This is a rough one. Yes, you need time away but, no. It doesn’t feel like anyone is good enough to watch your angel/s while you’re gone! Some things to get straight in your head:
– No one is going to do things the same way you do. (That’s probably a good thing)
– Your kid/s will be fine
To set you up for success I’ve laid out a few tips for you:
1. Find a Sitter
There are so many sites and apps you can use! First off, I would ask friends and neighbors for people they know and trust. You could go on social media, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t found one reliable sitter through the groups I’ve been in, but that could be me/ bad luck. We just started using the app “USit” (University Sitters) get a $15 credit by using my code “Laura8111” – https://www.usit.care/
Download the app, put my code in for $15 off, create a job, and sitters apply. All of the sitters are students and background checked and from what the girls we’ve used tell me, some of their friends don’t get approved because the group is that picky. I like it. There are some fees depending on which plan you select, but the $15 off will help!
2. Interview Interview Interview
I have a little “test” when selecting a sitter – I see if they will call. I’ve found a couple of sitters in a Facebook group in my area. We message, and I give them my number and say to call during a certain time. If you are not mature enough to give me a phone call you will not be mature enough to keep my kids alive. Period. Also, a lot of them don’t call. So weird.
In the phone call, we talk experience, why they want to watch kids and I tell the person about my girls, expectations and needs. Next, ask for references and call them all. ALL OF THEM.
Last step, I invite the sitter to come hang out with us during dinner/ getting ready for bedtime. This doesn’t work for everyone, but It does for me. I want to see them in the flesh when I’m not trying to run out the door.
3. Set Expectations by Leaving a List
So you’ve hired a sitter, what next? Set them up for sucess. We’ve had some great babysitters and not so great ones through the years, but I feel like the key with any job is to set expectations. I have a list (its kind of long…) on each child discussing schedule, emergency phone numbers, sleep, routines, favorite foods, activity ideas, bath, even a picture of how much toothpaste to use. Yes, this is a lot, but if for some reason we can’t be reached or the sitter feels uncomfortable about texting about every tiny thing, it’s laid out in front of her as a reference.
We have cameras in and outside the house. I always disclose this to our sitters. We aren’t watching your every move, but we could. FYI.
My list also says something along the lines of: “The girls are your top priority. Have them help you clean along the way so when they are put to bed there isn’t a ton of extra work for you to do. Once they are asleep, please make sure dinner is cleaned up and toys are put away.”
Nothing makes me more frazzled than coming home from work or a night out to a trashed house with dirty dishes in the sink. Even if my husband was the one home with them….
Something in parenthood that has worked out very well for us is momsoncall.com Scheduling is a trigger word for some people, to each their own. I will tell you both of our girls were sleeping 12 straight hours a night by 6 weeks old because of this program. And they were both exclusively breastfed for 14+ months. Some people say “your babies won’t sleep through the night if they are breastfed.” False. I slept more when my kids were babies than I did as a morning TV anchor. Having a schedule in place gives us the freedom to leave for a meal, a concert or even the country and our sitter or family member knows what to expect in the baby’s schedule. But, it’s not for everyone.
The date is over. The kids are alive and had a goodtime. Your sitter left smiling with an increased balance in her PayPal account.
This is a job, not dating. Following up asking how it went either that night or the next day is completely acceptable. Sitting around saying to your husband “I hope she liked us” is great, but go ahead and ask her.
How did things go?
Did anything pop up that you didn’t expect?
Did they eat well?
Are you free next week?
Also, if you have children who can converse, ask them. River is always my best reference. She will tell you what she got away with and if she liked the person or not. But, she’s also 4.5 so I take some of her review with that in mind.
Finding someone to watch your kids (hearts outside of your body) is STRESSFUL. Hopefully, this list helps you find someone you can trust so you can get some well deserved time away from your tiny terrorists.