Starbright Charity by Excellent Nanny Service

“Make a child smile and the rest is taken care of,” the words of Denise Willis as she hands the precious little girl her Christmas gift.

Thousands of children each year spend their holidays in the hospital and it is heartbreaking. Starbright Charity’s goal is to bring joy to those children and their parents in these not-so-wonderful times. If you would like to make a charitable donation please email


Happy Holidays!


How My Worst Parenting Moment Turned Into My Best

Last weekend, after eight years of being a mom, I had my worst parenting moment yet. My 9-month-old daughter fell off her 4-foot-high changing table straight onto her head. My husband, 7-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son and I were all standing there, each one thinking the other was watching her. It happened in slow motion, like something from a movie.

Once she hit the ground, there was a thud, then a scream (mine). Then came the tears (hers and mine). All of this was followed by several frantic moments — holding her, bouncing her, calling the pediatrician.

She was fine. Thank God. One visit to the ER, a small bruise on her forehead, and multiple ice packs later, I can say we were very, very lucky.

Sitting in that waiting room, though, I didn’t feel lucky. I felt like the worst parent in the world. I was in tears, shocked that one second of negligence — I had been searching for a certain onesie in her top drawer — had caused my daughter any pain. I was terrified that she was permanently damaged. That my lack of caution had somehow changed my perfect baby and I was going to have to live with that guilt.

But then a funny thing happened.

While I was sitting in the waiting room, tears streaming down my cheeks, my hands clenched and nervous, another mother came up to me. She smiled. Her 3-year-old son was sick and she was holding him close to her chest, rocking and bouncing. I’d been eyeing her earlier, watching the way she whispered to him and the loving way she rocked him. So maternal. I figured a mom like her would never drop her baby.

But then: “I heard you with the nurse,” she told me. “Don’t feel bad. I did the same thing when he was six months. Rolled right off it. He’s fine.”

Once I got in to see the doctor and he’d poked and prodded the baby, shining a light in her eyes and looking in her ears, he pronounced her “perfect.”

“And also, I did the same thing with my son when he was this age. He’s 40 now. No worries.”

Once I was home, I started telling others of my scare — and of my guilt. And one by one, they told similar tales. “I tripped carrying my 3-month-old down the stairs.” “My 10-month-old rolled out of our high bed.” “I fell while she was in the Bjorn. Landed right on her face!” There were so many, I lost count. It seemed everyone was tripping, falling and dropping their babies.

I felt better.

The truth is, sometimes being a mother can feel isolating. When we mess up — yell when we don’t want to, hurt our children unintentionally, let them sit in a poop too long — the guilt can sometimes be crushing. What kind of mother am I? How could I do this to my own baby?

They say it takes a village, but they usually mean in a different sense. And while it’s true that having multiple hands on deck when it comes to raising our babies is helpful and vital, it’s also true that it’s not just about taking care of our little ones. It’s about taking care of us, too. Sometimes moms need that village just to say, “it’s OK. I’ve been there, too. You are not the worst mom in the world.”

Adara (my baby) is fine. She was herself within minutes of the fall and her bruise faded within three days. It was a scare. The kind of thing that becomes family lore. I am sure when she is 16, her siblings and I will share the story of the day she fell from the changing table. It’s amazing how quickly terror fades into a tall tale when the outcome is good.

I am also feeling less guilty, thanks, in large part, to my village. The next time I see a mom struggling — whether it’s because she made a massive mistake and feels guilty or because her toddler is having a fit in Target and she is embarrassed — I am going to make a point not to ignore her and go about my business, I will approach her, a smile on my face, and assure her: “I’ve been there, too.” Because I have. We all have. There is no use lying or playing like we are superior. We are all just stumbling along, doing our best and making mistakes. There is no use pretending otherwise. And when we drop those walls, when we open up and tell our stories, we feel less alone.

We are a community of mothers, making mistakes, having terrifying moments, and learning from it all. Together.


Working from Home With A Baby

Whenever I tell people I work from home, I get a variation of the same reaction. “That’s amazing!” they say. And, it’s true. It is amazing. After working my entire adult life in an office, the last few years of working from home (a few days per week or otherwise) have been great. I no longer have to deal with a horrendous commute that wipes me — and my wallet — out; I miss very little when it comes to my

1- and 3-year-olds; and, if I so choose, I could attend a meeting in sweatpants and a pit-stained t-shirt. Wins all around.

That said, as with many things in life, working from home isn’t without it’s own set of challenges…particularly when there’s a baby there at the same time!

Here are the six craziest things about working from home with a baby.

1. Naps are unpredictable. “I’m just going to send out all of my TPS reports during the baby’s nap, which always is exactly from 10 to 12:30!” If you can utter such words, I envy you. With my 1-year-old, naps are always a crap shoot. One day, he’ll sleep for three hours, the next, 45 minutes. Of course, I allot this time to get things done for work, but sometimes I don’t have the time to squeeze it all in during that period… which means more work for later.

2. Trying to email/type/think/read with a baby is, quite simply, Crazy Town. A few days a week, I have a babysitter come, and truth be told, that’s when a good chunk of my work gets done. But before she comes, I often try to sneak in a few things, such as answering emails or getting my day organized — try being the operative word. I don’t know too many 1-year-olds who are cool hanging out by themselves while their parents toil away on their laptops. So, pretty much, there’s no “working” that goes on when my son is awake or the sitter isn’t here (despite what many people think!).

3. The crying. When the babysitter is here, there’s naturally crying that happens sometimes, because babies. Trying to focus on a piece I’m writing or speaking on the phone with an editor isn’t the easiest when it’s against the backdrop of your baby’s vocal stylings.

4. The laughing. And then of course there’s the laughing. No doubt, a baby’s laugh is a brilliant, amazing thing to hear — the best sound in the world! But when you hear it and you’re locked away in your room trying to get things done, it’s a little sad. Womp-womp.

5. The guilt! Oh, Mom Guilt, why do you manage to rear your ugly head whatever the situation? When I worked out of the house, I felt guilty for working out of the house. And now that I work from home — where my son also happens to reside — I feel guilty for being home and not spending time with him. Something about being in the same place as him while working makes it almost feel like I’m lying about working. Please tell me Mom Guilt ends at some point. It’s maddening!

6. No one likes working in a big ol’ baby mess. I don’t know about you, but I think much better when I’m in a clean, organized space. And being that my “office” also happens to be my sweet baby’s, well, house, I often find myself trying to quickly tidy and clean up before hunkering down to work — which of course eats into my work day, tacking on more work time at the end of the night.

But, yes, I know: Things could be worse. And the fact that the little dude who often interrupts me is, in my opinion, ridiculously cute certainly helps.

Do you work from home with a baby?

Page 6 of 13« First...45678...Last »