Posts tagged “RightTime KiDS

Scared of joy & success? I was, too.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a mom.  I didn’t have anything against children, but I was career driven, selfish, and didn’t feel “the tug.”  Once my first child was born, and I looked into his brand new, just-arrived-on-the-planet-eyes, I was transformed.  Madly in love.  Nothing else mattered.  Almost 18 years later, I am still equally smitten.   Now, as a single mother to two teenagers, I am sentimental, melancholy, excited, and humbled by this journey I have been given.  It hasn’t always been easy.  There have been deaths, disappointments, and divorce.  But there has been so much connectedness, laughter, cuddling, sharing, meals, trips, lazy days, crazy days, traipsing around the zoos, aquariums, children’s museums, music lessons, sports, science expeditions….we have had ADVENTURES.

I get up every morning and drive my kids to school.  There’s a school bus, which they take home, but this is how we started and what we continued to do.  Getting up at 6am in the cold, dark mornings of winter is not my favorite thing, but I love the quiet morning with my son as I drink coffee, we chat in a relaxed manner, and make the 3 minute trek to school.  Then I come home, and do the same with my daughter, who starts school a little later.  These snippets of time are like jewels I am collecting.  I know they will be gone, and we will evolve into new routines as a family.  But in the meantime, I am acutely aware of what I have, and how much joy it brings me.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a business owner.  (There’s a recurring theme here, in case you hadn’t noticed).  But a business owner I became, because I had mouths to feed but couldn’t figure out how to incorporate traditional work with my desire to be around my children as much as I possibly could.  My days are busy; filled with calls, emails, appointments and meetings.  As the head of the RightTime KiDS Drop-In Childcare franchise, there’s a lot of networking, reading, researching, planning, marketing and relationship building that goes on.  As a micro-entrepreneur with a skincare company, where I have the opportunity to partner with the doctors who created Proactiv and are now tackling the $3 billion + Anti-aging market along with acne & other skin issues, I am busy talking to people, sharing the vision and helping other would-be entrepreneurs reinvent themselves or secure their “Plan B” career objectives.  I feel extremely lucky to have the flexibility I do, and to have found these opportunities that allow me to work from home, and be fully present for my family.  But it really isn’t luck at all, when you think about it.  It was a desire.  A dream.  A hunger for a lifestyle that offers me choices.  It has taken an awful lot of hard work and discipline.  The funny thing is, though, that it doesn’t feel hard.

I love RightTime KiDS.  It is a brilliantly necessary concept.  Parents can be SPONTANEOUS again.  Days, Nights, Weekends.  They drop their children off in a safe, happy, professional and very secure place where they have a blast and get to do the one thing most kids love: play with other kids!  It has been a labor of fun and creativity.  My kids loved to go when they were smaller.  My son had his first job as a “junior staff member” at the North Raleigh location.  My daughter planned her “playdates” at the center while I was there tending to business.  It was a perfect balance between my personal and professional life.  I am very proud of what the incredible staff and I, along with our courageous, smart, visionary franchisees, have been building.  I am very much looking forward to seeing it grow, and believe that it is going to do just that.  When you are having fun doing what you do, it doesn’t feel like “work.”  It feels like “life.”

The busier I have become, the more alive I have felt.  Although I adored being a stay-at-home mom, and think by being one I provided my children with a great foundation, I am also loving this professional version of me.  When I started working with skincare, it was in part because the opportunity was too good to pass up.  I felt like a stock option had been offered to me, with the one exception being that rather than be powerless to impact its success, I had the ability to make that stock soar.  (And soar it has.  What a wild ride so far!)  With kick-butt products, patented innovative technology, ongoing training and support, millions of media hits each year, and international expansion on the horizon, industry awards including One of the Fastest Growing Companies in San Francisco, 2013 Stevie for Consumer Products (previously won by Apple!), Global Products Award (although not yet launched internationally), and the DSA Award for innovation and vision,  this is exactly the right place at the right time.  I am so excited about this business also.

As my children come home (by bus) and I am on calls or tapping away at my keyboard, we share a little about our days.  (This seems to be my daughter’s time for communication and any emotional sharing; she seems to be focused elsewhere other times of the day).  I love that my day includes them.  I don’t know what it will feel like when they aren’t bursting through the door mid-afternoon, and I hope I have the courage to face that evolution without being too clingy.  I can tell you this:  when your babies are born, everyone tells you, “Enjoy it; it goes so fast…”  And it does.  It’s not a myth.  You will blink, and they will be asking for the car keys.  (They may do that now, while wearing diapers, but at least now you can still say “no”).

If you aren’t happy doing what you are doing (70% of Americans are NOT)….if you aren’t earning what you need….if you wish you had more time with your children, your spouse, your aging parents, your dog….then make a change.  Take a step.  Be courageous.  You might fail if you try.  But you definitely will not succeed if you never take the chance.  There are many ways to create flexibility in our lives.  Entrepreneurship is one of them.  Your local Chamber of Commerce can guide you.  (Our local chamber, the Wake Forest Chamber of Commerce, was very instrumental in my business’ growth).  As can community colleges, and the many organizations out there whose sole focus is helping people to create, invent and grow.

I didn’t think I wanted kids.  I didn’t think I wanted a business.  Sometimes, we don’t really know what we want, or what will be good for us.  I’m glad there were forces greater than me that lead me to a path I might not have chosen.  I am loving my story.  Do you love yours?  Learn more about these opportunities at: www.righttimekids.com, and www.rtkusa.com.  Or click Reinvent Me to explore a Plan B.  It’s a new year, and a time for new beginnings.  Are you ready for yours?

 


Caring for Aging Parents…a $34 billion cost to US companies, $13.4 billion in healthcare costs

I’m “lucky.”  My parents died quickly in their late 50s.  I am not part of the sandwich generation caring simultaneously for young children and aging parents.  There are 64 million of you out there, caring for chronically ill, disabled or aging family members or friends.I cannot begin to imagine how my peers do that, and continue to manage their careers, their own health, and their vast responsibilities.  It is a very exhausting situation to be in.

My cousin Jacqueline is a pediatric cardiologist and associate professor.  Her mother, my aunt, recently died of brain cancer.  It was a long and difficult battle.  Jacqueline is a single mother.  Her mother lived about 45 minutes away from the hospital where she works and lives.  Every day, Jacqueline got her son off to school, went to work, traveled to see her mother, then returned home.  The next day…rinse and repeat.  Exhausting.  All while remaining focused on the young patients in her care, arranging critical heart transplants, publishing, and speaking engagements.  In the end, she converted her dining room into a bedroom, and both of her parents stayed with her until her mother’s death.

My fiance’s father died in December after a long battle with COPD and cancer.  Fortunately for Scott, his company (a Canadian firm) allowed him the luxury of leave so that Scott was able to remain by his father’s bedside, and support his senior mother, for the final weeks of his father’s life.  That precious time can never be retrieved.

Fortunately for both Jacqueline and for Scott, they had resources and supportive employers.  Most of us don’t.  And the cost to families is devastating.  And the cost to Employers is devastating.  American businesses lose as much as $34 billion each year due to employees caring for loved ones over 50.  Employee caregivers cost to employers is approximately $2100 per year due to disruption, and 8-18% more in healthcare costs.  There is a solution.  A start-up based in Raleigh, NC called CareConscious offers an online Wellness Assessment & Support Plan for caregiving employees.  It’s convenient and confidential, built using the industry standard TCARE protocol.  Employees’ stress can be reduced, depression mitigated, and a better balance between workplace and caregiver responsibilities can be achieved.

This is a win-win for caregivers, employers, and even for health insurers.  Preventing caregiving-related healthcare issues reduces costs for treatment.  (Caregivers report chronic conditions including heart attack/heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis at nearly twice the rate of non-caregivers).  This is not a coincidence.

CareConscious assesses and addresses critical caregiver health measures, provides customized plans, coping strategies and resources.  Most of us faced with caring for an aging or terminally ill parent are new to it.  We don’t know where to start or what to do.  Emotions are turbulent.  CareConscious is a gentle hand reaching out to caregivers, helping them navigate through one of the toughest times they will ever face.  Employers have the ability to offer an employee benefit that will lighten that load for their employees, while protecting the bottom line.  Insurers have the ability to approve an insurable service that will reduce their costs for caregiver health issues.

I have no dog in this fight.  As I mentioned, my parents have been gone a long time, and their illnesses were relatively swift.  I am not an investor or affiliated with CareConscious in any way.  In fact, my world tends to focus more on the other side of the spectrum: children.  As CEO of RightTime KiDS, I live, breathe and dream of things kid-related.  But I also see so many of our parents dropping their children off for some fun at RightTime KiDS so they can tend to the needs of ill or aging parents.  Their stress and angst is palpable.  My heart goes out to them, and I want to find ways to help.  When President (and Caregiver) of CareConscious, Dave Gold, told me what he was trying to achieve by creating this resource, he said, “No one should have to face such a difficult time without support and guidance.  When I went through it, there was no guidance.  We did not know where to begin and had to figure everything out for ourselves.  It doesn’t make sense for us to keep what we learned to ourselves, when it can benefit everyone else going through something so difficult.  It just makes sense.”  And it does.  And it makes cents, too.  To employers.  To insurers.  To caregivers.  To the beloved people in their care.

Please share this with your employers and benefits managers.  Let them know this is a very worthwhile and needed employee benefit.  For more information and costs, please contact dave@careconscious.com.