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Discussion Starter #1
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<div>I am a single again mother who works a retail management job. My partner was helping me with child care, which was wonderful and free, but now he's gone and I need to find an alternate plan. I can't quit my job, because now I am the sole income for my little family. I have tried Craig's List, but it scares me. I have also been perusing some different nanny database websites, but worry that is out of my price range. I figure I'll call tomorrow, when it isn't a holiday and I can get some info. However, I also wanted to ask you all for advice. I will need someone for just a few hours at night a few nights a week and occasional Saturday and Sundays. It's certainly not the ideal schedule for a single mom but I'm determined to make it work and keep us fed, clothed, and sheltered. </div>
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<div>Thoughts, suggestions, resources, advice? Thank you! xoxo</div>
 

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<p>I use part time child care-afternoon/evenings and found a great sitter on SitterCity  <a href="http://www.sittercity.com/" target="_blank">http://www.sittercity.com/</a>  </p>
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<p>I did prelim interviews on about 25-30, narrowed it down to about 12 for first interviews and called 4 back for 2nd interviews/home visits after the background and reference checks. After that I "knew" and made an offer.  She has been with us for 3 years. <img alt="love.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/love.gif"></p>
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<p>The key is to take your time, do your home work, be thorough but ultimately trust your gut. </p>
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<p>Make sure you make up contract and negotiate/discuss expectations up front.  Don't ASSUME anything! ie: do you expect her to clean? make/prepare meals? do laundry? Will you pay hourly or salaried?  What about sick days/vacation-will they be paid or unpaid? Will you withhold taxes or is this an "under the table" deal?</p>
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<p>Then there is your personal expectations- is TV OK? What about discipline?  Can they take your child in a car? just local or highway OK?  Do you expect a certain amount of activities/outings? Can they use your phone? Internet/computer?  Can they have visitors? Can they take your child to someone else's home that you don't know? Can they run errands while "on the clock" etc,etc</p>
 

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<p>Could you switch off childcare with someone else?  I don't know your area, but is there a mothers group or other social network type group that you could see if someone could watch your kids for those few hours in exchange for you watching theirs?  Sounds like you would be a great candidate for switching with someone who works part-time during the day...</p>
 

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<p>Great ideas. I have couple leads on some people from church, so I'm going to look into those. The care-swap idea sounds awesome though. I could totally do that. Thank you.</p>
 

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<p>Are there any local colleges near you? Your hours are ideal for a college student. Friends of mine have hired college students to nanny in this kind of situation (he's an ER doc with odd hours). They do extensive interviewing, check references and have the person come to visit. They often hire two people so they can alternate days/weeks (college students often don't want to give up EVERY night/weekend) and so they can have a backup if necessary.</p>
 

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<p>Sittercity is great. It is convenient and I love it that you can do background checks and look at pictures and references before even initiating an interview. We found our FT nanny on there but you can find a person for any number of hours you want. You just specify what you are looking for and then caretakers who are interested in that schedule contact you. You can search caretakers yourself but I found it easier just to look at the people who reached out to me.</p>
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<p>But for your circumstance, especially since you might like to save money, I think the childcare swap is a great suggestion. I know my neighbor, for example, watches her son's friend (same age) when the girl's mom, who is also a single parent, needs last minute care in the eves. It's great for all bc the kiddos can play and entertain each other. It's less complicated to just pay someone to come in, but if your budget is feeling tight and you have the time, a swap gives the kids social time and has a nice community feel.</p>
 
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