If you met me at a business meeting or networking event you would hear the “shallow” or quick response of how I got started and why I do what I do. You would hear that I have been a professional nanny for 9 years helping to raise 8 sweet kiddos. You would also hear that I got started with my Agency when I was looking for a way to help a larger amount of families at the same time. You might also hear that My sister in law helped me come up with the idea to start a Nanny Placement Agency here in Toledo as a way for me to create a business and help families. I was hating college life and felt sort of lost in what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. The idea of a Placement Agency was so enticing because it came with the flexibility and freedoms of being a business owner along with feeling like I was making a difference by helping quality nannies match up with excellent families in my community. At the time there weren’t any Agencies in Toledo so I immediately attached to the idea and ran with it. Three years later in business and here we are!
What I want to share today is a little bit deeper story of my “why” behind choosing to pursue this business in my community. My why really is rooted in the fact that I had somewhat of a difficult childhood. I had parents that loved me and encouraged me and absolutely did the best they could with what they had. I don’t want this to sound like a sob story because I really have had a beautiful life with wonderful experiences. With that being said I’ll share a couple highlights of those childhood difficulties so you have some backstory to my life and why it’s led me to where I am today.
My parents, as loving as they were, were teen parents. They were 18-19 years old and didn’t have a lot of family support. That means they struggled a lot and that often led to an unhealthy home environment. We moved around a lot for the first few years of my life which I obviously have only a few memories of. But I know it was difficult for them and it wasn’t a great beginning to starting a life and family together. Again, I have few memories but I know at least for some points we grew up on welfare, there was often lots of arguing and dysfunction. I know my dad worked 2-3 jobs at a time to make sure we were taken care of, and my mom stayed home with me. I know without any doubt that he is the reason I have such a good hard work ethic, and I’m so incredibly grateful that I had him to model that for me. I’m also grateful that my mom was able to be present and nurturing in my formative years as well. I still can’t imagine what that was like and what kind of pressure that was to be so young and have so much responsibility and struggle. When I was 6 my brother Jake was born and I just LOVED growing up with him. Having a baby brother absolutely sparked my love for taking care of kids, even though I still was one. I wanted to feed him and love him and take care of him. He was and still is my best friend. I’m grateful that as the oldest child we had such an age gap so that I could be a part of actually being able to watch and help him grow.
When I was 8 we lost my Aunt and ended up fostering her 3 children for several years. I was immediately the oldest of 5 children, with one parent grieving her loss and the other working even harder to support a now family of 7. More pressure and more struggle meant more dysfunction and an even more unhealthy atmosphere at home. Even as a young child I felt that trauma that had filled our home and took on the responsibility of making it as easy on my parents as I could. I stepped in and helped out wherever I was needed. I stayed quiet, was well behaved, and did what I could to manage my younger “siblings”. I learned how to make meals, help with homework, how to facilitate fun activities to keep us all entertained, how to manage sibling rivalry, and how to distract my “siblings” from any dysfunction from our parents. It was a huge part of shaping who I am now as an adult, but it was a difficult couple of years and was a really hard strain on our family. The mental health of my parents was declining and eventually the stress and struggle and dysfunction was too much. Our fostered cousins, who had become more like siblings at that point went to live with another family member and my parents ultimately decided to divorce when I was 12. More trauma, more moving, more instability.
When I was 14 my parents both remarried and we all navigated living in separate homes, going to new schools, and having blended families. Even though my parents were divorced, it still was not easy. There were still a lot of unresolved issues, trauma, hurts, and dysfunction. There were a lot of toxic behaviors that are common in divorce like parents putting adult issues onto the kids, parents using kids as weapons against the other parent, parents badmouthing the other parent, and putting children in the middle of issues. We also dealt with some verbal abuse, unhealthy behaviors, and toxic environments. I still felt responsible for “protecting” my siblings from the trauma and negativity and stepped in whenever and wherever I could. When I was 16, my sweet baby brother was born and it just deepened my love for taking care of children. What an amazing gift to be at an age where I could fully be involved and invested in his growth and development and watching him become such a cool person. When I turned 18, I moved out and went to college to start my own life. And when I turned 21 I found myself being called to a nanny position.
Looking back now as an adult I can see that although no one wants to experience trauma, hardship, or struggles in childhood I’m actually really grateful for it. I’ve healed from it and recognized that it shaped me into who I am today and led me to where I am in life. Having to step into a parenting role at such a young age prepared me for caring for children as an adult. My childhood made me humble, empathetic, hard working, and willing to step in wherever I’m needed. It gave me a heart and passion for loving children and wanting to help families. I’m also aware that others have much worse backgrounds and experiences and I don’t want to take away from that. I’m lucky to have not ever had to suffer from any sort of physical abuse, abandonment, or other awful experiences so many others have in their childhoods. I’m lucky to have had parents and step parents that loved and cared for myself and my siblings. My experience has also just sparked a passion in me for families, children, mental health, and having the right tools for difficult situations and circumstances.
That’s why our mission is to support families by providing tools, community, and helping hands. I want to help as many families as I can avoid the pain and struggles that my family experienced. I want families to have the extra hands they need to love and nurture their kids. I want parents to have the tools they need to handle whatever life throws at them. I want to give parents the tools they need to feel capable in their ability to raise loving, kind, and respectful children. I want kids in our community to know they are loved and that they matter. I want moms to have the ability to step in and be present with their children even when it’s overwhelming.
My hope in sharing this part of my story is that you’ll have a better understanding of WHY I do what I do and have a better idea of who I am as a person, not just as a company. My hope is that our community will understand my deep passion and care for helping families. I hope that with the services we provide, I can help prevent this from happening and improve the lives of many more families in our community.