I know date nights are important to keeping marriage alive in this season of life. I know it’s important to get time to myself, to go out with girlfriends or just take a quick break to let someone else do bedtime once in awhile before I become Mean Mom.
But by the time I find sitters for my doctor’s appointment or yet another inservice day at my kids’ school, I have no energy left to find yet one more sitter that probably won’t be available anyway. Plus, after having our third baby when our second was still very much a baby himself, I found there were few sitters I trusted with three littles under five.
The last few months though, one of my most stressful, consuming parenting to-dos has suddenly gotten easier. Enter, Nounou Neighbors, a babysitting connection site for KC moms, started by local mom Molly Smalley. The site also can help you find a pet or house sitter as well! I found our favorite new sitter on the first try – she’s experienced enough to handle all three of my kiddos (even at bedtime) and is super reliable. AND, she cleans when my kids are napping. Swoon.
I talked with Molly about her business and the ways it can help make moms’ lives just a little less chaotic.
Why do you think moms seem to be always searching for sitters?
The No. 1 reason new parents fail to go out is the lack of a trusted caregiver. It’s SCARY to trust a stranger with your kids. And when your kids are young – it’s hard to know what goes on when the babysitter’s there. Did they ignore my child, neglect them, say something mean to them, let them cry the whole time, rob my house, try on my wedding dress, or kick my dog? It’s unsettling to allow a complete stranger into your home while you’re gone, let alone to keep your kids safe.
What led you to start Nounou Neighbors?
You know what calms all of your stranger-danger fears? A recommendation from a friend, a cousin, or a neighbor. This is why I started Nounou Neighbors. After a bad experience where I used a babysitting service because all of my regulars were going to prom that night, my happy go lucky toddler hid from the sitter and cried upon the sitters arrival, begging me not to leave – and then she had the audacity to eat every piece of junk food in my kitchen (which was impressive, because I was pregnant, and let’s say there was a lot in there). And guess what? I didn’t have any fun that night. I felt awful, worried and guilty.
Where did the name Nounou come from?
I decided to name it Nounou Neighbors because I read the book Bringing Up Bebe before I had my first son Garrett and was fascinated with the French way of doing things. My mom always teased me and said you know you are raising your child in the US right?! Sigh..insert eye roll. They just seem so sophisticated! I even loved the sounding of the word bebe better than baby. Sounds so much more worldly than the English language. I just really wanted to name the business something clever and cute and not use the outright word nanny. Because we aren’t really a nanny connection site, but a babysitting, pet sitting and house sitting connection site. I realized nanny was a synonym for caregiver, and I felt it was a perfect fit! Then I looked up nanny in French and saw it was nounou and… voila! No pun intended! See, so much more sophisticated!
How do I find a sitter using your site?
Once you have registered to access the website and completed your profile, simply create a post seeking a sitter. You will specify the type of service needed, dates/times needed, and your location. You will then be contacted by sitters who are interested in your job. You can then simply view the sitter’s profile to see their location, age, experience, rates, reviews, etc. You can then contact the potential sitters and work out the details. We don’t take any fees, you pay the sitter directly. And you’re free to contact them without our help in the future.
How can I trust the sitters I find?
All of the sitters on my site are interviewed, trained and those that are older than 18 are court background checked in Johnson County Kansas District Court and all count courts in Missouri. They all have pictures and write ups of their experience as sitters. I’m a mom of 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 year old boys! I want all my sitters to adhere to the high standards I have for my own family. We promise to do this babysitting thing well!
How much does it cost to access the website?
Pay a one-time registration fee of $29.99. This service charge covers the conducting of interviews, sitter coaching and training and screening the sitters. Then, $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year. There is no contract or long-term commitment. Your credit card on file will be billed monthly on the day of the month you registered if you are paying by the month, or on the day of your one year anniversary if you prepay for one year of access.
How many sitters do you have signed up?
We have 80 + sitters.
What rates do your sitters charge?
They are all different depending on age, experience and number of kids the sitter is babysitting. I have done extensive research on this and in the KC and Johnson County area the going rate is around $10-$13 for one child, $12-$15 for two, $14-$17 for three and $16-$20 for four.
To find your next favorite sitter, visit Nounou Neighbors.