The house was too quiet when I walked through the door. Wilderness Dad was snacking in the kitchen. The babysitter was gone. I felt a moment of terror. She kidnapped my kids and he’s eating Twizzlers for dinner, I thought.
“The kids are asleep,” he said.
Puzzled, I looked around. The sink was clean, the dishes were done. The words felt alien in my mouth as I asked, “Did you do the dishes?”
He laughed, “I paid the babysitter. She seems nice.”
She did the dishes. “She’s amazing,” I said. “I love her.”
She accomplished what no sitter before her could. In the morning, the kids told me that the she played games with them, read stories and was all around terrific. She didn’t spend the night texting and watching TV.
Want to know the most amazing part? She kept coming back for nearly a year, until she moved back to the Midwest.
These days, I'm without an amazing, trustworthy sitter. I’m not alone. A Patch reader recently asked this question on our Facebook Page: "Any information on finding a decent babysitter in Brookfield? I am having no luck on Sittercity!"
I feel her pain. Here are my suggestions:
- Ask around. This seems like the best option, though I always seem to hear the same response from other moms. “Yes, I have a wonderful sitter, but she can’t handle more than watching my kids right now.” Translation: I’m not going to let you steal my sitter!
- runs an American Red Cross Babysitting Certification class multiple times a year and maintains a list of local graduates from the class. Contact Donna Korb at the Youth Employement Program for more information.
- Trade babysitting with a friend. This works great for stay-at-home moms and can allow you to take care of important things during the day without your kids in tow. Remember to reciprocate. If a friend watches your little darling for a few hours, be sure to return the favor.
- Try a reputable online service like Care.com. There are tons of services out there, both free and paid. Check them out before you use them.
Care is where I found my superstar sitter. For a $30 fee, you can post your job or directly contact sitters in the area. Care does the background checks and most sitters have references you can contact directly. I found our previous babysitter at Care as well. And we loved her, even though she didn’t do dishes. She moved to another part of the country too, but I’m not noticing a pattern here.
Are you uncomfortable hiring a sitter from an online service? Ask potential childcare givers to meet with you in person before making a decision.
I can’t promise that either of us will find a gem, like my last sitter. This has worked for me, so I'm sticking with it. I use the internet for everything. I found a snow plow service during a storm, and found my dream job, all online. Why not another babysitter?