Au Pairs, Nannies, Babysitters, Day Care

Today’s Au Pair: Professional, Specialized and Well-Trained

April 5, 2016

PROaupair Heidi Mispagel, executive vice president at PROaupair and the mom to six children under the age of 10, knows a thing or two about au pairs having worked in the au pair industry for over 20 years. A host mom herself, she shares her insights about today’s au pair in this guest article. Learn more about PROaupair’s professional au pairs and unique program for families with special needs at

As a Bay Area working mother of six children under the age of 10, I’ve experienced every form of childcare that exists. I’ve also spent more than 20 years working in the au pair industry and have a deep understanding of every aspect of the business. During that time, I’ve seen a lot of improvements to the program – yet, most host families know little about these changes.

Acing Back to School Nights

August 24, 2015

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from UrbanSitter.

In homes across Marin, parents are preparing to attend back to school events at their child’s school. The evening is a chance for parents to meet their child’s teachers and fellow parents, and find out about the class plans for the year. Here are helpful tips for making the most of the evening.

Find a sitter to cover for you. You wouldn’t want to miss out on seeing your child’s classroom or meeting their teacher, so find a babysitter in advance. UrbanSitter is an easy way to find, book, and pay a sitter online—and you can even find local sitters who have been reviewed and hired by other parents from your child’s school!Introduce yourself to the teacher. Even if you’ve already met, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to say hello and introduce yourself as the parent of a student they’re just getting to know. Every other parent in the room will be waiting to say hello, too, so keep it brief.

The Stay-at-Home Challenge

February 27, 2013

Diana ChiarabonoMarin Mommies presents a guest article by Diana Chiarabano, owner of Rent-a-Parent Personnel Services. Diana has been helping Marin families and nannies for 29 years. You can reach her at (415) 435-2642 or

Lucky for you if you are a parent who can be home with your child. Usually this is the mother, but there are a lot of stay at home dads as well. Most of the time it’s the mother who gives us a call saying that even though she loves being there for her children, it would be great to have some scheduled, regular time every week to do a variety of things (go to the gym, have lunch with a friend, volunteer at the older child’s school, etc.). If you have 2 children under the age of 4, then juggling their needs and yours becomes especially challenging. If you are considering hiring someone to come into your home, here are some tips for stay-at-home parents.

  • Start with really being honest with yourself as to what kind of person will be a good fit for you. Of course you want someone who is kind, loving, and attentive to your child, but how about meshing with your personality? Is being neat and organized important to you? Are you more interested in having an artistic, creative type working by your side? What kinds of duties do you want the nanny to do solely on her own and which do you want to share? Don’t be shy in asking questions when interviewing. You want to hire someone who sees the job as partnering with you. That is very different than hiring a nanny who performs her duties by herself.

Seven Ways to Show Her You Love Her

September 25, 2012

Did you know last week was National Nanny Recognition week? How can you show your nanny your love and thanks? Diana Chiarabano, owner of Rent-a-Parent Personnel Services offers seven ideas for showing your nanny how much you care. Diana has been helping Marin families and nannies for 25 years. You can reach her at

We all do it… we get so busy with our daily lives that we often forget to reward and acknowledge those who mean the most to us.  If you have a truly loving, dependable, and wonderful nanny, then consider yourself very fortunate.  You can go to work, fulfill obligations, take care of personal and family needs; all the while knowing that your child benefits from being in your nanny’s care. Nannies are like anyone else-they like to feel appreciated. This is a good time of year to dust off the “things I’m thankful for” list and put your thoughts into action.  How about showing your nanny how much she means to you.

  1. Create a colorful hand made card thanking your nanny for some special thing she did (for you or your child).  Your child gets the added benefit of seeing how important it is to acknowledge those we care about.
  2. Come home early and give her the rest of the afternoon off… maybe adding some tickets for a movie or dinner.
  3. Who could resist a spa treat? If you can afford it, this is a big hit with any female. If you have a male nanny, then he needs pampering too.
  4. Does you nanny have a child herself? How about some kind of gift for her family? Toys, equipment that you no longer need, time off for some engagement that her family wants to attend.
  5. If your nanny has been with you for a while you probably know what little surprise would make her smile. Starbucks card? Gift Card for her favorite store or service? Little extra $ for gas allowance or car wash? 
  6. Have flowers sent to her when she least expects it. Thank her for the times she’s stayed late so you could finish at the office. Or the umpteenth time she came early to work. Or doing the laundry when nowhere in the job description did you mention laundry.
  7. Remember, what’s good for your nanny is ultimately good for you and your family. Make her glad for being a nanny and grateful she’s working for you!

Education Meets Childcare with JumpStart! Nanny and Tutor Placement

August 22, 2012

Lauren and Leslie MuellerMarin Mommies interviewed Lauren Mueller of JumpStart!, the Marin-based nanny and tutor network, to find out more about their approach to childcare and education. Lauren is a Marin County native with over 15 years of experience in childcare and academics. JumpStart! understands the values and priorities associated with finding an exceptional caregiver or educator.

Having grown up with a nanny, Lauren personally understands the importance of finding the right childcare provider. Partnering with her Marin mom, Leslie, both bring to JumpStart! in-depth, first-hand knowledge of the requisite qualities needed to cultivate an environment which fosters both children’s well-being as well as parents’ satisfaction. Extensive screening is the backbone in the selection of dedicated individuals who are an across-the-board match with JumpStart’s mission and ideals.

Please tell us a little about you and your business. How did you get started?

My passion is kids. As a young girl, I used to plead with my parents to have another child so that I could be a “big sister”. Though that never occurred, I at first looked to babysitting as a way to nurture, educate, and play with children. Beginning at age 12, I have

Tips from the Au Pair Trenches: Our Fifteenth Au Pair!

September 8, 2009

Today's post is by guest contributor Deb Schwarz, local coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair and the mother of four. Learn more about Deb and Cultural Care Au Pair at

As we begin a new year with our fifteenth au pair (oh my!), I took a moment to reflect on the fond memories, the twists and turns, and things I've learned over the years. Many of you may have heard about "au pairs" through friends, the news, or from the Internet—and are likely more educated than I was 9 years ago when, pregnant with triplets and with no relatives in sight, I stumbled upon the term "au pair" in the yellow pages. What a wild and wonderful ride it has been since then!

Book Review: Nannies for Modern Moms (and Enter to Win a Free Copy!)

January 5, 2009

Nannies for Modern Moms by Alyce Desrosiers, LCSWMarin childcare expert Alyce Desrosiers, LCSW, is for many Bay Area families the specialist to go to when searching for the perfect nanny or other childcare solution. Her new book, Nannies for Modern Moms: The Essential Guide for Hiring the Right Nanny for Your Child and You, is required reading for any family seeking to navigate the waters of searching for, choosing, and hiring the right nanny, babysitter, or family assistant.

Nannies for Modern Moms is filled with important information on all practical and emotional aspects of the nanny search process, as well as a breakdown on different types of nannies, childcare providers, and childcare options. The book also includes legal information necessary to hiring a nanny, and an extensive list of resources for the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Also included are numerous worksheets and checklists to help parents organize their thoughts, needs, and information throughout the nanny hiring process.

If you're currently looking for a nanny, or if you're planning on hiring one in the future, Nannies for Modern Moms is an invaluable resource. Highly recommended!

Finding an Au Pair for Your Family

May 30, 2008

Au Pair and babyToday's post is by guest contributor Deb Schwarz, local coordinator for Cultural Care Au Pair and the mother of four. Learn more about Deb and Cultural Care Au Pair at

Making the Live In/Live Out Childcare Decision

Many families grapple with what type of childcare option to choose.  Live-in, live-out, or out-of-home daycare, or “do it yourself.”  I know that I grappled with this decision when our triplets were born 7 years ago, and we already had a 20-month-old toddler at home (oh my!).

Syndicate content