When the babysitter doesn’t turn up, things have to change

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A good quality, decent childminder your kids love is worth their weight in gold. A childminder who will also babysit at the weekends is worth even more. Unfortunately, they’re also hard to find.


babysitter, babysitters, childminder, childcare,
There was a lot of looking at watches and scratching of heads the other night.

Mrs Adams and I presently find ourselves on the look-out for someone who can help us out from time to time with ad-hoc childcare and babysitting. It’s a bit of a sad situation, but someone we relied upon for many years has become so successful with a new venture that she is no longer available to us in the way she was.

This isn’t a bitter parting of the ways. I could see it coming and I’m very happy for her, she deserves the success because she is, frankly, brilliant at what she does.

Things came to a head the other day. Mrs Adams and I were supposed to be going out for the night and Susan had agreed to babysit. The time for her arrival came and went. After 15 minutes I called Susan and left a voicemail. After 30 mins I got a text message back. Apparently she had sent me a text message that morning saying she’d be unable to make it (I never got it).

Well this was interesting. The kids were keen to see Susan and Mrs Adams and I were dressed up in our finery and wearing perfume / aftershave respectively.

We ended up letting the kids stay up late and had a take away. It was rather like a normal evening with fattier food, better scent and more excitable kids.

Alas, this was a sign that times had changed. There had been one or two other signs Susan was getting busier and busier. The no-show merely confirmed to me that we’d need to look elsewhere in future.

There is another brilliant childminder called Andrea we’ve been increasingly using as Susan’s workload elsewhere has increased. In fact, without Andrea’s support, my recent trip to Australia would have been impossible. She did most of the school runs and collections and gave the kids breakfast most mornings. Andrea will babysit when available and Izzy, our youngest daughter, adores her.

With two young children of her own, however, Andrea has other pressures on her time. We can’t simply rely on one person and so the search begins for another, worth-their-weight-in-gold babysitter.

There are two further elements to this that complicate my family’s situation. Firstly, my extended family lives 100 miles away while Mrs Adams’ is 400 miles away. We have no support from family members whatsoever.

Secondly, as I am a stay at home dad and Mrs Adams has always been a full-time working mother, we are not, as a family unit, plugged into a large network of mum friends.  The result; we are more reliant on paid-for childcare than most families.

In truth, I have a small and excellent network of mum friends (and even one or two dad friends) who will step in if we need emergency childcare at short notice. I have always done the same whenever possible. This is, after all, a two-way street and I feel the pain of other mums and dads when they get stuck for childcare.

As I say though, my network is smaller. We often have no choice but to buy-in childcare and babysitting support when we need it.

The search begins today. I have a few ideas and leads to follow up. I also wish Susan the very best of luck in future.  She’s excellent and I hope other families benefit from the childminding services she provides.

And then the fun began...

5 thoughts on “When the babysitter doesn’t turn up, things have to change”

  1. Mm. I would have been a bit cross that the babysitter had cancelled on the day and only by text message without checking to make sure you’d got it. Understandable if a family crisis or something on her part I guess and I can’t comment on that without the context but it must have been a disappointment. Childcare at weekends is a bit of a minefield for sure. I have used babysitters a handful of times, including a friend, our childminder and another childminder who I met through the toddler group I used to go to which was run by and for childminders (such a brilliant way to get to know a network of potential babysitters!). I think my mother in law came once but she is in her 70s and likes to be in bed by nine so that’s not exactly the answer! My mum used to be part of a ‘babysitting circle’ when me and my sister were little which I have always thought a brilliant idea – essentially a group of families had a roster and they took it in turns to babysit for each other without any money having to change hands. They have remained lifelong friends with most of those people. Obviously that would never work for me now I’m a single mum – pft! I hope you find someone good and reliable to help you out soon in any case, Thanks for linking up with #thetruthabout John

    1. Yeah, I will remain a dignified silence on whether I felt it appropriate to cancel by SMS and not cheek the message had been received! A babysitting circle sounds like such a good idea. I’m goping ot explore this and see if one exists among our circle of friends.

  2. Carol Cameleon

    Crikey, frustrating to say the least, I’d have been very disappointed… We’ve been extremely fortunate with childcare over the years and our little girl still goes to the same childminder in the school holidays. They are passionate, have their own families so know the score, and are very affordable. Our little girl simply adores going to them and has made, quite possibly, life-long friendships from a few of the other children, which is lovely to see. When she becomes to old for childcare, I will be blubbing away, that’s for sure. I do hope you find someone that you and your wife, and your girls like; because that’s half the battle isn’t it? #TruthAbout

    1. Thanks Carol, finding good quality childcare is such a nightmare isn’t it? We have been so lucky to date. I guess it’s great for our chosen provider she is doping so well, but a shame for us!

  3. Similar to Sam, we used to have a baby sitting circle that actually I set up – we would earn 1 point for every 30 minutes of sitting and then could use them when we needed the favour returned. It worked out really well for a while. It’s a pain having to go out and babysit at times but it was free and actually, sometimes nice to have an evening in with no chores to do! Good luck.

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