When granny is nanny

April 30, 2008 6:01:59 PM PDT
Sheila Marcelo is the CEO of Care.com, a nationwide online childcare directory. She shares her solutions for the challenges parents face when relatives take care of their children.

Common pitfalls to avoid

Not playing by your rules
You may feel strongly about TV limits and healthy snacking. But you come home to find both kids watching TV, each with a bag of chips. With relatives, you have to clarify your goals and expectations up front. If education is important to you, then explain why TV during the week isn't helpful. Explaining your overall goals will help your relatives understand why you are asking them to do certain things.

Overstepping boundaries
Respect your family member's personal time. You know your sister will always forgive you when you arrive 10 minutes late. But if you expect her to adhere to your wishes and your rules, then you do the same by respecting their boundaries. Keep your word and you'll keep their respect.

Don't sweat the small stuff
There may be small things that irritate you, but what is more important to you: dishes piled up in the sink or kids that are happy.

Talk often with a respectful tone
Don't just meet or talk when things are going wrong. If you talk regularly, then it won't feel like you planned a special sit-down conversation that makes things a bigger deal. But if you feel too emotional, you may want to let it go and wait a day or two. Even though it's your mom or sister, think about approaching the conversation as you would a friend: with a respectful tone. And sometimes your relative may need additional help or despite everyone's best intentions, things simply do not work out.

For more information, visit: www.care.com

About Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder and CEO, Care.com

Sheila has always been passionate about business and family. After frequent struggles to find quality care providers not only for her two boys, but also following her father's quadruple bypass surgery in 2001, Sheila recognized the lack of resources available to help families address their constantly changing care needs. Thus, the idea for Care.com was born.

Sheila is a leading expert on providing families with care planning advice, having appeared on NBC's "Today Show" and "ABC News Now." Additionally, she has been featured in news outlets across the country, including The Boston Globe and Redbook. In 2007, Care.com was recognized by the Stevie Awards for Women in Business as Best New Company of the Year.

Care.com is a continuation of Sheila's interests in community involvement and helping people through successful internet businesses. Prior to Care.com, Sheila served as an executive at several successful internet companies including: Upromise.com, an online service helping families save money for college; and TheLadders.com, an online service helping people find jobs.

Sheila graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College while juggling an Economics major and raising her oldest son. She went on to pursue dual degrees from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, graduating with honors and receiving two prestigious awards: the Dean's Award for overall leadership and contributions to Harvard Business School; and the Fitzie Foundation Award, given by the Margaret Fitzgerald Grogan Petersmeyer Foundation, which honors the most outstanding female students.


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