As we enter 2021, many families are reassessing their home staffing needs. The pandemic has changed the way we do nearly everything, including staffing and household structuring. What worked pre-COVID may no longer be suitable with changes in schedule, location, and lifestyle.
Here at British American Household Staffing, we have experienced a huge increase in families searching for specific types of staff as of late, particularly childcare and learning support, newborn specialists, housekeepers, chefs, and temporary/travel staff. We understand our clients' needs are changing rapidly and we are working hard to meet growing demand. We have top quality staff in every state in the U.S., as well as across Europe, the U.K., and Switzerland. For families who are uncertain what type of staff is right for them at the moment, we offer home assessments and property visits.
For those expecting pandemic babies, please rest assured that we work only with the highest quality maternity specialists, both British and non-British, and many are ready to begin working immediately. However, we are experiencing unprecedented demand, particularly for newborn care, so we recommend starting your search as early in the pregnancy as possible.
As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing and educator needs during this challenging time.
Nannies and Private Educators
As we enter England's third lockdown, including school closures for most students, as well as changing restrictions across Europe and the U.S., many families are seeking additional childcare, particularly nannies with teaching or tutoring experience. Virtual schooling is simply no substitute for one-on-one time with a dedicated teacher. British American Household Staffing can help ease these concerns. We offer several options for in-home education, including full-time in-home educators, governesses, certified teachers, and private tutors. We have nannies and educators ready to work nationwide and internationally and many are willing to relocate and/or live-in with your family. We can also assist in forming safe and small learning pods with other families.
As the first round of quarantine babies make their way into the world, the need for newborn care is on the rise across the country and abroad. If you are expecting or adjusting to life with a new baby, we encourage you to consider hiring newborn help to provide some consistency and support. Newborn care specialists can allow new parents to rest, can teach and advise on the latest and safest sleep and feeding methods, and can assist with all tasks related to caring for the newest member of your family. We recommend starting your search as soon as you know you are expecting as top specialists tend to be booked well in advance by returning mothers and referrals; however, we can often accommodate last-minute requests, as well.
As we spend more and more time in our homes, their appearance, cleanliness, organization, and maintenance have become more important than ever. We can assist you in forming an efficient and productive team to make sure your home meets the highest cleanliness and safety standards during this challenging time. Every family's needs are different; you may need a single housekeeper or a whole team run by an executive housekeeper. The distinction between a housekeeper and an executive housekeeper is the latter's experience managing other household staff. An executive housekeeper will have worked on teams of household staff and overseen other housekeepers. When beginning your search for a housekeeper, consider your home(s) and unique needs. Our expert team is happy to guide you through the entire process.
Outdoor dining has once again shut down in California, temperatures have dropped into the low 30s in New York, and indoor dining has been deemed unsafe in most of the country and in many cities internationally. As a result, we have seen a great increase in families requesting private chefs for their homes, for both permanent and temporary positions. Our chefs, with a huge range of specialties, make it easy to save time, eat delicious and nutritious meals, and entertain small groups in your home with ease.
Temporary and Travel Staff
Many families are spending time in second homes, either for more space during the pandemic, or for a change during the winter months. Whether you're staying warm in Florida, enjoying the snow and winter sports in Aspen, or spending time on a yacht in the Mediterranean, we can assist with hiring temporary or travel staff in all areas. We have nannies, educators, chefs, yacht staff, and more ready to relocate and work immediately.
If you are not sure what your home may need in terms of staffing, training, maintenance, or new protocols, we can assist. We offer home assessments, property visits, training refreshers for current staff, and more.
Contact us about your unique hiring needs today.
It’s that time of year again where we set goals and goodwill resolutions in the name of a clean slate as January 1st arrives.
While we reach for more leftovers and loosen our belts after an indulgent festive period, chances are it’s not just Christmas, but Covid pounds you’re dealing with on the scales!
I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been more shaken and stirred than a James Bond movie. Those bursting diary planners we once carried littered with scribbled plans for lunches, classes, appointments and meetings are now thrown into a junk drawer since the abandoned pages became increasingly less inked.
Our comforting rituals and social interactions have now been on hiatus longer than the promised Friends reunion.
Our appetite for life seems to have been replaced with an appetite for several servings and midnight snacks thanks to such a stressful and emotionally charged year.
The ever mentioned social distance rule we’re constantly reminded to keep has also regrettably made its way between us and our diets!
That’s right. I’ve spent 2020 socially distancing my way from the morning healthy Nutribullet juices, my power walks around the park and the hot yoga classes I’d attend with friends.
As we watched our freedoms diminish, you wouldn’t be alone in noticing your waistline’s has increased. The one thing that the government can’t restrict has been our binging at home whilst waiting for this tidal wave of resolution and order to be restored.
I write this after my third trip in the last hour to the fridge which has become my most frequently visited location in our home during the latest lockdown. You’re not alone in reaching for the snacks, ordering in for four consecutive nights and treating yourself to the entire box of sugar cookies meant for sharing.
After all, what else is there to do as we try to compensate for the activities and habits that have been taken away from us.
With indoor dining banned until further notice, our favourite sushi place having closed down and the fitness classes being unavailable due to health and safety regulations, it’s no wonder we are making our way to the kitchen more frequently for some fulfilling festive food!
“My real clothes don’t fit me anymore so thank God there’s no Xmas party this year” I overheard a woman in the store tell her friend on the phone yesterday.
Oh good! So we’re not alone in finding that sweatpants are the new dress code!
This is what happens when balance is taken away. We’ve had so many rules and restrictions that it’s no wonder it’s beginning to show on our hips, our face, our scales! But with change comes realisation and we can absolutely restore the balance back into our lives while this pandemic continues to restrict us. If we can adapt to making masks part of our outfits we can absolutely adapt to nudging our bodies towards a more healthier route. “It’s all about maintenance” I was told by a former nutritionist. “It’s looking at calories in versus calories out and how you maintain your body’s natural metabolism even during a lockdown”
Sounds simple enough .
So where do we start if we do want to get back to how we felt and looked BC (before Covid!)
In a word - exercise. If you just heard ‘extra fries’ then you’re not alone!
Exercise is a word that has been shelved over the last few months, though it’s about to push its way back to the front of the line to be seen and heard again along with its pivotal partner ‘nutrition’.
Our nutrition is so important when it comes to physical, mental and social well-being, that now more than ever, it is vital for maintaining a healthy state of mind as well as strong immune system to prevent potential disease.
More than ever physical activity and movement are extremely important, with exercise being vital during the coronavirus pandemic as it can keep us focused, provide us with purpose and routine and benefit us from the following:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Exercise can improve your sleep and your cognitive function too - which during a global pandemic and so many conflicting pressures from financial to political, can be a welcomed release and comfort.
We caught up with personal trainer Jack* who initially struggled with uncertainty during the pandemic’s early months as the gyms began to close. However, since the summer he has now become one of the most sought after personal trainers in the city, having developed personalised support and private training programs for his clients.
He tells us, “This pandemic has changed the fitness industry as a whole. The limited capacity in each facility has drastically reduced the number of options for people to attend gyms and workout in groups and classes which was what motivated them. People are looking for private training now more than ever. Outdoor one to one training sessions are the most sought after methods now of maintaining your physical and mental health, with online virtual classes coming a close second as people can do them from the comfort of their own home.”
30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week is what we should all be striving for.
The 3 most important daily vitamins that are recommended to help your body stay strong and fight against respiratory infections are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
As we begin our new year with optimism and organisation, let your well-being from fitness to nutrition be the priority.
It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme.
Try taking small steps towards little goals and set aside a little time each week for well-being routines like yoga or walking which will benefit your routine, body and your mind.
We are also loving Charity Miles - the free app that allows users to raise money for charity by walking, running, or biking. For every mile tracked, the app will donate between 10 and 25 cents to a charity of your choice.
Introduce this to your friends or family to join with you and see how much you can raise for a charity you are all passionate about!
From all of us at British American Household Staffing.
Wishing you a happy and a healthy nutritious New Year!
It's been a busy year for all of us and many of us haven't had the time to find the perfect gifts for everyone on our lists. The team here at British American Household Staffing has put together our choices for thoughtful last minute gifts that are sure to be a success, whether in person or over Zoom! Happy Holidays!
Cameo is a service that allows you to create personalized videos from celebrities, athletes, and other entertainers. With a huge range, from Santa and Buddy the Elf impersonators for children to singers like LeAnn Rimes and Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz to NFL star Brett Favre, there is sure to be something for everyone in your life. Prices range from $25 to $1,000+ depending on the celebrity; many videos are complete in less than 24 hours and delivered straight to the recipient's mailbox.
MasterClass has a holiday special offering 2 for 1 memberships at the moment; the site offers a huge variety of streaming classes led by experts in their chosen fields. Courses include cooking with Gordon Ramsey, creativity and leadership with Anna Wintour, and acting with Natalie Portman.
Give the gift of music! For the hard-to-buy-for teenager or college student on your list, consider gifting a subscription to a music streaming service, such as Apple Music or Spotify Premium. Both services are currently offering three months free to new subscribers.
For the aspiring chefs in your life, consider gifting a live online cooking class. Sur La Table currently offers affordable (starting at $29) group classes hosted online; we love the vegetarian Indian course featuring curried cauliflower, and the class on winter gnocchi. For a more personal experience, we recommend giving a private class from Pasta Social Club; Meryl Feinstein, trained chef and Resident Pasta Maker for Food52, offers customized one-on-one pasta classes from her home in Texas. The classes are personalized to the individual's skill level and preferences; she offers beginner classes with no special equipment necessary, as well as speciality pasta classes, such as handmade penne, tortellini and farfalle.
For a friend or loved one who needs to take a moment and slow down, we recommend giving a year of the HeadSpace meditation app. The user-friendly app offers guided mediation, articles, videos, techniques, and more. The site is currently extending a 30% discount on new memberships.
Book of the Month Club is an ideal last minute gift. Each month, the club sends a book (subscribers can choose from a monthly selection or be surprised!) to your front door. It's easy to pause or skip a month if you aren't ready for the next book. It's a great way to take a break from screen time and encourage friends and family to read more in the coming year. For kids, we love Literati, a similar service, which sends 5 age appropriate books the child each month, plus stickers and other fun extras.
Rosetta Stone, one of the leading online language services, is now offering a lifetime membership for $179. The membership includes unlimited languages, no limit on classes, and no expiration date. Choose from Spanish, Greek, Hindi, French, and more - the service offers feedback on pronunciation, coaching on real-life scenarios, and live lessons for quick feedback and help.
Send a taste of home! For family members who cannot travel home for the holidays, send food gifts (or gift certificates) for local restaurants that ship speciality food items directly to their front door through GoldBelly. Send dinner from Momofuku, macarons from Paris's La Durée, New York bagels and lox from Zucker's, or Wolfgang Puck's smoked salmon pizza. Bon appétit!
For those shopping for a new scent - or perhaps young adults who haven't found their signature scent yet - we love Debonair. Each month, the service sends a customized selection of 3ML bottles of designer brand perfumes or colognes to the recipient's door, based on their likes and dislikes. Brands include Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry, Gucci, and more. The service will continue sending samples monthly until the recipient finds their perfect match.
We mentioned in our last newsletter that the team here at British American Household Staffing is planning on giving to charities this year, in lieu of traditional cards and gifts. A charity donation in a loved one's name is a lovely gesture this time of year. For our list of recommended charities, click here.
As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.
As restaurants close down and we spend more time than ever at home, many families are choosing to hire private chefs, either on a permanent or seasonal basis, to make meal time a little more special. Whether you're planning a cold weather staycation or are looking for restaurant quality meals daily in your own home, we can assist. We have chefs across the U.S. and internationally and many are ready and willing to relocate. We still have a limited number of chefs with holiday availability; contact us today to hire the chef that's right for you.
What is a Private Chef?
A personal or private chef is hired on either a part or full-time basis by a family or single person. According to the American Personal & Private Chef Association,
“A private chef is employed by one individual or family full time, and often lives in, preparing up to three meals per day. A personal chef serves several clients, usually one per day."
A private chef will hold a degree from a reputable culinary school and will typically have a minimum of four years experience in a domestic setting. Their main responsibility is to prepare meals for an individual or family. They may live-in with the family to provide on-call service or plan weekly meals according to a set schedule. A common schedule for a private chef is to work mid-morning to evening in the home preparing lunch, dinner and breakfast for the next day. They will also be essential in planning any events in the home.
Flexible to Meet Your Needs
To meet the changing needs of our clients, we offer part-time and full-time chefs for temporary and permanent placements. Many of our chefs are willing to live-in with your family, or travel as needed. We also have a roster of chefs with yacht experience if you have travel at sea planned in the coming year. As pandemic restrictions change and affect the way we eat out, shop, and spend time together, we have seen an increased demand for long-term placements, either to replace restaurant outings or to free up the principal's time, as well as short-term seasonal and holiday placements.
Find the Right Speciality
It is important to think about your family's unique needs when hiring a chef. Do you love French foods? Are members of your family vegan or vegetarian? Are you looking for a chef with farm-to-table experience? Extensive wine knowledge? Should the chef have experience with children? Many kid-friendly chefs will create healthy recipes to accommodate picky eaters, as well as invite the children to help out in the kitchen from time to time. From pastry chefs who make elaborate desserts and host chocolate tastings to experienced chefs who have the connections to source the best vegetables and seafood to classically trained French chefs, we can assist with finding a chef to meet your family's tastes.
As gyms close, the holiday season nears, and most of us are busier than ever, it is easy to lose sight of our health and fitness goals. Many of us reach for the easiest - not healthiest - option when it comes to meal time and these choices affect our overall physical and mental health, as well as our weight. A private chef can help you and your family stay on track by providing nutritious and delicious meals without any of the stress of time-consuming preparations. Many of our chefs are trained to cook a variety of specific meal plans, including paleo, keto, low-carb, low-fat, and gluten-free.
Save Time, Eat Better
The number of families employing private chefs has grown in the last decade. What was once considered an expendable luxury is becoming more and more popular and integral to the lives of busy families. For most, the convenience and support of having a private chef, as well as the health benefits, more than outweigh the cost. As an alternative to full-time in-home private chefs, some chefs will prepare meals in their own kitchen and deliver them to the client's home, as well as stock the refrigerator and pantry.
See more about Staying Healthy with Meal Deliveries from Top Chefs
I think we can all agree that 2020 will be well and truly the year that we all take a well earned deep breath! It will also be the year that forced us to reassess our lives amidst the chaos of what we could and could not control. It broke work commitments, projects, deadlines and family get-togethers. However, perhaps once the dust has settled, this year may be actually remembered as the making of us rather than the breaking of us. The year that took away our comfort, our freedom, our variety, but in return, gave us back the seclusion and space to explore new directions.
When our GPS discovers a problem up ahead, it simply re-routes to get us to where we are going. At British American Household Staffing we pride ourselves on being a navigation that can re-route you when lost or struggling to get to where you need to be.
At British American Household Staffing we make it our priority to find the silver lining in the cloud that has disrupted so many lives this year. Being one step ahead of the unpredictable nature of life, we have developed an impressive roster of reliable, responsible, and recommended staff to service your household at this crucial time more than ever.
At the BAHS agency you can lean on us during a time of change and uncertainty in finding assistance and relief for your family and your household.
Now that most of us are working from home it can be very difficult to navigate the workload whilst being under the same roof as your family. Trying to manage your business and run a household, especially if you have a child or children, proves to be a great juggling act that even the most focused multi-taskers would become frustrated with after a while.
We recognised that this new normal has not only impacted the way we work, but how we view the household positions which could perhaps help take the workload off us even further.
At the BAHS agency we begin by determining what staff your home needs in relation to your life, both personal and professional.
Do you feel like a live-in nanny may help you with childcare now that the availability in daycares and schools are being constantly unreliable?
Do you feel a housekeeper could give you some breathing space with taking a load off your list?
Would adding a chef to your home give you those well deserved extra hours of freedom and peace to focus on work and family time?
At BAHS we consider three areas to be the most valuable when looking at making your household run more efficiently.
- House Management
Childcare covers any position regarding children.
This includes nannies, governesses, tutors, newborn care specialists and maternity nurses. Additionally, some light general tidying and meal prep when it relates to the children are perfectly reasonable expectations for these roles, but no deep cleaning or home management is included unless specified and agreed.
A nanny will have a substantial amount of childcare expertise and experience, often holding a degree related to childhood education, such as Early Childhood Development or a Master’s degree in Education. Some nannies specialise in specific age groups such as infant or school age. Those who specialise in school age children are often referred to as governesses and will often be qualified to tutor certain academic subjects.
Nannies specialising in newborn care have extensive training and experience with newborns, infants and toddlers allowing them to understand the specific needs of each child’s development stage. Newborn nannies are often referred to as newborn case specialists, maternity nurses or baby nurses.
Cleaning refers to several specialised skills which fall on the duties of a housekeeper.
These include: deep cleaning, cooking, laundry, pressing, ironing, clothing care, wardrobe care and maintenance, couture clothing care and household organising.
Basic cooking or meal prep responsibilities are sometimes given to a housekeeper as well as general errand running.
This is open to discussion and again, a personal choice between you and your chosen staff.
What exactly is the difference between a Housekeeper and a Cleaner?
While many cleaners are great for last minute tidying or once-over deep cleanings, there is a distinct difference between a housekeeper and a cleaner.
A housekeeper’s skill goes beyond deep cleaning - in addition, they also excel in organising closets by colour, style, season, their attention to detail in organising the home and their deep understanding of clothing care (steam, clean and hand wash) They will also be familiar with formal service including serving and formal table setting.
A house manager is responsible for planning events, coordinating renovations and training other staff. They organise staff schedules, including the housekeepers (executive housekeepers and regular housekeepers or laundresses) and nannies. A house manager is usually responsible for attending to most staff-related issues within that particular property.
Where there are large or multiple homes, the estate manager will carry out the wishes of the principals at each location. Estate managers will have authority over all household and estate operations, managing extensive property and staff issues on a daily basis.
At times, a domestic couple is commonly hired to look after a seasonal or secondary property.
The most popular type are those of a housekeeper/cook and a driver/handyman which collaborate as covering all areas of running and maintaining the property.
There are also estate couples where one manage the estate and one is often a chef, however most clients value the domestic couple as they prefer having a couple to clean, organise, cook and drive collectively.
A domestic couple are usually either given a separate cottage/lodge or provided a separate living area for their time spent employed looking after the residence. Together they run one large home successfully and can often save the employer from needing to hire further or multiple staff.
A house manager is typically responsible for all staff in a single property with their responsibilities at times overlapping with those of a butler, property manager or personal assistant. They deal with overseeing maintenance issues and making sure the running of the household is smooth and efficient.
Butler duties often vary but may include managerial responsibilities, keeping accounts, marketing, and maintaining the wardrobe for the principals of the residence. They often act as House Managers but rather than deep clean as housekeepers do — they often cook which is a perk valued by the client.
A personal assistant role can vary from managing the family calendar, personal shopping, planning events, paying bills and arranging travel to handling investments.
Many, when required, even work in the office of the family business.
Now that businesses are slowly re-opening, you may be considering leaving the working from home scene behind and heading back to the office. The COVID-19 pandemic has more than just provoked a new focus on household employment with hiring in-home domestic and household staff as a more convenient option for those now working from home but also provides a safer option for childcare with many daycares and schools closing or operating with limited availability. You may choose to secure a live-in nanny for private, in-home care to limit the number of people exposed to your family.
One thing for sure is that there is no price on your peace of mind when it comes to your family and your home.
At BAHS we are here to listen and advise in support of your next step. Whether you’re making the permanent move to now fully work from home or you’re planning a return to the office, we have the incredible staff to provide you with the reassurance and the resources to bring organisation to your household.
From household inventory to childcare, we can manage your most important needs and create a household harmony that you’ve been searching for.
As we head into the holiday season, a time when many of us are accustomed to traveling with family and friends, it can be difficult to navigate the changing travel restrictions and safest options. Below we have put together a list of destinations that currently meet the criteria important to us: low COVID risk and relatively simple regulations for entry. We do recommend private travel, via chartered plane, yacht, or vehicle, whenever possible. As always, British American Household Staffing can assist with yacht and aviation staff as needed.
British Virgin Islands
As of December 1, the British Virgin Islands are open to international visitors. The islands are currently marked as Level 1: Low Level of COVID-19 by the CDC; they have had only 73 cases since the pandemic began. All visitors are required to take a PCR test ahead of arrival, followed by a 4 day quarantine in a hotel or villa and then a second test. After that second test is returned negative, visitors are allowed to travel freely. For a private, luxury experience, we love Oil Nut Bay on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda, set on 500 stunning acres. The island, accessible only by boat or helicopter, offers accommodations ranging from single bedroom suites to 6-bedroom villas. We love the Water's Edge Villa, featuring a private infinity pool, 4 bedrooms, full kitchen, and spectacular ocean views. If you need a complete break from screens and the media, consider Guana Island. The 850 acre private island hosts just 35 guests at once, plus seven beaches, lush mountains, gardens, orchards, hiking trails, and even flamingos! There are no televisions on site and there is a heavy emphasis on nature, meditation, and well-being.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your stay.
We've mentioned it in previous newsletters but Bermuda remains one of our top recommendations at the moment - it is one of the safest and easiest places to travel to, with direct flights from London and New York City, and simple restrictions once visitors land. COVID tests are required but once the results are returned (usually within 24 hours), international visitors are not restricted in their movements around the island. Once there, enjoy the pink sand beaches, clear blue water and friendly locals. Stay at the Hamilton Princess for convenient access to beaches and downtown. For a secluded, luxury experience, consider the Rosewood. Make sure to spend an afternoon in historic Royal Navy Dockyard, where you'll find authentic hand-blown glass souvenirs, the National Museum of Bermuda, and gorgeous ocean views.
Hawaii and Vermont are consistently ranked as the U.S. states with the lowest COVID case count. Be sure to check current quarantine restrictions per state before making plans as they change frequently; in most states, visitors with a negative COVID test can move freely around the state within a matter of days. For a stress-free stay in Vermont, we suggest Woodstock Inn and Resort. Here, traditional New England architecture is complemented by beautiful garden suites and hiking trails. For more privacy, book The Morgan House, a fully equipped house for eight just a short walk from the main inn. As snow is already in the forecast for much of Vermont, this would be a lovely choice for travelers seeking a picturesque escape for the holidays.
We highly recommend considering Montage Kapalua Bay for your next vacation; the luxury hotel has created a partnership with Vault Health to simplify travel restrictions and make testing easier. Through the partnership, the hotel offers guests guidance on current restrictions, as well as the convenient option of an at-home COVID-19 test prior to their arrival in Maui. Once on the island, book one of the residence-style villas, complete with full kitchens, and access to all the resort's amenities. From outdoor spa treatments to pools, hiking, paddle boarding, golf and more, there is plenty to entertain the whole family.
As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.
As Christmas draws closer and the current lockdowns remain in place, it’s becoming quite clear that our ‘Fairytale in New York’ is now more likely to feel like an emphatic ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ Having just finished licking our wounds from a summer of rescheduled weddings, cancelled concerts, closed schools and travel ban turmoil and now we’re told that it could be another few months before we return to normality.
So, you are absolutely right to feel mentally and physically drained! This year has been both unimaginable and unprecedented with more contradictions and content than a Netflix menu.
At this point so far in 2020 we’ve endured a global pandemic, social unease, natural disasters, job cuts, health scares, protests, and a very tense and divisive election. Some of us feel isolated at home alone craving company and some of us feel suffocated from being stuck with an overbearing partner, screaming kids and nowhere to go for our well deserved and needed me-time.
At British American Household Staffing we believe some self-care should be top of our Christmas lists so we are here to offer a guide on managing tension and anxiety throughout the holiday season.
Why do I feel so exhausted?
Everyone responds to stressful situations differently and it can often depend on many factors, from your background, your social circle, your financial situation, your health, and the environment around you.
This pandemonium, which began back in March, saw most of us make the best of what we thought would only last a few weeks. We enthusiastically took to working from home in our pyjamas, baking banana bread, making TikTok dance videos and clapping for our healthcare workers from our doorsteps. But what initially began as a shared sentiment of surreal circumstances, soon progressed into feelings of confusion, stress, anxiety, tension and now despair and depression. For some of us, stages and waves of all of the above.
Who would’ve ever imagined the changes we’ve faced over the last ten months and the restrictions and rules regulating our every move. Just as we were given the green light to reschedule, revisit and reopen, we’re then hit with another government guidance gust of wind thus blowing us backwards again.
At BAHS we value mental health as important as physical health so we felt it was important to remind you that you’re not alone in your feelings during this tense time of uncertainty.
How To Keep Your Children Calm
“When parents are stressed and worried, kids become stressed and worried,” said Dr. Carol Weitzman, a developmental-behavioural pediatrician and the co-director of the Autism Spectrum Center at Boston Children’s Hospital who co-authored the academy’s guidelines. A very poignant quote recently stated by parenting reporter Christina Caron for the NY Times.
As all parents recognise, children are incredibly in-tune with those around them, constantly absorbing and reacting to their tone of voice and facial expressions, as well as the changes in their daily routines. It is therefore crucial to manage your behaviour in particular your stress levels in order for the children to feel safe and calm.
Limit or Avoid Media & Misinformation
Being exposed to constant, concerning and conflicting stories reminds us, and at times convinces us, that there is something to panic about. Examine where your attention is when you feel at your best and at your worst. This will give you an idea of what you’re absorbing and how it’s affecting you, good and bad.
We are completely saturated by news options on several platforms from the moment we wake up and reach for our phones. Yet many of the sources we are reading from are based on myths, rumours, biased opinions and unfounded misinformation, which creates uncertainty and anxiety. Although it might be tempting to stay informed and at times we feel it’s impossible to avoid or escape it, try limiting your exposure to news and social media, especially about the pandemic.
Rationing the amount of time spent online will diminish the unnecessary and unwelcome panic you may be feeling and inevitably the less you absorb, the clearer you will begin to feel once the noise fades. Turn your phone off and your attention on to other things that have a sense of creative purpose, like cooking, arts and crafts, meditation, reorganising your home or catching up on some reading. Then use these as tools to create conversations of interests with those around you to lighten the tone of the topics you may feel are becoming too emotionally charged.
Cleanse Your Life Online & Offline
It’s not just our closets and pantries that benefit from a good clear out. A good lifestyle cleanse can be the best thing for us when life seems to be getting too much, especially when it comes to reorganising who we allow into our headspace. After all, energies are contagious and we soon begin to think and feel like those we surround ourselves with, so choose wisely and don’t be afraid to disconnect from people, pages and publications that aren’t providing you with a good feeling.
Spend an hour clearing out your contacts, email inboxes and social media accounts.
Unfollow those who no longer bring positivity to your life. Unsubscribe to companies and publications that you feel burdened by and get rid of all organisations who constantly press you for donations, votes or reviews. Now notice how instantly lighter you will begin to feel.
Stay Connected with Others
It can make a huge difference when we share our worries with others. Most of the time, the other person feels the same and can relate. Reach out and connect with other people who you consider supportive. Whatever is weighing you down, from financial pressure, conflict with a neighbour or a colleague, a health concern or perhaps your relationship may be unraveling behind closed doors. Open up and talk to someone about it. A conversation can sometimes be the best medicine.
Set Daily Routines
It’s so important and healthy to create and maintain patterns that give us a sense of order, routine and stability.
Set your alarm and create a time to rise and a time to go to bed. This will create a sense of normality and purpose. It will also enable you to create an identity to the days of the week while you’re working from home.
As tempting as it may be to remain in our sweatpants or pyjamas being home all day - Get up, get dressed and get going!
Our brains immediately recognise when we’ve made an aesthetic effort with a shower, some makeup and a splash of perfume and they send signals to our moods. You will begin to feel more motivated and confident when wearing a nice outfit, even if you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go - but to the kitchen!
Set a coffee date with family or friends. Each morning arrange a call with a friend who perhaps lives alone and have your morning coffee together over video chat or a simple phone call. Make it a weekly ritual to look forward to.
Listen to a podcast or an audiobook while you get some fresh air. If you live alone it will keep you company and provide a nice narration for your walk. Studies have shown that being outdoors for even 20-30 minutes each day can significantly reduce cortisol levels therefore lowering our chances of experiencing stress, depression and anxiety. Some fresh air in your lungs and a change of scenery will give us an instant and natural lift to our moods. Plus it costs nothing!
Exercise, even if it’s just a stroll to the grocery store or local park and back. Perhaps taking the dog for a walk or some online yoga via zoom from the comfort of your own home. Just move from the couch and remind your legs that they’re still needed! There’s now an array of online clubs and classes available to join so you may continue your favourite activities.
Start a virtual book club with friends, family or colleagues. Reading a chapter a day and then discussing it over a group chat can help keep you all connected and creatively stimulated.
We are what we eat and drink. So as important as choosing who we invite into our homes, we should be considering what we put into our bodies and how we feel afterwards. Pay attention to what you’ve just digested when you feel low, sluggish or anxious. Cutting down on caffeine and junk food will also help your state of mind and benefit your quality of sleep. As much as a glass of wine or a box of cookies can be wonderful company on an evening, try and limit the treats so your moods aren’t driven by artificial highs and lows. Peppermint tea is perfect for reducing stress and settling your stomach if you feel nauseous and on edge.
While there's no way to remove or avoid stress completely from life, there is a way to manage how we react to it by creating a haven around you with carefully selected people and products to help ease and comfort you at a time of tension.
With stronger minds, we can look to the new year feeling more capable than ever to deal with whatever 2021 has in store for us.
Meditation and self care apps that help benefit mental health:
10 Percent Happier
Books to help with uncertainty and unease:
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
59 Seconds, Think a Little, Change a Lot by Richard Wiseman
Stress-relieving products to help calm your mind and relax your body:
This Works deep sleep pillow spray
Neom moment of calm pod and de-stress range
Sunday of London rooftop garden candle
In February 2020, Beth* began her placement with the family who carefully chose and hired her to care for their baby through British American Household Staffing.
Having ‘babysat forever’ growing up in the suburbs and then earning a teaching degree before specialising in Infant Newborn Care, it was clear to see that she was destined to work with children.
However, just weeks before the pandemic hit in March, Beth was all set to join the Smiths* for a 12 month contract to care for their baby in their New York home.
“Before we knew it, all the good parts of nannying disappeared and all the things we knew and depended on to educate and entertain the kids, were taken away” she tells me.
“Usually, cities like London and New York have so much to offer, from parks to museums, the perfect backdrop for play-dates, fresh air and picnics. So when we saw the social distancing rules and places begin to close down, us nannies had to really dig deep and get creative with ideas on activities to keep a child fulfilled but also safe and protected.”
When I ask her about her own situation, highlighting the decision to be apart from her own family when forced to decide who to quarantine with, she answers without hesitation and in a way that shows why she works in such a selfless role.
“Oh I stayed with the family. I became a live-in nanny” she states with ease. “They needed me more than ever, especially with so many uncertainties and things changing day-to-day. I had my own room and bathroom and although I couldn’t go home, I felt like I was part of their family.”
I ask her what the best kind of families are to work for, thinking she may reference the luxury of an estate or the perks that some clients offer their staff, like gym memberships or personal chefs, but again, she answers withmodesty, it’s clear to see why she, like so many BAHS nannies are considered assets to a family when joining their household.
“Parents who are thoughtful, they’re the best” she confides humbly.
“In what way”? I probe.
“Giving you direction and asking if you’re okay. Basically just communicating with you and making you feel heard” she says warmly. “It’s a partnership, between a nanny and parents so it always works best when both sides are thinking of the other.”
I ask her about the challenges and the problems faced during the pandemic, expecting some horror stories, yet she responds as graciously and intelligently as a modern day Mary Poppins.
“For parents living in an apartment and working from home, that’s tough, especially with a child or children. We aren’t meant to be isolated so it’s a lot, especially in small living spaces with limited options outside” she pauses thoughtfully. “That’s probably the biggest challenge during this for the families. For the nannies, it’s been thinking outside of the box when comes to ideas for the children when so many places began to close.”
When I bring it to her attention that even hospital staff were able to go home after a shift, she humbly and protectively defends the position that so many nannies were faced with. Some not seeing their own families for months at the loyalty to their client.
“Many live-out nannies became live-in nannies when the pandemic hit. It just made sense and it was safer for the families to have us join their bubble without worrying about external interaction becoming a threat for infection. "We hibernated together and it bonded a lot of staff and their clients through such a testing time. I’ve been very lucky that the family I was placed with were like a second family.”
After speaking to Beth, I did some further research and read some other personal anecdotes from those who worked in childcare. Some saying it was too much for them being stuck in another household and others fortunate enough to work for families who provided private travel services like Uber and Lyft back and forth to their own homes if they lived nearby.
But then there were the others, the ones who fully committed to the moment we never anticipated in this lifetime, those who at the crossroads of tough government guidelines instinctively agreed to join their principal families over their own families, some in an isolated move into their client’s residence and some even moving miles outside the city for the summer where their clients decided to retreat during the pandemic.
Every case is clearly different, there’s no carbon copy of a nanny just as there are no text book examples of a family. Each partnership becomes couture to their own mix of personalities and requirements.
So when speaking to the nannies at the BAHS agency, one thing that was transparent were their feelings that client came first and for the sake of the children it was the consistency of care that they all persisted to strive to maintain during the pandemic.
If ever there was a time to cast the spotlight on those going above and beyond their job description it’s this year having so much on the line. The nannies from BAHS have proven to prioritise their childcare before anything or anyone else, even themselves.
They really are the quintessential modern day Mary Poppins with hearts as big as their overnight bags.
*names have been changed out of respect for candidate and client privacy
’Covid has created a rising demand for the modern-day Mary Poppins – and all manner of other domestic staff too!’
British American Household Staffing are proud to feature this week in British publication The Telegraph.
Anita Rogers, BAHS agency founder and CEO invites you to take a glimpse into the strategies and success behind her premier agency and why the recent pandemic has given clients a new perspective and a desirable domain for a more manageable and comfortable life at home.
“After more than a decade’s experience in pairing families with household staff, Rogers’ exclusive agency has earned a reputation for being able to meet every need and handle any situation.”
“We’ve seen an increased demand for nannies and governesses with a background in child psychology,” says Rogers. “That’s very, very popular now. It’s about checking a child’s development every step of the way and making sure that they’re hitting all the milestones.”
“Oh, and should you wish to hire a light aircraft or a yacht – “hugely in demand right now because people can escape the pandemic that way” – BAHS can organise that too.”
The holiday season this year will look different for most families. Many are choosing to celebrate with only immediate family and find themselves missing friends and family who might normally join the celebrations. The team here at British American Household Staffing has put together a guide to making the holidays a little easier this year - from delightful hampers you can send loved ones to ways we can feel closer to those far away. Be sure to start shopping early to avoid disappointment due to sold out items and shipment delays.
Sending Gifts Near and Far
London's Fortnum and Mason is our top choice for holiday hampers, this year and every year. With high quality goods ranging from Champagne to cured meats to Christmas biscuits, there is something for everyone on your list. Order by December 6 for discounted shipping and to access the widest selection - many hampers will sell out as the holidays near. We love the Family Christmas Hamper; the classic choice includes wine, coffee, biscuits, chocolate, Christmas pudding, marmalade, and more. If you're looking to treat yourself (or someone else!), consider the Christmas Feast Hamper, containing extras, such as smoked salmon and foie gras. For worldwide delivery, consider the Sleighborne Hamper, which includes favorites such as Fortnum's fruit cake, cranberry sauce, and hot chocolate. Buying for someone with specific tastes? Shoppers can create a custom hamper on the website too.
Harrod's offers an array of Christmas baskets and hampers, as well, shipping worldwide. We love the Grosvenor Christmas Hamper, which includes a stuffed teddy bear for the littles one, as well as traditional favorites, like mince pies, shortbread, and Christmas spiced tea. For the young (or young at heart), consider sending Harrod's glow in the dark advent calendar, complete with daily sweet treats like candy canes, fizzy baubles, sherbet pips and white jazzies.
Eli's Market in New York City offers gift baskets for every occasion, from the Chanukah gift basket to the caviar basket (add on a bottle of Champagne for the perfect New Year's gift) to the Christmas classics basket. We also love their custom 15 lb loaf of country bread; the bread, which can be inscribed with a message of your choice, makes for an impressive display and can easily be sliced and frozen for later after the holiday is over.
For the little ones, we love The White Company. The department store has a location in Manhattan, NY, as well as several in the United Kingdom and they offer worldwide shipping. From cashmere baby blankets and whimsical stuffed animals to this charming pink double breasted coat and adorable kid's holiday sweaters, The White Company has something for every child. Don't forget to send along a little something for the parents, as well - consider a cozy pair of 100% cashmere sleeping socks or a statement 5 wick holiday candle.
Stay in Touch
Zoom is perhaps the best known way to stay in touch during the pandemic, and for good reason. With free and paid options, you can easily host video gatherings for groups of all sizes. Help older relatives download and set up their own account ahead of time and plan to set aside an hour (or longer!) over the holidays to spend time together. Consider eating the same meal together, opening gifts, doing a holiday craft (we love this felt wreath craft!) or sharing favorite past holiday memories. This Thanksgiving, Zoom has lifted its time restrictions for free accounts so the whole family can eat, drink and be merry for as long as they'd like! Keep an eye on future newsletter; we will share if Zoom chooses to do the same for holidays next month.
Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) is a free Google Chrome extension that allows families and friends to sync up films on Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus - and even have a live chat. Host a virtual family movie night with the holiday classics - don't forget the popcorn!
Further Resources for Socially Distanced Holidays
Happy Thanksgiving from the team at British American Household Staffing!
We wish you a happy and safe celebration.
Please note our offices will be closed Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27.