Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Search for a Caretaker

Wanted: Responsible and experienced caretaker to take care of a infant two to three days per week. Non smokers only, English and/or Hebrew speakers. References and interviews a must.

The response I got to this ad varied from actually experienced pediatric nurses and caretakers, to grandmothers who wanted something to do during the day and to earn a little extra income, to teenagers who thought babies were "cute" and "adorable", and who wanted to use my little Raphaela as their social experiment.

One person recommended her room mate, who is unemployed at the moment but has some experience with slightly older children in a previous job incarnation. She wrote, "If I had a baby, I would trust her with my child."

All niceties aside, I challenge any man or woman who has not yet had a child to casually recommend a caretaker, no matter how good and responsible the person may be by grown-up standards. Raphaela is my treasure, I will not entrust her to just anyone. Even if the babysitter comes to my home and watches her while I work, even when I am on-site.

From the many responses I received, I singled out four to five of the candidates, and start interviewing later this week. I should also start pumping, because the sitter, whoever she is, will most likely have to take care of one feeding, and I prefer that Raphaela get my milk rather than formula.


Commenter Abbi said...

Seriously, the best is word of mouth and a rec from someone you know. Also, hang out at parks and ask other mothers and even caretakers you see and like.

Good luck

Amy Charles said...

Good for you.

One thing I found is that while most adults who answer these ads will be physically careful with the baby, they vary highly when it comes to reliability in showing up, and they tend to give short notice. So it's worthwhile to have a pool of backup caregivers, and also to ask about how long they spent caregiving regularly for other families.

Then, when you check the references, ask how regular "regular" was -- did they actually show up as scheduled, or did things get flexible and so it amounted to 2-3x week, overall? If you're going to rely on this person so you can work, that'll be important to know.