As you read the title of this post you probably figured out that today is Q & A With a blogger day. Another blogger interviewed me while I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Kelley Farrell who writes not one but two blogs here at ChicagoNow.
Kelley has diverse interests as demonstrated by her blogs. Originally she authored Neighboring the Neighborless. Now she pens The Canny Nanny as well. I first read posts from both blogs as well as the "about" section to get a feel of this woman I was about to interview.
Kelley is a self described professional writer, philanthropist, maverick . Oh that's not all! She is also known as a super nanny/house manager, a life doula, a "wife's wife," and a mom of five amazing, artistic, funky, intelligent grown-up kids. Phew!
Is that it? Nope! (Yes, I know, she is putting the rest of us to shame.) She has her own organization to help the homeless called the Pink Bag Project and she is the co-owner of her own company, Sharp Mamas.
After I discovered all these cool things, Kelley and I sent each other numerous emails. From those emails I have culled more interesting and fun answers plus facts about my fellow blogger, Kelley Farrell.
You seem to have a big heart - you're a nanny and volunteer with the homeless. Are those two related? Which one requires more heart?
You know, they're not at all linked; however, my approach to both absolutely comes from the same place - from the heart. I don't really feel one requires more heart or compassion than the other. I think that's because I view my professional role as a "life doula," or a nanny, personal executive assistant, house manager and big sister all rolled into one.
Whether I'm working with families or the homeless, I'm always thinking, "What can I do to help this person?"
When you define yourself, are you a nanny first or a supporter of the homeless? Why and how?
I'd say the best answer is somewhere between the two, actually.
How do both of these activities expand your personal life as well as limit it time wise?
Oh gosh. That's a big question. I really don't have much of a traditional personal life and I guess I never really have. I mean, even as far back as high school, I remember always being so busy with so many things... juggling things I'm passionate about is part of who I am. The people closest to me accept that and even jump in to help occassionally. Pretty cool, really!
I've learned, though, to take little breaks to rejeuvenate when necessary - sometimes just sitting quietly to enjoy a cup of coffee or maybe to hit up a music festival with friends - so I rarely feel like I'm running on empty.
What is the most gratifying experience you've ever had as a Nanny?
The whole experience from start to finish. I remember how it felt to be a mom struggling to balance kids and a career - I NEVER felt like I had it together! But, looking back, I did. I remember my exhusband saying to me in exasperation one time about parenting, "Do you have any idea what it's like trying to bang out chopsticks here while watching you play Mozart like it's nothing??"
It's always hard work! But if I can fall in love with a family (and I always do), and care for them, help them, protect them and support them as they grow together? I'm so filled with love and joy my heart aches.
How about the most challenging?
As for challenges? They exist, sure, but you just roll with them Every year, my answer to that question would be different. Right now, it's toddler bed training 23 month old twins. Ai ai ai! Exhausting!! Six months from now, I'll probably kvetch about potty training them. But we'll get through it... groan, laugh, then look back and say wow, we did it!
What drew you to neighboring the neighborless?
I just truly love helping people get through wherever they're at in life. I used to have grand "how I'd help if I had a million dollars" dreams. Then I heard about how helpful fresh socks are to the homeless and I thought, "Well geez, I don't need much money to buy socks," and off I went.
In an ideal world, what would solve our homeless problem?
I don't think the homeless problem will ever end. Now, if you ask me how we can improve the quality of life for the homeless, my answer is simple: treat them like they're not invisible. Treat them like they're your neighbor. Say "how are you?" and listen to the answer. Shake a hand. Bring a cup of coffee. Be a good neighbor. It makes a huge difference.
How long have you been a Nanny and what drew you to the profession?
I've officially been a nanny-life doula for seven years now but I've been working with children for a very long time. Funnily, I became a life doula as a way to ride out the recession when my job was eliminated. I had no idea I'd find my passion in this career.
What about you makes volunteering such an integral part of your personality?
My strong desire to help improve how people feel about themselves, one person at a time.
What is a fun fact or surprising anecdote about you that you would like to share?
Hmmm... a fun fact about me? I used to be a tea-length denim dress wearing, speaking-in-tongues-Duggars-were-my-heroes pentecostal Christian. Now I have a dragonfly tattoo I won't show to just anybody and I sing funky, soulful house music. How's that for a change? Ha!
How does blogging compliment these two aspects of your life?
I'd say blogging helps me think out loud when I'm at a loss for spoken words. It helps me - I hope - inspire others to, as cliché as it sounds, be the change.
Thanks so much, Kelley, for sharing this glimpse with me and all of us!
Learning about new people, that makes me sew happy.
What else does as well? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page and join the conversation! If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. That's all, you're done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Joe Chicago Food Snob Campagna interviewed me.