It takes a village to raise a child – that is something everyone knows. What I have learned is that when your extended family lives several states away, it’s inevitable that part of your village will be comprised of people that you hire to help care for your kiddos when you need an extra hand.
When I was pregnant, I had so many friends offer to babysit (because who doesn’t love snuggling a sweet, smushy baby, right?!). But to say that I was hesitant to ask was an understatement. I am awful at asking for help. I knew that my friends would be willing to help, but most of my friends work significant hours during the week when I needed help most, and by the time I was emotionally ready to leave Colin with a babysitter, he had settled into a 6:00 p.m. bedtime (around 3.5 months). My friends had offered to babysit, but I knew that none of them imagined that as sitting on my couch with a baby monitor. Whomp, whomp. While I knew I could ask friends if I was in a bind, I knew it was time to seek out help.
Where we live, finding a high-school-aged sitter is not an option, and honestly I wasn’t sure where to turn next. I also discovered early on in the hunt for a sitter that many people in my area are reluctant to share the information of their favorite sitter. When Saturday night is approaching, no one wants their sitter already booked to watch the baby next door. I took two approaches for finding my babysitters, both of which were very organic. I didn’t go through services, although I know many people have found great lucky with sites like sittercity.com and urbansitter.com. Before I spent money in a search, I wanted to work my network and see if I could find a great sitter on my own.
The first thing I did was start asking friends (mostly those without kids) if they knew anyone who currently babysits. Many of our friends work in middle management roles in companies that hire recent grads, and I remembered that many of my friends babysat to supplement their meager incomes when we first graduated. I was absolutely thrilled to get my first babysitter, Kimmy, this way. My friend was this young woman’s supervisor at work, and she vouched for her warm personality, competence and professionalism. In addition, she regularly babysat for another of their co-workers, so I had another glowing recommendation from a family she worked with. For months, Kimmy was our only sitter. She was available on nights and weekends, and because I was insanely protective over bedtime, she never actually had to do anything but watch the monitor (the bonus of an early bedtime, I guess).