Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Babysitters and Nights Out

Yes, my life has changed since I started writing this little blog of mine!  Kevin and I had just started dating when I started writing back in July 2009.  My blog has seen me through dating, engagement, wedding planning, wedding, being pregnant and now life with Molly Anne.  It is a true diary for me and for us and I can't wait to print it one day to be put it in a big three ring binder...or many three ring binders.  Crazy and I love it!

So let's talk babysitters...something I never thought I'd be discussing here!  But why not?!  

I was sort of against having a babysitter before Molly Anne was 6 months old.  I was a first time Mama who had no clue what I was doing.  I certainly couldn't trust someone else to take care of my babydoll.  Right or wrong, I was a huge worry wart (and still am!)!  

Now that she is 6 months old (I have no idea how I decided on 6 months) I felt much better about having someone other than family or Ms. Becky take care of her.  A few weeks ago some of my girls and I were talking about babysitters and how much to pay them and where to find one etc and I thought to myself, I'm going to get one of these girls lined up to watch Molly Anne!  So, I texted a gal from the neighborhood, Kathryn.  I'm friends with her Mom, she's babysat for my friend Lisa's kids and she has 9 other siblings so she's taken care of kids, a lot.  

She was available for the following Saturday night so we planned a night out with friends!  She came over after 7 so Molly Anne was already in bed.  All she had to do was hang out with Mills.  I think Mills was most excited of all of us to have Kathryn there haha!  So yeah, basically Mills got a babysitter for the night!

Let's talk cost - I really had no clue what to pay.  Infants are harder than older kids especially if they have to feed or bathe them or both.  I've heard anywhere from $10-15/hour.  I asked my friend Lisa who had Kathryn sit for her a lot (Lisa has two older children) and she said $12/hour and they round up to the next hour if they come home at like 11:15.  When we went to pay Kathryn, I just told her that I talked to Lisa and she said $12/hour.  She said yes usually I charge $10-12/hour.  So there you have it.  We were out from 7-11pm so we gave her $50 and called it a day.  Does this seem right in your area?  I know friends that pay more than this and that pay less.  I think it depends on the time of day, what they have to do and how many children.  

Yes we have Kevin's parents in town and tons of friends that would gladly watch Molly Anne for us and we cannot express how thankful we are for that!  Some of my fondest memories growing up are when my brother and I had a babysitter.  My parents went out with another couple most Saturday nights and we would go hang out with their kids too.  I can't wait for Molly Anne to get to do that with our friend's kids!

Oh and on going out when you have kids...  Kevin and I think it's important.  One of my co-workers told me awhile ago that if he and his wife weren't happy, then their kids wouldn't be happy.  Isn't that the truth?  Going out to dinner or hanging with friends sans kiddos is a good thing in our book.  And we had such a good family weekend this past weekend.  We spent every moment with Molly Anne that she was awake and had the best time.  And Kevin and I got some time together.  Win win!

Do do you feel about having a babysitter?!       


  1. Love this post, and I'm going to keep checking back because I'm really curious about the going rate for sitters around the country! We are lucky to have my mom in town once a week almost every week, so sometimes our "date nights" are on the evenings she is here. Even if we just go sit up at a bar while they are preparing our to-go order, it usually makes us feel very April/Ian instead of Mama/Dada which is so important.

    I know we've talked about this personally - but we typically pay $12-15/hour depending on if Camille is awake ($15) or asleep ($12). When we have two kids, I guess this may change? When I have someone really important to us come over, like my cousin in college, she just automatically gets $15/hour. :) And obviously, if a sitter has a going rate that she is comfortable with, then that takes precedence.

  2. I think babysitters are super important too. We have used one since my son was one. She has been with us for 11 years. We pay a little more than your rates but she is an adult, has been with us for years and we have major food allergies.
    My only tip would be don't be cheap with your sitters. They are taking care of your most valuable family member. If you treat them well, they will go the extra mile for you. Sounds like you are already treating them well!!

  3. Love this! I feel like I'm ready to have a babysitter come sit for Leo and I mainly just want to do it so we all learn to get comfortable with other people helping....but I don't have a sitter lined up so I need to find a few. Most of my friends here in Los Angeles pay their nannies $15-$20, but i do think if the baby is sleeping, the price should be a little less....turns a night out into a very pricey shindig but I agree with you and Kevin that it is superrrrr important!

  4. We haven't yet used a babysitter for a night out, but we have a babysitter during the week for Z. We pay for an after school program that has her from the last bell til around 5 pm. Then we have her babysitter (a college jr with a car) pick her up and stays til 7 when we get home. We pay her $15 an hour and it's worth EVERY penny. We had her booked for an evening in December for holiday party stuff but canceled it when an emergency came up, but I'm sure we'll use her this semester too for a date night here or there.

    Good news -- Z has a b-day party on Friday so we're squeezing in a date night while she's with her friends!

  5. OH also -- we found her on! It was maybe $30 or so to get a one-month 'membership' and I did phone interviews and checked references, and lo and behold she's a dream and we love her. I loved using the service and totally would again.

  6. My friends in MD pay around $15 and hour and in NYC pay around $20 an hour. My job in college was to babysit and I charged $15 an hour! I guess that was a lot considering how long ago it was!

    Nights out are key to a happy family. Drives me crazy when people have kids and all of a sudden they can't go out. Doesn't seem to make a healthy marriage!

  7. I know a lot of people that just don't use sitters anymore - that's weird to me! I grew up with my parents hitting the town at LEAST 2x month and leaving us night a nice teenager or collage aged sitter. I sat for kids a ton when I was in jr high/early high school and it was a good way to earn $$$ and teach me some responsibility.

  8. I think it is so good to go out! My parents came to watch SC so we could go to my husbands's holiday party, and it was such a treat! You definitely need a break and it is important to have time together as a couple. I'm glad you found a good sitter!

  9. I got paid about $15 an hour in Boston about 10 years ago. I was always asked to babysit by families of my younger brother - and then friends of them, etc.

  10. We are going to have a newborn in our house very soon and I have not thought at all about sitters. I agree that 6 months seems like a good time to leave baby with someone other than family or friends. I had no idea of the going rate either. $12-15 sounds pretty reasonable in my books.

  11. We lay differently for awake va asleep hours. If Emmy is awake I pay them $12 if she is asleep I pay them $10. This is for one kid only. I'm clueless on how to treat a second kid. We also round up to the next hour. I also ask them around 2pm that day what they want for dinner. I give them options of something easy - sandwiches, salads, pizza, etc. I've also allowed our college age babysitter to bring a friend so they aren't bored. They typically study or watch movies. I don't pay them double either. I've actually never had a babysitter (aside from my parents) put Emmy to bed. Since she goes to bed so easily for us & early enough for us I've found it makes my stress level lower, but I know this will change soon as she's older & stays up later. Oh, and I don't ask what they charge. I tell them what I pay. I had a weird experience when we were new parents of a sitter giving me a bunch of rules & it made me feel icky so I decided I'm the employer & if they don't like what I charge they can say no the next time I ask to employee them! Ps - no one has said no so I think my rates are in line with the area.

  12. I live on the Main Line, which is essentially the Western suburbs of Philly that sit along the R5 ("Paoli/Thorndale") train line. I pay $15/hour and always round up a bit when necessary. This is pretty standard for our area. I don't differentiate between wake/asleep time for my rate. I do have friends that pay a bit less, more like $10-$12/hour. My reasoning for $15:

    1. Fairly standard in our area
    2. We have ZERO family anywhere close to us (almost none in state even) so I want to incentivize them to come back again and again--it's the only way we get a social life without relying on our kind friends to help us out!

    Our high-school age sitter often brings her friend when we're out late. This is totally ok with me but I don't pay any extra for the friend. We found her through a good friend of mine; the sitter is her cousin. Do your research, find someone who you trust, and get to know their family.

    I also have an "emergency sheet" I made when she was an infant I've kept updated. It has all the relevant info--pediatrician we use, their name/address/number, info for local hospital we use, our work info/address/various #'s and emails, family and close friend info, allergies, etc. etc. This gives me peace of mind too in case there is an emergency.

    And finally, I second the "mama and daddy need to be happy for the kid to be happy" comment. This is huge.

  13. I've always paid more than other friends do simply because I have a daughter with special needs. She has OI (brittle bones) which can be traumatic for the person with her when she fractures. I also only had one person who I trusted -- outside of family and that's a different story ;) No one in our family was really comfortable keeping Catie until she was around 18 months old and could sit alone/hold her head up/etc.

    I think you just have to go with what feels right to you and find the person you can trust. Molly Anne is adorable :)

  14. Yes, I'm totally with ya on making time for you and Kev! I think it will be interesting to see where I fall on the babysitter spectrum when the time comes. Growing up, I never really had babysitters because between grandparents and extended family, my parents had plenty of people that could step in and watch me as needed. That being said, I started babysitting at 12 and made such wonderful relationships with many families and the kids I babysat and want for my kids to have that same special bond.

  15. I am 27 years old and a professional nanny & personal assistant in the Myers Park/Eastover area in Charlotte. I have never heard of being paid different amounts when a kid is sleeping vs. when they are awake. I grew up in South Charlotte and babysat throughout high school and college. I always was paid the same rate, even if the kid was sleeping. I definitely don't think that is the overall trend around here.

    Currently for babysitting (seperate from my "main family"), I charge $15/hr. Usually I end up getting paid more, $18-$20/hr, just because the families I work for are generous. They are paying for my expertise, experience, and knowing that I'll be on alert the whole time they are gone... Even if their kid is sleeping and I end up watching TV most of the time.

    Granted, I am CPR trained, have a newer model car equipped with toddler and booster seats, and have a bachelors degree... But I still think your should err on the side of being generous, and not stingy with a high school or college aged girl. The point is that you are paying for someone's valuable time to watch your most precious possession. There are still a million things that could happen, whether your child is asleep or not.

    If you had to be at work, had nothing to do, but couldn't go home, wouldn't you still want your full pay?

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