Posted by Claudia Grazioso on May 23, 2012
Recently I had a chilling revelation: It’s spring, and while I have been busy trying to find a good summer camp for our kids and shamelessly schmoozing those ever-important Friends Who Have Pools, my neighbor has been going through another Mom Rite of Passage: She’s helping her daughter decide which college to go to. Aww, isn’t that incredible? What an amazing accomplish—
Wait a minute. That daughter who is leaving for college is our babysitter! Panic set in. I actually experienced shortness of breath. I felt frantic. We can’t lose our babysitter! Certainly not one we know so well and trust so much, who lives right across the street (added bonus: we never have to drive her home), who our kids practically grew up with. But yes, somehow — without giving us any notice! — she went ahead and finished high school. Now in few short months, our babysitter will be gone.
At first I thought that the obvious solution was that I would schedule our date nights around her college vacations. But now I am slowly accepting the fact that we’ll have to find a new sitter. Where to start?
After my head stopped spinning, I reached out to my “mom posse” and got some great referrals. (It turns out there is more than one stellar babysitter in our neighborhood — who knew?) And a friend of mine suggested a great and frugal way to rack up the date nights and save some money: Start a babysitting cooperative with other parents in our neighborhood.
Finding safe and reliable childcare is a big priority for any mom. If you are also looking for a babysitter or a nanny, remember a few things: First, if you can, try to take your time. Meet with the prospective nanny or sitter a few times, preferably once alone, and then once with your kids present so you get a good idea of how she or he will interact with your children. Second, check all references, and if the candidate is a stranger to you, consider running a background check. There are plenty of services that will do that for you, or you can go through a nanny agency, but that’s usually pricey. Finally, ask if she is trained in CPR (and infant CPR if you have a baby). If not, many local hospitals and fire stations offer that class.
Finding good childcare can be tough, but with a little extra time, you can be confident in your choice.