As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend was the first time that we ever left Owen overnight with a babysitter (someone who wasn’t a grandparent). For being a sort of “big step”, it was surprisingly (and happily) a total non-event. Owen barely batted an eyelash at the fact that someone else was going to be putting him to sleep and waking him up, and he really got excited about the idea of a little “adventure”, as we called it.
This particular babysitter was a friend of Benjamin’s who happened to have also been a nanny for another friend of ours, and had recently taken care of that friend’s 2 year old for nearly 2 weeks while her parents were away. So, needless to say, we felt VERY comfortable with Owen being in her care. Still, Owen had only met her once and she had only been through our bedtime routine with us once. On the flip side, we have a young neighbor who babysits for us regularly who Owen knows very well and has the bedtime routine down pat, but she’s only a freshman in high school, doesn’t have a car and isn’t always available (and I wouldn’t trust her to do an overnight, even with her parents sleeping across the street). Other than her and the odd night we ask grandparents to come over, we don’t really have any other babysitters on call. And, as I’ve written about in the past, I’ve found that most of my mom friends are surprisingly protective of their babysitter’s contact info.
Which is why I was super psyched (and very intrigued) when I got invited to a “babysitter speed dating” event sponsored by UrbanSitter.
UrbanSitter is a new (free!) website for finding babysitters in your area. It has a great interface where you get to see pictures of all of the prospective sitters in your area, complete with where they went/go to school and how much they charge. You fill out a profile about you and your kid(s) and then you can either browse sitters and reach out to them directly, or post a specific job on the job board and have people respond.
My favorite part? You have the option to pay online, so no more fumbling with cash and not having the right dollar amounts at the end of the night. Also? You can review the sitters after you meet them and read reviews from other parent. The site also has the capability to link up with Facebook or other social media sites so you can “share” sitters or sitter info with your friends.
Now THAT is much better than calling all of your friends when you’re in a pinch and finding out that they don’t want to give up their favorite sitter’s digits.
So this event that I went to was a way for UrbanSitter to show off some of their sitters, and to make some matches between sitters and moms. It was so much fun! We had a delicious meal at a cute bakery, Bread and Chocolate, and then the moms settled in, one at each table. The sitters would sit down across from us and we’d have about 4 minutes to chat and “interview” them until the bell rang and it was time for the sitters to move to the next table. Speed dating-style.
Look at all of these potential babysitters! That, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
I was so impressed with all of the sitters. They were incredibly smart, driven young women who seemed to truly, truly love children and babysitting in their free time. Most of them go to Boston University or other area schools, though some sitters on the website are out of school and looking for more extensive nannying jobs. The only downside was that, as college students at an urban school, most of them don’t have cars, and wouldn’t be able to get to my house very easily. Two did, though, and they will DEFINITELY be going on my (currently very short!) regular babysitter list.
And I vow to NOT be stingy with their contact info when my friends need a night out — all I have to do is point them to UrbanSitter and all of the info is there.
Where do you find your babysitters? Are you protective of their info?