It's working for Janet Allen-Reid
Compassionate and reliable childcare is one of the biggest concerns facing new parents returning to work, especially in that first year. In Cincinnati, one nanny has committed herself to easing the back-to-work transition, one family at a time. With a practice built entirely on word-of-mouth, Janet Allen-Reid takes pride in seeing new parents and their baby through the first year, and the first year alone. After that, she moves on to a new family, facing the same struggles, which Janet is able to help navigate with love, wisdom, and friendship that continues well beyond the last diaper change.
Can you tell us more about why you became passionate about nannying? And for new moms, specifically.
I think going back to work after your first child can be very stressful on families. And having someone you trust with your baby lets you relax and enjoy being back at work. And lets the parents focus on the joys of the new baby.
I have always loved being around children. It seems easy to me- I’ve never had trouble with a classroom of kids and I think babies pick up on my comfort level with them.
Why is it important to you to work with women who have children that are 1 year or under?
That first year is full of new experiences and I love the idea of parents being able to enjoy those without the guilt of feeling they should be able to do everything.
What do you think it is about you that draws people in and gives them comfort?
I think I’m a good listener and I try to pick up on what new parents want. I think it’s really important to let parents know babies thrive with different things–there isn’t just one way to do something right. And I know that every parent wants to know their baby is happy and safe, so that’s what I give them!
What do you think you give most to your new moms?
Hopefully I give them time to enjoy their babies when they get home without having to worry about all the other household details. And let them go back to work without any guilt, because they know the baby is in great hands!
What do you think they, and their little ones, give you?
Joy, pure joy!
Have you had any mentors who have helped you navigate work/life balance? Have you been that person for someone else?
I guess my mom is who comes to mind as someone I tried to emulate. She was a stay-at-home mom who had a number of volunteer jobs and managed to keep all her plates spinning while being a big part of 4 kids’ lives.
How do you think your mom modeled a happy life for you?
My mom was big on the Golden Rule–she always was kind to others and always took the extra time to listen.
How do you think you modeled this for your children?
I hope in the same ways. If you ask them to tell you 3 things I like or think, they’d probably all say:
1) Patience is a virtue.
2) You should always write a little note of thanks.
3) My mom has never met a stranger.
Can you tell me more about your relationship with your “moms” and their children?
I’d like to think I can be a voice of reason for “my moms” I work for.
One of the surprise benefits of nannying has been making friends with the parents! When you see people parenting and doing it well, it’s easy to want to spend time with them. I’m always happy when we continue a friendship past my year of nannying.
How do they find you?
All my jobs have been word-of-mouth. Sometimes it’s been a neighborhood family that I knew already, or a friend of a friend.
How do you fit into their lives and they into yours?
My hope is to fit seamlessly into their lives. I love it when they can just be themselves. I always have a meeting in the early stages of talking to lay out exactly what I do. I think the early talks are important to find out if you are compatible–it definitely goes both ways.
What advice would you give to employers regarding how they can better attract and retain women in the workforce who want to have (or already have) families.
I think having flexible work hours part of every week, where the employees could work from home, would be a huge bonus for both employer & employee.
What do you think women returning to the workforce need most in their first year after having a baby? At home? At work?
I think knowing your baby is in a loving and safe place–whether it’s daycare or with someone in your home–is the best way to get back to work happily. And knowing there may be adjustments to be made at home and work, and that it’s okay to make them to keep your life running smoothly, will go a long way to an easier transition back to work.