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Paying for babysitter vs relying on others

PierreBear

Brilliant_Rock
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Mar 21, 2016
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1,260
Hi PS Friends,

I'm realizing after talking to new moms that there are different philosophies. Just curious for those who have kids and needed a date night/quick vacation who don't have family nearby, do you first go straight to paying for a baby sitter or do you first ask your community/neighbor/friends? When asking others to help out, are there boundaries of how frequent?

Thanks for sharing!
 

Snowdrop13

Brilliant_Rock
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Aug 27, 2011
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1,857
I live in a small community and when my kids were small there was a babysitting "circle" you could join. Everyone had a certain amount of hours they could have and took turns doing the actual sitting. Seemed to work well. I was very reluctant to let anyone look after my kids when they were babies but once they were a bit older I was more relaxed. Other options for us included staff at the nursery we used, they were often keen for the extra cash!
 

telephone89

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 29, 2014
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3,794
I wouldn't ask a neighbor/friend/community member to watch my kid for free...ever. That seems so rude to me. It's one thing if it's an emergency (which I would still offer payment or dinner or something), but purposely planning a night our or a vacation and trying to pawn your kid off on someone else is selfish sounding.

Take this with a grain (or truckload) of salt, as I don't have kids.
 

canuk-gal

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 19, 2004
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20,546
HI:

I never presumed on friendships or relatives. I paid for babysitters and wouldn't consider doing anything else. Fortunately I had colleagues whose children were looking for $$ and were very reliable and close by. Between three families their children were my "babysitters" until my son was old enough to be left alone by himself. All of those babysitters are University graduates (with families) now!!

cheers--Sharon
 

baby monster

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 2, 2007
Messages
3,631
This must be a regional thing as I don't know anyone who would ask their neighbors to watch the kids. It's either a family member or closely screened paid help.
 

purplesparklies

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Sep 28, 2010
Messages
743
We have no family nearby and never have. I asked a neighbor who was also a good friend to watch my children during the visitation and funeral when my mother-in-law passed away. As a stay-at-home mom, I had never needed a babysitter and didn't have time to do a search and interview. That was the only time I asked a neighbor and we actually gave them a very nice thank you gift afterward.

Once my boys were a bit older and I found a babysitter with whom I felt comfortable, we hired a babysitter when the need arose. I never again asked a friend or neighbor. That is a huge favor to ask and I would not be comfortable doing so. If there is a group who trades off babysitting services, that is different as all involved have chosen to participate in that arrangement.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

momhappy

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 3, 2013
Messages
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Unless it was an emergency, I would never ask a neighbor or friend to babysit. In most cases, I won't even ask family to babysit. I think it feels awkward. I generally pay for childcare when needed. I hire long-term sitters and not just random people that come in and out of the house for a night.
 

diamondseeker2006

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55,617
I would have never let a stranger watch my kids ever, so they were not left with anyone as babies because we had no family nearby. As they were older, we did hire teenagers whose parents we knew for occasional nights out, etc. Vacations are a family occasion for us, and we always took our kids and still do at least once a year. We have plenty of years to go away alone now that the youngest child is in college. I do help babysit our oldest daughter's little girls, and I do that because I love them and choose to. Still at 2 and 4, the parents have maybe gone away overnight once. I imagine they may do that a couple of weekends a year once the girls are older. She uses a neighborhood teenager for occasional short dinners out, etc. But my daughter would never leave them overnight with anyone else until they are old enough to have good friends whose parents are their friends. You cannot be too careful.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
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5,765
We haven't made a lot of friends where we are now. If we had close friends who also had kids, I'd imagine we'd trade off. Otherwise, we have a babysitter we use.
 

Puppmom

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Jun 25, 2007
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For me, it's a combination...we currently have a nanny and pay her obviously. My mother in law also helps with childcare although infrequently now and more for obligations than dates. I have a 21 year old daughter who will also help here and there. Her kids stay home with her boyfriend will she watches my boys for a night out maybe once per month. I pay her. There's a group of young families in our neighborhood and we're all available to help each other out but I've never asked any of them to watch my kids - it just hasn't been necessary. My boys are now 6 and 3 and we've never been away without them.

A friend of mine lives in very tight knit small community now (she used to live in a big city) and was surprised when one of her neighbors asked if she could watch her kid every day after school since "she's home anyway".
 

ruby59

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 5, 2004
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3,553
I would never leave my children with anyone except trusted family members.

You never know, even with neighbors and friends, until something happens.

Not worth the risk. If neither mom could watch them, we stayed home.
 

Elizabeth35

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
366
I had kids in late 80's with no family around.
We paid neighbor (teenage girl) to babysit once a week for date night. She was extremely responsible and we knew her parents.
We paid her well.
I also would occasionally swap child care with mom friends who had kids who were friends with my kids. Such as---I will watch your two kids so you can go to doctor appointment and you watch mine similarly. But I was very cautious and probably over protective.
We NEVER left our kids to go on vacation by ourselves. My upbringing was such that you either all go together or you don't go.

That being said---I would say it is important for parents to prioritize their relationship and make it a point to have some couple time.
Either hire a babysitter or swap with a friend. It really is important to have time together away from kids.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 12, 2005
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17,749
These are such interesting responses!

We did not have a babysitter nor leave our baby (we have one now-4-year-old) with ANYONE EVER until she was maybe 8 months old? My husband was just too concerned about something happening. We found a regular babysitter and my mother would sometimes visit for a couple of hours here and there after she turned a year old just so I could run errands for an hour-hour and a half. The first year was definitely the hardest.

After that, we loosened up a bit and started trading off with a couple neighbors who had small children. Those relationships/trade-off systems are still in good standing today. We have friends with grown children who OFFER to watch our daughter, and that works sometimes, but we don't ever assume or ask those friends to babysit. I have taken care of neighbors' and friends' children when they were in a pinch for a sitter and once when one of our neighbors was a single parent briefly and could not afford to put both of her children at daycare for a week while she worked during their spring break from school.

When our daughter was about 2.5-3, we had an amazing offer from the daughter of one of our friends. She is the youngest child (she's now 18, so was about 16 back then) of 3 siblings, and her family fostered children for almost all of her life. They are just awesome people in general who have an abundant life and enjoy sharing their wealth by volunteering and giving of themselves. When the mother told me "Oh, R will babysit for free!" my jaw literally dropped. It was such a sweet offer but we paid her well above what she'd been used to making per hour babysitting anyway. We would not have felt right not paying her and would have felt as though we had taken advantage of her kindness.

The neighbor/friend thing works for us because we KNOW most of our neighbors and spend time with them frequently. When we have parties or impromptu get-togethers, we invite them, and vice versa. We watch each other's homes. Just the other night I got a text from my neighbor across the street at about 9 p.m. telling me her husband was going to knock on our door because he'd noticed our garage door was open and he'd seen a skunk go inside. (We are all on skunk patrol but that's another story for another thread!) He did come over and indeed, there was a baby skunk scuttling around the garage that just sort of nonchalantly sauntered away when we kind of crept over to the garage to see if he was still in there! We also do hand-me-downs and toy trades in the neighborhood--it feels like a true "village" as in "it takes a village" for us, so that's a major factor in our feeling comfortable trading off with babysitting. It's not for everyone, and if my husband wasn't a total extrovert I may not have these close relationships with my neighbors, but it does work for us.

As far as vacations or quick trips--we've done both and we've used combinations of paid sitters and family/neighbors. One example is when we did a quick weekend trip to Chicago for a wedding when she was 2. We had limited funds at that time, kids were not allowed at the wedding, and there was no way I was going to miss one of my best friends' weddings and also no way I was attending without my husband. My awesome husband orchestrated childcare for the entire weekend, down to printing itineraries and lists for all involved. We used texts, FaceTime, Skype, and obv phone calls to stay in pretty constant contact with everyone. He had built-in failsafes and backups every step of the plan. We had (iirc) 2 neighbors, one set of grandparents, and 1 paid sitter working together to give us 48 hours of freedom from parenting that weekend and it all went off without a hitch. I thought it was nuts and would never work, but with the "village" contributing on so many fronts we made it work.

Vacation--we take her with us and it is awesome! Nooooo way would we travel with her and leave her with anyone at a hotel or other childcare situation (Madeleine McCann's case still unsettles me) and I'm so glad we have shared travel experiences with our girl not only for the memories but so she is exposed to travel from a young age.

That was a terribly long-winded post but apparently I have a lot to say about this, currently being in the throes of child-rearing!
 

Tacori E-ring

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2005
Messages
20,037
I have used paid babysitters in the past (when I lived far from family) but now only use family (my mom or my sister). I also help with my sister's kids so it works for both of us.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Apr 30, 2005
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IMO the character of the individual watching your kids is WAY more important than whether you are paying them.
 

anne_h

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Jun 13, 2005
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We have no family around either.

We go straight to babysitter. One of the people from our kids' daycare was a trusted and reliable resource.

Once, we had an event that I reaaaally wanted to attend, and our sitter called in sick. So I asked a former neighbor who loved our kids. They were in bed most of the time.

I would pinch-hit babysit for someone I knew, if asked.

Our oldest is almost old enough to watch his sisters... So hopefully soon he will be able to help out.

I think I may be what we call a free-range parent (?) I like our kids to have what I feel are age and maturity level appropriate experiences and responsibilities. My husband is the more cautious parent of us two.

Anne
 

momhappy

Ideal_Rock
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Mar 3, 2013
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kenny|1470794308|4064115 said:
IMO the character of the individual watching your kids is WAY more important than whether you are paying them.
I agree and I thought about this when reading another post about only leaving the kids with family members because you can't trust any one else. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I have long-term sitters that I would trust more than I would some very close family members :lol: I can laugh about, but it's actually the truth.
 

Puppmom

Ideal_Rock
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Jun 25, 2007
Messages
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Momhappy, I'm so with you! I'm way happier with our paid nanny than I was with MIL. Not that my kids weren't happy and safe in her care... There are other family members I would never leave my children alone with though!

DH and I made our children our life and allowed our relationship to become second priority. I regret that and wish we integrated paid help into our childcare network sooner so we could have more time together.
 

AdaBeta27

Brilliant_Rock
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Sep 7, 2004
Messages
906
In my family, educated, Protestant and Jew, dual-career couples, you get a nanny or a babysitter or a daycare because your kid is your own responsibility and nobody else's. Also, each generation has followed the money and the career paths out of their declining hometowns and on to more prosperous locations. There are not generations of family or huge extended families living near each other now. Women who have careers work well past retirement age, because they like their careers. Ain't no Bubby the Babysitter going to give Mama free babysitting service here. My mother says that back in the small-town days, families took care of their own. Small town people in this region still do that, because all the women are poorly educated and children and homemaking are still the center of their lives.
 
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