Chicago mom: Searching for the perfect babysitter is like online dating

For the past few months, I’ve been searching endlessly for the perfect babysitter to watch over my two toddler boys. After reaching out to friends and my social networks for recommendations with no luck, I joined a couple of babysitting sites hoping to change that. As I was going through the process, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between searching for a babysitter and online dating. Here’s my take on the entire process:

All about me (I mean us)

I understand that the first step to any online portal is a profile filled out completely. It is, after all, the first thing that people usually check out. In either case, you question how much you really need to reveal about yourself or your family. How much information is too much? Do I need to say how crazy energetic my two kids are? Is a photo really necessary? Heck, I won’t even talk to anyone if they don’t have a photo themselves. Okay, it’s settled. Must find cute photos of the kids.

Spell out what you want

Now on to the fun part! Time to paint a clear picture of the kind of person we are looking for. “Need someone who is loving, caring, trustworthy, can cook and sometimes clean. Must love dogs.” As I’m filling out this section, I can’t help but feel as if I’m looking for a relationship, instead of a babysitter.

The waiting game

Tick-tock, tick-tock. After posting the job description, the waiting game then begins. Then I begin to doubt myself after no responses are received. Why has no one responded yet? Am I asking for too much?

You’ve got mail

Ding! I receive an email saying I have a new message. Then another one comes in. Woo hoo! I never expected to get so giddy receiving those notifications. After checking out their profiles, messages are exchanged back and forth revealing basic information about each other. So far, so good.

Call me, maybe

After chatting a little bit through email, it’s time to take the relationship to the next level with a phone call. Was there any chemistry? Awkward silences? Did the conversation flow? If we seemed to hit it off, it’s time to take it up another notch!

It’s a date!

Feeling good about the conversation, we schedule a time to meet up at a public location, which means only one thing; we need to make a good first impression. Makeup? Check. Kids looks decent? Check. Prepared with questions? Check. How does she interact with the kids? Is she a natural?

The house visit

If our first date works out fine, we’re ready to invite them over to see how they interact with the boys in their natural habitat. Time to clean up and try to pretend you have everything all together. After passing this test, we are ready to commit to “seeing” each other on a regular basis. The next “date” is scheduled.

Stood up?!?!

Just when you think everything is going well, the unexpected happens. Like getting stood up. Yes, by the babysitter. No phone call, no text, nothing. Questions race through my mind. Was it something we did? Could we have done something differently? The worse thing is my son had gotten attached to her, and I felt terrible letting him know that she wouldn’t be returning.

Try, try again

Just as with dating, it may take time to find the perfect person and we can’t let one bad experience ruin our hopes. In the mean time, we’ll give it a try again and continue our quest for our very own Mary Poppins.

 How did your babysitter/nanny search go? Did you have better luck than me?
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