Great babysitters are not the easiest thing in the world to find, am I right? If you are one of the lucky ones and you have family who live nearby and love to help out, I envy you. The closest family we have are in Los Angeles, so we’ve had to rely on sitters since our girl was a wee beeb. At first, I was clueless about how to find a sitter, so we decided to use a highly-recommended babysitting service, and we ended up getting burned in the creepiest way (more on that in a minute). Thankfully, once we figured out that teachers and daycare providers at our daughter’s school also loved to babysit, we were set: we knew them, we trusted them, F loved them, they had CPR training and early childhood development education, it was all good. We found one in particular who we really bonded with and she was our regular sitter for a few years. But then last summer we moved, and now that we live a half an hour away rather than 10 minutes away, we decided it was time to find a sitter who is more local.
Easier said than done.
J and I just put date nights on the back-burner, and the few times we got really desperate, we paid our old favorite sitter extra gas money to come babysit for us. I mean, it’s not like great sitters just fall out of the sky, right? I didn’t really know where to start (and I definitely wasn’t going to use another babysitting service – see below, you’ll understand) but I finally figured out that I should just ask around. And lo and behold, we hit the babysitting jackpot! A good friend recommended her favorite sitter and it has worked out better than I could have hoped for. She is prompt, reliable, has tons of experience, genuinely loves kids (and people), she even leaves notes for our girl to find when she wakes up in the morning. We are thrilled.
THAT BEING SAID… I wanted to share our horror story. I’ve copy/pasted this from my personal blog, so please pardon my lack of proper punctuation. I have a feeling it won’t take away from your feelings of disgust. Now, I don’t want to disparage babysitting services in general; I’m certain there are plenty of wonderful, trustworthy babysitters and services out there that are doing it right and plenty of grateful parents who utilize them. That’s awesome. We just happened to have one awful experience, and thankfully, NOTHING happened to F, it was all about what the sitter did after F was asleep. It could have been FAR worse, thank goodness it wasn’t and it’s actually something we can look back on and laugh at… sorta. This is what happened:
for the first year of our daughter’s life, we used a local babysitting service that had been highly recommended to us by more than one person. we used them 3 times total, and only when we were really in a pinch. the first two times were fine. and then we hired one of their sitters, a girl in college, for new years eve 2007-2008. she seemed great, all was fine, that was that. she was on the phone with her boyfriend in florida when i got home at 2am, and we chatted about how they’d been on the phone for a while and how it was 5am in florida. whatevs. or so i thought.
fast forward to almost exactly a year later. as i was uploading some pictures to facebook on our mac, it brought up every single photo that had ever been put on our computer (even the deleted-out-of-iPhoto ones) and i noticed some nudie pictures in the mix. they were thumbnail sized, and i didn’t bother double clicking on them, but figured i’d mention them to my husband to see if he could “explain” them. i told j about them and he seemed honestly clueless & said he’d check them out when he got a chance (you do that, honey!).
a few days later, he comes walking out the office with a freaked out look on his face. “babe, you HAVE to come look at those pictures. i have no idea who the girl is, but the pictures were taken IN OUR HOUSE.” insert chills here. we immediately thought of every possible situation: did someone break in? that would be weird. was it from when we had a (male) friend staying as a guest for a couple weeks? maybe. but really, we were just like WTF? we went back into the office together, blew the pictures up big on the screen, and as soon as we saw the LIT UP baby monitor (!!) in the background, we figured it out: it was the babysitter from last new year’s eve. taking nudie pictures, in our house, while our little girl was sleeping upstairs. taking nudie pics of herself in our guest bathroom too. and then uploading them to our computer, maybe sending them to that florida boyfriend? and then deleting them… or so she thought.
when i called the babysitting service (which was run by two moms) they were great – they were horrified, falling over themselves to apologize, and assured me she’d be fired. i told them i needed at least a follow up call after they indeed confronted and fired her, which they gave me. they said at first she denied it all, then called them back and said the pictures had been for “an art project.” right. real artistic. she was fired and that satisfied us. just knowing she knew WE knew, and the fact that she lost her job, was enough for us. she made a really, really stupid mistake, our little girl had been sleeping and was never harmed, and as freaky as it was, we felt like that was about all we needed to do. needless to say, we’ve never hired a sitter we don’t know again. and if we did – she’d have to be mary flipping poppins for me to be ok with it.