Coming soon … Sharing sitters makes the world go round
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212;Most moms wouldnandamp;#8217;t dream of sharing their sitters. I kind of get it. It can be stressful and hard to find a sitter (especially this time of year!) and when you find one you love, you want them to be there for you and you alone. But, in my opinion, itandamp;#8217;s a pretty old-fashioned way of thinking andamp;#8212; and in the end, I think itandamp;#8217;s going to backfire. While it may seem counterintuitive to share your sitter, hereandamp;#8217;s how doing so can actually help you.1. Help your sitter and your sitter will help you. By sharing your sitter with your friends, youandamp;#8217;re getting that sitter business that she or he would have a very hard time getting on their own. Thereandamp;#8217;s no good way for sitters to market themselves, and theyandamp;#8217;ll appreciate your help. Your reference goes a long way in helping them get more jobs. In return, a sitter might forgo a movie night with friends if you were in a bind and you desperately needed a sitter. They might also recommend a friend of theirs to fill in if they werenandamp;#8217;t available andamp;#8212; and expand your sitter network in the process. You could even work out a deal with your sitter and say, andamp;#8220;Iandamp;#8217;ll introduce you to 3 new parents, and you introduce me to 3 new sitters!andamp;#8221;2. Help a friend and a friend will help you. There will be a time when your sitter is not available (yes, they do have lives!), and no, this does not mean that either you or your spouse has to stay home. If youandamp;#8217;ve helped a friend out in the past, those friends may feel indebted and come to your rescue in your time of need. Imagine having 10 great sitters that you could reach out to at any time. Sound too good to be true? Itandamp;#8217;s not. If you and 9 of your mommy friends all shared your sitters, youandamp;#8217;d have exactly that.3. Share your sitter and youandamp;#8217;ll go out more often. andamp;#8220;What?andamp;#8221; This is exactly why you donandamp;#8217;t share your sitter, right? Youandamp;#8217;re worried that if you share your sitter they wonandamp;#8217;t be available when you need them. But if you follow the logic above, sharing a sitter is actually going to gain you sitters in the end. And, if you have a bigger community of sitters, itandamp;#8217;s easier to find one, and thus you might decide to go out more often and more spontaneously!4. Go out more often, and youandamp;#8217;ll help your sanity and the even the economy! O.K., so maybe helping the economy is a stretch, but I think the sanity bit is definitely true. As a new mom my heart sunk when I got invited to events because I wanted to go, but couldnandamp;#8217;t deal with finding a sitter. I turned down more invitations than I should have out of laziness or anxiety. Sometimes I rationalized this decision by thinking to myself, andamp;#8220;itandamp;#8217;s expensiveandamp;#8221; andamp;#8212; and it can be andamp;#8212; but deep down, I knew if it had be easier to do, I would have jumped at more opportunities.This is the very reason we (two fellow moms and I) started UrbanSitter, an online community match service for parents and babysitters. Why should we be able to book a dinner reservation online in two minutes, yet it takes days to find a sitter? With UrbanSitter, parents use their Facebook connections and affiliations (kidsandamp;#8217; schools, sports teams, parent groups, etc.) for immediate access to a community of sitters their friends trust.For example, Lynn Perkins, one my co-founders, is a part-time resident of Squaw Valley and uses sitters in North Lake Tahoe on a regular basis. Previously, Lynn relied on a list of sitters in Tahoe that she or her friends had met. She would share this list with other Bay Area friends when they were looking for a sitter while vacationing in the area. The sitters were pleased to get the additional babysitting business and glad to know that it was a family who knew Lynn or one of her friends. Whatandamp;#8217;s more, two of the sitters Lynn met in the area years ago also referred dozens of sitter friends from Truckee, Tahoe City and Reno … and so the list of sitters grew as well. With UrbanSitter, this list will grow and the process becomes much simpler and faster.I love spending time with my child, but spending time away is really important for a variety of reasons. So go on … share your sitter, get out more often and bring back your sanity.andamp;#8212; Daisy Downs is co-founder behind UrbanSitter, a community match service for parents and babysitters who connect online through Facebook. Started in 2011 in the Bay Area, UrbanSitter will expand to the greater Lake Tahoe area in January. Sitters and parents can visit http://www.urbansitter.com to sign up and for more information.