Saturday, May 11, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting (or “Wading though the crazies to find a nanny’)


The whole part-time consulting thing happened really fast, so I was in a pinch to find a babysitter STAT! I asked around for referrals and posted inquiries in my mommy Yahoo! Group, but didn’t have any luck. So I resorted to Care.com.

Finding a babysitter is kind of like online dating, or so I presume since I only know about it from my few single friends who have given it a whirl. You try to meet potential suitors babysitters the old fashioned way, like going to bars parks and cooking classes mommy groups. Then you tell your friends you’re ready to get set up, and they tell you about this great guy nanny they know. You arrange a blind date meeting, and they seem great at first, but you quickly figure out it’s never going anywhere.

So you resort to dating child care websites like E-Harmony Care.com. You post a description of what you’re looking for, you read through a couple hundred profiles only to find yourself seriously underwhelmed, and then you wade through a bazillion messages from dudes nannies who claim they’re the perfect match for you. You find a small few who sound good on paper and write them back and arrange a time to talk on the phone. If all goes well, you arrange an in-person encounter. You go through this process a couple dozen times while your standards get lower and lower.

It pretty much sucks, people. Here’s how my nanny hunt went down.

Ninety percent of the responses I received from Care.com nannies were so poorly written, I could hardly read them. I could tell most of them didn’t speak English very well, if at all. (Not that I’m opposed to hiring someone from another country, but if you can’t speak English, you definitely won’t be able to speak Quinn-ese). Others I could tell were just not very bright. (Hi, let me introduce you to this thing called “punctuation” because you’re 50-line, stream of consciousness email with no periods, commas or capital letters is KILLING ME!)

Three of the girls with whom I arranged phone interviews didn’t answer my call at the scheduled time, nor did they bother to return my call when I left a voicemail. (Nice. Thanks ladies. Very professional.)

One lady, Mercedes, said her husband wanted to come with her while she watched my son. (Um… no. That’s just creepy, so… no.)

Theresa never showed up for our in person meeting. When I called her, she said she forgot because she lost her calendar. (Yeah, it’s 2013. Your calendar should be on your phone by now.) She said she would call me back when she got home and could look at her calendar so we could reschedule. (Wait. I thought you lost your calendar…) Then she didn’t show up for the second meeting, and I didn’t bother calling her to find out why.

Susan told me she quit her last job because the three-year-old she cared for had an “attitude problem.” (What? Did you really just say that?) Then she freaked me out and said there were a couple things I should know about her before we met in person. (Huh? Um, okay…) 

First, she said she was Muslim and wore a head scarf, so I should be prepared for that. (Uh, yeah, I think I can deal. I really don’t care that you’re Muslim, and should I be insulted right now?) Second, she said she was “really fat” (her words), and some people are surprised when they see her. (Yeah, again, I don’t care how much you weigh, and again, I’m sorta insulted.) 

After we hung up, Susan texted me and said she mapped out my address and it would be a twenty-minute drive from her house and that was too far. (Really? REALLY? You live in Silicon-f**kin- Valley, and you’re turning your nose up at a twenty-minute commute? Well, I wasn’t going to call you back anyway because you’re f**king crazy, so there.)

After many frustrated – and maybe slightly hormonal – tears, Lisa entered our lives. I saw her email in response to my post, and I didn’t even write her back. I just picked up the phone and called her out of the blue, and we arranged a meeting for that same afternoon. She was sweet and seemed like she might be a good fit, so she watched Q for a couple hours the very next day. She and Q became instant friends, and now she watches him twice a week while I work. Phew!  

Moral of the story, online dating nanny-searching is not for the anxious or impatient.* It takes diligence, perseverance, and determination to stick to your standards and demand the best. And a very tolerant girlfriend husband who will listen to you vent about every single crazy you come across.

* I.e, not for me.


So tell me about your adventures in babysitting. How many crazies did you wade through before you found someone you trusted with your child? I know you’ve got some stories!


3 comments:

  1. Hi Melissa, when my daughter was a baby we had her at a women's house - I think I found her through an ad (it was the dark ages, no online nanny sites yet) It worked out ok, she also took care of a couple of other babies, but I soon learned that for the most part, she threw my kid in a playpen and sat her in front of the TV all day. When my daughter was 1 we switched to an organization called Monday Mornings - not sure if they have that where you live. They contract with women who provide child care in the home. We found a great lady named Susan who had 5 other kids and she made it like a pre-school for them, went outside, did arts and crafts, etc. When my daughter was 3 she started at a day care center. I feel for you - it is really a challenge to find a good caregiver, and it's costly. Good luck with your quest, I'm sure it will all work out in the end.

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  2. Oh my gosh, Lisa, that sounds awful! That's what makes me so nervous! Glad you finally found someone you trusted to take care of your daughter. It's such a frustrating, anxiety-inducing process.

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  3. Hi Melissa,

    I've been using Care.com too and have had eerily similar experiences, only I'm a nanny looking at families! It's scary to find out how many crazy people are out there especially when children are involved. I've resorted to not having the perfect job but working for great family, it's not easy to find both!

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