Finding the Perfect Babysitter

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I’ve reached that sad, tired point in parenting where hiring a babysitter is barely worth it.

I have to make plans far enough in advance to find a babysitter. And I have to make sure that my first choice babysitter gets back to me with enough time to ask my 2nd-choice babysitter, and so on.

I have to make sure I have cash (a lot of cash) to pay the babysitter.

And I have to deal with the pressure of knowing that I’m spending an ungodly amount of money per hour to have fun. And if I’m sitting at a restaurant, and it’s only a little fun, or if it’s downright boring, all I can think about is how much every minute is costing me.

But if I could find the perfect babysitter –  the really perfect babysitter – it would all be worth it.

I would go out every week – maybe more than once a week. I would stay out late, and I wouldn’t care a single bit whether I was having a great time or just an okay time – because it would all be worth it.

10 Things that Add Up to a Perfect Babysitter!

1. Have an online schedule. Let me see when you’re available and when you aren’t, and let me book online. I’m serious. I don’t want to wait for you to text me back. Or call you and have you text me back. Or Facebook you and have you leave me a message on my home phone. It’s too confusing. Just do it all online, please.

Even better – get together with a group of friends, create a shared calendar, and let me book whomever is available.

2. Be a nurse. Or at least have the WebMD app on your phone. It’s just so much more convenient for me. I don’t have to explain the baby’s allergies or how to use the epi pen. I know you can help my kids if someone is choking.

And maybe you could check this mole on my back?

3. Clean while you’re here. Not just a little. Like – a lot. You think there’s not a bonus for a scrubbed toilet and a vacuumed kitchen?

Well – trust me honey – there is. And there’s also a big, fat kiss on the lips from me to you!

4. Cook me a meal. Not to eat when I get home – but to eat for dinner the next night. I multi-task all day long with my kids. You can do it too. Just throw together a quick casserole and put it in the fridge for me. (Preferably organic, thanks.)

5. Be on time. In fact, be a little early and help with the kids while I get ready. And be sure to tell me that there’s no charge for that extra 15 minutes. THAT would be awesome!

6. Do the stuff with my kids that I don’t really want to do. Like painting. Or Playdoh. Or taking a walk in the rain and jumping in puddles. And then have it all cleaned up before I come home.

7. Did I already mention that I’d like you to clean? I’m serious.

8. Facebook responsibly. If your Facebook profile picture is you giving me the finger – it probably isn’t going to work out. If you’re with my kids, and I can see you updating your newsfeed every minute – it probably isn’t going to work out.

But if you’re posting pictures of my clean toilet, my folded laundry, and my organic casserole in the fridge – then I love you and keep up the great work.

9. For the love of God, just accept credit cards already. As far as I can tell, it’s as simple as getting a little doohickey that attaches to your phone.

You want to babysit more often? Start accepting AMEX.

10. What would your #10 be?


  1. Janine Huldie

    March 25, 2013 at 7:16 am

    I loved your list and may just add that they be able to put the kids to bed before I got home. So I could come home not to a clean house, but a peaceful one, too!!

  2. thedoseofreality

    March 25, 2013 at 8:37 am

    The cleaning one is SO TRUE. My amazing sitter (who is off at college, damn her!) cleans every time she is here. I swear to you I then pay her double the ridiculous amount I already pay her! It is worth every last $20 dollar bill, though! 😉

  3. Gina Jacobs Thomas (@totallyfullofit)

    March 25, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I don’t think you need a #10, those first 9 are PERFECT. Especially the online calendar. I hate having to scour through lists of babysitters to find one available, calling two at once to save my butt. I feel like I’m having an affair or something.

  4. Dona

    March 25, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Except for the online booking, that’s me. And to add to it, I’m a grandma! Of course I’ve already offered you my services…..for free! All you have to do is write a book! Actually, I have a job babysitting and it’s as close to perfection as a person could get. One or two mornings a week, 1 beautiful one-year-old boy who can totally entertain himself. Yeah. It doesn’t get any better than that!

  5. Gina

    March 25, 2013 at 9:57 am

    OMG Online booking would rock!!!!

  6. Theresa

    March 25, 2013 at 11:07 am

    The online booking calender would seriously rock. I think we need to get that particular suggestion out to the public. Hiring a baby sitter these days makes my eye twitch. I used to baby sit and clean for my moms and play games and do bed times and sometimes even spend the night on the couch so the moms could come home as late as they wanted and still have a little help in the mornings. And I did it all for $15-20 a night. As an adult with kids I now realize I was popular because I was flippin CHEAP! That would be my number 10- Do all 9 of the above because you just love my darling children so much, instead of for the money. LOL

  7. Cheryl Nicholl

    March 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

    So funny! It sounds like you’re looking for a Maid instead of a Babysitter. If you find one that will work at a babysitter’s rate- call me. I have a few toilets too!

  8. Momchalant

    March 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I’m totally with you on the online scheduling. That would be AWESOME. Actually, more than awesome. Why hasn’t someone ventured out and done that yet? I think my #10 would be to do laundry, including putting my clothes up. I don’t mind doing laundry or putting my clothes up (considering I have it organized by tank tops, short sleeves, half sleeves, long sleeves, cover ups, dresses, jackets, robes, and lingerie) but it is extremely time consuming with a child.

  9. Hannah @Supermommy!...Or Not.

    March 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I babysit for a preschool teacher at her house 4 mornings a week in addition to taking care of my own kids. Because I’m so awesome, I started doing her laundry and cleaning her house in my free time (what little I have with 4-6 kids running around). I got a raise 🙂
    Oh and I have the perfect babysitter. Well, almost. My younger sister is unmarried, done with school, still lives at home and EVERY child in the universe adores her. And she babysits my kids for free. Except she had the nerve to get a job so now she’s not at my beck and call anymore *sob*

  10. Lorraine

    March 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I am an at-home childcare provider/babysitter – who does accept credit cards, by the way! 🙂 I was chuckling to myself while reading your list…. until the comments, that is. I was afraid that people might actually be taking this seriously!? I do also agree about the online schedule, though – sounds like a good idea!

  11. Jen K

    March 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Feed my kids and do not leave until you have.

    Also make sure they are done with the poops for the day. Pls say, ‘I am not leaving yet, I know it’s 6pm, the lil one hasn’t had a BM and I don’t want you to deal with that explosion’.

    Bonus, kiss on lips and stalking kinda love.

  12. Amy

    March 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    #1 is an updated version of The Baby-sitters Club. And it’s brilliant!

  13. Amanda

    March 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I am a former nanny/mother’s helper. I quit my sales job to become a nanny, I loved it…and made more money. If you work for the right family, you are will to do so much more.

    I am currently a stay at home mom that started babysitting a little boy a few days a week to help us keep up the new/old house…it’s pretty much like being paid to take my son on a playdate! I do load and unload their dishwasher and make the boys pick up all the toys. I try to help some!

  14. Amanda

    March 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    OH, and… is a pretty good website. Shows sitter’s available schedules and you can even do background checks! I’ve used it as a babysitter and hiring babysitters for my son.

  15. Kathy at kissing the frog

    March 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    An online schedule=genius! That would make everything lots more convenient!

  16. sparkling74

    March 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I love the shared calendar idea. TOTALLY BRILLIANT. And if it’s shared, everyone’s happy because everyone can see it! GENIUS!

  17. thea

    March 25, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    I am in the process of finding a babysitter..heading.back to work after being a stay at home mom for the past year. im a lil apprehensive..okay..alot…about i just wanna get back as fast as i can. i want to trust. i was interviewing some ok her stairs r carpeted so if he falls he okay..she was serious. Other said she couldnt stand the lil girls whine so puts her in the cry it out…nexttttttt. one replied with i can babysit. please i nees to pay for my bed. … hope i can find that perfect ome ur list is great haha

  18. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    March 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    #10 would be FREE and if that is just TOO over the top then I’d like the phone doohickey thingy. Brilliant! Ellen

  19. thea

    March 25, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    My bed i meant pay for my meds *** ahhh on my cell

  20. Sarah @ Just The Bees Knees

    March 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Maybe have a BOGO sale every now and again to thank me for funding your college education? Buy one hour, get one free!

  21. Kristine

    March 26, 2013 at 1:49 am

    We pay our babysitter with paypal. I never have cash and who writes checks? I can pay her from my phone right there as she leaves.

  22. Glen

    March 26, 2013 at 6:14 am

    I’m no expert in these matters but it sounds like you are looking for a Wife. You can have mine if you like. She can bang on a bit about stuff now and again but you just have to nod and agree until she goes away and cleans something – doddle! 🙂

  23. Robin Jingjit

    March 26, 2013 at 6:48 am

    If only the babysitters club were real!! The kid kits, the weekly meetings (with own phone, thank you Claudia) and they only charged a dollar an hour per kid!

  24. Shelly

    March 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Well, I don’t have kids, but I have dogs. And sometimes is is (almost) as much as a PITA getting a competent dog sitter. I guess my #10 would be to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE clean up the poop when the dogs take a dump on the neighbor’s lawn. That’s why I have bags attached to the leash. I know it is not the most pleasant part of dog sitting, but seriously, have you ever been running late for work or somewhere important and then stepped in poop right before getting into the car? And you know it is not your dog’s poop because you always clean up after your dog. Dear Dog Sitter, please don’t make my neighbors hate me!

  25. Dana

    April 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    My #10 would be go to sleep before we get home. My oldest is the babysitter now, so not only is the house a mess, but both kids are wide awake when we get home. Sure I don’t have to pay her, but I would gladly shell out the dough if they would just GO TO SLEEP!

  26. lilmrsmchenry

    April 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    For me the big one is just give me a straight answer when I ask how much they charge. If I hear “Whatever you feel is fair.” One more time I think I will scream. Just tell me,”For 5 kids I charge $X per hour during the day and $X at night.” Also, I will pay more for a sitter to deal with the kids awake than if they come after bed time. After bedtime they are just there for legal reasons, they literally will not even have to lay eyes on them unless they feel they need to see them.

  27. MOV

    April 6, 2013 at 6:32 am

    that is pretty much the best babysitter list I have ever seen.

    just found you on the blog hop and will be back to read more!


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