Well, I lasted a total of 3 days with Frugal Boy before he drove me up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other wall. Stay at home moms/dads of the world, you are true superheroes.
I’ll still be watching him in the mornings, but starting tomorrow he will be spending his afternoons with a nearby mom. At least that’s the current plan.
It was quite an adventure to find a babysitter and hopefully we have made a good choice. We started out by asking our friends and acquaintances for recommendations. That gave us a couple of names, but those leads got us nowhere because they weren’t taking anymore kids right now. We also tried tapping into our neighborhood association to see if we couldn’t get a referral that way. That also ended up being a bust when only one teenager piped up.
Our next stop on the head hunt for a long term babysitter was the internet. More specifically Craigslist and Care.com. I had never heard of Care.com before and was a little skeptical, but they claimed that there were over 800 care providers in our area and it was a free* site registration. Craigslist has been around for ages and is basically the newspaper classifieds section. Sometimes you can find great deals/stuff/services on Craigslist, other times it is a stinky cesspit. It really depends on the city.
We posted a craigslist ad and within two days it had generated 6 replies. Most of these were easy to toss out of consideration. For example, don’t tell me that you’d love to babysit my 3 month old because you have a 2.5 month old and they will have lots of fun playing together. #1. Frugal Boy doesn’t play. He drools, eats, sleeps, poops, and cries. #2. I question the sanity of anyone that wants to care for multiple infants at the same time. #3. When both babies are hysterically crying (trust me, it’ll happen), which one are you going to pick up and comfort? That’s what I thought.
Care.com was a bit more interesting. After registering for the site as a “care seeker” we set about searching and filtering the 800 providers by criteria that we had come up with. Then we ordered them in preference based on their profiles. Finally as we were all set to start contacting them to learn more about them and their availability we hit the Care.com paywall. If you want to cold call providers, you have to pony up money ($40/mo) to the middle man.
Well, we can post a job for free and let the masses come to us, so that’s what we did. In total we had 21 applicants in two days. Like Craigslist, it was easy to throw out the majority of applications. High school and college kiddies were culled. I’m sure that some of them would have been excellent for a night, but none of them are going to be around day after day after day. Some applicants only talked about money or opened up with money. I’m not about to hand over my bundle of hysterical tears to someone that is only interested in making an “easy” buck. Finally, there was a big group of summer time only’s. Eh, pass.
With our short list in hand it was time to contact them with a list of detailed questions. Again, we hit the Care.com messaging paywall. There was a small reply link that you can use to get around it though.
After calling and visiting we decided to go ahead with one mom. It is certainly nerve racking handing your child over to a stranger (a couple of conversations doesn’t make them any less of a stranger). Still, we had a pretty good vibe about her so here’s to hoping it works out. :-\
If you use(d) a babysitter how did you go about finding them? If you were/are a stay at home mom/dad, how did you stay out of the looney bin (or did they never catch you)?