Paying A Stranger To Look After Your Babe

Babysitters. It sounds like a nice-enough word, but really it can and has thrust many a mom into a tailspin.

It seems babysitters are now just a part of parenting. Since several families are raising kids in places where Grandma or Aunt Peaches doesn’t live just across town, we have to seek out help in filling the gaps. There’s mommy doctor appointments, difficult errands and oh yeah, Date Night.

And so the search begins. You can rely on your other mommyfriends to either step in or give recommendations or you can use an online service that finds sitters. I used one and it’s been a godsend. It does background checks, you can sort by age , price or language. Nifty. All but one of our babysitters has come from the service.

When Logan was 4 months old, hubby worked in an evil fiefdom. The CEO of the company had a holiday party for employees and their families and the RSVP was essentially Attend or Offend. Well my little guy had a cold and I wasn’t going to bring him out into the November night, it was bad enough that I had to be there. So I hopped on my computer to find a sitter.

I remember leaving the house and feeling like an unfit mom extraordinaire. But I made it through, and she was a wonderful sitter.

The first few sitters though can be really rough. Here’s this stranger, in your home. Doing your job. Taking care of your child.

And it’s odd meeting a new one. You want to say “Hi, nice to meet you! If you harm a hair on my child’s head, I’ll kill you. Thanks for helping us out, the numbers are on the fridge!”

But keep doing it, it gets easier. 

  • Find someone with a level of experience that you’re comfortable with. I prefer my sitters to be in college who have worked at a daycare, though most of my gal pals use high schoolers and they’ve been great too.
  • Check their references. The best part of finding a sitter is talking with other moms who have entrusted this person to care for their child. Ask the usual questions to suss out the sitter but feel free to be honest and say “Hey, I’m nervous to have her take care of my baby.” The other mom will be supportive and end up giving you more information that can help you make your decision.
  • Create a “profile page” on your child. Ours includes pertinent medical information, his schedule and preferences. It also comes in handy when the grandparents are making an appearance. We keep a file on our laptop so that it’s easy to update.
  • Have the sitter come over to meet you and your child, to help ease the adjustment for your little one. I’ve often been in binds where this isn’t always possible, so my workaround has been to have them start an hour early. That way they get the tour of the house, get a good read of the profile page and can ask questions without the time pressure of the parents rushing out of the house. It also allows you, the sitter and your child to just play together so that everyone can get comfortable with each other.

Getting a sitter can seen like a chore, but one that’s worth it.

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