A Note To Nannies And Parents About Social Media

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nannies and social media

The other day, I met with a family who wanted me to consult with them on a nanny-related issue.

Marci has been their nanny for the past two years, but they recently started following her on her various social media channels. Now, to be honest, if I wasn’t in the nanny management business and a stranger told me about stalking an employee on social media, I might think it’s over-stepping. BUT since we are talking about someone you are trusting with your most precious possession – your child – in the privacy of your home, I have no problem with social media stalking.

“We noticed that the past month Marci has been partying a lot, which of course is not our business… but we saw on Facebook that while she was at a party she smoked and had some very provocative photos,” this family told me. They also said they noticed a change in Marci’s behavior and that she seemed less involved with their two kids.

When I asked if there was anything else that was bothering them about Marci, they said they also saw a video of her drinking and acting out of control with a few other people.

What would you do if you found this out about your nanny?

We all might answer that question differently, but I am writing this because my goal is to help nannies understand the power social media has on the many aspects of their lives, but particularly their job security when it comes to being a caregiver.

As most young people are aware of these days, it’s not just families who are using social media. Some studies show up to one-third of employers actually use social media to recruit employees. Things like references to marijuana, photos with alcohol and spelling and grammar mistakes in posts are cited as potential red flags, according to recruiting software company Jobvite.

It’s becoming a very common thing for me to have parents tell me about disturbing things they see their nannies do on social media. Another mom called me in panic because her friend saw a picture of her nanny wearing Chanel glasses that were identical to the pair that mom had lost two weeks earlier. I have countless stories about nannies who lost their jobs because they posted horribly negative things about the families they worked for on social media.

My hope is that parents realize their nannies are allowed to have lives outside their job and enjoy social media, but at the same time, I caution nannies to think twice before posting photos or videos of anything that could call into question their character.

When I ask parents why they feel it matters what their nanny is doing on social media, the most frequent answer I get is perception – it’s easy to judge from photos. At the end of the day, parents wants the peace of mind that the person looking after their kids is also a role model for their kids. If a parent’s perception of a nanny is tarnished because of some photos or offensive language on social media, there isn’t much the nanny can do to undo that negative judgment.

Another note to nannies: If you think blocking your social media from strangers or using privacy settings to keep parents from searching you on social media… Think again. I know of a few companies that will crawl through almost every social media site and will be able to access private information. You also have to remember a parent’s network is huge. Just because you don’t think the family you work for is on social media doesn’t mean their friends aren’t.

I write this as a wake-up call to both parents and nannies. Social media has damaged more than a few employer/employee relationships, but when it comes to caregivers, the stakes are so much higher. In certain jobs, partying all the time may have no effect on a person’s job performance. But watching someone’s child will always be different because if a parent loses faith that the person looking after their kids is an upstanding person and always in the right state of mind when with those kids, then the relationship is forever damaged.

What Is Orthorexia? My Battle And How I Overcame It

When I was 24 years old, I stopped binging and purging. I thought it was the end of the line of what I thought was the battle with Bulimia nervosa. The day that I stopped binging and purging, I thought that was the last day that I would have an eating disorder. I told myself that I was recovered, and I started eating really healthy. What I didn’t realize was that what I was doing was really moving from bulimia to Orthorexia. For the next two years I thought I was super healthy and fit. When people made silly comments about my VERY healthy eating habits, I thought they didn’t understand what it meant to be healthy and didn’t know that what they were eating I considered poison.

Many people have never heard of Orthorexia – and I hadn’t before I realized I had it. Orthorexia is a relatively new term, but the disorder is characterized by an obsession with health – way more so than losing weight, which often comes as a result. You can read the full clinical definition here (http://www.orthorexia.com/), but in general, people who have Orthorexia create terrible associations with what they deem “unhealthy food” and eating such foods will cause things like paranoia, anxiety and irrational fears of disease.

After obsessing and reading more about what is healthy and what else I could do to avoid eating anything that might damage my body or brain in any way, I came across the word Orthorexia. I started reading the definition and while at first I was in a denial about having it, I realized that I was also lying to myself. When I was able to be honest with myself, I had to admit that I wasn’t recovered from my eating disorder but rather developed another form of eating disorder. I decided that I had to slowly introduce myself to what I considered unhealthy food. I tried to initially eat 90% healthy food and 10% unhealthy. Then I realized that I was missing out on a lot of opportunities that involved eating food that I considered bad.

I slowly allowed myself to eat less healthily and was able to enjoy foods that I would have never allowed myself with my previous thinking. I had to totally rework my definition of health, and it was a slow process.

I write this to share with you all how different disordered eating can look for different people. The typical starvation tactics and binging and purging we associate with eating disorders aren’t the only signs of unhealthy behavior.

There Is A Genetic Component To ADHD And There Are Things You Can Do About It

With so many children (and adults) affected by ADHD today, I’ve done a lot of research on the subject. As parents, we always want to know if there’s something we could be doing to help with both the symptoms and the causes. This leads to the basic question of whether ADHD is genetic?

The short answer is yes. Something called the human genome project actually mapped out people’s genetic makeups and found a connection between mutations of the MTHFR gene and ADHD. This has led me to do a lot more research on the MTHFR gene and see what can be done once we are aware of this condition – whether it’s in ourselves or in our kids.

First of all, MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It’s basically an enzyme that helps break down the folate in our diets into a more useable form. Once in its usable form (5-MTHF), this enzyme is responsible for doing a lot of the basic things that keep our bodies going: cellular functions, synthesis of DNA, production of platelets and red and white blood cells, etc.

Basically, if the MTHFR gene is functioning properly, your body is eliminating toxins and heavy metals from the body. But, if you have a mutation on the gene – some defect – it can lead to everything from headaches and acne to depression and addiction. I found a great blog that breaks down the process in more detail if you are interested in all of the science behind it.

If you think you might have this mutation or want to check for it in your kids, you can order a simple blood test. Now, some will say what’s the point of knowing? Well, there are actually some things you can do about it. While you can’t repair the gene itself, there are ways to treat some of the symptoms.

Diet – and we often hear about this in conjunction with kids’ behavior and ADHD – can play a very important role. Foods containing folate (think leafy greens) become even more important for people with this mutation. Avoiding supplements and processed foods that contain folic acid is also very important.

A lot of this can seem overwhelming at first, but in truth, much of the population suffers from this genetic mutation to some degree. Some research suggests up to 40% of humans have MTHFR gene variations of some kind. The level to which the gene is mutated can vary greatly. Also, if you know you have this mutation, speaking to your doctor while you are pregnant can decrease the risk for your baby.

Overall, I think awareness is key. Talking to your doctor about things like diet and supplements and understanding that there is in fact a genetic component to some of the health and mental issues we face as both kids and adults can go a long way in helping us to avoid self-blame and get the help we need.

How Exercise And All Its Positive Effects Can Be The Ultimate Solution For Busy Mothers

After I had my three girls, I went through a period where I felt sad, lonely and exhausted. I just didn’t want to do anything – especially exercise. The only thing I thought I needed was sleep. I was convinced if I could just sleep for a really long time that would solve everything because I felt so overly exhausted.

Then, a friend who is a personal trainer and a dietitian suggested I exercise 30 minutes a day. I had done a little research about exercise and the brain, and it was obvious to me, of course, that exercise affects our body and makes us look and feel better, but I really wanted to learn about what is really going on when we exercise and how exercise could help me with my mental state as well as my physical state. I decided if I was going to start exercising, I wanted to document the progress that I was making so I could see the effects of what I was doing. I knew if I could somehow quantify the evidence within myself, by actually practicing what I had even preached to other people, it would be worth it. So, I made a decision to document my mental state for one week without exercise. I did that after I researched the effects of exercise on the brain and mood. I wanted to understand exactly what hormones are being released when I’m exercising, and I wanted to make sure I was recording the specific things I was feeling before and after I worked out.

I documented my feelings for one week without exercise and realized what I obviously knew – I felt exhausted, my mood was up-and-down and my emotions fluctuated many times throughout the day. Then, the first day I exercised I spent five minutes after writing about how I felt. I did that for one week. By the end of this week of exercise, I realized that by working out for 20 minutes a day my overall mood had improved, my emotions fluctuated a lot less and the endorphins that were released during my exercise were helping me start my days in a much healthier state of mind. My mood fluctuated less and I was less tired even though I woke up 30 minutes earlier to make that extra 20 minutes in my day for exercise.

What am I trying to say here is, of course, we are busy moms and as I’m sure many of you can relate to, we often feel exhausted and like we don’t have time to do anything – especially adding 20 more minutes to our days for exercise. But what I know is that if you really take a break and think about what you have going in a given week, maybe you can find even three days or two days and document how you feel before and after adding a workout in to your routine.

I started this experiment about 10 year ago, and you are probably wondering if I’m still working out for 20 minutes a day. Sadly, the answer is a big NO, but I will tell you that when I do make the time to exercise at least two or three times a week for even 15 minutes, then I do feel the effects. I do feel better and am able to perform at work a lot more efficiently. I can see the positive effects on my social life, relationships and everything else. My point is that if we all at least make an effort to think about our bodies – particularly the connection between the brain and our physical fitness – and to understand why it’s so important for us to exercise and really know all the positive effects, then maybe we’ll make a bigger effort to exercise and to really give it the time of day. I truly believe you can make a huge difference in your life by making such a small change. The beginning of summer is the perfect time to start a new habit that you can take with you through the new season!