FIRST THOUGHT: It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
I’ll be the first to admit that when my good friend announced her pregnancy, I was bummed. There goes our friendship, I thought. No martinis with the mama-to-be for nine months. I bet our post-baby girls’ brunch plans will fizzle because Baby’s sick or doesn’t have a sitter. Her social-media pages will suddenly look like a Buy Buy Baby catalog. Whether the thought of kids brings the word “icky” to mind or you’re one fulfilled mama, we can all agree it takes a dang village to raise a human being. So, today, have a little patience with your pregnant friends as they navigate the most important change in their lives. And it never hurts to offer to be a surrogate martini drinker in the meantime!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 72 Percent
If you’re a mama and have missed work because you can’t find a single person to watch your kiddo, you’re not alone. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that 72 percent of employee absenteeism in America stems from child-care-related issues.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Lynn Perkins, Founder of UrbanSitter
For parents, finding a reliable and trustworthy babysitter with flexible availability is like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It almost seems mythical and out of reach. Why isn’t there a better solution, especially considering we’re connected now more than ever? Well, luckily, there is, thanks to today’s resourceful Woman to Watch, Lynn Perkins, founder of UrbanSitter, a community of trusted babysitters and nannies who are available on-demand in dozens of cities and states throughout the U.S.
The idea for her ingenious business started after Lynn welcomed twin boys into her life. (If you have trouble finding a sitter for one kid, try two.) She wondered why she couldn’t find a website like online restaurant-reservation service OpenTable that was dedicated to reserving trusted babysitters. Instead, she had to scour a variety of resources, from making tons of good old-fashioned phone calls to countless fruitless internet searches. She couldn’t find the on-demand, tech-focused marketplace for babysitters and nannies she longed for. So, Lynn, a natural matchmaker who had a history of setting her parent friends up with babysitters, decided to start her own, and UrbanSitter was born.
UrbanSitter sets itself apart by decreasing that stranger-danger feeling of finding some random sitter online. Through the site, you can hire a sitter that’s trusted among your community of friends, family and neighbors. Using your social media and contact lists, UrbanSitter identifies vetted sitters and nannies who have been highly reviewed by other parents from your kids’ school, from your neighborhood, your church or parents’ groups you may frequent.
Of course, if you’re entrusting your precious kiddo to someone you don’t know, you may need more than a neighbor’s recommendation. That’s why UrbanSitter also gives parents access to interviews with sitters, supplies background-check info and more, and even makes payment easy by allowing parents to pay online. All these built-in trust measures and the convenience add up to more impromptu date nights without parents having to reserve a sitter weeks ahead of time. And we all know hard-working moms and dads need to keep a little spontaneity in their lives.
Now the mother of three kids, Lynn says it only helps her run her company better. Not only does she understand firsthand the needs of UrbanSitter’s customers, she also understands how vital prioritizing her time is. Having kids, she notes, is a heck of a lot like running a startup: Just when you get the hang of things, everything changes. As Lynn says, “Both parenthood and running a startup keep you on your toes!”
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s quote comes from famed 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky:
“The soul is healed by being with children.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.