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When first-time mom Nicole planned to return to work as director of strategic accounts for a commercial interiors manufacturer in New York City, she figured a nanny for her three-month-old son would be the best fit for her and her husband’s schedule.


Organized and poised, Nicole had begun to do research for a responsible caregiver almost as soon as she became pregnant. The first thing she did was go online but quickly became overwhelmed by the myriad childcare apps, websites, as well as the cost.

The second thing she did was call Bonnie, another new mom about to return to work as a food and beverage manager, who was also actively searching for childcare for her six-month-old son. The moms share a zip code. They share a nearly decade-old friendship. And they share something else — family: they are sisters-in-law.

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When Bonnie expressed a similar frustration, it was her brother, Nicole’s husband, who applied logic: It’s the same problem — there should be one solution. So the families added something else to the share list: a nanny.

I interviewed the two career-committed moms at Bonnie’s home, and the signs of a close-knit family were apparent. It was a Sunday, and aside from their husbands and babies —affectionately referred to as bro-cuz — several cousins, aunts and friends had gathered. Not to mention three small dogs that barked in syncopated rhythm every time someone entered the room. Still, Bonnie and Nicole were unflappable.

They were co-hosting an informal presentation as consultants for a line of safe beauty products, a side venture they both agree was a result of their nanny share situation. “We see each other every night, and after the nanny’s shift, which is 9:00 a.m.. to 5:30 p.m., we take the boys to the park or a nearby restaurant. And we talk about everything,” Nicole confessed as we sat down to chat.

The sisters-in-law strike the perfect balance of serene and spirited, so when Nicole’s college friend first pitched the beauty sales idea to them, they had nothing to lose…and discovered something else to share.

The nanny share evolved as a solution to a mutual problem. What was your original childcare vision?

Bonnie: Originally, my mom, who lives about 15 minutes away, agreed to babysit part time during the days that my husband and I worked the same hours. But three weeks prior to my return to work, my schedule changed and our hours became less flexible. In retrospect, that vision wasn’t realistic. It would have placed an enormous responsibility on my mom and added pressure to her own schedule.

Nicole: I was going back to work around the same time as Bonnie and after exploring all the options, was most comfortable with employing a nanny to work in my home. That’s when it occurred to us that a nanny share might work.

How did you go about the search? What special qualities and certifications did you require for a nanny share?

B: We were lucky because Nicole had found a few candidates via Care.com, word of mouth, and the doorman — whom she liked. She set up a meeting and we were all in agreement about the one nanny that met our needs the best. She was CPR certified for babies. She was open to discuss past experiences handling emergencies and was thoughtful about what she would do in a hypothetical situation.

N: She came highly recommended from another family in the neighborhood who was moving out of state. A mommy recommendation is better than any résumé.

Does the nanny split the time equally between your two homes? Do you have duplicates of everything? How did that impact your budget in both positive and negative ways?

B: Yes, the nanny splits the time equally and we alternate weeks at each other’s apartment. We do have duplicates of some things in each apartment or different versions with the same function. We realize as the boys grow that we need to make parallel changes both necessary and fair for both sets of parents.

We had to fast track the baby-proofing once we saw that my son was so active. That meant we had to baby proof Nicole’s apartment, too. And it’s usually the nanny who brings these things to our attention. For example, when it was time to adapt our strollers into double strollers, Nicole’s model was much easier to maneuver and had room for the diaper bag.

N: Since the boys are so close in age, we really have a mindset like mothers of twins. Researching parents’ reviews of strollers that accommodate a second seat would have made that change smoother. 

As far as the budget, the nanny’s total salary is over 30% more than the going rate for one child. The two families split that total in half. Even with the added cost for duplicate items, we figured that our savings surpass the cost of what each family would have to pay two nannies each week.

What is a typical day like for the boys? What nanny rules did you set at the beginning? Does the nanny do other tasks, such as housekeeping or care for a pet?

B: The boys’ eating and sleeping schedule dictate the day. My son takes longer naps, so we adjusted the schedule in order for the boys to go outside in the morning. We listen to the nanny’s suggestions, too. We don’t wear shoes in our homes anymore. We all agree it is a good decision for cleanliness reasons, especially as the boys begin to be more mobile. The nanny does help out with light housekeeping that’s baby-related, such as cleaning bottles, taking out the trash, and occasionally doing the boy’s laundry and bedding.

N: Weather permitting, she takes my dog out for a walk once a day.

About rules, we are extremely conscientious about keeping a tidy home. Our nanny is mindful of that, too, even with two boys and our mini schnauzer. She is also cautiously respectful to maintain the lines between the two separate residences. For instance, the nanny got a call from the doorman who said that my brother-in-law’s friend was coming up to see the babies. She was in our home that week so she played it safe and refused to let the friend in. Later, we laughed heartily about it — our dear friend not as much — but at the core appreciated her gut reaction. I guess that’s an unspoken rule: To think like a mother with safety first.

Speaking of your partners, has parenting been a 50-50 relationship so far? Who does the nanny call if there’s an issue at home?

B: My husband and I have a 60-40 spread on our end. (laughs.) He’s a great father and very involved in all aspects of our son’s life. He stays in touch with the nanny and so do I. She group texts us photos and videos of the boys daily.

My work day begins at 7 a.m. so my husband handles mornings on his own, gets our son fed, dressed, and then drops him off at Nicole’s apartment if it’s their week. In the evening, I pick up our son. I prep all the baby food and formula, clean his bottles and toys, restock the diaper bag, and do the laundry. In an emergency, I believe the nanny would contact me first. My husband thinks so, too.

N: Although my husband initiated the nanny share idea, drafted, and revised the contract — we pay the nanny on the books — ours is more like 70-30 when it comes to the daily baby tasks. I’m still breastfeeding, pumping breast milk at work, storing and freezing breast milk. (She pauses.) Maybe it’s 90-10 (laughs.)

But in all seriousness, we are four parents committed to each other. We have to be flexible and honest as couples in order to make the nanny share work. We have to be open and really listen to what the other partner is saying, ebb and flow off each other, to stay balanced.

How has the nanny share helped you as working moms? In what ways has the nanny share experience been advantageous for your babies?

B: The share definitely helped to pave a smoother transition back to work. We know that the other mom is there and it’s a nice feeling of security. Sharing the emotions of going back to work and the whole roller coaster of feelings once the ride began has allowed us to vent, show support, and figure out things together.

N: For our babies, being together every day is the best advantage of all. They have the benefit of sharing a relationship that is the closest to a sibling. They are each other’s first friend. They play side by side and learn together. And they will eventually fight. Other than twins, there is nothing quite like this experience.

What is the contingency plan if one family has to cancel for a day?

B: Both families pay their share to the nanny at the end of each week. If one family has to cancel we would still pay her. That’s in the contract. If the nanny needs to come late or is sick, then she would make up the time. If one family needs the nanny for overtime, then that family would pay her.  Of course, in a pinch, we call upon the services of someone else we share: Grandma.

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

This article was sponsored by Pipette. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"


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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)

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Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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