Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's tough to find good child care...

...but I was sent to a place called Care.com, and guess what? They do the work for you!

Through the wonderful women of Mom Central Consulting, I was given the opportunity to check out what is, to me, an invaluable resource.
As a parent, many of you are aware of how difficult it is to find someone to mind your children--apart from daycare, I mean. If you're a SINGLE parent, it's even more difficult, because there's no co-parent to fall back on if you need to go holiday shopping, or if you just need a break for a few hours.
Remember when we were teenagers and babysat the neighborhood kids? Yeah, kids don't much do that anymore. Not even for friends of the family. Of course, a lot of teenagers nowadays think working at any job is beneath them, but that's a-whole-nother rant for a-whole-nother day.

ANYWAY. (Mamacita, see what I left off JUST FOR YOU? heehee)

Being a single parent with a non-disabled AND a severely disabled child...well, you can imagine what it's like to find a sitter. Or maybe you can't--let me just say it's entirely restrictive. I'm not complaining; my job is to be a mother and be here to take care of my kids, and I'm okay with that. But.
I don't go anywhere. I don't date. I can't just pop over to Friend's house for a couple of hours and a glass of wine. I can't go to the bookstore and indulge myself for a few hours. If I do get invited to a party, or on a date, my acceptance ALWAYS hinges on whether or not I can beg and/or bribe some family member to watch my kids so that I can get away for a while.
Most often I get the answer, "Sorry, I have things to do."
It's okay, really, but sometimes entirely frustrating.

Then the Mother Talk ladies hooked me up with the Mom Central Consulting ladies, and they said, "Hey, why don't you check out a place called Care.Com and tell us what you think?"

So I did.
Care.com is awesome! At least from what I see so far. It's a service that allows you to search for child care, pet care, senior care, and even tutors in your area!
I was surfing around the site and noticed that under the child care postings, each person wrote a little paragraph about themselves, and then clearly noted what they might be specialized in, what age groups they're willing to take, how many children they could watch, what other duties they were willing to perform (ie light housekeeping, preparing meals, carpooling, swimming supervision and MORE!), and whether or not they had experience with special needs care and CPR (which are of utmost importance to me). You can see if the care-giver has their own transportation and how far they're willing to travel for a job, as well as a range of hourly rates.

This information I was able to get using the Basic (free!) membership--of course, you could upgrade and get more reference information, view background checks (!), and contact the person directly by email. There's a video you can watch that takes you through each step--the site is VERY user friendly.

Unfortunately there's no-one at present in my area who meets all my criteria (a couple were close, but my kids just happened to be outside their age requirements)...but I'm going to keep checking. Maybe one day soon they'll have the perfect care-giver for me.

Check it out, Care.com. You'll be glad you did.
**BONUS!!! I almost forgot! Sign up HERE to get THREE FREE MONTHS of Premium Service!
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