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9 Ways to Assemble an Arsenal of Awesome Babysitters

I have twenty sitters in my phone. My friends sometimes wonder how I’ve acquired so many. I sometimes wonder why my friends don’t have more. Babysitters are everywhere—if your eyes are open. Here are some places to find your next sitter.


1 | The Internet

I’m lucky to live in a college town, where the online university job board is free and available to the public. Other free ways to find childcare online include your local moms’ Facebook Group and Craigslist. One of my friends perused Craigslist’s childcare section on a whim and found one of the best nannies she’s ever hired.

For a fee, there are plenty of services available. Popular sites like Care.com and SitterCity offer access to sitters in your area for a monthly fee. The Sitter app lets you find new sitters, add sitters you already know to your network, schedule, and pay your sitter via credit card. While it’s free to search and book sitters, under three of Sitter’s four membership tiers you’re charged a percentage of your payment to the sitter.

2 | On-Site Services

Sometimes it’s easier to bring the kids to the childcare rather than bringing the childcare to the kids. Services like PR Kids and Helpr fill this need. PR Kids offers on-site childcare at select running races and triathlons in Colorado, allowing parents the convenience of dropping kids off next to the start line, and the joy of seeing the kids cheer at the finish. Helpr provides on-site childcare for special occasions including weddings, corporate events, and conferences in Southern California.

3 | Through Friends

Finding a sitter is like dating. While many hunt online, some prefer their potential sitter (or date) to be vetted by a friend. One of my best sitters was a friend of a friend. Though she had zero childcare experience, she had a fantastic character reference. I didn’t need a baby whisperer. I needed someone I could trust to follow instructions, and to be punctual and kind. Because of her relationship with my friend, I was (relatively) relaxed about returning to work after my maternity leave.

4 | In Your Neighborhood

Post a message in your neighborhood email list, Facebook group, or Nextdoor, or tack a “help wanted” note to a physical bulletin board, if you have one. If those fail, take a walk in your ‘hood with your kiddo(s). If anyone so much as smiles in your direction, introduce yourself and ask if they or anyone they know would be interested in watching your little angels.

5 | Restaurants

While you may have the Happy Hour menu at the forefront of your mind, the quest for potential sitters should always be in the back of it. Barring a creepy vibe, be ready to strike up a conversation with anyone who throws a peek-a-boo, a silly face, or a wink in your kids’ direction. Be open to anyone who offers a sympathetic smile when your kid throws food or a tantrum. If you’re shy, have a couple of drinks before saying hello. We found one of our best sitters sitting at the next table over, enjoying a margarita on Cinco de Mayo.

6 | The Park

Be on the lookout for anyone with kids who appears well rested and patient; this should limit your chance of mistakenly targeting another parent instead of a sitter or nanny. While the person in question may already be employed as a nanny, you never know what the situation is. Perhaps her employer is about to relocate, or she needs a few extra hours. Wear dark sunglasses if you feel more comfortable eavesdropping behind them. If the nanny seems responsible, kind, and more interested in the little ones in her charge than her phone, go for the ask. Worst case, she turns you down.

7 | Traveling? Ask the Hotel

Maybe you’re traveling with your kids for an adult-only wedding, or you want to enjoy dinner at a place with tablecloths on your vacation. You are not alone. Many resorts have a list of names to share with their guests. When our eldest was eight months old, we traveled to Aspen for our friends’ wedding, where we rented a VRBO. One quick phone call to the wedding venue (a hotel), yielded multiple phone numbers of local preschool teachers. The first one we called was available, and she turned out to be awesome.

8 | Your Kid’s Preschool or Your Gym’s Childcare

The caregivers at the gym childcare or your child’s preschool may be looking for extra hours. A major plus is that you and your kid already know and them. If you go this route, you save yourself the initial interview, in which you determine that the caregiver is neither sketchy nor flaky. As a bonus, the gym or childcare facility has probably already completed a background check.

9 | Gymnastics Class

Music, dance, art, swimming lessons, and karate are also options. If your child is enrolled in an activity, consider asking the instructor if he or she is available for babysitting. Such instructors tend to be great with kids, and many are students who would love to earn extra income through babysitting. And if it doesn’t work out, keep an open mind. My daughter’s gymnastics instructor was happy to watch our kids, but she wasn’t available on the date I needed. She introduced me to her roommate, who ended up being great fit for our family.

The world is full of babysitters. Your next sitter could be the hostess who chats up your preschooler as she sets the crayons and the kids’ menu down, or the friendly lady working the front desk of your gym. (True story: I have found sitters in both of these situations). They say when the student is ready the master will appear. I say, when the parents need a few hours to themselves and start thinking outside the box, the sitters will appear.

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Ah, back to school time. The excitement of a new year for our kids and the impossibly busy schedule for their mamas. Anyone else get to the end of the day and think, "What did I even DOOO today, and why am I so exhausted?" 🙋

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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A new school year is looming and while a lot of parents are looking forward to seeing their kids take the next steps in their education, many of us are not looking forward to getting everyone back into a weekday morning routine.

Mornings can be tough for kids and their mamas. One of our favorite celebrity mamas, Kristen Bell, does not deny that mornings with her daughters, 5-year-old Lincoln and 3-year-old Delta, aren't easy at all.

"It's miserable," Bell recently told POPSUGAR. "It's awful no matter who's doing what. And I'll tell you right now, the 3- and 5-year-old aren't doing jack."

Anyone who has ever tried to wrangle a preschooler out of their pajamas, to the breakfast table, then into their school clothes and backpack at seven o'clock in the morning knows exactly what Bell is talking about. She says some days are better than others, but it's hard to know what level of kid-induced chaos you're gonna wake up to on a weekday.

"It depends on their emotional stability, it depends on their attitude toward each other, toward life," Bell told POPSUGAR. "It depends on their developmental stage."

Luckily, Bell has got some backup. She's been open about how she and her husband, Dax Shepard, practice a tag team approach to parenting, and sometimes, Bell gets a chance to tap out of the morning routine. Unfortunately, Shepherd's later schedule means it doesn't happen as often as she would necessarily like.

"I don't want to say that I do more mornings than he does, but if you were to check the records, that's probably what you'd find," she told POPSUGAR.

If, like Bell, you're really not feeling mornings with the kids, there are a few things you can try to make things a little easier on yourself, mama.

1. Change the conversation

Instead of saying "hurry up" or "get in the car, right now,"try to mix up your vocabulary a bit.

If there's a need for speed, remind the kids that it's time for "fast feet" or that you're racing to the car.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, you might consider sharing that with your kids. Let them know that mama's got a lot to do this morning and that it would be a huge help if they could make sure their water bottle is in their backpack.

2. Make breakfast ahead of time

If cereal isn't your jam or your kids need something hotter, and more substantial in the morning, cooking up breakfast can be a major hurdle on hectic mornings.

Check out these Pinterest perfect make-ahead morning meals, like breakfast enchiladas or egg muffins, and make mornings a bit easier on yourself, mama.

3. Bring some Montessori into your mornings

Help your kids take control of their AM destiny by bringing some limited choices (like clothing) into the morning routine and allowing for natural consequences (like having to settle for an apple in the van because they missed breakfast) but also allowing for fun with mom.

"Try doing something simple, with clear boundaries, such as reading two books before it's time to start the morning routine. If they're ready early, you can spend more time together, which is also a great natural incentive," writes Montessori expert Christina Clemer.

Here's to a less stressful AM routine for Kristen Bell and the rest of us mamas. Just because it feels miserable today doesn't mean it will be tomorrow. There is hope, Kristen!

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It was a year ago when I was pregnant, parenting a highly-spirited preschooler and also working a full-time job while trying to maintain a part-time side business when I got to the point of I have had enough.

I can't remember exactly what the trigger was, but like most times, it wasn't just one thing but a build-up over time that culminates in a massive meltdown.

You see, I was not getting much appreciation or validation for all of my contributions. This was a time when my partner, too, was working full-time and in graduate school two evenings a week. It was stressful for everyone, but, as the wife and mother, I carried the family through it by tending to the little details: the pick-up and drop-offs, the shopping, the cooking, all the minutiae of everyday life.

So, after perseverating on my laundry list of seen and unseen responsibilities, I decided to sit down with pen and paper and make a "day in the life" list from wake-up to bedtime that showed my partner exactly what my day entailed—a day that supported two other people in the house and one in the oven.

Even I was surprised to see all of the things listed out in 15-minute increments. On paper, it actually looked even worse than it felt. I thought to myself about how much physical, mental and emotional energy I expend in this hectic season of our lives. And I didn't regret it for a minute.

However, back to my original complaint…I still wanted to be validated for it. I needed to be seen for both the implicit and explicit tasks and expectations in my day-to-day.

So I handed my list over to my husband, expecting him to be awakened to the fact I was indeed working in overdrive and for him to be grateful for all the ways that I take so many burdens off of him so that he can be successful in school and his career.

Instead of that, his response almost put me into a state of shock. He read over the list and then said, "I know. You are Superwoman."

His words, like kryptonite, left me speechless. Part of me knew that his intent was for this to be a compliment, but it felt so invalidating. It completely missed the mark, and instead of leaving me feeling appreciated, I felt less understood.

Superheroes have innate superpowers that I imagine they use with ease. In fact, they are expected to use their powers and perhaps that is their sole purpose. No one ever looks to a superhero and asks, "Do you need a break?" And as a feminist, I sure as heck believe women are strong and powerful. But the idea of being labeled a "superwoman" did not feel empowering.

I already know I am efficient, capable, strong and fierce. But, I am also fatigued, sometimes overworked and underappreciated, and worst of all expected to be the one that keeps it together for everyone else.

What I learned about through my research of who Superwoman really is was this: her powers always wear off by the end of the story. Turns out these so-called "superpowers" really are temporary. That I can relate to.

I am only human and there are days and weeks where I feel on top of the world, days where I can manage it all with ease. I can be up all night nursing a baby, take both kids to school, and show up on time for a 9:00 am meeting with a French pastry I baked from scratch. I can push through the exhaustion and demands every day…until I can't.

And it's not just my spouse who uses this label. I have well-meaning girlfriends who have also tossed the term out there as if it was meant to be a feather in my cap.

When things get tough, I appreciate the texts of support my girlfriends send me. Even when they are far away, it's nice to know someone cares when everyone in your house has the stomach flu while your partner is out of the country. It's comforting to be able to share the ups and downs of trying to balance a career with a growing family.

But when the text comes in and says something like, "I don't know how you do all that. You are a supermom!" I feel like there should be an auto-reply that says, "Connection lost."

The thing is, I don't want to be elevated to superhero status for living my life. It is not heroic and it's probably not too far off from what every other devoted partner and mother provides their family. But, this is what I think we need, what we are starving for. We need someone to say, "How are you doing?" or, "What have you done lately to care for yourself?" or, "Thank you for all that you do and who you are."

Those are the kinds of words that let me know I am seen and make me feel validated when I am working the hardest. They let me know that the people I love the most see me, and not a cape.

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