Tag Archives: find

Where to find flexible childcare

When my children were younger, I worked four days a week and had Fridays off. It was not easy to find childcare for four days. But times have changed and daycare appears to be getting a little more flexible. I'm not saying it's completely flexible, but we're moving in the right direction. 

In my column in today's Miami Herald, I address the new direction of child care. Below is an abbreviated version but you can click here to see the full article. 


BYH00 Balance News rk
(Pamela Guilarte, left, and her mother, Maria Sayreat the Fun Club in South Miami. Photo by 
Roberto Koltun) 





From nannies on demand to daycare or after-school care on demand, alternatives to full-time childcare are providing parents options to fit their new ways of working.

Drop in care: One of the most-popular options is drop-in care, where childcare is available by reservation, or at the last minute as a service offered by full-time day care and early-learning centers. Parents can pre-buy preschool hours and use them as needed. Costs vary but start at about $ 10 an hour, plus a one-time registration fee.

Earlier this month, Suzanne Santos, a mother of three, found herself using this alternative. Santos, a real estate agent in South Miami, had a photo shoot set up for one of her new property listings and needed childcare for her 2-year-old daughter for the afternoon when the nanny called in sick. So, Santos bought a package of drop-in childcare hours at The Fun Club in South Miami that she will use as needed over the next month.

Pamela Guilarte began drop-in care as the owner of Fun Club in South Miami and just sold the preschool to Orange Blossom Learning Center. Now, she plans to license the format she used locally to preschools around the country. She and her mother, Maria Sayre, have developed software that allows parents to log onto a website, purchase a package of hours and sign up for preschool/childcare as needed, or several days a week. Preschool owners are able to use the software to track parent usage and send out renewal notices.

Guilarte says drop-in care has gained traction in the past few years, particularly with young parents. “Millennial parents are savvy and because of the way they are working, they don’t want to pay a monthly fee,” she says. “They are hand-selecting the top preschools in their area where they can pay by the hour or the day.”

While it would seem challenging for owners to staff for drop-in care, Guilarte says it serves as supplemental income for childcare centers that already offer full-time care. Parents still need to ensure that a drop-in center is licensed and operates under the same regulations that apply to day-care facilities. “When I opened the Fun Club seven years ago, if I said we offer drop-in care, people had no idea what that was. Now, people know what it is and have started to use it,” she says.

Drop-in childcare has a sizable potential market: People working nontraditional shifts or flexible hours make up 35 percent of the workforce.

While convenient, most drop-in care centers want some prior notice. Tiniciti Early Childhood Center requires 24 hours notice for drop-in care at its two Miami locations. It also offers parents flexibility in how they use day care during regular hours. Michael Taylor, who operates his iPrint company from Pipeline Brickell’s shared workspace, works a loose schedule and typically starts his workday around 11 a.m. after he drops his daughter Ella off at Tiniciti Brickell. Because the center offers alternatives to full-time care, Taylor uses it mostly in the afternoons but has the option of picking Ella up as late as 8 p.m. if needed. “There are so many young business people on Brickell that certain schools have no choice but to offer flexibility and adjust with times,” Taylor says.

Existing daycare centers: Even the large national providers are catering to parents’ working habits. KinderCare Learning Centers has 1,600 locations across the country, including some on-site corporate centers. At some locations, it has extended hours, offered drop-in care or catered to parents with unpredictable schedules. In South Florida, KinderCare and its Cambridge Preschools has 22 locations, some that offer a daily rate or a monthly half-day fee, says Yvonne Wolliston, KinderCare regional director for the South. “We’re sensitive to moms who want flexibility and are working with them,” Wolliston says.

Family childcare centers: Some family childcare centers have adapted, too. Maricarmen Macias has operated a childcare center from her Chicago home for more than a decade. By welcoming children as early as 5 a.m. and as late as 11 p.m., she has attracted parents who put in nontraditional hours, some of them single mothers. For example, Macias says she accommodates a single mother who works a different schedule each week at a dollar store: “By being flexible, we are giving a mom the chance to have a job and be the main provider for her family.”

Websites: Another flexible option parents are using are websites like Care.com that offer a version of childcare on demand and nanny-sharing. Katie Bugbee, senior managing editor at Care.com, says parents use her website to build a bank of babysitters to hire as needed. “If you have five quality babysitters in your contacts, you can say, ‘I am picking up a gig this week and need someone for 20 hours, who can help me?’ ” Bugbee says.

Afterschool programs: For parents with older children, after-school programs also are evolving to accommodate a change in the communities’ needs. Jodi Grant, executive director of Afterschool Alliance — a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy organization to ensure quality after-school programs — says she has seen more alternative programs for parents who don’t need five-days-a-week after-care for their elementary, middle or high school children. From enrichment activities to onsite after-school care, “the need for flexibility is great and the programs are getting better.” Check your local YMCA or Community Centers for flexible after-school programs. 


What are your experiences with childcare and flexibility? Do you find it challenging to find child care to fit your needs?

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How to multitask to find love (Your Valentine’s Day Guide)

My friend works really long hours an attorney. She often tells me she has little free to date but wishes she could meet someone. While asking to bolt early to go to happy hour might be frowned on, her firm encourages her to sit on boards, join professional organizations and network for business.

The solution, of course, is to multitask. Why not network for business and love at the same time?

The great part of networking for business and love at the same time is that doing so removes the pressure of forcing a love connection. At business networking events, people are there to meet people and there's not that judgmental vibe or desperation that one might find at a singles event.

You might think that most people meet dates online but that's not true. Although 1 in 10 Americans now use online dating platforms, the vast majority of relationships still begin offline, according to Pew Research Center.

Fort Lauderdale publicist Kerry Phillips, a widow for four years, told me she wants to date again. She says going to a networking cocktail party to drum up business feels less stressful than going to a singles event: “I’m not going in thinking I’m there to find a date or a life partner. The pressure is not there. I’m going in to build business, and if I hit it off with someone, that’s a bonus.”

As workloads grow, time-pressed singles increasingly view relationship-building for business and social purposes as good time management. Sitting on a committee or organizing an event provides the opportunity to go beyond superficial conversations with someone you want to get to know better — and it may allow love to bloom.
Robert Goltz, President and CEO of the Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce, offers a few tips.

* People looking to combine business and love should ask more personal questions when they meet someone of interest. It could be something like, “What do you enjoy doing outside of work?”

 * Call the chamber or business organization and ask about the age and type of people who attend their events: “If you tell me you want to meet mid-level professionals in their 30s to 40s, I would tell you which events draw that crowd.”

 Dan Silverman, founder of MatchmakingMiami.com, offers these tips.

* Start the flirtation and see whether you get feedback. If you do and it’s positive, then take it forward. If you’re not getting feedback, then shift gears and keep it business.

 * Steer clear of making anyone feel uncomfortable at a business function. (Watch out how much alcohol you drink!) But if you sense someone is interested, arrange a follow-up after the event.

* Hand someone of interest your business card and urge them to call. You can decide later what direction to take the connection.

Hope Plevy, a Fort Lauderdale attorney, met a man at a legal organization networking dinner who asked her out for dinner. After a few dates, the two didn’t see a romantic future, but they did start referring each other’s business.

If you find yourself alone this Valentine's Day, brainstorm what networking events you want to go to or business organizations you want to join. If you don't find love, at least you might drum up a new client.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

The crazy chores we find relaxing




I'm clearing the dinner table and urging my son to hurry up and get changed for Lacrosse practice. At the same time, I'm telling my husband that if he hurries he will have just enough time to shed his suit, put on shorts and get our son to the field. Meanwhile, I now have all the dishes in the kitchen sink and something happens next that takes me by surprise.

I'm pouring soap on the sponge, scraping food off the plates  and I feel  – dare I say it — a little more relaxed. 

When I read a recent article on Time.com that said washing dishes can significantly lower your stress level—if you do it mindfully, I was taken aback. Really, chores are relaxing???? They must be kidding!

Yet, with most of us trying to do a million things at once to achieve work life balance, I have to admit that mundane household tasks do give me a chance to slow my life down. 

In a recent study quoted by Time,  researchers found that people who washed dishes mindfully (they focused on smelling the soap, feeling the water temperature and touching the dishes) upped their feelings of inspiration by 25% and lowered their nervousness levels by 27%. “It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,” the study authors conclude.

Do you know what other chore relaxes me? (Please don't think I'm insane!) Making my kids' lunches. I have a formula for packing lunch that I follow every night. I usually make lunches when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet and I put thought into kids preferences and giving them variety. I guess you could say I do the task mindfully. So, I agree there is something to the notion that doing a mundane task mindfully can be relaxing.



But I guess the bigger issue is that we're all so stressed by doing so much at once that simple chores are the new stress relievers. Look at the other things we're latching onto to relieve our stress — aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, mindfulness. Stress relief has become a giant business. And still, we're suffering from tension headaches, weight gain and burn out. What a sad state of affairs!

Of course, now that I'm aware of the ultimate stress reliever, I'm going to volunteer to do the dishes more often. Who needs a massage when I can scrub a plate clean and restore harmony to my life?

Be honest, do you find dishwashing relaxing? Is there another chore that relaxes you more? 

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Lots of demands, little free time…trying to find work life balance as a non profit leader

Work-life demands intense for CEOs at nonprofits


Most CEOs of nonprofits say passion for the cause outweighs the personal tradeoffs. Meanwhile, many young people say they don’t want leadership roles in nonprofits.
  Ileana Ramirez-Cueli chats with Sheila Silverman as she creates a new work of art in the Art from the Heart program. Ileana is the Executive Director of the Schott Communities Enviroment Center program for the intellectually and physically disabled clients in Cooper City.
Ileana Ramirez-Cueli chats with Sheila Silverman as she creates a new work of art in the Art from the Heart program. Ileana is the Executive Director of the Schott Communities Enviroment Center program for the intellectually and physically disabled clients in Cooper City


A nonprofit leader, Saliha Nelson, 41, has dragged her two kids with her to community meetings, written grant proposals in the middle of the night, and even substituted for sick workers at youth after-school programs: “I want the organization to be successful, so I do whatever it takes.”

When you lead a nonprofit, where the end game is about making the community a better place to live, the workload can be immense and the emotions intense. It’s a big responsibility — and one that people in their 20s and 30s aren’t rushing to undertake.

As the demand for leaders in nonprofits increases, young workers say they don’t want to make the work-life sacrifices required of nonprofit executives like Nelson, who leads Miami’s Urgent Inc., which supports low-income youth with after-school and camp programs, according to research by the Meyer Foundation in Washington, D.C.

The 2008 study of 6,000 next-generation leaders shows that even young workers already employed at nonprofits are wary of rising to executive positions, an outlook researchers say hasn’t improved in the past five years. While the daily responsibilities for nonprofit chief executive can vary with the size and scope of the organization, the deterrents include low earning potential and an expectation of doing more with less. “Young people are saying, ‘I can still do good and help out with causes whether or not I work for [a nonprofit],’ ” says Derrick Feldmann, CEO of Achieve, which helps organizations reach younger generations of donors and volunteers.

As the nation struggles to recover from the economic downturn, the pressure on executive directors to deliver has intensified. Leaders must manage their organization’s internal operations and programs, be the public face of the organization, attend events, and work harder at courting donors and identifying funding sources. Because of small budgets and a lack of resources, “as executive director, you are trying to make up for the deficits yourself, and it becomes way more than a 40- or 50-hour-a-week job,” says Rick Moyers, vice president of communications at the Meyer Foundation, which invests in visionary leaders and effective community-based nonprofit organizations.

Most leaders say passion for the cause outweighs the personal trade-offs. “I like giving services to communities who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to afford them,” explains Kathleen Cannon, CEO of United Way of Broward County.

On a given day, Cannon, 49, races from morning meetings with business partners to the office to meet with her board or staff. On weekends, she often will attend a Saturday night gala or a community fundraiser: “I have to get in front of people and remind them of the difference they are making.”

In her off hours, the single mother raises a teenage son.

“It takes an unbelievable commitment,” she says of her work with United Way. “This is a partnership with the community like none other, a way to create big change.”



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Happy New Year! May you find the work life balance you want in 2014!

Is it just me or are the years going by much faster? For me, as my kids grow older and near college age, I'm more motivated than ever to make each day, month and year as fulfilling as possible. 

This time of year, many people will tell me that want better work life balance in the new year. They want more fulfillment from life. My response is "what does that look like for you?"

Does it mean eating dinner with as a family a few nights a week? Does it mean reclaiming Saturdays for personal time? Does it mean devoting more time to your career so you can achieve your goals? 

Once you know exactly what it means, figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Remember creating a habit or breaking an old one takes time and practice. It requires change. What specifically are you going to do to make sure that change happens. If you want to eat dinner with your kids, post a photo of you doing it somewhere you will see it each day — like on your computer desktop. A visual prompt helps!

If you mess up and spend a Saturday at the office, don't fret or give up. Change the background on your mobile phone to yourself on the beach as motivation for making it happen the next week. 

All of us can and should work toward living the most fulfilling life possible. 

Happy New Year to All!


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Is this all there is? How to find more fulfillment in life

Have you ever asked yourself, "Is this all this is?"

My guest blogger today, Gayle Carson, noticed that people hit their 50s and often start asking themselves that question. So, she began working with boomers on reinventing themselves from the inside out, in both their personal and business lives to help them feel more satisfied. She now has two different radio shows–"Women in Business" and "Living Regret Free." Her website is www.spunkyoldbroad.com.

If you find yourself asking "Is this all their is?" then Gayle has some advice that should help.


GCarsonwebAfter five decades of business success, I was hit with a 10-year span of unbelievable challenges. I had built a business from nothing to seven offices and 350 people. I sold that and embarked on a magical speaking and consulting career with 1,000 clients in 50 industries. I worked in 50 countries and 49 states. Then I co-founded an internet information marketing association and now, I am working with boomer women and beyond on the joy of living.

During this time, I raised three children, helped my husband develop a real estate business and volunteered and led many professional and community organizations.

I had a wonderful life. And then—-everything changed.

 In a 10-year period, I lost a son, a husband, had my third case of breast cancer, custody of a grandchild, and my 16th surgery. To make it even worse, almost to the day my husband died, the real estate market collapsed.

Yet, people kept remarking that I always seemed happy and had a smile on my face. They questioned why I wasn’t depressed or feeling sorry for myself.

To me, it was simple. You have choices in life, and mine was to be happy. 

But that's when I began to notice that women in the 50 to 65 age range were expressing emotions of being invisible and feeling incomparable stress from being responsible for elder care and having older children come back home to live.

I kept hearing thee phrase “Is that all there is?” over and over again and this was from homemakers, business women and society people. As I listened more and more, I realized this was a very common problem.

No one seemed to know how to deal with it.

It became my mission to work with this population to show them how to live a regret free life. I developed what I call “The 9 Secrets to Living Regret Free” and started speaking and writing about them wherever I could. 

Here's a glimpse at my nine secrets:

#1 Attitude and Spirit

We know that your mindset has to be right for you to live a life without regret.

#2 Fit and Fabulous

We are aware that the benefits to being healthy and a lifestyle of wellness pays off with big dividends.

#3 Uniqueness

Most people don’t think they’re unique. But I know you are. I know it sounds scary, but writing your own obituary will enlighten you.

#4 Energizing Your Life

I believe everyone should wake up with a smile on their face and go to sleep in peace. Discovering what you love to do will make all the difference in how you live your life.

#5 Power Relationships

I know you’re aware that everyone is supposed to be just six degrees away from Kevin Bacon. Well even if you don’t have a high level job or are the King or Queen of Society, you can have power relationships.

#6 Personal Growth

 Keeping your mind active and alert is important for your mental and spiritual growth

#7 Taking and Keeping Control

You must control your life if you want to change it.

#8 Balance

Everyone talks about balance, but how many people practice it. Are you one who does?

#9 Plan for Daily Living

It all comes down to having a plan. Whether it’s in business or your personal life, you need a plan.


If you are unhappy with your situation, you need to change it and live out your dreams. What have you done lately to move yourself in that direction?



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Will we ever find work life balance while we’re juggling many balls?

I juggle a lot —  marriage, children, work, volunteering, friends. It's a choice. I know that one day, I
won't have much to juggle and frankly, that scares me. But sometimes, I'm juggling so much, that I feel like I'm doing nothing right.

I wonder how many other people feel that way….

I just read a blog post by Luly B that hit right on point. She writes: "Sorry, I am not a professional juggler! Sometimes, I am going to say no to a play date for my kids. I am going to say no to a happy hour networker. I am going to sign up to bring the “easy” stuff at school. And sometimes, I will say “I can’t do that right now.” I don’t care to be seen as the amazing juggler of fifteen balls. I don’t need a gold star on my chest. I am not going on some special honor roll. I just want peace. I just want to be happy."

If you stopped juggling as much and set some of the balls down, what would happen? Would you be happier? I don't think I would be.

Lately, I've realized that I enjoy juggling. If I were to sit in the audience and watch someone else performing, I'd be bored. I want to participate. I'm addicted to juggling. I need to feel the high of accomplishing many things at the same time. It makes me happy.

That doesn't mean I need to juggle 10 balls. I just need to find the right amount and figure out when to put one ball down to pick up another so I can feel like I'm getting it right more often.

Do you need to have many balls in the air to feel good about yourself? Are you willing to try setting one of the balls down to find more balance?

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Taking risks to find work life balance

How gutsy are you? Do you know that men happen to be bigger risk takers than women in some areas of life? Being a risk taker can pay off — in career success, in financial success in life accomplishments. 

I consider Julia Yarbough a risk taker.

Her life story will wow you and that's why I'm thrilled to have her as my guest blogger today. Julia is a broadcast journalist  and owner of Julia Yarbough Media Group. She had been working at a South Florida television station when she decided to take a detour in life. Not all of us have the guts to take such leaps to remodel our work life balance but I think Julia's story will inspire you. Visit her at  www.highwaytoahusband.com or contact her at info@juliayarboughmediagroup.com.



After disappearing from your television newscasts at NBC6 almost three years ago, I made a life-changing departure from the norm. Stepping away from my career I chose to let fate and destiny be my compass. I hit the road for a cross-country dream journey to explore the USA.

My best friend, CBS4 reporter Silva Harapetian, and I decided to become somewhat like Thelma and Louise and experience whatever life brought at us as we drove in my Nissan Xterra across 22 states, for ten months, canvassing more than 18-thousand miles. Being single and seemingly perpetually dateless, I had it in my head that maybe…just MAYBE by exposing myself to new places and people I might cross paths with my Mr. Right. Great plan, right?

Well, we traveled, I dated…more dates in those 10 months than in four years, and I met some great men. No serious love connection though, but my journey began to bring me so much more than I could have imagined. It brought me a greater appreciation for who I am, what I bring to the table and the understanding that it is within my own power to create the kind of life I want. In fact, we ALL have that ability!

Here are a few “tips” I would like to share:

  • Be willing to step outside of your comfort zones. Sometimes achieving our goals requires us to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. To force ourselves to do things, go places and learn concepts that we have not previously been exposed to. Leaving my career, my income, my home, my friends, and daily patterns was about as far as one could go to step outside the comfort zone. The experience has made me stronger. More confident. More trusting in my own abilities.


  • Make a committment to yourself to do something you’ve always dreamed of doing. Don’t just think and talk about it. DO IT! There is an incredible sense of empowerment when you realize the world won’t cave in if you put your needs and wants at the forefront once in a while. A cross-country road trip was a life-long fantasy. How incredible to see it through!


  • Create your own Change. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you because you’ll probably be waiting a long time and will more than likely be disappointed at the outcome. You owe it to yourself to set the wheels into motion to create EXACTLY what you want for yourself!


  • Make a list of what you are most afraid. Once you do this, challenge yourself to face those fears. With each step, you’ll discover you are becoming stronger, more confident, more capable of facing whatever life throws at you.


  • Be authentic. I’ve learned that when we’re true to ourselves, it’s amazing the people and situations we attract into our lives. During ten months on the road, I learned that quite honestly, I don’t always like wearing a lot of make-up, or high heels, or always being “on” for the camera. I like Country-line dancing, I like driving my truck and it turns out, I enjoy fishing. Who knew?? I’m more real now, than ever. You will be, too when you tap into your authentic self.


  • Be fearless in your approach to life. For ten months on the road, Silva and I faced fear head-on. From the simple fear of “where are we lodging for the night?” to “Are we lost and how do we get back to the interstate?” I dove into chilly waters to snorkel with Manatees in North Florida. We stepped into a Blackhawk Helicopter simulator. We camped (in tents) along the Rio Grande River in Big Bend National Park, Texas. We fly-fished in Montana, we river rafted in Utah, we joined Kathie Lee and Hoda on NBC’s The Today Show, we joined Caroline Manzo, of The Real Housewives of New Jersey to crash a wedding, and we worked as contributors for The Nate Berkus Show. All of that is SCARY stuff…but we embraced every single moment!


  • Have fun. Don’t take life so seriously. SERIOUSLY! As a dear friend often reminds me, “None of us is getting out of this alive,” so stop stressing. Things have a way of always working out. My Highway to a Husband journey has taught me to live each moment with gusto and to embrace everything that comes our way. I like to say, “Life is journey, so enjoy the ride.”


I’m not quite sure where my life journey is leading.  I've been remolding my life/work/balance with Highway to a Husband and carving out a new path. It's always interesting and sometimes challenging, but well worth it! I’m still single. No husband. No boyfriend. But boy oh boy is life full, exciting and satisfying. I know my Mr. Right is out there somewhere but I’m having a great time living life while he’s deciding to come find me!







The Work/Life Balancing Act