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About Mara

My name is Mara Pugh (she/her pronouns) and I am 26-years old with an undergraduate liberal arts degree from Carleton College in Sociology and Anthropology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. I have 10+ years of  experience providing childcare to kiddos from 0-12 years old and am so fortunate to have developed an incredible network of moms and families in the Portland area.

I truly love working with kids, but beyond childcare, my main passion lies in working with the whole family unit to facilitate and support a healthy and happy home. With MaraCares, I provide a wide assortment of services from specialized childcare to home organization and management to family  photography. I am also training to become a Postpartum Doula so I can support parents in the transition of having a new baby. 

As my business grows and develops, I plan to implement a program where my clients can donate a small additional cost to a fund that would allow me to provide doula services to low-income families in Portland. Stay tuned for more on this. 

About: About

My Training

Training and Licensing

Postpartum Doula Training

MotherTree Doula Services
Jun 2021

A DONA-approved postpartum doula training that prepares the doula to support families after the birth of a new baby. This was a 27-hour virtual training and is required as part of DONA's Postpartum Doula Certification (which I am in the process of completing).

Basic Life Support

Mar 2018, Dec 2019, Feb 2020

This American Heart Association's training includes Adult, Child and Infant CPR as well as what to when an adult, child, or infant is choking.

Nonviolent Crisis Intervention

Central City Concern
Oct 2019 & Feb 2020

Nonviolent Crisis Intervention training was part of the training for my position at Central City Concern's Letty Owing's Center, a residential treatment center for moms in recovery. It focuses on prevention and offers strategies for safely defusing anxious, hostile or violent behavior at the earliest possible stage.

Mental Health First Aid

Carleton College

This is a national program that teaches the skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance abuse.

Domestic Violence Advocacy Training

Hope Center

The Hope Center in Northfield, MN is an advocacy and resource center for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, battered women, and abused children. I took their 40-hour Domestic Violence Advocacy Training to volunteer with their Crisis Line.

Bachelor of Arts

Carleton College

I graduated with a major in Sociology & Anthropology and a minor in Women & Gender Studies. I was the president of the ASL Club for 3 years and was involved in the Students for Reproductive Choice (SARC) group for 2 years.

About: Training

My Approach

Nurturing Care

Whatever the service I provide you, my goal in every interaction is to create a positive, nurturing environment for you and your child(ren). I aim to help each family in whatever way I can, from cleaning up around the house to listening to parenting or work struggles to organizing a kid's room to taking meaningful family photographs.

Whenever I can, I work to build genuine, emotional connections with each member of the family because the health and happiness of the whole family relies on the health and happiness of each member. We all deserve a listening ear and a helping hand to get us through life's struggles, especially when you're taking on the hardest job out there: being a parent. 

About: About

My Personal and Professional Journey

Born to Care


When I say that I've done childcare basically my whole life, I truly mean it. I have loved babies since before I could talk and was so excited when my grandmother gifted me my childhood babydoll, Erin. I played with her every chance I got, until I was big enough to hold real babies. Every time I saw a baby, I wanted to go over and make them smile, feed them and hold them. As soon as I was old enough, I started working as a mother's helper and then babysitter. 

In the past 10 years, I have worked with over 30 different families with kids ranging from 0 - 12 years old. I also spent much of my formative years volunteering with kids with disabilities and learning American Sign Language. I have studied parenting and discipline techniques as well as child development and psychology - information that I employ with much success when working with children. 

After graduating from Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Northfield, Minnesota, I moved to Portland, OR, where I was born and lived for a couple years as a young child. I volunteered with homeless youth while I worked at the front desk of a Pediatric Dentistry (I now know a great deal about kids' dental health and dental insurance!). I later got a job at Letty Owing's Center, a residential facility for moms in recovery, where my passion for working with mothers and their young children grew.

When the pandemic hit, I decided to focus on child care with just one family. My work for this family went beyond simple child care duties, to helping with the family as a whole - from home organization to running errands to supporting parenting techniques. It helped me realize that I needed a career where I could work with many different families and go beyond caring for just the child, to caring for the parents and the whole family structure. 

With my entrepreneurial spirit and tax/financial/tech savvy, I decided to start my own business! I created MaraCares so I could work with families in all the ways that I wanted to. Along with the services I already provide (child care, home organization and photography) I am in training to be a Postpartum Doula and will later also train to be a Birth Doula. Family health and happiness has always been my passion, and now it's also my profession. 

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