Friday, March 18, 2011

Our Babysitter Window Might be Closing

 I'm posting on Aiming Low today, about how we're those clingy parents who can't bear the thought of leaving our kids with a babysitter.  Pathetic, right?  This is how it starts:

We're dragging our feet, I know.

Our twin girls are closing in on two years old, and we have still never left them with a babysitter that wasn't a relative or friend.  People who know about these things tell us that it's of paramount importance to secure a babysitter we can trust and with whom we have a dispassionate financial arrangement that precludes any resentment of the type felt by put-upon friends and family, so that we can sneak out for the occasional date night.

I don't know if we have some subconscious fear or reluctance to allow a virtual stranger to watch our kids, or if we're just too lazy to do the legwork to find one.  We've gotten a few leads on babysitters from our friends with kids, but so far we haven't followed up.  We don't even know what we're supposed to do to determine if the potential babysitter is trustworthy.

Meanwhile, our kids have become very entrenched in their routines, and I'm afraid that the prospect of training a babysitter to minister to their requirements is getting more remote as the girls develop more complex rituals surrounding the events of their days.



  1. One good source for you is to see if the nannies of any friends of yours (hit up the Asian Mommies group) are looking for some extra hours on a weekend here and there. You get automatically 1) good references and 2) assurance that the nanny is familiar with taking care of kids in the same age group as your girls. I have to admit I shuddered as I was reading through the comments left by the babysitters about how they would just ignore your list. IMHO, good sitters/nannies who are familiar with the under 3 set know that routine, schedule, familiarity are key. In fact, they expect you to tell them what your kids like and don’t like and what’s the best way to get them to go to sleep. After all, they know that the kids’ peaceful sleeping time is their free time. No one likes dealing with a toddler wigging out. I imagine that for the above 5 age group, babysitters are the fun people and = not having to follow strict bedtime rules. However, I don’t think that works so well for the under 3 set.

    Another option - swap babysitting hours with your friends with kids. I have a friend who would babysit for another family in her condo building to allow the parents to go out for dinner. This would occur after the parents had put the kids down. The parents would then do the same for my friend. They really love the arrangement - you don’t have to pay people to watch your kids while they sleep, and you get the assurance that they are in fact asleep when you leave.

    Good luck. Finding people you can trust to take care of your kids is in general hard (and expensive), especially when they’re just tots.


  2. You received some INTENSE comments on Aiming Low about this post! (i.e. "alarmist" convo!)

    My list of instructions for the dog sitter is out of control so I can't imagine what one would look like for a babysitter.

    Props to you though, at least you leave the kiddos with family. I cringe and even doing that. Grandparents are great in all but it's hard to guarantee that they will do everything your way, ya know?

  3. Oh your window might be even smaller than you realize. My girls have seen a parade of baby nurses, nannies, and sitters. And I still can't leave the house until they are asleep in the evening, lest the wails and screams follow me all the way to the restaurant. Helpful hint: find a sitter with a 9-10 year old daughter. She will entertain, they will love her and you will slip out the door.

  4. We've DISMALLY failed to sort out babysitting and have consequently become utter social pariahs.

    Well, almost. What actually happens is that I babysit and supermum goes out...

  5. We don't currently use anyone to sit our kids other than friends and family. We trade nights with my brother in law, our neighbor who we have grown to trust and love, and my mother helps out a lot. I don't really think there has to be resentment involved if a relationship is nurtured.


Don't hold back.


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