We are super duper excited about launching a series of posts about babysitting, sponsored by UrbanSitter.com. UrbanSitter is a website and a mobile app that allows you to find sitters YOUR FRIENDS LIKE based on Facebook connections. We are big fans, and because babysitting is such a great topic, we’re dividing everything we want to say into five separate posts. This first one is an interview with founder and mom of two, almost three, Lynn Perkins.
Lynn, we met at a party last year. Do you recall who was watching your twins that night? Do you have an arsenal of sitters or do you have a main squeeze in that department?
We definitely have a favorite babysitter who has watched our kids fairly regularly over the past few years. I believe she was the babysitter who was with them the night that I met you. I would say that I have three ‘go-to’ babysitters at any given time and five or six other sitters who have babysat for my kids just a couple of times. The nice part is that I found most of these sitters on UrbanSitter and I booked them because they are friends with other sitters I’ve liked. So it is an arsenal of sitters, but most of them know each other.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about hiring or managing a babysitter?
- Spend time watching the sitter interacting with your children before you leave.
- Make sure your instructions are clearly explained or written out, including when, under what specific circumstances you would like the sitter to phone or contact you. For example, do you want her to call if your child won’t eat his broccoli, if he won’t sleep, or only if there is an emergency.
UrbanSitter had just launched when we met. Are you surprised by the way the past 12 months have gone?
I’m happy with the growth to date and excited that the network of parents and sitters continues to grow. It’s amazing how small the world is and how many connections are made daily.
How did you get the idea to create UrbanSitter?
As busy parents, we saw a need – we were finding it time consuming and difficult to find a trusted sitter that was actually available when we needed the help. We needed a way to simplify and personalize the process, so parents could go online to find babysitters recommended by friends.
You told me that parents and sitters both get uncomfortable when the moment of payment comes. What did they tell you about that?
Parents and sitters report feeling awkward at the time of payment because parents sometimes forget the agreed upon rate, and then it is uncomfortable for the sitters when parents are counting out cash. Sitters want to know they are getting the agreed upon rate, but don’t want to count the money in front of the parents. We introduced a “pay online” option that helps parents and sitters avoid this awkwardness.
This one is for the rookies. What did you learn in your first year as a mom that surprised you?
I have twins so my biggest lesson learned the first year relates to having two babies. I remember following advice from books or doctors with both babies. One would react exactly like the book or doctor told me he would. The other would react completely differently. It made me a more relaxed parent because I learned that sometimes as a parent you do everything you can to create the best situation for your child and they may not react how you expect.
Thanks to Lynn for these tidbits about Urban Sitter. Look for more in the coming weeks, and feel free to post your questions about using babysitters here.