeys through yoga, meditation, and birth story healing circles. I’ve transformed my own shadow into one of the greatest gifts I can offer to women and families.

    This leads me to my greatest wish for every pregnant and postpartum woman. That wish is to fully honor, savor, celebrate, embrace, and own your own 42-day sacred window. Invite mothers, sisters, grandmothers, girlfriends, postpartum doulas, and coworkers to support you in your own postpartum healing. Allow yourself to bathe in their love and light. Allow yourself to be held, supported, massaged, fed, and cared for on a deep spiritual level. Allow yourself time to bond with your baby and your ever expanding sense of self. Allow yourself to slowly reenter the world as we know it now and to bring with you a sense of growth and luminosity. And if your 42-day sacred window is lacking and not as nourishing and sweet as it should be, allow this to be an invitation to create space for more support, transparency, and love within your life. Allow your 42-day sacred window to manifest growth, receptivity, and abundance for the next 42 years of your life!

    Love, light, and blessing to all women everywhere! ~Sara

    Sara teaches prenatal, baby and me, toddler and me, and family yoga classes at the ‘hood. She also leads our Postnatal/Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Training in Denver, in addition to small, intimate birth story healing circles. Join Sara for her next Postnatal/Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Training on Saturday January 30th from 11:00-7:00 and Sunday January 31st from 2:00-7:00. For more information about Sara and her yoga offerings please visit www.begraceyoga.com.

    Animals May Be the Answer to Our Children's Challenges: Guest Post by Ash Stevens

    Medication, specialists, and discipline plans are the go-tos for the common problems facing kids today. There’s a whole lot of room to debate their cause, benefits and consequences though. Behaviors are often provoked by factors like sleep, diet, discipline and structure, and family relationships. In this case, getting a prescription for a stimulant or a depressant leaves the core problems untouched, so more problems are bound to come up later. There are definitely situations that can warrant the use of medication and other interventions, but if we can figure out what the main issues are then we can come up with some creative ways of addressing them.

    One such creative approach to helping kids with different needs involves animals. Parents are finding that a little fur perfectly compliments the action plans created for their child’s issues. Sometimes it’s even able to replace meds and one-on-one’s with specialists altogether. Animals have proved to make excellent “therapists” and “aids” because they help reduce problems that kids and families are dealing with, and they even help kids with developing skills and behaviors that address issues at their core. Consider these amazing ways animals are making a difference with children!

    Reading

    Kids are reading to dogs in schools and libraries across the country, and even Colorado’s own Westminister Public Libraries offer kids sessions with reading dogs. It’s no surprise that a little canine intervention makes books more fun than ever, but reading-therapy dogs are definitely more than some trendy fad. Thanks to the combination of petting and reading to an audience, children can keep focus on the book in front of them. On top of that, dogs offer to listen to kids and support them without a peep of criticism. This has a big impact on cutting down on kids’ anxieties, and it makes reading time go by faster (and with a whole new element of fun). Libraries and schools make reading-therapy dogs easy to find these days, but it’s a role the family dog or cat just might be able to fill, too. With a little training or treat-based incentives, there could be read aloud fun and relaxation in your very own living room.

    Autism

    Autism Spectrum Disorders can pose some big social challenges. Understanding how to “read” people and being able to decipher the meaning behind nonverbal cues is a frustrating issue that affects friends and families as well as ASD children. But instead of turning to medication for a one-stop fix, some parents are actually looking to horses. These “giant dogs” may not be able to speak, but that’s precisely why equine-assisted therapy benefits autism. Kids have to rely on touch, observation, and intuition in order to interact with their horse. Movements and physical cues may be subtle, but they have much to say about a horse’s needs and moods. Time spent with these quiet and gentle creatures helps kids to develop and utilize their awareness. As kids foster these skills with horses, they’re able to put these same skills to work with people and dramatically improve their relationships and social interactions. A great thing for everybody!

    Yes, there are probably more people without horses or an equine therapy program than people with access, but that’s okay because the benefits aren’t limited to only horses. One study shows that simply having a household pet benefits autism. It’s rumored that dogs may be the top runners, but any sort of animal an autistic child connects with poses potential behavioral and cognitive benefits.

    ADHD

    Focus and attention are everyday struggles with attention disorders, and prescription drugs get handed out like candy to try to keep kids at their desks. Whether or not medication is helpful and necessary is up to families and their doctor, but there are everyday ways to help kids develop their focus. Having an animal is a great way to build routine and attention because pets can teach ADHD children about responsibility. Giving pets the food, water, exercise, and cleaning that they require is a great way for kids to learn routine that will help them firm up their attention and awareness. And similarly to reading dogs, their presence can be very comforting. And as soothing as that petting can be to our mood, it also offers body movement that can actually help hone in focus and reduce distractions.

    Emotional Needs

    Animals are about as simple and fun as it gets. Not only are they goofy and playful, but they love one on one time. Now matter what’s going on, they’re almost always game for a good petting or some playtime. All this added onto their complete acceptance of us makes them incredible companions, especially when it comes to moods and emotions. Depression, bipolar disorder, have all shown benefits with animal involvement. The bond they offer keeps kids from being withdrawn and isolated, encourages more physical activity, and their furry presence can even increase opportunities for social interaction. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but a pet can keep kids from getting lost in the negativity that comes with hard days. And it’s the exact same thing for adults.

    Animals are doing some amazing things! Programs everywhere can help kids and families improve their lives in a variety of ways, but simply having a family dog, cat, or guinea pig can be used in much the same way. Consider all the creative ways that a little fur can help improve your own child’s life. They may well be worth the poop cleanup.

    Ash Stevens is a mother, writer, and wannabe shaman. She loves health, gardening, simplicity, culture, chocolate, and sarcasm. If she isn't writing or talking about family and relationships on her blog, then she's surely playing badminton with the kids. Find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend! 

    If you would like to contribute a guest blog post to the mama'hood, please send pitches or completed submissions to beth@themamahood.com. Guests posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the mama'hood, but we're happy to give you a platform if you have something to say about this adventure called parenting!

    One Deep Breath by Faith Davis

    I still remember one of the first times I sat down alone with the intention to meditate. I had recently returned from my first 200-hour yoga teacher training, a winter of slow living at a mountain ashram. I was just launching my massage therapy practice, working in Boulder, traveling to all of its suburbs, and reconnecting with old friends. Life was moving fast - too fast.

    "I'm going to meditate every day," I declared with the zeal of a true beginner. My intention was to force life to slow down. Six years later I can very honestly tell you I still haven't gotten the hang of meditating every day, but, I no longer feel like life is speeding by me. What's my secret?

    One deep breath. Inhale...exhale.

    I take one deep breath as I wake up in the morning and one just before I fall asleep at night. I take one deep breath when I brew my coffee or tea, and one when I first step outside each morning. I take one deep breath when someone cuts me off in traffic, when I have a pounding headache, when I feel overwhelmed or terribly sad.

    When it feels like life is flying by, I take one deep breath.

    Taking these deep breaths offers a pause in my day. It offers one single moment to slowly notice how I feel. Sometimes I take a deep breath and simply ask: what do I need today?

    *Sometimes I take a deep breath to remember to hold a particular feeling or moment in my heart. *

    The beautiful thing about this practice is that it doesn't require any extra time or equipment. No matter how busy you feel, how joyful or exhausted, how capable or helpless, anyone can take one deep breath.

    This single breath in each moment of life reminds me there is time for my experience - happy or sad, joyous or heartbreaking. I don't wish any moment away, and in this practice life stopped speeding by me and started flowing one breath at a time.

    Faith Davis is a maternity massage therapist, postpartum doula, and Prenatal/Baby & Me Yoga teacher at the 'hood, with over 1000 hours experience teaching women, mamas and families. Join Faith at the Mama Mini Retreat on January 30, 1-4pm, for an afternoon of moving one breath at a time through simple yoga, meditation, and self-care. To find out more visit yogiinmotion.com or email faith.davis@me.com.