Last week a friend of mine shared this article about a former Navy SEAL who is starting a business to train female veterans to be “tactical nannies.” Although I personally have no desire to hire a childcare provider to watch my children while armed, the story did make me think about my own ability to not only find that perfect babysitter, but to keep her.
Most moms I know are always on the lookout for a good babysitter. Whether we need someone to watch our kids while we attend Mandatory Fun or when we finally use that Groupon for a massage or when we hit the town for date night, MilSpouses want a reliable babysitter we can trust with our children. And because most of us don’t live anywhere near that free babysitting service known as Grandma and Grandpa, having at least one babysitter on speed dial is even more sacred.
But how are military families supposed to do that when we’re always on the move?
That’s a good question. We asked our Facebook readers how they hooked up with their babysitters, and while some were able to find sitters they love through their church, local colleges, or friends, others are still searching.
A couple of Facebook commenters said they don’t use babysitters because they don’t trust their children with anyone other than family. Although I may not feel the same now that my kids are a little bit older and more self-sufficient (and capable of tattling about every little thing the babysitter did or didn’t do), I do understand that sentiment after some of the lower performing sitters I never saw again.
For my own children, I feel like I’ve tried everything. I’ve used the services of co-workers’ children. I’ve tried out military brats fresh from the base babysitters’ course. I recruited a lifeguard from the YMCA where I work out. I’ve posted jobs on Sittercity. I hired a friend of a friend who needed some extra cash. And once, when I was really desperate, I paid my neighbor’s irresponsible 18-year-old who didn’t know how to turn on an oven (but did know how to play video games for 5 hours).
It’s not that some of these sitters weren’t keepers. For the most part, they were fantastic (well, except for video game girl). There were some who were perfect for those date nights when she only had to entertain the kids for an hour before bedtime, and then there were those precious few who were so amazing I would have trusted them to move into my house when I went out of town.
But every babysitter I’ve ever hired has had one distinct thing in common: they didn’t last.
Whether I moved or they moved or the nursing student switched to night hours or the college student went back to school after summer vacation, I just can’t seem to keep a babysitter. So help me out, MilSpouses. Where do you find reliable babysitters? And once you find them, how do you keep them?