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Sitter Scouting

standard March 30, 2012 2 responses

When I was a teenager I was a pimp. OK, not really a pimp pimp, just a babysitter pimp. My clients would call me and if I wasn’t available, instead of handing them the number of a friend who might be, I called that friend for them and set up the job.

I loved it because I never lost a client to a friend. My friends loved me because I got them work. And now that I’m a mom, I know my clients loved me because I took the hassle of scheduling a sitter away from them.

Seriously, having a roster of sitters isn’t enough. You also have to be able to get a hold of them, and find that magic day when they’re available at the same time as you.

I’ve started just telling the sitters to call me when they’re free and want to work. We’re flexible. We’ll go out anytime. Heck, they could just show up on the stoop and say “Go, I’m here.” and we’d go.

Oddly, only one sitter has ever called out of the blue to say she was available and wanted to sit. And she only did it once. Maybe we scared her with our desperately quick acceptance.

Since that whole “wait until the sitter just shows up unannounced” thing wasn’t really working for us, until recently we had a system of sorts set up. M had a sitter’s info in his phone, I had two, we’d take turns trying to get them scheduled, and more often than not we’d end up on the couch watching a movie and eating take-out Chinese food.

Sometimes, if we were really desperate (are you sensing a theme here? we love our kids, but we love being without them too.) I’d hop onto Facebook and BEG for a sitter. (That actually worked once…)

And then I met Heidi Rielly in a completely circuitously way. First there was the BlogHer babysitter debacle, which actually let Heidi to find me on Twitter. Then, after I checked out her company, I interviewed her for the column I write about local mompreneurs for the local parenting paper. And then? At a friendly gathering at the local Farmer’s Market, she stopped by to say hi and I discovered that she’s my friend’s next-door neighbor.

It was the perfect storm really. And, as it turns out, the answer to my babysitting woes.

No, Heidi isn’t a babysitter. She’s the brilliant mastermind behind a company called SitterScout, a priceless (no really; it’s free!) gem that handles scheduling your babysitters for you.

SitterScout for scheduling all your sitters!

It’s easy. You sign up, put in your sitter’s emails and phone numbers and, when you want to schedule a job, you let SitterScout do the texting/emailing to everyone. The first person who replies with yes gets the job and you get this:

SitterScout Sample Text
SitterScout Job Accepted Text

Which makes your heart jump for joy.

It’s amazing to me how such a simple process can make everything so much easier. And it’s even more amazing to me that I’m once again looking forward to going out instead of considering the whole process just another chore.

I’m glad I met Heidi and excited to count her among my friends today. It’s thrilling to watch SitterScout take off and wow everyone who tries it. Even better, it’s awesome to use it so Heidi and I can go out and celebrate our new friendship!

SitterScout is a client of Splash Creative Media, for which I am a partner. Obviously this post is 100% my thoughts, words, and hysteria.

My husband is picking up college girls again

standard November 15, 2010 6 responses

Last weekend my husband told me that he really wanted to go to the Seymour Marine Biology Center. It was pouring, we were at the beach, and the Seymour Center is always a great way to kill an hour or two. There’s always something new to learn or something to rediscover. Since they opened the shark petting tank the girls have been begging to go every weekend so I quickly agreed.

Little did I know that he had an ulterior motive for our visit.

While C, Little L, and I moseyed around petting shark and starfish, watching fish swim around, and learning more about the Monterey Bay marine life. He was checking out the college students who staff the Center.

“That one looks nice, don’t you think?” He murmured as we played with the star fish.

I glanced over and saw a pretty, blond girl chatting with her friend. She looked nice enough so I shrugged. He smiled and walked over to the two of them.

Completely unwilling to have any part of what he was doing I turned my attention back to the kids and focused on keeping Little L from killing the star fish she was observing. Moments later he walked back, beaming.

“I got her number! She’s even CPR certified!”

And that’s how we went home from the Seymour Center armed with the phone number of a new sitter.

She watched the girls on Friday night and turned out to be perfectly lovely. As responsible as we had assumed from her position at the center, as sweet as she had appeared on the day M met her. C and Little L were enamored from the get go and she texted M the next day to ask if she could babysit again soon.

If these are the kinds of girls my husband is picking up, I’ve got no issue letting him go out and to get a few more numbers.

Is there a 3.5 year old separation anxiety phase?

standard December 3, 2008 3 responses

“I don’t like H. Her skin is too dark.” C whispers to me, talking about her very black babysitter who has just arrived, as I lean down to give her a kiss goodbye the other day. I’m dressed to the nines for a dinner and we have to leave right then or we’re going to be late. I stammer something about how everyone’s skin is a different color and that some people are just a bit darker than others. It’s good that we’re all different! I tell her, anxious to put a positive spin on this new development, a quick positive spin. C doesn’t look convinced in the least and I feel a bit uneasy as I turn to leave her.

I turn back at the door and look at my solemn little girl, sitting in the middle of her room, working on a puzzle. “We’ll talk about this some more tomorrow, OK?” She just nods in my direction and goes back to finding Zoe’s foot.

The night went well and by the morning the incident was forgotten. Or at least I forgot all about it until today.

“Mommy, I don’t like Ca. She’s not nice.” She said loudly as she walked in and found me chatting with a close friend who occasionally babysits. I was shocked to hear my usually well mannered child be so blatantly rude. I demanded that she apologize on the spot and took her out of the room when she refused.

I eventually got her to apologize (though I realize now that I should have asked her what she thought would make Ca feel better) and I tried to get her to open up about why she was so down on a friend she had previously loved.

After the incident with the first sitter I’ll admit that a tiny part of me wondered if something had happened the last time we’d gone out to cause her distrust. Could I have misjudged the girl? But today I realized that none of this has to do with the individual people. All of this is just a ploy for attention, a distrust and dislike of all sitters, or maybe some odd preschool age separation anxiety issue. Or maybe she was just tired and cranky and wanted a night alone with mom, dad, and her baby sister.

The murky waters of preschooldom keep surprising me with their depth. But now that I’ve discovered this new phase, I’m left with one question. How does a 3 year old who only watches children’s TV shows and hangs out with open minded people already understand that race is such a hot button issue that’s guaranteed to get her parents’ attention?

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New blog post up at New Mother Central all about naming your baby. Be sure to stop by and check it out!
New article up at Type A Mom all about what the FDA deems to be an acceptable level of melamine in infant formula.