I grew up in the 80’s, raised mainly by my mother. My mother never had much of a social life, in fact, I don’t remember her ever going out. Surely, she did from time to time, but I have no recollection of it. And obviously, the Internet didn’t exist back then. The resources I have as a mother now outweigh any she had back then.
I know my grandmother would watch us kids whenever my mom had something going on. And I do remember a young woman from our neighborhood playing with us on occasion when my mother stepped out, probably when she had to run to the grocery store or something. Other than that, we had no babysitters.
As a mother to two young girls now, I find it extremely hard to have a social life. Though I am married, my husband and I don’t do much in terms of “adult fun.” He works a lot! And we enjoy spending our weekends with our kids, we never have “date night” and we have no real babysitter. Aside from daycare, the only person who has watched my girls is my sister.
Finding quality daycare was no walk in the park. And I, like most moms, don’t leave my kids with just anyone, it was a stressful time. During the time I was looking for a daycare, I had several people say to me, “just go on Care.com.” Hearing that always makes me cringe a bit.
I understand that Care.com is a resourceful tool for many. I get that it is reputable. I get there are quality providers listed on the site. But I don’t care. My comfort level with finding a “babysitter” online is at a negative zero.
When I was looking for daycares, I had to look online. I had no choice. I went to the HHS (Health & Human Services government site) because I wanted the daycare I selected to be licensed. Also, because I wanted to see their rap sheet. I know it isn’t fair of me to believe that the HHS has a better service than Care.com, and I bet it’s equal in terms of information. BUT, if someone is going to care for my child all day, they better be licensed by the state.
I’m in the minority, I know. I get it. You’re probably reading this now thinking I’m a bit of a nut job. I’m not. I swear. There is nothing more important to me in this world than my children, so obviously I am going to make sure I find the best care for them.
I totally understand that some people have no choice but to use a site such as Care.com. Some people move out of state and have no friends and family. Some parents are single and have no choice, have no family to lean on. What are you to do? Obviously, you need help from time to time. I don’t want to negate anyone or their circumstance. I don’t want to judge anyone for using Care.com to find sitters, but I also don’t want to be judged because I am not using the site for one.
I don’t want to be judged because my comfort level is to leave my children only in the hands of the select few people I trust. And it’s not just because of trust. It’s also how my children feel about the person watching them. I don’t think I could enjoy an evening out hiring Becky from Care.com to watch my kids so the husband and I can enjoy a relaxing dinner. I want my kids to feel comfortable, just as I want to feel comfortable leaving them with someone for hours on end.
With everything in life, you have to find the balance. You have to find what works for you. What works for me probably looks and feels different from what works for you. And that’s OK. Please don’t judge. Parenting is hard. Life is hard. We’re all doing our best.