Updated: Mar 29
It's been a looong year, and we're all exhausted. You could probably use a night off, whether it's to go soak in a tub, go out to dinner with your partner, or just do nothing.
I'm here to say, Yes You Can! (channeling my inner Barack Obama)
You CAN find babysitters, even during a pandemic!
Before we get to the nitty gritty of HOW to find babysitters, I want to establish a baseline of truth, and that is:
It's is far better for your child to see the SAME sitter 20 times in a row; than for your child to see 20 different sitters
Imagine going to work, only to find a different manager each week -- that's how it would be for your kid if you try to find somebody new every time you need a break/want to go on a date.
Therefore: It is far better to have a REGULAR weekly sitter, than a random one-off person.
Before the pandemic, I had 3 regular sitters: I had a morning helper (she worked 6:45-8:00 am), an afternoon helper (she worked 5:15-7:45 pm), and a Sunday helper. In essence, I had a helper almost every day. I also had a couple sitters in rotation because, you know, attrition.
It seems like a lot of help, right? Like, almost too much help? Well, it's all in the framing. For me, the morning helper allowed me the flexibility to take an early morning meeting (if need be), to get to work early (if I wanted to), or even to meet someone for breakfast! The afternoon helper gave me the flexibility to have 2 evenings a week where I can choose what I want to do, whether it's to work a few extra hours, or to see a friend, or to join a team dinner/offsite, or even go out to dinner with my husband.
A nice "side effect" of all this child care is that your kids get to be loved, supported, cared for by a few different people and they form strong, secure bonds with their caregivers. As I like to say, just because you pay them, doesn't mean the love isn't real. One of our sitters literally watched my little one grow up (from 6 months to ~4 years old) and have been through all the stages of development alongside us. Along the way, she's become a critical component of our "caregiving unit" and is now so beloved, my 4 year old asks me, "when is Becca coming?" on her days off.
Having regular, scheduled care is good for everyone. As mentioned above, it's good for the parents - a morning or evening free of childcare frees up the parent to pursue his/her own interests, or just take some time off. It's good for the kids - they are loved and supported, and form loving relationships with the caregivers; AND it's good for the caregiver - it's a source of regular income, plus they get to know the kids overtime and are able to adapt and grow along with the kids.
Now, on to the HOW. Here are some ideas to get started:
Join your local mom's group on FB. The Mountain View Mom's Group is one of the best places of info and resources for me
Join your local neighborhood mailing list. If you don't know what it is, ask a neighbor who has similar-aged kids. There are 3 mailing lists for my neighborhood and it's how I found one of my regular sitters
Join Nextdoor.com for your neighborhood. I don't read any posts, but it's a great resource for local nannies/sitters - usually people will recommend their sitters if they want more hours, or to share a sitter, etc.
The FAANG companies all offer free premium membership for care.com. It's a lot to sift through, but at least it's free
If your child goes to daycare, a lot of times the teachers at the daycare center are willing to babysit after hours to make a little extra money. I'd recommend checking with your daycare teachers, or ask them if they know anyone who'd be interested in babysitting on nights/weekends. One of our morning helpers was a teacher at my son's daycare, and she came to our house, got my son up, fed him breakfast, and took him to school. We were on her way to work and she was going to go to work anyway.
Ask around! Some of your friends likely have nannies (full time or part time). Ask them if they'd be interested in working a few more hours. Or join up with a friend and do a nanny-share.
Maybe one of your neighbors is a SAHM with older kids, or someone who dog sits for folks? If you see them out and about, maybe strike up and convo and ask if they know anyone. We found one of our sitters literally by asking a guy who was standing in line in front of us. He said his cousin (in high school) lives in Mountain View, and I asked him, "does she babysit?" She does, and is now one of my kids' favorite sitters
Or, let BeMerry help! I'm here to help you find the unicorn who will magically be free at the time you need AND be a trusted, loving sitter to your little ones. Schedule a consultation today!
M who was our morning helper for a long time. We didn't see her for a year+ but she recently got vaccinated and returned to help us on Sundays & Mondays
Becca, who's been with us since 2017, has watch my little one from 5+ months to now
Our babysitter in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was incredible
J who was our Sunday helper for a long time (until Covid)
Becca with A
J reading to both kids
Lisa started as the weekend sitter for my first, and continued to babysit for us until Covid
Making Halloween-themed crafts
Allie is L's first nanny
Alyssa was our occasional weekend sitter, then worked for us through SIP