Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of 100 Moms, the new short-story column by Doreen Coady.

Aunt Willena

Now an adult, I have come to know my Aunt Willena as a strong and devoted women. At age 75, she’s raised three daughters, has nine loved grandchildren, and one great granddaughter. Aunt Willena has been a dedicated wife, mother, and homemaker, always putting family first.

One of my favorite things about Aunt Willena, she quit smoking the day my mom found out she had lung cancer. I am so proud of her! I am also happy for her girls and her grandchildren. I’m confident they have enjoyed her for many bonus years because of that decision! She’s a great lady!

Aunt Willena was one of the first women I asked to participate, and one of the first to respond. She provided seven great tips. Her seventh tip really resonated with me.

7. Always beware of your babysitter, they might not be as good as they seem!

Although time passes much remains the same, particularly when it comes to parenting tips. The caution for childcare, it is valid across generations, it will never expire. In Tip 7 Aunt Willena advises, “Always beware of your babysitter.”

I remember when we moved to Calgary, I had zero family support and no friendships. For the first time in my life, I had to reach out to strangers to care for my son. I read ads, interviewed people, and made careful selections.

I met a neighborhood childcare provider, she was perfect! She showed me journals she prepared for each child. She had a schedule, nutritious snacks, and a laundry list of references. She was eager to have my son join her after-school program.

I picked up Michael after the first day. He jumped in the car, his eyes as big as saucers, he said, “I can’t go back there!” I said, “Gee Buddy, what happened?”

Michael replied, “She’s crazy! Everyone is screaming there.”

With limited funds, having pre-paid for the month, and expecting a little too much from Michael, I replied, “Buddy, do you think you can handle it for a month? I’ve already paid her.” He said, “No way, I can’t go back there.”

I called her that evening, informed her Michael would not be returning. I told her she could keep the payment (Which I could in no way afford!) Michael never entered that home again.

It’s so true: “Babysitters, may not always be as good as they seem!”

I just loved my Aunt’s tips. I could see my Mom, and my Nanny, throughout. I was so pleased she was willing to participate.

Thanks for ‘kicking things off’ Aunt Willena!

Next Week: Anne highlights slowing down.