I had the prescience about a week before "spring" break to book a sitter for the last evening of the week so PVT and I could celebrate having survived. We were excited to go to this new outpost of "Noodles, Sushi, Cocktails, Happiness." So: we raced back from a soccer game; I "de-mommed" and put on hottish jeans, a semi-flirty top, very high shoes (you know me), and even put on my new eyelash fillers, all while getting the kids' dinners so the sitter wouldn't have to bother (important detail). I had the sitter's dinner ready too (also important). PVT showered. Woo hoo! We were ready to rock!
And then. 5:30 came. 5:45. I text the sitter: "Are you still coming?" Our reservation was at 6 pm.. 6 pm, 6:15, 6:30 (I am starving by now and have some tater tots), 6:45...the sitter texts: "Oops sorry! I forgot!" and then..."just remind me if it's been a while since you asked." Meh? A week and a half is long term? It's my job to remind her to come? Much groaning and gnashing of teeth ensued.
|The mythical perfect sitter|
I don't get it, you all. Now I know my kids can be punks, but every sitter has been exceedingly complimentary on my kids' behaviour - they save their ornery antics for us. I pay these sitters crazy well (around $15 per hour plus tip - I am always so happy everyone is alive when I return). I make sure they are fed. I am rarely gone longer than 2-3 hours. I rarely even have them put the kids to bed! So what's the deal?
I have found that the high school girls - smart ones from nice families - are the best. They still play with the kids, they try to clean up, they are eager to do a grown up job. In fact, we have one of these right now, and she is fabulous. But then: they start driving, they start dating, and poof! They are never available ever again (I know; this is what happened to my own stellar babysitting career).
We've tried franchises like Seeking Sitters. They always provide someone competent and lovely. But the problem? It's just a someone. They can never guarantee the same sitter, so you never build up a relationship with any one girl. Plus they usually have a four hour minimum - four hours? I never need to be away that long, or pay that kind of money!
We tried Care.com too. After vetting about 30 replies based on the sitter's grammar and ability to compose a sentence, I narrowed my search down to a hand full, and found two I really liked: one had just moved here a week ago from Boston to live with her fiance and was searching for a job. We had her once before she found a real job. The other was a senior at a local ultra-Christian college just down the road. She was really good too - until she asked if she could live with us and be a "live in nanny" - which sort of creeped us out. So that ended too.
We also have a lovely, energetic young widow we have used - she brings her own daughters along, and the kids love it - it's always a big raging kiddie party here. But she is busy with her own girls and life, and I am loathe to bother her that often.
The great irony is that we rarely go out - maybe every other month? - although we'd like to more often. My more critical needs often fall during the day - sometimes I would like or need to be at the big kids' school, and it's nap time or something I can't bring the littles too. Sometimes we need help getting kids to and fro on these increasingly busier weekends, and I don't want to drag the baby all over town.
And my mother has told me she is never, never moving to Tulsa. Short of never leaving the house until the baby is 12, any ideas, friends?