I’ve definitely heard the reservations from friends, about “not wanting strangers to watch their children.” But then I wonder, how much do they really know about their babysitters. Do they know where they go to school? How long they’ve been babysitting? What certifications they have? I doubt it. It’s usually a friend of a friend or a family member.
My husband and I are both transplant to Chicago, so we don’t have the luxury of family nearby. Until our kids started school, we didn’t have much of an extended network of neighbors and friends. Which is why I need a babysitting app—to help with times like these.
If you’ve ever lived in Chicago, you know that our celebration lasts all week, and the biggest festivities are the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. That Saturday in 2015, I had a nine month old and a three year old and woke up with the worst stomach bug of my life. My husband is a police officer and Saturday was a blackout day for taking off, so there was zero chance of him staying home. My only local family, my sister, was out of town. I didn’t really know my neighbors, and I hadn’t yet made mom friends close enough to ask for help. I started crying after my husband left, feeling completely incapable of watching our kids and feeling incredibly alone.
Find Babysitters you can trust!
And then a moment of clarity hit me, I could try to find a sitter. I’d been using an app on and off for a few months. I honestly had very little hope that on this busy day anyone would be available, but I posted the job on UrbanSitter and within minutes Chi-Chi applied for the job (along with several others). She had great reviews, so I called her and within 45 minutes she was at my door taking care of the boys until my husband got home. From that day on, I have been a loyal UrbanSitter member. The small monthly fee has saved me countless headaches…from the time my flight got canceled and needed a last minute sitter to this morning when my youngest threw up right as we were leaving the house and I had too many meetings to stay home.
UrbanSitter is the only subscription I have had for this long…longer than my cell phone carrier, than my cable service, than Netflix, or my gym membership. And I have no intention of canceling until my kids can be trusted to stay home alone…so maybe until college?
Here are the top 5 reasons you should invest in a babysitting app too!
1. They make last minute date nights possible
Life gets busy and it’s easy to forget to spend time with your significant other. Planning it out weeks in advance is great for some people, but for most of us we have so many obligations that it’s easy to let months go by without a date night. Babysitting apps allow you to say, “Want to go out tonight?” and actually do it. And, because you get to see the schedules of your favorite babysitters, you can actually reach out knowing that they’re available…instead of the copy and paste mass texts we used to send to our list of babysitters.
2. They give you peace of mind
I totally get that some people only want close family to watch their children. For the rest of us, apps like UrbanSitter are the equivalent of having a friend with older kids pass down their sitter to you. You get to read reviews and learn about their backgrounds. On UrbanSitter if you Facebook connect you can see which of your friends have booked a sitter before and/or how many times that sitter has had a repeat booking with families!
3. You already kind of know them by the time they ring your doorbell
Most babysitting apps have videos of sitters talking about their love of kids. They have messaging tools to ask questions, and allow you to schedule interview calls before booking. Babysitting apps have made it easier than ever to get to know your sitter before he or she arrives….and yes they do have male babysitters!
4. Your kids can help you pick
My boys have a pretty specific type of sitter they like. She needs to be silly and funny and like video games. Now that they’re older, they sit with me and scroll through videos of the sitters who apply and help decide who they are going to meet. It makes them feel more in control and makes the evening less of an unknown. And my kids have truly loved nearly every sitter we’ve had, because they got to help pick them!
5. They save the day
Hands down, my number one reason I love the service is that it has saved the day on so many occasions like our youngest getting sick this morning. We’ve had sitters relieve our summer nanny (who we also found on UrbanSitter) when we both had to work late. Some of our regular sitters now pick up our kids from school and take them to practices or playdates.
In a nutshell, babysitting apps give you an army of support. And that’s something we all could use.
P.S. Chicago families, we are facing strikes at both our schools and at the park district, meaning thousands of families will be looking for help. Now would be a great time to try it out.