Like a lot of stay-at-home/work-at-home moms, I have the hardest time finding someone to watch my two kids for any reason. Like, when I have, say, a hair appointment, or want to run longer than 30 minutes, or just need to connect with adult humans for a bit, I need a sitter. Out of all the totally batsh*t things every mom does when looking for a babysitter, I have to say I've done them all. You get pretty desperate when your kids are 10 and under and everyone suddenly has plans the exact time your roots are coming in hot. Sometimes, in order to have a life outside of motherhood, we have to get creative.
When my daughter was just 3 years old (and I had yet to give birth to my son) my family of three moved to the small town my husband grew up in to be closer to his family. My family still resides a state away, and though we see them as often as we can, we moved to our current place in hopes of having a little more help for the aforementioned times above, when I needed to run a kid-free errand or spend some kid-free time to myself. Unfortunately, while we see my husband's family occasionally, it's not nearly as often as we'd like — or need. This makes for fun times at the salon, when I'm working through deadlines, and when my husband and I are in real need of a "special" date night.
I've done some wacky, batsh*t things to make sure my kids are taken care of (because I'm not going to leave them with just anybody), while I'm still able to get stuff done, but it comes at a price (mostly, my sanity). On that note, here's some of the things every mom does, including me, when looking for a sitter.
We Thoroughly Research All The Sitter Websites
Though I've never actually committed to hiring a babysitter from one of the websites advertised as having trusted caregivers, I've spent a hell of a lot of time researching them. I've gone so far as to setting up a profile, deciding who I'll hire, then backing out completely.
At the end of the day, I don't want to leave my kids with someone I don't know, even though I've thought about it numerous times. If I need a sitter bad enough, I might actually click the final button one of these days. Maybe.
We Go Crazy With The Background Checks
Seriously. I've Googled, scanned every social media post from the last 20 years, and privately messaged people when I'm on the verge of asking a certain person to watch my kids. Usually I end up with way too much miscellaneous information, wasted time, and still no sitter. At least it's a nice distraction for awhile, though, right?
We Ask Our Neighbors For Support
We live in a neighborhood filled with children. It's wonderful and stressful at the same time. This means I could theoretically ask one of the parents to watch my kids while I do whatever I need to, but on the other hand, the favor would need returned at some point. I'm OK with this exchange until, of course, I'm not.
I've weighted the pros and cons of this potential situation so many times. In fact, I have actual drafts in a notebook somewhere in the garage. I'm not sure I ever intended to ask any of our neighbors for help, or if I just enjoyed making excuses on why not to. Who needs a babysitter when you're procrastinating your life away? If this isn't batsh*t, I don't know what is.
We Interview Friends Of Friends
I don't think I'm alone in knowing "a friend of a friend" who'd be interested in earning some extra cash, but maybe I don't know them (except for the internet stalking), and can't seem to make the jump. It's quite the quagmire.
I babysat my younger cousin when I was in middle school, so I know what goes into it — it's a lot. Maybe in going through the strict interview process, I'll find a great babysitter I can rely on. It's an extensive, grueling process, but someone's gotta do it.
We Post A Request On Social Media, Retract It, Then Post Again
There have been many many times I've written a thoughtful post requesting a babysitter on social media, only to re-read and delete before actually posting. Or worse, I actually post it and receive zero replies. This goes beyond finding a babysitter, delving into my deepest, darkest insecurities. Hello? Can anyone hear me? Never mind. DELETE.
We Make A Priceless Trade
I've sometimes offered nothing short of my soul in order to snag a sitter for even an hour. Now that my husband is working out-of-state, and it's just me and the kids until our moving date, there's no time for myself without the use of a sitter. Once I lose the obsessive paranoia, and I really just need someone (anyone) to step in, I'm not too picky.
We Rearrange Schedules To Take The Kids Along
When I'm looking for a sitter and can't find anyone to volunteer their time, the most batsh*t thing I've done is take them with me. Most recently, it was for a four hour hair appointment. Then there was that lengthy, detailed grocery store trip. Oh, and a massage that was supposed to be my one hour of peace. Sometimes a mom just has to do what a mom has to do. Besides, isn't this what iPads were made for?