DH and I have been talking about starting a regular once or twice a month date night for the sake of our marriage (we have rarely been alone since DS was born 4.3 years ago).
We used to live near family but have since moved away from everyone we know and are struggling to find someone to babysit DS. We are definitely over protective and I HATE the idea of leaving him with someone other than family, but DH and I really need to find a way to get some time together.
This is, of course, complicated by the fact the DS has special needs. 1. he is a LOT more work to take care of than most kids. He has boundless physical energy and can be very overwhelming. 2. his expressive language is almost non-existent so he can't tell us if something is wrong.
I am just so worried about leaving him with someone. We have tried a few people recommended by coworkers, and my plan was to have them come a few times while I was home so I could see them with DS. But without offering really regular hours, we've found that most young women we've had come over ended up flaking out on us eventually.
So I guess I wonder how other AP parents of special needs kids manage to find baby sitters? Any words of wisdom would be very welcome!
Are there any colleges near you? If so I would see if they have a place to advertise for childcare-you'd probably have the most luck in the teaching department. With all your son's special needs, I wouldn't settle for anyone younger than a college student. I would also check with the local preschools and see if a teacher or teacher's assistant wanted to earn some extra money. Also, check with your local school's afterschool program and see if any of the people who run it want to do it. Those would probably be your best bet.
You could also post this in finding your tribe to see if any other MDC mamas know someone amazing.
I'm not trying to suggest your not doing this but this helps me hold onto sitters. Pay extremely well ($13-$15/hour) try and have lower-key activities for her/him to do with your son (games or movies, etc) and make sure you get a meal and/or snacks for the babysitter. I know it's a total pain to pay so much, but it totally helps get a sitter who will turn down other jobs in favor of you.
Also, that rate is the current going rate in my city (for an adult watching a child with special needs), it may be different where you are.
Stay-at-home Mama to my fabulous DD (10/08) and DS (9/12) and wife to my just-as-fabulous DH
We have to use a sitter more then I like (or have money for frankly), just to keep her. Low hours means she finds more families and then is never ever free. Like gypsymama said, I pay decent, $15.00 an hour, allow for extreme flexibility, and feed them. We *just* started where DH and I go out most Mondays nights so that this sitter can just always have us in her schedule. I love her so much and it's a use her or lose her thing.
I find this beloved sitter off of care.com, they have clicky boxes for sitters to check if they are good with special needs. Sitter City is similar if I remember correctly. I truly can not accurately describe how amazing she is with my not easy children. On Saturday night she attended some of my children's 4.5 hour long dance recital with me and was showing me a picture of her niece on her phone. The background of her phone is a picture of my ASD DS1, my heart just melted.