{the hungry sitter} Do you feed your sitter?

The big question: Do you feed your sitter? Do you tell your sitter to help herself to leftovers or expect her to bring her own food? If she's ordering food for the kids, can your sitter order something for herself, too? Word on the street is that parents discuss these question with each other. The funny thing is that fewer parents than I'd expect bring the conversation up with me... the sitter. Even though I'm comfortable with the default assumption that it's my responsibility to feed myself, it's always nice when parents are clear upfront. I'm happy to bring my own food or to make sure that I have cash on hand to order, but it helps to know in advance if that's what's expected. And, hopefully, making it clear to your sitter ahead of time alleviates any awkwardness for you, as well. Clear communication is a win-win. Beyond that, there are no one-size-fits-all answers. Rather, it depends on your time, budget and the kind of relationship you have with your sitter. Here are a few thoughts for you consider. Hopefully hearing (one) sitter's point-of-view will help you come up with a plan that works well for you and your caregiver. (more after the jump)

The Hungry Sitter: Get organized for back-to-school

Say hello to the hungry sitter, an experienced, active, funny and thoughtful care giver who also really loves food. The hungry sitter has worked with lots of families, each with a unique take on feeding, and she has a lot to say about it all. It’s that time again. Time to get back to the routine.  As a sitter, this time of year means ditching day trips to the beach and and long afternoons in the park for school pick-ups, play dates and dance classes. And all those food rules we were allowed to break on hot summer days—like ducking into the random boardwalk burger joint for a "special" lunch or saying "why not" to the 4:30 pm ice cream cone—not so much anymore. These days, when you have to factor in homework and early wake-ups, it's all about having healthy snacks on hand and staying on schedule, meals included. Sound familiar? I'm sure it does since so much of what I do is an extension of what parents do. We're all in the same boat, so I think you'll agree when I say that the key to making it through a hectic school-year day is having a great bag. Seriously! This is all assuming that you've made the schedule. Once that's done—which it usually is by the time I step in—having a good bag is essential to making it through the day without losing your mind trying to find diapers, water bottles, extra clothes, a first aid kit and snacks. So many snacks! Now that Stacie's got you covered on the healthy snacks front, I want to help you keep them organized in your bag. (more after the jump)

A Hungry Sitter’s Guide to Healthy Feeding

Picture this: A health-conscious, organic-buying, veggie-crunching sitter walks into a hot dog and boxed mac and cheese household. Sound like a nightmare? I wish that I could say it was only a bad dream but, unfortunately, as a seasoned childcare provider, I can tell you that it’s not. This has happened to me way more that I would have ever predicted, especially given that I’ve had the fortune of working with fabulous parents who are, themselves, healthy eaters. So what gives?! After all these years of caring for kids, I’m still not exactly sure. Though I’m not yet a parent, I know that feeding children is hard. I also know that lots of factors can make mealtime complicated: age, schedules, food sensitivities, varying sibling habits and, well, the list goes on. Every family is different, but I’ve noticed one thing in common across all of them: mealtime with mom and dad is emotional. Feeding a picky child is always easier for me than it is for his parents. The emotional and power dynamics are just not the same. Maybe there’s something to learn from that? I wish I had a “works every time” answer, but I don’t. That said, I believe that there are some useful takeaways from my experiences feeding reluctant eaters. Here are a few things that I’ve learned so far that I hope give you valuable perspective. (more after the jump)

All-Natural Fruit Rimming Sugar + 2 Fab Summer Mock/Cocktails!

We hungry mamas are not the only ones who prep meals for kids and have something to say about it. Some hungry papas hit the stove, and even those who don't have insights into family eating and dinnertime dynamics. (Yes, mamas, even useful ones!) Grandparents have food rules or, more often, non-rules, and the grown ups at our kids' schools have an important perspective on what our kids eat. And then there are our sitters who sit in the middle of it all, working to keep our kids fed and happy while also managing us parents, teachers, the kids at the playground, other sitters and, often, their own cultural perspective on food and feeding. There are some changes I'm working on for One Hungry Mama (good, exciting changes!) and one of them is to make this a place where all of the people who help feed families share their perspectives. How can we feed without stress, on a budget, in a way that helps our children develop healthy habits, but also allows them have some delicious fun? How can we do it together. I want to talk about it from all sides. We'll talk more as the voices on One Hungry Mama take shape. In the meantime, though, I'm excited to introduce you to the Hungry Sitter, a young woman (who I'm very lucky to know) using her experience and natural way with children to earn money as she builds a dance education business. The Hungry Sitter is super active, very funny, thoughtful and, of course, loves food. She's worked for families all along the spectrum—some have left feeding completely to her while others have been adamant about super strict rules (that put me to shame, thank you very much!). And the best part is that she has a lot to say about it all. (more after the jump)