For the first 2 years of Coraline's life, she was never left witha babysitter.Twice she stayed with her grandmother while JP and I went out, averaging to once a year. Until I finally found a babysitter I loved and trusted, I felt almost trapped. My children went everywhere with me, from the grocery store to doctors appointments, right there by my side. As a new parent, finding a babysitter is extremely difficult. You have basically no family network to base your babysitter decisions on. If you are like me, you have no family close by on which to rely.Basically, finding a babysitter sucks. Enter UrbanSitter.com
There are a couple of babysitter finding sites out there right now. We won't name names. I never liked them. For one thing they cost money. I understand that money needs to be made, but it didn't make any sense to me. I had the opportunity to attend a Sitter Speed Meeting event through UrbanSitter, I was more then impressed. Honestly, meeting like 15 babysitters in one night is overwhelming, it also made me feel really old. Aside from that, the sitters I met were awesome. Most if not all of them were current college students, I live in Boston so that means I was meeting students from Harvard, Boston Univeristy and MIT. That was a little intimidating even if they were only 19 years old. I want an intelligent babysitter, even if they are only with my children for a few hours a month, it makes a difference. When my toddler asks how many bones she has in her body (a real question I have gotten) it would be cool for her to get a real answer. Here are some other awesome things about UrbanSitter:
1. UrbanSitter is linked to your social media accounts. Sign in through Facebook and you can see which of your friends is also using UrbanSitter. UrbanSitter will show you sitters that your friends love! It's technology and your villiage coming together. UrbanSitter also gives you the chance to choose other networks you are a part of to link you to your friends, like schools, playgroups, stores, and such. If your group isn't listed you can recommend one, I asked that they add Coraline's toddler "school". :)
2. UrbanSitter is FREE FREE FREE! It's free for families use. Completely. I love this. They also have a loyalty type referral program where you can earn $10 in credit for friends that sign up. Use it, Love it, Share it and earn yourself a free date night!
3. Credit card payments. Ok, not every sitter accepts credit cards, but a lot of them do, and that is pretty awesome. I like paying with credit cards, it's just an idiosyncrasy of mine. It makes everything seem easier to me. Usually when you get a sitter you have to remember to get cash from the ATM or write a check. That's all well and good, but credit is more fun.
4. Searching for a sitter is almost fun. You enter the date/times you need a sitter and then get to check out some specifics. It takes a lot of the questions out of the process. . . so you can find someone that has already said they are comfortable with children in a certain age group, or that have special needs. I met a lot of sitters at the event that had experience with children on the Autistic Spectrum; as someone that has spent most of my life working with those children I know how difficult it can be to find a reliable person to watch them.
5. You can book an interview through the site as well, because no one expects you to hire someone you have never met to come watch your children.
UrbanSitter is still in it's Beta version, which means it is new, they are working out the kinks and growing everyday. If there is something you think they should add, shoot them an email and they will thoughfully consider it. Which is why I love Beta sites. The people behind UrbanSitter rock.Don't forget, when you find a sitter you like, you can leave a review for them, which will help them get other jobs. The system is fantastic. I love it. I'm definitely looking forward to a date night.
I want to add here that I have the best ever super awesome regular sitter, Robin. Robin is one of the most intelligent people I know, she is super active in the community and she is from the south, which means she is just the sweetest person ever. She is also my age, so she doesn't make me feel old. :) I think everyone needs a few sitters though, since Robin is so awesome, often times she is busy with other families. :)