Mom Boss of the Month: Randi Jaffe

We are so excited to announce March's Mom Boss of the Month. She is a friend to Little Hoboken and was nominated by some local mamas as a perfect candidate as well! It's only fitting that she is March's Mom Boss as March is Child Life Month. As a local certified child life specialist, Randi owns Kid Cope Specialists and helps kids through challenging experiences such as life transitions, new schools, medical fears, and so much more! Be sure to follow Randi on Facebook and Instagram!

What got you into the field, and what made you want to become a child life specialist?

Throughout college and immediately afterwards, I volunteered and then was employed at a non-profit organization that supports families of children with cancer and blood disorders. I was the Family Liaison at this organization, meeting families immediately after diagnosis. I spent much time at the hospital and remember seeing young women working with the child patients, playing with medical equipment, and accompanying them into procedures. I inquired about this role on the medical team, learned what child life was, and was hooked. The idea that someone could be the child's "interpreter" and advocate to the medical team while providing developmentally-appropriate preparation, education, and procedural support seemed like a dream job.

What is your favorite thing about raising a family in Hoboken?

There's nothing more I love about raising my family in Hoboken than walking to the park in under five minutes and bumping into my best friends there. It's a feeling that never gets old. I also love that I am constantly meeting new people and making connections; whether it's standing in line at Trader Joe's, sitting in a coffee shop, or networking for my private practice.

Tell us your funniest mom-fail moment.

Enough said?

How do you think your work prepared you for motherhood? What parts of your professional life have you carried over into your role as mommy?

Preparing a child for a medical procedure or an upcoming life transition is all about giving the child control. When a child is going through a difficult experience, they are typically forced to relinquish control. Whether that means moving to a new home, having a very sick mom and not getting to play with her like you want to, or having a new baby in your home, children experiencing change aren't typically able to control much. With that in mind, I find that daily activities with my 2 year old are usually a little easier if I provide her with some choices. She can choose between a few shirts, a few snacks, crayons or markers, or a few books. Although I would love to say that during every challenging moment with my daughter I am able to use my experience to provide her with the best support, it is often my husband who reminds me when I'm doing something that I would tell a client not to do (perhaps struggling to put pigtails in her hair right before a stressful experience like a dentist's appointment - so silly and something I would absolutely advise against!)

What is the best business advice you ever received? How about the worst?

The best advice I have ever received was from a mentor who helped me get started in my private practice. I told her I could imagine how nervous I would feel walking into a family's home the first time working with them. She told me that she felt the same way when she first started her practice, but the minute she began playing with the little girl she was working with, her instincts kicked right in and it was just like working in the hospital she had worked in for so long. So she told me to trust my instincts and trust myself, and right before my very first private session, I thought of this advice. It helped to calm me down and remind me that I've done this hundreds of times before, even if it was in a different setting.

Now, the worst advice I've ever gotten was from someone who didn't really understand Child Life at all. When I told him how one of the first things I talk to parents about during a consultation is not only what I do, but more importantly, what I do not do (helping them understand that child life is not therapy), he recommended that I not provide this information in an effort to get more business. I knew instantly that this was terrible advice, and had no problem explaining to him why I felt this way.

Where are your favorite kid-friendly spots in Hoboken?

Anywhere I can be outside with my little one, so of course Columbus Park and the waterfront are favorites. In the colder months I'm loving My Gym and Pilsener Haus when they have the kids' musician.

When you get actual time away from being a mommy and a boss, where are your favorite local places to go for adult time?

Once a month, I escape my house and treat myself to a massage at Body Balance, which is heavenly. My husband and I also try to do date nights as often as possible, and when we do, my favorite spot is Antique Bakery. You may also find me occasionally sitting in that little nook near the fireplace in Carpe Diem enjoying an adult beverage.

As your daughter grows up, and her friends ask her “what does your mommy do?” What do you think she will say?

I love this question! What I *hope* she will say is something like: "My mommy helps kids and families who are having a hard time or are going through a big change." What she may actually say - who knows!?

A day in the life of Randi...go!

Honestly...every single day for me is different, but here's an average one:

Wake up and wrestle with my 2 year old to change her diaper.

Make her breakfast and get her ready for the day.

Bring her to a class at My Gym, then a Trader Joe's run before nap time.

During her nap, I usually catch up on some emails or have a phone call with a parent looking to hear more about my services or book a first session.

Just like all moms I also use glorious nap time to do everything else in my apartment that isn't instantly destroyed by a 2 year old terror.

Depending on the day, and how many sessions I have scheduled, I have a babysitter come around 4:00 and head out to work with my other little ones. I typically have one or two sessions a day, and since most of them are within our lovely one square mile I'm usually able to walk from one to the next, which is obviously such a joy.

After my sessions, which are 60 minutes each, I am home in time for the tail-end of dinner and bedtime for my little one. I am so lucky that my husband is home from work at 5:30, and this makes my work schedule much more manageable.

I usually write my session notes after my babe is in bed - while they're still fresh in my mind.

As all moms, once my babe tucked in and my work is done around 7:30, it's dinner and relaxing for my husband and me - followed immediately by lots of Netflix and ice cream. I feel beyond lucky that I have this work/life balance, and that I am able to fulfill this passionate project while also raising my daughter.