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Have you seen those nature documentaries that show how a bird fluffs up its coat of many feathers and does some backwards crazy dance on a tree branch to attract a mate? Or the fish that creates beautiful artistic display on the ocean floor, timed perfectly between the tides, also to attract a mate? 

 

I’m betting that if you’re reading this blog, you’ve already attracted a mate and likely have produced offspring, which is why you may need this guide to teach you one of the most fundamental of all courtship rituals: finding a new babysitter. 

 

Top criteria: gotta have access to a car. And a license to drive it. I love the neighbor girl who will wander over if I I’m in a home-based crisis, but on the regular I need a sitter that can get herself AND MY KIDS from A to B. I’d prefer her to have parents that are better off than we are so she has a newish, highly safety rated, large scale SUV. Now that we are out of the carseat stage - a HUGE milestone that you should immediately put in the baby book: "Ashlyn’s carseat was removed today!” - it’s a lot easier to spontaneously have someone else do the run to soccer or theatre or football (flag, don’t @ me). 

 

Second criteria: gotta be amused by kids. If you don’t get a kick out of these little humans, no regular schedule with a fairly generous hourly wage in the world can make it worth it. If you don’t think they’re cute, don’t bother taking our calls. We need you to swoop in and love them up while we are not at home, and you can’t do that if you find them annoying. Sometimes annoying, yes. Regularly? Nope. Thank you, Next!

 

Final criteria, and this one’s big: you have to encourage the kids to do their (minimal) chores and you have to anticipate that when I come home after work or dinner or a board meeting or whatever, that I’m going to want the kitchen cleaned up. Let’s just assume that there may have been dishes in the sink and a full dishwasher when you arrived. If you go ahead and take care of that while I’m gone, I will keep you gainfully employed for the rest of your high school career. Now, keep in mind that my children can basically manage their own basic needs. When our kids were babies, the single requirement we had for sitters was to keep them alive until we got home. 

 

So, teenagers at the pool: if you see me looking at you, watching who your friends are and if you spend all your time on your phone, watching if you are nice to the little kids, watching if you get into a safe car and buckle up before you pull out into the parking lot, please know I’m not creepy. I’m just a regular mom looking for someone to take the reins every once in a while. 

 

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