Okay mommas, let me know if you can relate:
Sunday– Between the park or beach, someone’s Dora the Explorer themed birthday party, the farmer’s market and getting meals ready for the week, it always feels like the weekend just came and went. FAST.
Monday– The week begins with work and somehow the whole day flies by and it is 9 pm. The baby is sleeping and you wanted to take a nice relaxing bath, but are afraid you will drown since you will definitely fall asleep doing anything, plus you need to clean up the mess you couldn’t clean up before she went to bed so do it then. Bath idea goes down the drain and you opt for your pillow instead.
Thursday– You take the little one to her music class and yoga class between her naps, her diaper changes and the 14 errands you swore you thought you could fit in on Tuesday… you somehow get home in time to make dinner, feed her and give her a bath…you think: shoot, is it Thursday already?
Friday- It’s the weekend again…thought: wouldn’t it be nice to just go out for dinner with no high chair cover, diaper bag and have an adult convo over wine with my hubby? (check out our post on some great date night ideas).
My husband and I live about 2,500 miles away from our parents, who are in NY while we are in San Diego, so don’t have the luxury of ‘built in babysitters’.
But even friends who have their parents near them tell me the same thing- date night is crucial but hard, since sometimes you just need a sitter when family isn’t available, or when you don’t want to feel guilty for not wanting to spend time with your parents or other extended family since there is always something going on for them, and you just want alone time with your significant other.
I have my sister here to help out in all the ways she does, (like when I need a hot bath), but even with her, we know she has a life too, (ah the good old days of being in your 20’s), and can’t always be babysitting.
I am also someone who does not want to leave my daughter with just anyone. We have only had babysitters our friends use to watch Laila and so the idea of using a service was never something I thought I’d ever do.
Then, recently, I came across UrbanSitter, who launched not too long ago, (August 2011) .
Founded by four busy parents, UrbanSitter is an online resource where parents can find and book babysitters recommended by people they know. UrbanSitter is a place that has a whole pool of potential occasional sitters, full-time nannies or last-minute help.
It shows you ones that are recommended by parents in your social circles, (from Facebook), such as a mother’s group, child’s school, office, kid’s sports team, etc. You can search for sitters by date and time, book jobs, and pay them online-it’s quick, easy and efficient. You can even find sitters with specific needs you have or want, (i.e. speaks French or knows CPR).
When I spoke to the company rep about how they started, it was quite a story. She said the co-founder, Lynn Perkins, had a good friend call her in panic one day that she had made reservations online at a hard to dine at restaurant for her and her husband’s anniversary, but the sitter canceled last-minute. So they ran through their phone book trying to find a new sitter. She thought, if it’s this simple to make a reservation for dinner online, based on recommendations, there has to be a way to book a sitter online that way, too.
Thus came UrbanSitter.
I set up a profile and it was super easy since it connects to your Facebook to find friends who use it.
I browsed through a whole list of sitters in my area and I found a babysitter that was in my network, (someone I knew had worked with her, so it didn’t feel like she was a complete stranger), she was the age range I wanted her to be, (not too young), she had experience being a nanny for a baby and she had a marketing position at the Botanical Gardens, (Laila’s favorite outdoor spot). Her reviews by parents on UrbanSitter were great and she sounded really sweet when we spoke. I even got a good feeling from her picture on UrbanSitter. Not only that, she had a background check that was cleared, (UrbanSitter had a little check mark with her profile saying so). This is one of the best aspects of the service, as I am definitely the kind of parent that woud always carry out checks, like the police check nsw check, before hiring a babysitter; I’m a major worrier! PLUS IT IS ALL FREE to join, browse and book.
I submitted the date and times I wanted on a Tuesday and then 2 days later, got an email saying she had accepted my job request. It kind of felt like I had won something in a funny way. I was so happy!
My husband and I went out then for a friend’s birthday dinner that Friday night, excited that we were able to RSVP yes this time. I had set everything up for the sitter, and while we were out for the night, her and I texted back and forth with updates. When we got home, everything was fine. Laila was fast asleep and the house looked normal. I didn’t even have to have exact cash or a check ready. The next morning, the sitter recorded her hours on UrbanSitter and then I got a notification to pay in my email and if I approved the hours. In two clicks, I paid her via credit card. It was perfect.
I loved the ease of the process. I loved that we got a night out. Double win 🙂
Have you ever used UrbanSitter? What do you think about the concept? Would love to hear below!