Knowledge from the Nanny with Allie Kearns

by Chris Tompkins | September 9, 2022

Allie Kearns knows what it means to flip the script. After initially graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism, she’s since worked as a professional nanny for 16 years and hasn’t looked back! Her job of supporting celebrities and athletes as they raise their kids in unconventional circumstances has taken her around the world while giving her invaluable parenting insights.

The benefit of unconventional schedules

While the kids that she looks after are in school, Allie acknowledges the importance of routine so that they get enough sleep and can participate in extracurricular activities, but she says that, especially in Los Angeles, kids are so scheduled that there is no room for spontaneity. By contrast, being on the road allows for new and different learning experiences in every place they visit, and Allie recognizes that the kids under her care benefit more from spontaneous museum visits and exploring new places than they do from more conventional schedules and routines. Along those same lines, Allie has learned that the little things really do add up to mean more than the grand gestures. She gives the examples of letting kids miss a day of school every now and then when they’re really not feeling it, or letting them stay up past their usual bedtime to watch a movie.

“I think if we kind of were able to get away from having to have everything routine, kids would be so much happier,” she said.

Maintaining a sense of normalcy

The most difficult part of being a professional nanny, according to Allie, is giving the kids a sense of normalcy. Allie uses the anecdote about politely requesting that hotels stop leaving gift baskets in the room for the kids because it starts to get excessive. But she’s quick to point out that the aim isn’t to make the kids feel guilty about the lifestyle they were born into. She and her boss talk to the kids about how most people don’t have those same privileges, and about the importance of empathy and kindness. Another important thing for Allie is demonstrating to the kids that they have value as human beings, without having anything to do with who their parents are, which can be a pitfall for the kids of famous people.

It takes a village

In speaking of the benefit of partnering with parents to raise their kids, Allie points out that the dynamic brings together people with different life experiences, different cultural backgrounds, different skill sets and different interests, to speak into these kids’ lives, which is really enriching.

From Allie’s perspective

In parting, Allie said she thinks that some parents really struggle with the idea of setting boundaries and rules because they want to be their kid’s friend, but looking back on her own childhood, she realizes now that her parents had those rules (that she sometimes resented) in place because they loved her. She also notices that parents are generally hard on themselves and that they’re doing better than they think they are.

“I think as long as your kids know that you love them, that they’re safe, [that] you’re there for them, that’s all that really matters in the end,” she said. “Just keep going.”

To hear more from Allie about healthy ways families can adapt to change, the benefits of breaking routines, and other parenting tips she’s garnered from her years as a nanny, listen to the Shaping Our World episode at the top of this post.

Visit our website to discover a variety of other guests that we’ve had on the show. Shaping Our World episodes are also available wherever you get podcasts.

Transcript

[00:00:11.890] – Speaker 1
Well. Hey, I’m Chris Tompkins, and welcome to the Shaping Our World podcast. My goal is to invite you into a conversation that will leave you more confident in understanding and inspiring the young people in your life. Each episode we talk, talk with leading experts, and offer relevant resources to dive deeper into the world of our youth today. Today we’re welcoming Allie Kearns to the show. After graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2005, a series of random events led Allie into a career she never considered: professional nanny. For the past 16 years, Allie has worked for high-profile families in the sports and entertainment world. She’s traveled the world with her nanny families, supporting them and helping raise their young kids on the road. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her nanny family right now. Thanks for joining us, Allie.

[00:01:04.010] – Speaker 2
Thanks for having me.

[00:01:05.130] – Speaker 1
Yeah, it’s great to have you on the show. And Allie went to school with my wife and we are distant social media friends and so this is the first time I’m chatting with her. And you have a unique perspective and career, so I wanted to have you come on and share a little bit of your insights into kids today. So I appreciate you joining us. Of course, as we get in here, we always kind of start with a few questions to help us get to know you. What shaping our world when you were a kid or a teenager?

[00:01:34.670] – Speaker 2
It’s funny because my family is a sports family and my dad actually played in the CFL. And so kind of from birth, I mean, my birth was actually announced during a broadcast of a football game my dad was playing in because he couldn’t bring me home from the hospital because he had a game. And so I always say from birth, sports were just part of my life and I don’t really know a life outside of sports. And when my dad retired, he actually switched into working with professional athletes, which he still currently does, and so does my mom. She works with the wives and so we always joke, like in our family, it was like face family football. That’s kind of the order of how things went. And my brother always calls a stadium rat because we grew up in stadiums, we were always at games, always just kind of around that world. And so I really don’t remember life without sports and all of that to say. When I was about twelve women in sports, broadcasting wasn’t really a thing. Like it was just starting hannah Storm, if you know who that is, she was kind of starting, she was kind of becoming prevalent.

[00:02:50.670] – Speaker 2
I remember being like ten, 1112, and seeing her on TV and being like, that is so cool. And because sports was like kind of my life, I didn’t realize that that wasn’t popular for other girls to like sports. I didn’t realize that was a thing. I thought, every girl likes sports just like me. And so then seeing a girl on TV was like, oh, okay, well, I could do this. Girls can be in this world. And I started telling people at twelve years old that that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. And a lot of people didn’t even know who she was. Yeah, they were just like, what? Who is that? And so then that’s when I started realizing, like, oh, this isn’t a popular thing for girls to like sports. And so it’s weird because you and I have talked about your daughter liking sports, and girls are now more like there’s tons of women broadcasters now, there’s tons of women in sports reporting. But back in the day there wasn’t. And so that was kind of like, long story short, that’s kind of what influenced all my decisions as a teenager.

[00:03:55.920] – Speaker 2
I was super driven. I knew I wanted to go to the States to go to school because I knew there would probably be more opportunities there with more people, more TV availability. And so that was kind of like I was kind of like a one track mind. I knew the school I wanted to go to, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to follow a certain path. So I was super, super driven. So I think that kind of helped keep me out of trouble and make good decisions because I already kind of had a future in mind. I kind of already knew what I wanted to do. And even though I didn’t necessarily get into that field, I think it kind of just put me on the right path and kind of kept me focused. And I just had a vision of what I wanted to do with my life. So it kind of just helped me make the best decisions.

[00:04:47.990] – Speaker 1
So what’s shaping your world today? Like, what do you do for fun? What are some hobbies interest? Help us get to know Allie a little bit.

[00:04:55.060] – Speaker 2
Well, obviously, I still am obsessed with sports. My friend, my coworker and I are saying she is just as sports obsessed as I am. So we’ve kind of made our thing, if we can do it schedule wise with work, and she works with me, so kind of our schedules align. We’re trying to go to all the major we just went to Wimbledon in June. We’ve been out to the Super Bowl. Stanley cup? We’re trying to go to all the big sports events, the major ones. Been to the Masters. So we’re trying to hit up all of those. And that’s kind of like our sports bucket list we’re trying to check off. And then I love to travel. My best friend passed away a few years ago from cancer, and she was only 36.

[00:05:42.980] – Speaker 1
Sorry.

[00:05:43.640] – Speaker 2
Yeah. And we used to travel together all the time. And so I think with her passing, and especially when someone’s so young, it makes you realize how short life really is, right? And you got to do the things you want to do when you can do them, because one day you won’t be able to. And that really left an imprint on my life, just as of like, life is short, don’t wait. I think people always think, there’s going to be tomorrow. I’ll do this later, or even like, when you retire, I’ll do such and such, but we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so if there’s something you want to do, make it happen. I know it’s hard sometimes with schedules and responsibilities and stuff, but I’ve really tried to make that a priority in my life, because that’s what makes you feel allie I think you have to do the things that make you happy and bring you joy in life. And it’s different for everybody, but for me, it’s traveling. So that’s kind of what I’ve been trying to check off the things on my list, places that I want to go and try to make the most of all my downtime.

[00:06:41.660] – Speaker 1
That’s amazing. And that alone is encouraging for us to listen to. And I love that perspective that you have. And life short, and we need to take advantage of the things that bring us life and that we’re passionate about. So we’re going to get into your career and your perspective on what you do, but just give us a sense of what is it you’ve been doing for the last little while? We gave the intro, but what are you doing to shape the world of kids today professionally?

[00:07:13.550] – Speaker 2
For the past 16 years, I’ve been a professional nanny, and I’ve had the privilege of a lot of professional nannys just because when you get to a certain level, sometimes, let’s say the clients can be a little difficult, and some people are kind of hard to work for. I have a lot of colleagues that I know that do the same thing. And the turnover is pretty high because once you get to a certain level, the demand is higher, the responsibilities, there comes a lot with it that can be kind of tricky to navigate. And I think a lot of people just burn out and they switch families a lot. And I’ve really been fortunate that for the majority of the time, I just worked for two different families for a long time. The first family I worked for seven years, and now my current family have worked for for eight years. And so it’s been nice because I’ve really been able to pour into two different sets of kids and really have the longevity to kind of see how they’ve matured. And like, the first time I worked for the little girl, she was ten months when I got there, and she just turned 17, which makes me feel so old.

[00:08:27.970] – Speaker 1
Oh, my goodness.

[00:08:28.810] – Speaker 2
Yeah. And it’s cool to see how she is now as a young adult. I mean, she’s almost an adult. And it’s been cool to see you’re doing the daily like parents. It’s like every day you’re just doing the grind and sometimes it doesn’t feel like what you do matter. Sometimes you’re just like changing a diaper, but all the little things that over a period of time, then you see like, wow, I had a part in shaping who that kid was. And responsibility. When you think about it, if I get in my head too much about it, I’m like, oh, man, I hope I’m not screwing these kids up.

[00:09:11.940] – Speaker 1
Which is what most parents think every day, 100%. Yeah.

[00:09:15.800] – Speaker 2
And sometimes, like I said, I’ll really get in my head about that and be like, oh, man, I just hope I said the right thing. I’m doing the right thing. But I think that shows that you care.

[00:09:23.790] – Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:09:24.280] – Speaker 2
If I didn’t, Corey, it would just be like, whatever. But it’s cool. The kids I take care of now are six and eight, and I have been with them since birth, and so it’s been cool to see just who they’re becoming now. Not everything is always perfect, and some days you’re just like, am I making the right choices? Am I saying the right things? Am I handling this the right way? Because I think parenting in general is just nobody really knows what they’re doing.

[00:09:54.490] – Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:09:55.730] – Speaker 2
Just trying to figure out how they go along.

[00:09:58.520] – Speaker 1
We’re going to dive into a little bit of the stuff that you’ve gleaned through this process. But before I do it, I just want to back up because I was just struck in your intro about you saying how driven you were. You knew the right path that you were going. There was something in you that set you off to where you are today. What did your parents do? How did they navigate a kid like you to get you to twelve where you had this clarity? I know a lot of it is innate, a lot of it is in us, but sometimes as parents, we can push too hard in that and drive, and sometimes we don’t do enough. Tell me about your DAREarts and how they got twelve year old alley to that place. And even today, like, managing the driven and decision making and who you’re becoming.

[00:10:46.850] – Speaker 2
It’s funny because I’m a firstborn, so I think a lot of it is that I think a lot of firstborns are just naturally responsible and mature and kind of come out that way. But my parents, I think because and we’ve actually talked about this as a family, I think because my dad was a professional athlete and that was never like he didn’t start playing football until high school and he just was a natural athlete, so he never wanted to become a professional athlete. He was a missionary kid, so he knew if he was going to go to college, it was going to have to be a scholarship.

[00:11:22.930] – Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:11:26.070] – Speaker 2
I think a lot of parents nowadays, they sign their kids up for all these things, and they push them so hard because they’re trying to live their dreams through their kids. And it’s like I think my parents were kind of opposite because they didn’t want us to feel pressure to have to be a certain thing, or even in sports. And we’ve talked about this. My parents are like, maybe we should have pushed a little harder. When you were good at something, we should have pushed a little harder. But I think they wanted us to be our own people and do our own thing. And my parents were really good at fostering, like, independence, and we didn’t have to be what they wanted us to be. They wanted us to be what we wanted to be. So I didn’t have pressure. They weren’t the DAREarts that were like, you have to get certain grades, you have to play the sport, you have to do your best at whatever you do. And it doesn’t have to be the best, it has to be your best. And so I think that helped a lot because I didn’t feel pressure from my parents to be a certain way.

[00:12:26.410] – Speaker 2
They just wanted us to be good humans, kind people, I think, because they didn’t also have dreams that didn’t become reality. I think a lot of parents have these aspirations they wanted to accomplish, and if they don’t, they kind of live vicariously through their kids. And my parents weren’t like that. They were happy in their lives. So they were like, we just want kids who are happy, well adjusted human beings, and whatever happens, happens. And I think I just you’re right, it is innate. But I also had their kind of confidence in us as well. They were always like, hey, you can do whatever you want to do. We think you’re awesome. They would kind of set us straight if they thought we were not doing something the right way. But they weren’t micromanagers. They didn’t micromanage. And I’m a kid of the so our lives were less structured than kids lives are now.

[00:13:28.170] – Speaker 1
Right.

[00:13:29.100] – Speaker 2
So we could kind of the only rule my parents had for anything was if you sign up for something, you can’t quit. You have to finish, like, the season or whatever it would be if it was sports. It’s like, you can try whatever you want, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine, but you have to finish that season. You can’t quit.

[00:13:45.130] – Speaker 1
I think we grew up in the same house, Ally. That was the one thing that stuck out to me in growing up, which we still have in our house today. You just have to stick with it. When the season is over or the school year is done, then we can talk about a different trajectory. But once you committed, you’re in, right?

[00:14:05.680] – Speaker 2
Exactly. And I think that was the key and that was always the thing in my mind. My parents always did their best in whatever they did. So I think it was just and also, I was a firstborn and I wanted my DAREarts to be pleased with whatever I decided to do. So I think that was part of it, too. I had such good parents and I didn’t want to let them down, but I’ve always been the person who just, at the end of the day, I’m going to do what I want to do. And whatever I said I wanted to do, they would have been like, cool, we’ll support you no matter what. And of course, my dad loved it because he’s into sports, too, so he thought that was pretty cool. And he would let me. Like, the night I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime was like Monday Night Football. I was always allowed to stay up late for that. And that was kind of the time that my dad and I had to bond, too. My siblings weren’t into going into all the games once we got older, but I always wanted to go with him and always asking questions and trying to learn from him because he knows so much about it.

[00:15:10.960] – Speaker 2
And so those are some of my favorite memories growing up. And so my dad kind of really leaned into that, too. He’s also that dad that was like, oh, girls can do anything guys can do. Back in the day, that sports was mainly a guy’s world, and my dad never treated it like that. It’s like, oh, you love sports. Cool. I don’t care if you’re a boy or a girl. Like, let’s talk about it, let’s have fun, let’s watch it. And I think that helped.

[00:15:36.630] – Speaker 1
Okay, so we get to twelve year old future Hannah Storm. Allie going to take over sports broadcasting. And then in the bio, like it said, a series of random events led you into your career of nanny. And I’m sure like many of the listeners, I’m like, oh, what were those random events? And they may be Brandon, but not glamorous or exciting. But can you just tell us, how did you get into taking care of other people’s kids and helping them navigate the ebb and flow of family life?

[00:16:05.470] – Speaker 2
Yeah, it’s really weird. If you told me at like, 19 I’d be doing it, I’d be like, you’re lying. Not true. So I graduated at 21, and so in the States, people kind of go to school later. A lot of people I graduated 22, 23, and I was like, I’m only 21. I don’t need to get into my forever career right now. And when I graduated starting off, I graduated in 2005. So back then, the starting salary for someone bottom of the totem pole at a TV station was $13,000 a year. I was like, Well, I can’t live off that, and I don’t want to move home to live off that I have to move home. I was like, I’m not going to move home. So I was like, you know what? I recruited for my college. I went to Liberty and I recruited for a year and got to actually travel the country that way. And after a year I was like, okay, I’m done with this. And I was only 22, so I was like, still, like, I don’t know if I want to get into my career yet. I don’t know. I just had this like I wasn’t ready to kind of bite the bullet and kind of do it.

[00:17:14.500] – Speaker 2
And so my friend actually, she had an education degree and she was going to put her resume on this. It was like a domestic help, like personal assistance, house managers, nannies and all that kind of stuff. And I was like, you know what? I’m 22. After I had that year of travel and stuff, I was like, I still don’t feel ready to have a job where I’m tied to something, a desk job, nine to five sort of thing. So I was like, you know what? I’m just going to put my resume on this website and we’ll just see what happens. And I went home to visit my family for a couple of weeks and this woman emailed me and was like, hey, my husband is a professional golfer and we’re looking for a nanny. I was like, oh, I wasn’t expecting people to reach I don’t know. I don’t know what I expected. But I was like, oh, interesting. She’s like, we live in Texas. Let’s set up a phone. We talked on the phone and she was like, great, we would love to meet you. Can you fly to Wingfoot for the US. Open next week?

[00:18:16.240] – Speaker 2
And I was like, everything was just happening so fast. And I was just like, okay. I was 22, 23 years old. And so I was like, yeah, sure. So I literally flew to Winged Foot in New York for the US. Open. That was like my interview was being there for the week and just kind of seeing how it all works on the road in golf. And at the end of the week, they were like, we would love for you to come work for us, move to Texas. And if you could come in like two weeks, that would be awesome.

[00:18:47.990] – Speaker 1
Wow. Yeah.

[00:18:50.010] – Speaker 2
And so it happened really quickly, and I moved to Texas two weeks later and I stayed there for like seven years. So just kind of all and then through them I met one of their friends who was a mutual friend of my now current boss. So it’s a weird, like, the high profile domestic career world is very word.

[00:19:19.810] – Speaker 1
Of mouth and reputation 100% because there’s.

[00:19:25.170] – Speaker 2
A lot of discretion and privacy that comes with it, and I don’t think everybody is cut out for it. It’s also a very fast paced sometimes your life is not your own, and not everybody is into that. It’s a different world. Even from just regular nannying, I think. I have friends who also worked for doctors or lawyers, and not that there’s not a level of discretion or privacy involved with that, but it’s a little different because you’re navigating. Sometimes you’re out and people come up and ask for a picture with your boss and the kids are there, and the kids are like, why does that person want a picture with our mom?

[00:20:08.100] – Speaker 1
Right?

[00:20:08.640] – Speaker 2
As they get older, they get it, but when they’re younger, they don’t necessarily understand. And there’s a level of security too. Like, when you work for a public figure, people know who they are. So you can look up people’s addresses online, people find out where your boss lives. People will come to the house like crazy, fans will do stuff. And so I think there’s just a level of awareness and there’s an added protection of like, I even don’t you know, after I pick the kids up from school, I make them change out of their uniform. I don’t want anyone to know what school they go to just because in case someone knows whose kids like, La is not as big as everyone thinks it is. Like, people know who people are here. And so I think it’s just a different world. It’s a completely different world that I never I saw the sports side of it, so I think that’s also helped me a lot, too. I think just the house that I grew up in, everyone’s the same. At the end of the day, people put on their pants one leg at a time.

[00:21:18.050] – Speaker 2
And I think it’s been a really fun career, but it feels kind of like my childhood, if that makes sense. It’s not that much different to me because I grew up that way. Like, I grew up around people who other people knew, and I didn’t see them as anybody different or more special or whatever. It was just like, they’re just people like everybody else. And I think if you treat people that way, I think people get freaked out when people act like they’re so it makes them uncomfortable. Like famous people feel uncomfortable when you treat them like they’re some different human being. It’s like, at the end of the day, everybody wants to be treated the same, you know?

[00:22:02.290] – Speaker 1
Right. So a series of random events. You go from sport caster to nannying. And so for so many of us, becoming a parent or parenting kids at different developmental stages is like a big change. How did you know how to do it and adjust? Where did you learn how to parent in the middle of it? And where did your DAREarts and other adults kind of play into that for you as you prepared for this new career you seemingly stumbled into?

[00:22:33.870] – Speaker 2
Yeah, it’s funny because I actually think about that all the time. I’m like, how did I even know how to do some of this stuff? Because honestly, I think if parents knew the challenge that it was, I think some people choose not to have kids because it’s hard. I think it’s different for me. It’s kind of nice for me because I get the best of both worlds. I get to experience the fun, all the benefits of almost feels like you have kids, but then I can go home at the end of the night. And I think there’s a lot of pressure for parents, especially nowadays, because there’s so many resources that are like, telling them, do this, do that. And that’s been helpful. To answer your question, that’s been super helpful. I read a lot. I’ll read snippets of things that catch articles that catch my eye that just about raising kids or like, child psychologists will speak about different things. And social media is a double edged sword. But there’s a lot of good resources on social media. There’s some, like, child psychologists that I follow that I’ll kind of read their opinions on it.

[00:23:51.520] – Speaker 2
And not everything will fit for every kid either. Every kid is so different. But I think pulling from different sources that have different world views I think is really important too, because they give you a different perspective. And sometimes even I’ll read something about how to deal with tandems and sometimes the stuff that a professional will give you advice on, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But I think that’s how you figure it out. And I feel like that’s kind of been my career. It’s like trying what I think will work, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s like, okay, well, I’m not going to try that approach again. Let me try something different.

[00:24:28.440] – Speaker 1
Right?

[00:24:28.790] – Speaker 2
And it’s trial and error.

[00:24:30.710] – Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:24:31.770] – Speaker 2
And I feel like I had a really good childhood in my perspective. And so I try to think of how my parents handle things and obviously no one’s childhood is perfect, but there are certain times I’ll think, like, oh, my gosh, I totally just said what my mom would say. But she had a lot of and she did a lot of things really well. And sometimes I’ll ask her, I’ll be like, oh, my gosh, did I do this or Did I do that? I don’t know how to handle this situation. Or I have a lot of friends who are parents and will bounce stuff off each other. Even though I’m not a parent, I’m with these kids a lot of the time, too. So it’s different to not being the parents, right, at the end of the day. And I can say the families I’ve worked for, we’ve had such a good partnership. Like, I’m like a third parent in this situation. They give me full control and they trust me. And what I say when I’m with the kids, like, that goes, but then I also go off what their rules are. Like, they’re the ones at the end of the day that set the tone and how they want things done is how I’m going to do it.

[00:25:43.660] – Speaker 2
So we’re a pretty unified front. There’s no, like, asking me and I say no, and then they go to their DAREarts and ask it’s like, well, what did Ally say?

[00:25:52.050] – Speaker 1
Right?

[00:25:52.360] – Speaker 2
No. Okay, well then that’s what I say too. So I think that’s helped. I’ve been very fortunate to work for people who are really awesome and they want to be good DAREarts and they want to do the best thing for their kids. And so I think that honestly has helped so much because we’ll bounce stuff off each other, too. Like, man, this is working. Has she done this with you? Yeah, she’s doing it. How do we solve it? So I think that’s been a big piece of it, too, but honestly, just kind of figuring it’s trial and error. Yeah, I babysat since I was like twelve years old and I worked at summer camps and stuff, but until you’re with the same kid every day in their life, constantly, it’s a totally different thing. Right. I think it’s really just been trial and error and figuring out like, oh, I didn’t handle that well at all. Okay, tomorrow’s day.

[00:26:51.940] – Speaker 1
And that’s so good because I always have to remind myself, too, like, parenting or working alongside young people for a long period of time, it’s not sprints, like it’s a marathon. And so there are opportunities to slow down or take a few steps back and recalibrate. And so I love what you’re saying about trial and error and even asking for help. And I think some of the best times and the times I felt most encouraged in my parenting is getting perspectives from other people who are doing it the same way and or know about what it takes to work alongside young people and kids and just say, hey, have you ever thought about this way? And so that’s really good. I want to ask a couple of quick, practical questions. So you’ve traveled the world with nanning families, which likely brings up some sense of upheaval travel, moving in and out. And I’m sure one of the things that you’ve probably, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, is try to build and bring in some routine and normal to your nanny and families as they may call for them to pick up and go to different places or follow families around or whatever.

[00:28:05.360] – Speaker 1
And many parents and kids go through that on a different level, whether it’s from summer holidays going back into school, or a lot of our families who are listening might take holidays in the middle of school and skip a week of school or play sports that cause them to travel. What are some tips that you can give us that from your experience that would help families continue with routine once. Life starts evolving. What have you learned around that that might be helpful?

[00:28:33.730] – Speaker 2
So it’s funny because the kids that I’ve taken care of, they actually don’t know what a normal, everyday life is, right? They don’t know anything different that is their normal. And it’s funny because I think so often of, like, even how I grew up in a different way, but my parents didn’t work in nine to five. My mom talks about me being a baby, like my dad playing football. He didn’t get home from work till midnight, so I would stay up till midnight, and they would adjust my schedule. And these kids are kind of the same. If their mom has a show and she’s not done till midnight. When they were younger and not in school yet, we would be on the road. We’d stay up till then, but then we’d sleep in the next morning. When they get to school, it’s different because it’s more routine. But they kind of grew up not having a normal routine, right? So for them, specifically, that was what they knew, like hotels and being on the road and being on a tour bus or with golf. We traveled 30 weeks of the year, right? So they were used to hotels and different beds, sometimes every night.

[00:29:46.190] – Speaker 2
And so for them, it wasn’t difficult. But now that we’re in the school age years, it’s shifted, obviously. And they’re in full time school, and it’s definitely harder to take them out and switch them out of the routine because they need to go to bed at a certain time. They need to wake up at a certain time. They’ve now joined sports teams and all that kind of stuff. But routine is important, and this is just what I’ve found works for us. It’s important, and it brings organization and helps things run smoothly. But I think sometimes we get so stuck in routines, and especially nowadays with these kids, especially in La. These kids are scheduled out the wazoo. And it’s sad because it’s like, there’s no spot in Navy. There’s no like, okay, let’s take the week off, and as a family, go on this trip. There’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling with kids. It’s being on the road is the best education.

[00:30:48.920] – Speaker 1
Yeah, right.

[00:30:49.940] – Speaker 2
School is great, but the kids that I’ve taken care of, every city we go to, I take them to museums, I take them to historical places. We don’t sit in the hotel. It’s like, this is a learning experience. Let’s go visit this place. Let’s go visit that place. Let’s make the most of it. And they’ve seen more and learned more that way than they ever will in a classroom. So I think routine is important, but I also think we’ve completely scheduled kids so much that they’re, like, one practice away from a breakdown. And I think it’s important to be like, hey, missing one week of school in the grand scheme of things is not going to deny them getting into college. If there’s an opportunity to make memories, think about it. You didn’t remember every school year that you didn’t miss any days. Like, you remember the fun times and the fun memories that you’ve made with your family. So it’s like, I think that’s the important balance of, like, routine is important. And some kids thrive more in routine.

[00:31:56.440] – Speaker 1
Right.

[00:31:56.640] – Speaker 2
I think it depends on you, too. Yeah, some kids, that’s everything for them and other kids, it’s like, let’s add some fun. Or like, if your kid doesn’t, they’re having a rough week or whatever, it’s like, hey, I don’t want to go to okay, cool. Don’t make them go to school that day. Then if it’s a habit, it’s a problem. But it’s like every once in a while, take them out of school and go to this fun place that they wanted to go to or whatever. It’s like, that’s the stuff that kids remember. And I think we get so focused on this has to happen, and this has to happen. But then, on the other hand, with routine, I think it’s just whatever works for your family. And that’s what I’ve also realized over the years. Every family is different, and things are more effective for certain families if they do them certain ways. And not every family is the same, right. So for us, it’s like when we’re on the road, I try to make we try to get them up at the same time or put them to bed at the same time or have a certain routine.

[00:33:06.390] – Speaker 2
And I’m very type A, so it’s hard for me sometimes to kind of get out of that mindset of everything has to be routine. But I’m like, they have so much fun when you kind of mix it up or if you’re like, hey, you know what? You can stay up late to watch this movie. Like, what?

[00:33:20.730] – Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:33:21.290] – Speaker 2
And it’s like the best thing ever. And it’s the littlest thing. They remember that stuff. That’s the stuff they bring up that you’re like, oh, that was like a big deal to you. And it’s like, it’s those little things. I think now that kind of goes against your question of how do you keep a routine? But I think there’s a lot and that’s kind of what I’ve seen doing this too. There’s actually a lot of good in not having to keep things completely the same, mixing things up. And there is a time and a place for routine. Absolutely. Like, I think Corey too, especially, we need some sort of routine. We need some sort of thing every day to kind of keep us on track. But I think sometimes, especially in today’s world with kids, I think if we kind of were able to get away from having to have everything routine, I think kids would be so much happier.

[00:34:12.800] – Speaker 1
Well, I know of a dad that worked a lot and made it his task that every year, for each of his kids, he would show up at lunch on a Friday or a Tuesday unannounced, and sign them out and take them for lunch and some fun thing in the middle of the day.

[00:34:31.220] – Speaker 2
Yeah, I love that.

[00:34:32.540] – Speaker 1
And I just remember he was telling me he was just like, that was important. I thought, what a great idea to just spontaneous create memories through spontaneity and also letting kids know that you’re actually thinking about them and what they want and what’s fun for them.

[00:34:48.030] – Speaker 2
Right.

[00:34:48.340] – Speaker 1
And the fact that he was doing it during a work day, not a weekend, also communicated something else to them. So, yeah, that’s a great reminder that routine can be important and helpful, but also spontaneity. And as you grew up as a stadium rat, that was probably part of your whole journey, showing up at games and staying late. And so that’s really important. 100% ali many of us imagine that celebrities lives are quite a bit different from the lives of non celebrities. How do you see this unfold in your job? What’s important in that? And what do you find parents do and you do to create a kind of sense of normalcy for the children that you’re working with?

[00:35:28.850] – Speaker 2
So this is probably the number one thing that my current boss and I talk about, is how to keep kids grounded and normal when they live in a very quote unquote, not normal world. So when we show up places or let’s say we go to a hotel, there’s always, like, a gift basket with all these toys and all these goodies for them, and they roll the red carpet and it’s great and it’s nice, but we’ve started being like, hey, please don’t do that. It’s so kind, it’s so thoughtful. We know you’re trying to make them feel special, but it becomes excessive and becomes just too much. We talk about this all the time, too. It’s not their fault that they’re in a privileged home or that their parent does a job that’s different, that maybe has perks that other kids don’t have. It’s not their fault they were born into this family. They don’t know any different. Like, when you’re a kid, you’re so egocentric that you think everybody’s family is like yours and that everybody lives like you do. You don’t understand until you get a little bit older that, oh, yeah, okay, maybe I do have X, Y, and Z, and this family is different.

[00:36:44.760] – Speaker 2
But I think the important thing that we really try to instill in these kids is you are very privileged. You do have a really, really good life. And not to make them feel guilty or bad about it, but there are people who don’t have what you have, right? They don’t have the opportunity that you have. And we don’t try to make it always about like, you have all these toys. It’s not about that. It’s more of like, you go to a really good school, you have people in your life that love you and care about you. You are really lucky kids. And you need to look around and notice that there’s people that don’t have as evil life as you do. And it’s really important to give back. It’s important to just care about other people on a human level. Having stuff isn’t going to we joke with them all the time. If they ask for something, I’ll be like, hey, do you have any money? And they’re like, no, you do. And I was like, no, I have money. But you don’t. Like, your mom is rich, but you’re not rich. You’re living here rent free.

[00:37:59.900] – Speaker 2
You own nothing. We tell them that. I’m like, no, you don’t have a penny to your name. Like, you’re just along for the ride. Because I think a lot of times kids that grow up privileged kind of think their parents money is their money. It’s like, well, no, you don’t have anything. You’re a kid. Like, your parents have money, but you don’t have anything. You’re here living rent free. And we tell them that all the time. You’re going to have to get a job. If your parents have money, it doesn’t mean you have money. That is probably the hardest part about working for high profile people, to be honest, is how do we make sure these kids? Because you hear horror stories of kids who grow up privileged, and sometimes it doesn’t end well for them. I think I had a work ethic because I knew if I want to do things in life, I have to pay my way. My parents don’t have money to give to me to build a life. I have to do that myself. And I’ve seen some kids kind of that have the access to money and connections and stuff.

[00:39:13.500] – Speaker 2
It’s a shame because I think sometimes it actually hinders their confidence. They don’t know what it means to like, okay, I’m going to get a job at 15 because I want money to go out with my friends. I think a lot of wealthy families just give their kids money because they don’t want to deal with them, to be honest. Sadly, I’ve seen that. Not with the people who I work for, thankfully. But I think that’s the world of celebrities is tricky. It has a lot of perks. There’s a lot of stuff that I have gotten to do through my job that I would have never been able to do, and I’m so thankful for that. But you also see a lot of people in this industry, they’re not happy, right? They have everything. And it’s like it doesn’t buy you happiness. It comes with a lot of strings attached. It comes with a lot of not knowing, okay, does that person want to be in my life? And even the kids, do they want to be my friend or do they know who my parent is. And sad kids deal with that. We’re already dealing with that in first grade, which is sad.

[00:40:27.170] – Speaker 2
It creates this thing. And I didn’t grow up with famous parents, and neither did my boss, so we’re trying to navigate that. How do you explain to the kids when someone comes up to their mom in public and wants a picture, it’s like, Wells, why does someone want a picture with my mom? Those are the difficult conversations that are hard to navigate. And it’s only going to get worse as the kids get older. It’s going to get harder. But I think just really, even in La, we have such a homelessness problem. There’s homeless people everywhere. And even just having being able to have conversations about that, they’ll see a homeless person on the corner, and they’ll ask 50 million questions about why that person doesn’t have a home or whatever. And it’s just those, and they have such empathy, and they’re wanting to know, how can I help? And it’s like, okay, that’s the right track. Seeing somebody that doesn’t have what you have and recognizing, like, oh, they don’t have a home. At first, they didn’t understand it. They were like, they didn’t understand someone not having a home. That’s a foreign concept because they don’t know.

[00:41:38.250] – Speaker 1
Right?

[00:41:38.700] – Speaker 2
And so I think that’s the hardest part is just not making them feel guilty about the life and the world that they were born into because they can’t help that, but just realizing, like, hey, it’s not all about this either. You don’t have value because your mom is famous. You have value because you’re a human being. Some adults don’t even understand that. Right? It’s hard to teach a kid that. But I think just trying to keep things as normal as possible, that’s what we really try to do is just, like, live kind of a low key life. And I think it’s cool too, even for it comes with a lot of responsibility. But I think it’s really cool for these kids, like, they get to meet people and kind of figure out how to navigate different situations that different opportunities and different like, they’ve got to go see a lot of cool things that they wouldn’t normally so it’s like finding the good in sometimes a tough. And I know a lot of people want to be like, oh, boohoo, it’s so hard to be a celebrity. It seems like, what do they have to complain about?

[00:42:58.040] – Speaker 2
And I understand that, but I think for kids of famous people, sometimes it’s difficult for them. It has different struggles that I think we’re trying to navigate now as the kids get older. And a lot of times we don’t have the answers.

[00:43:14.240] – Speaker 1
Yeah, I wanted to kind of finish with just a little focus on earlier you talked about partnering with parents, and so from your perspective, you kind of joined in with families in a partnership. And I would just love to you to speak briefly about the benefits that you’ve seen from having someone outside of mom and dad play a role in young kids lives. So whether that’s a youth leader, a mentor or coach, or even a family that’s considering having a nanny, talk to us briefly just about what you’ve seen as an advantage of partnering with parents in raising kids.

[00:43:51.110] – Speaker 2
I think it’s a really cool opportunity when you have outside of the traditional two parent home. I think it’s really cool when you have people from different walks of life, people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, even countries, cultures. I think it’s really cool when a kid can have a bunch of different adults that have different points of view and that have different life experiences to speak into their life and a different adult might be able to break through on a certain thing, like if they’ve been through something and the parent hasn’t, that’s a really cool opportunity for that. Especially as kids get older and like in the teen years and tween years, it’s like sometimes you don’t really think your parents know anything. You think, whatever, what they have to say doesn’t matter. And I think sometimes if it’s an outside source, sometimes kids will kind of get to that age where it’s like they don’t want to hear what their parents have to say. And I think it’s really cool even I have a different skill set than their mom might have, right. So I’m into doing activities that their mom isn’t into doing, so they get to do that instead and they have their own thing with their mom and then we have things that we like to do together that maybe their mom isn’t into or, you know, other adult might be into like doing crafts and so in your mom’s, not so that person will do it.

[00:45:16.040] – Speaker 2
It’s like you kind of get to get the best of everybody because no person has everything. And so I think it’s really cool, even the kids that I take care of now, they’ve grown up with a bunch of different people that work with their mom that all have different life experiences and they have a different relationship with all of them, right, which is really cool. And I think it’s a way to broaden your world view because I think sometimes if it’s just your parents, you’re just getting one perspective.

[00:45:48.200] – Speaker 1
Yeah, and I think kids can get that, like you’ve said, from the teachers and coaches and kids that go to youth group or attend summer camp with particularly like young adults who are at even different ages and stages as parents. I think that there’s something really, as you mentioned, enriching about inviting other people outside of yourselves to journey alongside of your kids. And I think you’ve been able to do that for a couple of families along the way and have learned a lot and I’m sure have grown a lot from that experience just wrapping up. Just can you give us a short word of encouragement from your perspective from parents who are kind of trying to navigate what it means to raise kids today, to just kind of send us off on our way?

[00:46:39.710] – Speaker 2
Yeah, it’s funny. Like, as an adult, you look back, like, on your childhood, and as a kid, when your parents tell you no or you think the rules or whatever, you’re just like, oh, this is the worst. And then when you get older, you realize, like, if you had rules, if you had boundaries, if you had all those things because your parents cared and they wanted the best for you. And I think now, as an adult, I am so thankful for those things that my parents did and those rules that maybe as a kid, I was like, this sucks. It’s like, now, as an adult, I’m so thankful for that because it instilled certain characteristics in me. And I think parents nowadays, they want to be their kids friend. That’s not your job. In my opinion. I’m like, you don’t need to be your kid’s friend. And I don’t think that that necessarily produces the most productive adults. And that’s just kind of from a few situations I’ve seen. And so I think in my opinion, it’s like those times. And I even struggle with this. I’m like, was I too harsh or too strict or whatever?

[00:47:55.520] – Speaker 2
And it’s like, at the end of the day, it’s because you love your kid and you’re going to mess up. You’re going to say things and do things that you regret. You’re not going to be perfect. But I think sometimes if you let that be seen by your kids I know that sounds weird, but I think sometimes kids need to know that their parents are human too. And I think parents want to be so perfect and don’t want to mess up and don’t want to make a mistake. And it’s like but that’s how you learn together, you know? Like, if you come up to your kid and be like, hey, I didn’t handle that situation very well, I’m sorry. I think that goes a long way because I think it’s like, as a kid, you’re trying to figure things out, and your parents are trying to figure things out. As a kid, you don’t realize that, but then when you have kids, you realize, like, wait, this is really hard. This takes a lot. And most parents, 99% of parents, are trying to do the best they can, and that looks different for everybody. And I think you also have to do what works for your family.

[00:49:04.380] – Speaker 2
I think a lot of times people also get caught up in the comparison thing, and it’s like, do what you know to be right for your family and it’ll work out. Like, no parent child relationship is perfect, but if you do your best, your kid at the end of the day when you grow up, you know that your parents loved you. Yeah. Not everything is perfect all the time, but I think as long as your kids know that you love them, that they’re safe, you’re there for them, that’s all that really matters in the end. Like, kids will remember who was there for them.

[00:49:39.780] – Speaker 1
Yeah, that’s great.

[00:49:40.620] – Speaker 2
They’re not going to remember you bought them, they’re going to remember who was there for them. And everyone’s doing better than they think they are. I think parents are so hard on themselves and you’re doing better than you think you are. Just keep going.

[00:49:56.220] – Speaker 1
Yeah. That’s awesome. Thanks, Allie. Appreciate it’s been so good to talk to you and appreciate your perspective and your life experience and what you had to offer us today. And there were so many great things and perspectives that you’ve had that I know are going to be so encouraging to the people that are listening to us. So thanks for being on our show today. I really appreciate you.

[00:50:16.620] – Speaker 2
Awesome. Thanks for having it was fun.

About the Author

headshot of Chris Tompkins
Chris Tompkins leads the senior leadership team in bringing the Muskoka Woods vision to life. He holds a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Guelph, a teacher’s college degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in Youth Development from Clemson University. His experience leading in local community, school, church and camp settings has spanned over 20 years. His current role and expertise generates a demand for him to speak with teens and consult with youth leaders. Chris hosts the Muskoka Woods podcast, Shaping Our World where he speaks with youth development experts. He is an avid sports fan who enjoys an afternoon with a big cup of coffee and a good book. Chris resides in Stouffville, Ontario with his wife and daughter.
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