This past weekend Benjamin and I went out to celebrate my upcoming birthday (tomorrow!) with some friends. We thought we had everything figured out. We were planning on putting Owen to bed and then have our tenant, who lives on the 1st floor of our house and is an experienced babysitter, keep the baby monitor and be on baby duty. We have done this once before and it worked out perfectly. Our tenant can stay downstairs in her apartment with the baby monitor, and doesn’t have to give up her night to babysit. And since Owen started sleeping through the night over 2 months ago, he has NEVER woken up before midnight, so we can leave knowing pretty darn well that she isn’t going to need to do a thing while we’re gone.
As I said, we’ve done that scenario once before, but other than that, we really don’t have any experience with non-family babysitters. We just don’t go out very often. But we decided to make an exception and hit the town to celebrate my birthday.
That is, until Friday night, when our tenant/babysitter called to say that she had a funeral to go to in Connecticut and wouldn’t be able to watch Owen.
Obviously we can’t blame her for having to go to a funeral, of all things, and she probably had no idea that we really don’t know any other babysitters. So we were stuck asking ourselves, “How do people FIND babysitters?”. We talked about this some in my mom’s groups, and it sounds like a lot of people around here use websites like sittercity.com and care.com. I’ll be honest; it frustrates me to have to pay a website money in addition to paying the babysitter money. It’s like paying shipping costs when you order something online (another thing I hate) and feels like a waste of money.
When I was young and babysat a lot (sidenote here: I started working in the nursery at my church and babysitting at the ripe old age of 12. Would I let a 12 year old stay home alone with Owen now? Hellz no. Yet still, I think I was an incredibly responsible babysitter then…) I met all of my babysitting families through church. Or my parents. And now that Benjamin and I don’t go to church and ARE the parents, I don’t know where that leaves us.
I [frantically] asked my mom friends for babysitter recs and was surprised to find that many of them were extremely protective of their sitter’s information. “I’ll check with her and get back to you” (aka, “You can’t have her digits”) or “Ummm, yeah… I don’t think my sitter is around this weekend…” (aka, “You can’t have her digits”). Perhaps it’s the fact that most of the moms that I know either have family in the area or their babies are too young to have many sitters available. I don’t know. I still felt a little left in the lurch. Other people MUST go out more than we do. Right? RIGHT?! And it’s my BIRTHDAY.
I’m also in a Yahoo Group/email listserv for moms in Somerville and I remembered seeing some posts from people that said things like “My wonderful babysitter needs more work”, so I trolled through the archives and emailed/called everyone whose contact info I could find that was posted in the last 6 months. We went to bed on Friday disappointed, thinking that Benjamin was going to have to stay home from my birthday party, which would have been a huge bummer.
As it turned out, one of the people whose name I had found (along with a glowing recommendation from a mom who uses her) called me back on Saturday morning and we lined her up. So all was well with the world.
How do you find babysitters? And are you protective of his/her info once you find one?