The “why”…

Recently I began to work with a coach. I have so much passion, but struggle with self-confidence and direction. So, for starters I thought I would explain the name of the blog, and what my primary passion is.

When I first had my son, I was 26 and had been on the internet for over 10 years. I was on all the budding social media (shout out to Friendster and MySpace y’all) and had friends all over the world. At the time, I still felt “protected” behind the anonymity of the internet, so I listed my location on all of my accounts as “In The Mom Cave”. My favorite super hero is Batman, and I figured if he had the Bat Cave, I had the Mom Cave.

Fast forward nearly 11 years…

I have that much more experience in my industry. I have grown that much more as a woman and as a mother. I have branched out, tried other industries on for size, and declined jobs that would have lead to other careers. In the last few years my true passion has become more clear than ever before. I live for helping families. I’ve been of service to families for years in many ways. When I taught preschool, I spent countless hours with our families. To include going to their homes, and any thing extra that I could do. As a nanny I have consistently gone over and above to help families be successful.

I believe that I lose nothing helping others be successful, and I want to see us ALL succeed. I believe that there are no bad children, and no bad dogs. I believe that I have the power to leave this world a better place by leaving better people in it.

My beliefs are such that it is time to DO something about it. My passion for children drives me. My desire to see mothers have options keeps me up at night. My drive to help inform and empower women pushes me out of my introverted comfort zone. So…join me. Create the Mom Cave with me, for all of us. The bio moms, adoptive moms, step moms, foster moms, non-cis gendered moms, grand moms, auntie moms…let’s join together, pack our tool belts full of tools, and take this generation by storm.

Are you in?

***All people who want a better future are welcome in The Mom Cave. To include: non cis gendered parents, fathers, lifelong non-breeders, and really any one who believes that the children we are nurturing in our world now are our future. While I am a mom, and am passionate about helping parents/children, I am the most passionate about changing the world, one connection at a time. Sometimes, those connections are with people who have chosen not to bear children for various reasons, and I respect that fully. Please know that I have had non-hetero-normative relationships and experiences (My son has two moms y’all! I co-parent with my ex-wife), and that this is a safe space. ***

I’m so excited…and I just can’t hide it!!

Today I received excellent news: I was chosen to preview a book that is being published and review it here on the blog!!!! For some people that may not seem like a huge deal but for someone who is in the midst of writing their first book, to me…this is HUGE. I don’t know the rules of what I can/can’t share yet, but the book is sitting right behind me and as soon as I am done with this post I plan to dig in to it.

As a writer, one of my favorite things is hearing people’s opinions of my work. Good, bad, and ugly. I enjoy the ugly the best, because it helps me know whether I’ve gone ’round the bend, or if that person just isn’t in my demographic. Both are valuable feedback, so I’m really excited to be a part of the team (which, let’s be honest, is my standard operating function).

I am additionally excited because soon we will begin adding to our brood. My Toddlerface is now 2 years old and I’m ready. I will admit that there have been several days lately where we have just been SO bonded and I fear changing that, but outside of the fear, I’m ready.

ALSO…I started working with a coach! I stepped out in faith when I quit my job in January, and it’s time to take the necessary steps to get my book published and figure out how to do good work in the world. For any one who doesn’t know me, I consider parenting and child care to be guerrilla warfare on society. I am not the sort of person who wants to be at the forefront of change, but I truly believe that by putting good people in to the world I facilitate changing it for the better, and that is always my goal. Look out world, I’m coming for you!!

My core desire is to empower mothers, and parents in general, to have options in parenting. To educate parents so that they feel empowered to make choices based upon what they feel is right for their family, regardless of whether it was how they were parented or what their limitations might feel like at the time. I believe that being an informed and empowered parent changes the lives of our children, which changes our world.

I would also like to have an impact on the way families choose child care. Many families default to certain forms of care, and I would love to help them get clarity about what they really want/need, as well as help them retain good relationships with their caregivers. More often than not, between teacher burnout in centers and nanny turnover in the private sector, there is a lot of inconsistency in the lives of children and their caregivers. I feel strongly that a large part of that is due to a lack of communication between parents and caregivers, be they preschool teachers, daycare providers, or private nannies.

I am also hoping to start using Periscope for my own Scopes in the next few weeks. I want to open a forum for people to ask questions in a real-time environment. I don’t know if people will show up, but I’ll be there either way. Obviously so much is contextual when dealing with children and parenting, but over time I’d love to have it evolve in to a Q&A where people can email questions before hand, but get real time feedback and discussion. If anyone has parenting or child care related questions, feel free to email me at inthemomcave@gmail.com and I’ll answer them here on the blog. I have 22+ years of child care experience that includes a variety of capacities, and my wealth of knowledge is open to all of you.

For now, I’m going to grab my tea (Good Earth tea for this evening) and dive in to this new book!!! I am so excited about life right now. Wishing everyone a very happy Friday night!!

XOXO-E

 

How to un-link your Apple products (and stop your privacy from being violated)

Have you ever had your privacy violated? Has someone ever read your private thoughts/conversations? If so…this post is for you, and to stand in solidarity with you.

Recently, some things came up in my professional life that bled over in to my personal life and I decided that some changes needed to be made. After much stress, running many budget numbers, and endless hours of conversation with my nearest and dearest friends…I resigned from my job. As a personal assistant as well as a nanny, I had been given a computer to help with my boss’s admin work (I am also a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) and part of my resignation included giving back the computer.

Before returning the MacBook, I made sure to delete my info. I did NOT to a factory reset, which is a huge part of why I am writing this post. I disallowed the computer in iTunes, erased mail/messages, erased passwords in Chrome, etc. I felt good about it, and returned the computer. I am not a very “tech” person, though I can troubleshoot like a BOSS!

A few days after I returned the computer I received an email with some very personal information in it. As it turns out, somehow my former employer got in to my texts and emails on the computer, and read them. All of them. When I say “all of them” I don’t mean parts and pieces, I mean every. single. word. that he could get his eyes on. The kicker is that I did not use his computer as my method of communication, I sent these texts and emails from my phone, but due to Apple allowing message sharing between devices, he was able to see them. In my opinion, a person of sound ethics would never violate the privacy of another human being like that. On the off chance that the desire was so strong that one could not help it…I cannot imagine EVER turning to said person with private and confidential information and using it against them.

I know where my mistake was made, and I’m writing this to share with the world how to not be like me. When I set up the MacBook initially, I had to allow it access to my Apple ID, which was separate from my iTunes, but when I was breaking everything down, I forgot to change that ONE piece. One tiny misstep, and here I am.

If you own Apple products (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Macbook, Macbook Air, WHATEVER) and you intend to stop using them, you MUST follow these steps to separate the device from your Apple ID.

  1. Sign in to your apple ID from a device that is NOT the one you will be removing. https://appleid.apple.com
  2. Scroll down to the DEVICES category
  3. Click on the device you want to remove
  4. Remove the device from your Apple ID

Now, AFTER you have completed those four steps, reboot the device you want to erase, and reset it back to factory settings, there are myriad YouTube videos to talk you through the process.

I have since changed every password I have. I did so the day I got the scathing email. To any one who has had their privacy breached, I stand with you. I feel your pain. I feel the “Big Brother”, ominous feeling that you cannot shake. This has been a time of intense learning for me, as I am a very trusting person with an open heart. I don’t believe the world is out to get me, and if you had asked me a year ago if I thought that this person would have read my diary if I left it on the table, I would have said there was no way in hell. Yet, here I sit.

As time goes on, I will be okay. The violation of my privacy will blend in to the mushy memories of things that are unpleasant and I’ll find a way to trust and feel safe again. All of the other feelings surrounding this past couple of months…those will take a lot more to recover from. I don’t know when my heart will heal from the rest, but I do know that I am resilient.

Baby sometimes looooove…

…it just ain’t enough. -Patty Smyth ft Don Henley

The other day my phone rang and I glanced at an unknown number thinking, “I don’t know anyone from Madera.” Suddenly I remembered I was expecting a call from Fresno Bully Rescue and I answered. Terese was on the other end and we quickly got in to dog-talk.

I’ve already said how impressed I am with the people at FBR, yet I feel like I need to shout it from the roof tops after this conversation. Terese and I got to chatting about my visit with Pretty Girl (who is still so heavy on my heart and mind y’all). I addressed all of my concerns with her, and even told her a lot about how I adopted Einstein and our family dynamic as it is currently. She let me know that Pretty has a special place in her heart, and that she has her heart invested in making sure Pretty finds the right home.

It was a hard conversation, though necessary and very good. Terese told me honestly that she does not feel that Pretty is the right fit for us, as I will always second guess her behaviour. She also told me that since Einstein is almost 12, as a senior dog he really deserves to live out his time solo with his “pack” of non-fur folks. I already knew that might be the right answer in my gut…hearing it from someone else was a different pill to swallow entirely.

Terese also let me know that I can attend a volunteer orientation, and that our family can not only come help out with the dogs at the shelter but that she will train me so that I can conduct home checks for any potential adoptive family that is close to us. All of that made me feel a LOT better. Pretty is still on my mind. I still have pictures of her on my phone. I’m still on a mission to help her, and to help the other dogs at FBR.

I have spent so much time lately just cuddling Einstein. Knowing how short his time is on the planet and how much he gives to me…I cannot ever repay him for all he does. Even nightly filet mignon would not come close (and would probably be unhealthy anyway). He loves me and blesses me in a way that only pets can. In my opinion, only dogs, but I’m a dog person so I imagine that other pet people get these things from their pets too.

Kids and dogs. All of my life, those have been the two things that are my heart, my soul, and my passion. I want to change the world for them and with them. I want to help serve the world we are in to make it a better place. Some days I get really down, but even on those days I feel strongly in my heart that things CAN get better. Seeing dogs who need rescue or children who have nothing…if I sit in that place I will cry and cry. When I can shift slightly to a place where I realize that any small movement is forward movement…it helps me adjust and move forward.

The reason I never finished my degree and went in to social work is that I knew in my heart of hearts I could not do the work without either blurring the lines of appropriateness in my job or it tearing my soul apart. For years I have stayed away from adoptable (adopt-a-bull) dogs knowing that I wasn’t ready. I’m still not ready…Einstein is still my heart and soul, but as I found out when Elianah was born, the heart grows and I’m ready to expand a little. I cannot wait to start volunteering with Fresno Bully Rescue, and maybe even a closer agency at some point that would allow me to do even more. Who knows.

For anyone out there considering a pet, really of any kind, I beg of you…adopt, don’t shop. There are SO MANY RESCUES!!! And shelters y’all…do not forget the shelters. We adopted guinea pigs when my son was 6. Guinea pigs!!! There are homeless birds, cats, snakes, turtles…you name it.

On the off chance that someone out there is reading this, is in the central California area, and is considering an awesome female dog (not puppy, but still only 4)…consider Pretty Girl. She is an amazing dog with a huge heart, and she deserves to have a fur-ever home.

 

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here today…

…to get through this thing called “life” – Prince

The last couple of months have been quite a ride for me here in the Mom Cave. There have been many ups and downs, twists that came out of nowhere like a great horror movie, and I have learned a lot. Much of what has gone on isn’t appropriate for sharing on the internet, and yet I feel compelled to share what I can.

I’m writing a book about relationships between nannies and the families they work with. As a child care professional with over 20 years of experience, I feel that this is one area that really needs more information. While the focus of the book is going to be nanny/family relationships (both professional and personal) I feel that most of the information is broad and applies to all the caregivers and teachers in children’s lives, just to different levels.

As such, the Universe has thrown my professional life in to a blender. After nearly 40 years here on this planet, I should expect it, but this time I was blind. I wanted to say blind sided, but the truth is, I saw it coming for a while I just didn’t want to believe it. It all comes back to the quote by my beloved author Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are believe them, the first time.”

Whether you are a personal friend or a casual internet user who simply found something random and decided to read it, I want you to take that quote and really put some time in to absorbing it. Feel the weight of what it means, and look at how you navigate the world.

As for me, I’m working on my book and also working out how to be of service to the world. So…readers…that is where you come in. How can I help you? Do you have child care related questions? Friends who have child care questions? Send them on over! Feel free to email (inthemomcave@gmail.com) them if you would rather do that than post in comments, and I will change any identifying info before posting if you’d prefer.

I also welcome questions/comments about being a parent or a caregiver, basically most topics having to do with raising and caring for children.  Let’s connect and start a dialogue!

 

 

Friends…how many of us have them?

It is highly likely that my younger friends don’t even know that song, and if they do it is through an older sibling or parent. Age, “nothin’ but a number”, but oh so much more. *sigh*

I have wonderful friends. Amazing people who have been in my life for more years than out at this point, and some who have come in more recently, yet I can’t remember what life was like before they got here. Friends who are near and who are far. Some I talk to EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Others I would be embarrassed to admit how much time goes by without so much as a text, yet the moment we pick back up we fall right back in step with each other.

My husband says I use the term “friend” too loosely, and that I should label the people in my life according to their importance (oh, the logic of a Marine!). The truth of it is that in my world, if you are anywhere from an acquaintance to a good friend, you’re a friend. If you exceed good friend, you are family. I am blessed by great people around me, and I try to remember to tell them how much I appreciate them as often as my Introverted-Capri-Quarius self can.

All of this to get to a point that has been rolling around in my head lately. I read a very popular mom-blog, subscribe to her Periscopes and mailing list, and as an aspiring published writer, have been taking a lot of her (in my opinion, very excellent) advice. The main point she has been accentuating lately is “Build a platform, have a target audience”. Well…crap.

My friends are more diverse than the area I live in. They include: Pagan nerds, the financially stable, police officers, kinky poly folk, paycheck-to-paycheck people, undocumented immigrants, Christian crunchy moms, Atheist families, Communist protestors, proud Wal-Mart shoppers…and many that either have multiple labels or choose not to be defined. I don’t even know where to start in terms of building a platform. Target audience? *crickets*

I don’t want to write to see my own thoughts pop up on the page, that is what my journal is for. I want to connect with people. I want this blog to be a place where people feel they can come through the door without knocking, grab a mason jar out of the cabinet, help themselves to something in the fridge, and sit down to chat.

I recognize that opinions are not one size fits all, or even most, and I’m okay with that. I have heard it said so many times that I’m not even sure where the original quote comes from, but it applies wholly here:

“TAKE WHAT YOU NEED, AND LEAVE THE REST”-Unknown (if you know, tell me please! I did try Google without positive results)

Friends, as we cross paths, whether it be momentary or we walk together for a while, I want to learn something from you and I hope to teach a few things along the way.