When we moved out to San Francisco last summer, we left all our family behind on the East Coast. That also meant we left all our built-in babysitters behind as well. As soon as the twins were born, I became keenly aware of how challenging it would be to find a babysitter. I also knew that while it terrified me to leave my babies with a relative stranger, it was going to be imperative that my husband and I maintained the occasional date night.
So how do you even find the elusive magical unicorn of a babysitter? The most obvious play is to ask other parents for their recommendations. Have you ever done this? Let me just tell you that other parents are about as likely to share their babysitting roster as they are to joyfully sign up for jury duty. These contacts are kept on lock lest you find yourself fighting each other to schedule with the same sitter.
However, I became close enough friends with another twin mom who very generously shared the name of her babysitter. The heavens opened and that’s how I knew we’d be really good friends. She (the babysitter) has been wonderful and was the first non family member to watch our babies when they were only three months old.
Okay, so option #1 for finding a sitter is to bribe your mom friends into giving up the goods. But there’s another way as well.
I joined Nextdoor when we moved to SF as a way to get plugged into our new neighborhood. I noticed a post one day from a pediatric nurse mentioning that she’s sometimes available for babysitting. Score! After having her over to meet the kiddos, I knew she’d be a great addition to our lineup. While she rarely has nights free, she’s excellent for random weekday help and since I work remotely from home, this is a lifesaver.
I also found a local high school student on Nextdoor who is game for some “couch babysitting.” Since the twins are great sleepers and reliably go down by 7:30pm, we wanted to find someone in the neighborhood who could come over and just hang on the couch after the twins went to bed. Bonus: This usually costs a bit less than a more experienced sitter. Double bonus: She lives down the street and her mom is available in an emergency.
It’s likely that as the twins get older I’d be more comfortable using services like Trusted but for now, I feel pretty good with our childcare team. If I manage to plan enough in advance, we rarely have an issue booking from this list. I’ll often look at our calendar and pick a few dates over the next six weeks. The fun part about this is that we always have a fun date night to look forward to on the calendar.
Where do you find the best babysitters?