Finding Mary Poppins

fecsw3ihprcwbtbqpeln.jpgAt some point in our crazy journey of parenthood we’ve all needed a babysitter… Which means we’ve all realized just how virtually impossible it is to find someone who is the perfect fit, and who won’t break the bank.

After over a year as a SAHM, this momma has rejoined the workforce…which also means, I’ve rejoined the someone-else-has-to-watch-my-kiddo-force too.

So, how exactly do you pick the perfect sitter? Note: I have not personally used every resource listed in this post, so please do your own homework and research.

Try sites such as care.com or sittercity.com.  They require tons of information from people soliciting their sitter services, and most have background checks available to.

You can even turn to Facebook to the local buy, sell, trade pages as they often contain a vast amount of information. Do your research. Ask for references. Meet with the sitter prior to dropping your child off, and go with your gut.

Your best place to start would be writing down just exactly what you want in a sitter so you can narrow your search down.

  • CPR/SIDS/First Aid Certified

If you’re going to have someone with your child during the day, unless you’re going to wrap your kid in a bubble, it’s good to find someone who has been trained for the worst. Things happen. Even under the best care and watchful eye, things happen. If someone is prepared to deal with said “things” then it makes it all the better.

  • Cost

I have found that home childcare ranges from $50-$200/week. I always shoot for somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. It needs to be worth while for you to work. If you’re working just enough to pay for childcare, then what is the point of working? But also remember, you get what you pay for, typically.

  • Availability

Will the sitter be available when you  need them to be? Do they offer drop in care or last minute care? Nights? Weekends?

  • Meal Plans

Maybe it’s just me but this is a big one. If someone is going to feed my kid junk food all day and sugary juice, I won’t even entertain it. I’m not asking for free range chicken and bacon wrapped filets, but at least hit some different food groups other than “highly processed” and “full of sugar”

  • Experience with food allergies

If the potential sitter has no clue what gluten is, and your child has a gluten allergy, this is probably not a good match. I prefer someone who knows the warning signs of a real, true allergy attack and knows when action is needed.

  • Punishment tactics

This is a touchy subject. I am not so picky on who punishes my child…but better yet how they punish him. I had a potential sitter tell me that she has spanked children before. She has SPANKED a child that did NOT belong to her. I was baffled. I mean, I can deal with an age appropriate time out,  removal from the situation,  or even a stern “no”,  but lord help the person who lays their hand on my child.

  • Activity plan

Coloring? ABCs? Macaroni pictures? Something other than a TV on a constant repeat of a DVRd Peppa Pig? Ask. Seriously.

  • Duties

Are you expecting the potential sitter to come to your home and clean? Take the child to appointments, or play dates? Are you wanting them to help with bottle weaning, or potty training? This all needs to be conveyed and explained.

It’s hard enough to find child care. It’s even harder to find someone you trust.

Do your research. Don’t be scared to ask for references and follow your gut.

Your Mary Poppins is out there.

-Kirstyn

Advertisements

The decision to go part time…

Priorities. Priorities rule my life; the priority of my child over money, of time with my child over work. My world revolves around how I prioritize each day. I grew up with a very career-oriented drive. I knew I wanted to go to college. I knew I wanted, a minimum, of a bachelor’s degree. I wanted to take care of myself. I did all of that– moved out young, worked hard, graduated with honors, and got hired in full-time at a new company. I quickly worked through three positions into a spot that I felt comfortable in. While I often hated the work, I loved my coworkers (or most of them.) I loathed the nearly hour commute to and from every day on a major highway, but learned to accept it. I worked there for just over 3.5 years.

I had convinced myself that I would put Lucas in a good, reputable child care and stay full-time at my job. How could I not? Student loans are crippling, especially with a mortgage and all of the other day-to-day bills.

As my pregnancy progressed, I continually became more and more apprehensive. Being gone 50 hours a week M-F, plus owning a photography business? Would my child even know us? I thought I had a choice to make, but the choice had already been made (I’m kidding myself if I act like it was even a question.) My gut knew that I’d be going part-time and that we’d make it work. By NO means am I discrediting child care… most of the workers are fantastic, I’m sure. My mom picked up child care for the 3 days a week I’d be working. I would work 25 hours and still run my business, giving me 3-4 days with Lucas. We cut out budget. Lowered our payments on our student loans and mortgage. We did what we had to do to be able to make the decision work. (I know that for some families, the budget couldn’t be cut anymore than it already is. To you parents that don’t have the option: I’m sorry that our system doesn’t work more in favor of new parents. It’s a sad reality, and hopefully something that will change in the future.)

Going part time I still grappled with feeling like I gave up my career. Right before taking my part-time position, I was offered a full time DREAM job as a media specialist. I took a few days to decide, but knew in my heart that it wasn’t what I wanted.

But here’s my point: Our country has such double standards for parents. If women step down to go part time they are treated pretty harshly. I left my job two weeks after my maternity leave. I didn’t plan it out that way, it’s just how it happened. (If we’re being honest here, I started looking for a new job about 2 weeks after starting there. I just hadn’t accepted anything.) And even though I felt like I was a great worker, and constantly was commended on my work there, my boss couldn’t even say “bye, good luck” when I left. I just had a baby. I’m leaving the only thing I’ve known for the last 3.5 years for a whole new world. You can’t even say bye? We won’t even start on the fact that men get no paternity leave half of the time. Come on America… let’s get it together. By the time my maternity leave was over my postpartum hormones hadn’t even settled down yet (like, crying in the aisles of Target, not sure how I’d live with out my own mom postpartum hormones.)

So how about: let’s accept women (and men) for the choices they make. Staying home full time? Great. Working full time? Good for you. A mix of both? Sounds good. Sad that you can’t have the choice? I empathize.

Being a parent is hard. Being a first time parent is REALLY hard. Let’s not add the extra stress.