Thank you for existing, Urban Sitter!

Big thanks to Urban Sitter for their sponsorship this month. I’m writing this post so you know what they’re all about.

The other night, Heather and I joined some other bloggers for dinner in San Francisco. We were nine ladies, crammed around two bistro-style tables, ordering burgers and sweet potato fries. Everyone had young kids at home. We talked about technology, whether we love or hate shopping, and weaning. You know, girl stuff for grown ups.

I mentioned that we were working with Urban Sitter and all the moms gasped, “Cool! I love Urban Sitter!”

“My husband and I are going out tomorrow night, thanks to Urban Sitter!” said one software developer mom, who just moved to town.

I was kinda wowed by their enthusiasm. I guess it’s a match made in heaven– or in rookie mom-dom.

So now let me explain. And for those of you who live in locations that aren’t yet covered by Urban Sitter, I’m sorry.

What is Urban Sitter?
Unlike some of the other childcare services that exist today, UrbanSitter connects parents to sitters through people they know and trust.

Parents sign up for UrbanSitter using Facebook and can post jobs, search for sitters, or browse caregivers already known by friends or affiliations — like schools, sports teams and moms groups. Kinda like OpenTable for dinner reservations, parents can search for sitter availability by date and time, or plan a night around when a favorite sitter is available.

There are more than 150 active sitters near me in the system; Heather used it to find a reliable mother’s helper that assisted her family after the birth of their third child, including cooking, picking up groceries and watching the baby while Heather picked the older kids up from school. Now she is their favorite babysitter and Heather trusts her to put all three children to bed for the night.

UrbanSitter’s unique real time booking engine allows sitters to keep their availability calendars online, so parents can search and book jobs online by an exact date and time. Babysitting gigs (or interviews) can be booked in minutes — and following a job, parents can contribute written reviews, ratings and Facebook “Likes” to sitter profiles.

See how they’ve identified 7 sitters my friends know? When I click there, I see the sitters descriptions and a little picture of my friend that knows her.

And check this out: Convenient “pay by credit card” feature allows parents to skip the awkward fumbling for cash or mad dash to the ATM after a date night and simply pay their sitter with a credit card via the UrbanSitter website.

UrbanSitter was founded by four Bay Area parents who envisioned a better way to find and book babysitters. There is no cost to sign up.

Note: UrbanSitter is currently holding a sweepstakes. The winner will get a year of free babysitting. Trust us, you want this. (Click here for details.)

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.