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In the midst of all that holiday madness, it can be easy to forget what this time of year is really about: giving thanks. Especially to those who help you get through the day to day, like your caregiver or nanny. And while we know those caregivers and nannies do love a big old fashioned hug, we also know they love a holiday bonus and some time off just as much.

To tell it to us straight, we asked “teen-preneur” Noa Mintz, founder of NYC childcare agency Nannies by Noa, how to treat our nanny right for the holidays.

What’s up with the “Nanny Bonus”?

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The holiday bonus depends on a number of factors: how satisfied you are with your nanny, how long he or she has been with your family, and what her salary is. It’s important to remember that a holiday bonus is a customary and standard practice, and most nannies are under the assumption that they’ll receive one. Being with kids all day, every day, can be difficult and draining, and a bonus is a kind gesture and encouragement to make sure that they are happy. In my experience, the standard nanny bonus is 1 – 2.5 weeks salary. If you feel your nanny doesn’t deserve a bonus, then it’s likely that he or she isn’t the right fit for your family.

Should I get my caregiver a gift too?

The bonus is important and means a lot to your nanny, but a small gift along with the bonus goes a long with in showing your appreciation. What you decide to give your nanny depends on your relationship with him or her. Some families have more professional relationships with their nannies. If she admired a sweater of yours, perhaps buy her one. If she enjoys the ballet, tickets to a ballet performance would be appreciated. In addition to a tip (but not in lieu of one), a small but meaningful gift is perfectly fine – a little thought goes a long way. Also, avoid anything that is not appropriate for children (no alcohol). Remember – this is a gift from your family, so make sure that it’s family-appropriate and take your kid’s suggestions.

How much time do I give my nanny off during the holidays?

Many families follow bank holidays or their company’s days off. If you know you’ll need your nanny on Christmas or a major holiday, that should surely be laid out during the hiring phase.

I’m bringing my caregiver on my holiday travels. Any tips?

If it is a travel job over the holidays, the nice thing to do is invite the nanny to a holiday dinner with your family or if they want to go out alone, whichever they prefer so they feel welcome. You should also agree on a travel rate higher than the usual hourly. If not a travel job, Christmas Day and New Years Eve/Day should be paid at least time and a half.

My nanny’s alone for the holidays. Should we invite her over or will she feel like we’re asking her to work?

It depends on your relationship with the nanny. A nice gesture is to let them know if they need a place to go your door is always open but you wish them a fun holiday. Chances are they won’t take you up on the offer, but it will mean a lot to them to be invited.

What about working on New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve pay is usually $30-40+/hr! If you plan to get home late, offer to arrange a car service or he or she can sleep over, whichever is preferred. The one thing you don’t want to do is guarantee to be home early out of desperation to have a sitter. Make sure your caregiver is free all night, and leave money for dinner! Maybe even a little extra than usual...

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Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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