The Craigslist Babysitter

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It's not lost on me how fortunate I am to be a stay-at-home mom; I am very aware and thankful every day. As you may remember, when I returned to work after Atia's birth, it broke my heart to leave her in someone else's loving care. To this day, I still have difficulty leaving my children and as a matter of fact, my husband Steve and I have never been away from our kids for more than a few hours - never for an overnight or weekend getaway.

By last April, however, my day-to-day responsibilities and tasks were mounting. It was increasingly difficult for me to get my blogs written, do laundry and go grocery shopping. Atia required so much attention because of her chemotherapy treatment and Asher was still an infant, at less than 6 months old. I tried to keep up, but felt like I was on a treadmill - running and running only to find myself in the same spot.

MY time - time to write my blogs, tend to medical bills, insurance statements, emails, etc. - was late at night after everyone had gone to sleep, including my husband. While they were all in dreamland, I was up until well after 2 A.M. every night trying to get things done.

Of course, the next morning I had to be up early to get the kids dressed and ready to take Steve to work. I happily drove him. It was only a 20 min round-trip and it was the least I could do; after all, he was the one that had to go in to the office everyday, work really long hours and carry the burden of financially supporting our family.

But then it happened... I snapped. I'd reached my limit. I could no longer do it on my own. I needed help. That night, I told Steve that I'd like to hire a babysitter to come in and work a couple hours a week - 8 hours max - to allow me time to work during the day.

Initially, he wasn't sold on the idea, and I didn't blame him. A stay-at-home mom having a babysitter come watch her kids during the day? Sounded like something from Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, not from Lifestyles of the Common, Everyday Mommy. But, after observing my hectic schedule and seeing the dark circles beneath my eyes grow, he finally agreed and encouraged me to begin pricing it out.

Though we had a nanny for a few months just before I lost my job, we'd never had a babysitter since - no one had watched Atia and Asher except for my mom and sister-in-law on a few occasions - so, I had to find one. I'd heard commercials for a babysitting website and decided to start there.

It was great. I typed in a few details about myself, where I lived and what I was looking for and presto a bunch of babysitters' names and pictures popped up. It wasn't until I clicked to see more information about one of them that the fine print became big and bold:

NO MORE DETAILS UNTIL YOU PAY US A MEMBERSHIP FEE!

What? They wanted a one-time fee of $40 and then $10 per month and that was on top of the steep hourly rate? There was no way. It wasn't an option. I kept searching and searching, but no luck.

Finally, I broke down and did what I swore I wouldn't do - I was desperate - I posted an ad on Craigslist. CRAIGSLIST! Was I nuts?!?

You never know what type of creeps are lurking there, reading the ads. Anyone and I mean ANYONE could have responded, and that didn't sit well with me. But, what was I to do? I didn't want to pay the high (or what I consider high) membership fees, so I was forced into doing something I didn't want to do.

And then...

Regular people started responding. I couldn't believe that I actually ended up with a few seemingly good candidates. There was one in particular that I especially liked. She was a college student, pre-med, lived close by and had worked with children before. Her name was Christina. She provided her references and I quickly learned that she was a straight A student. Yay! Loved that.

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I asked Christina to come over for an interview, but I have to admit that I was freaked out. I actually arranged for Steve to call me 10 minutes after her scheduled arrival. I figured it was the best way for him to make sure she hadn't killed us or brought some scary boyfriend with her to do so.

The funniest part is that Christina had done the EXACT same thing. She'd left all the details of where she was going with one of her friends so that at a certain time, if she wasn't home, s/he could come looking for her. She was just as frightened as I was. She later shared with me that she'd had a few really gross replies to her babysitting ad from yucky middle-aged men asking her to be their babysitter. Eeeewwww! I told you Criagslist can be CREEPY!

Fortunately, this is one of the success stories because Christina was amazing. She was everything I'd hoped for in a babysitter. The kids took to her immediately. She was reliable, responsible, on time and just an all around good girl. She was a blessing.

Quickly, my friends learned of her (because I couldn't stop talking about how lucky I'd gotten) and they began asking for her number. Wouldn't ya know - Christina now babysits for three of my very dear friends' children, as well.

She's a hot commodity. We moms are no dummies; when we see a good thing, we latch on as quickly as we can.

Today, nearly a year later, Christina is still our babysitter. I happily share her with my friends, but the rule is that I get first dibs because I found her, and the other rule is that no one else can have her. She's ours!

Rob and Me.jpg

So, thank you Christina! Thanks for loving my kids and taking care of them so well; thanks for giving me some ME time and thanks for not telling anyone how messy my house is before you get here to help me clean it up. Love ya, doll!

Oh and, I can't end this blog without a quick shout out to Christina's boyfriend, Rob, who upon learning that Atia loved avocado sushi rolls, hand delivered several of them over the summer. Thanks for your kindness. Atia still talks about it to this day!

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Next Week's Blog > "Poopy Cramps"

 

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  • Christina is the only baby sitter Amelia asks for by name and seems to miss when she hasn't seen her for a while. That fantastic girl has fairy dust on her. She even looks like a Disney princess. She is our princess for sure.

  • Being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job I have ever had! Throw in working from home and I totally understand how quickly you became overwhelmed. Thank you for your post. I am starting to warm up to the idea of getting a sitter that is not a family member...

  • In reply to erago:

    I couldn't agree more. It's so challenging! I highly recommend getting a part-time babysitter, if you can and have been thinking about it. Christina saved me. She made my weeks pleasant again. All I needed was a small break twice a week and I was completely recharged. I'm a better, happier mommy because of it.

    Now that she's back in school, she's only coming over one a week for four hours. It's still very helpful, but I can't wait for summer when she can come back for eight hours a week. :)

  • In reply to llutarewych:

    *once a week... (typo)

  • In reply to llutarewych:

    I babysat all through college. It was the perfect job. I had my "main" family: a 5 yr old and newborn twins and then their friends would call too. It is the BEST job for college students and I always tell moms to contact local colleges when looking for help! :) So glad you found Christina!

    There is never anything wrong with recognizing when you need help and asking for it. It would be far worse to be in a constant state of exhaustion and never getting caught up or feeling good...Good Call Laura!

  • In reply to llutarewych:

    Thanks Laura! I am looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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