I have a new policy – let’s call it the ‘never say no to help’ policy. Aptly named because these days – I NEVER say no to help. I’m not proud, I can use all the help I can get.
But I haven’t always been that way. After I had my first child I was making visitors cups of tea in between polite conversation and trying not to rip my stitches. More fool me. Nowadays if you offer to look after my children then expect me to whip out my diary and hold you to it. What’s that you say friendly supermarket cashier? Do I need help with my packing? I most certainly do, and if you could hold this toddler whilst you do it I’d be most grateful. How long should you hold her for? Oh, just until next Wednesday, that’d be brill. Thanks.
I’m joking, of course (or am I?) but now seems as good a time as any to reveal that I was contacted by Bubble and offered a free babysitting service and some money in return for writing this review. So if I could refer you to page 1 of my ‘never ever turn down a free babysit’ policy I think you’ll understand why I practically bit their hand off to try this new service.
If you’ve got to this point of this post and are thinking ‘but what about Nanna Mary? She will stop everything at the drop of a hat and hotfoot it over here to look after my offspring whenever I so much as need the loo?’ then perhaps this service is not for you (and what are Nanna Mary’s rates? she sounds ace).
But for the rest of us who have no Nanna Mary to speak of what do you do for babysitting? To date I have only left my children with family and one trusted ‘mothers help’ (and now, friend) who supported our family during a tricky third pregnancy. I often find myself struggling for a babysitter when the aforementioned people can’t help. Then we have to decide which one of us gets to go out (me, always me) and we never really get to go out together.
Enter ‘Bubble’ stage right. It’s essentially an app which allows you to search for babysitters in your area who are available when you need them. It shows you a picture of the babysitter and gives you some information about them. It tells you what experience they have of children, how much they charge and how far away from you they are. You have two options; you can ‘browse and book’ or ‘express book’ for those last minute ‘I thought you were organising the babysitter’ emergencies.
So we booked two days before we needed a babysitter which most people would call an ‘express booking’ but I call ‘incredibly organised’. There were two babysitters available on the night in question and I booked the first one because she has 2 boys of her own and has had previous experience of working in a nursery. As luck would have it when she arrived it transpired that Kate and I had a mutual friend and our kids go to the same school. I would say this is an incredible coincidence but we do live in Tunbridge Wells where everyone knows everyone, so to be honest it’s more of a wonder that we aren’t in some way related. Anyway, Kate was absolutely lovely, bang on time and by some small miracle the stars had aligned and all the kids were asleep when they were supposed to be. I showed her where they were sleeping and resisted the temptation to cancel my night out and have a glass of wine with Kate instead (she really was very nice) and off Mark and I trotted. It all worked very well and was completely uneventful which is exactly how you want your babysit to be.
To me the obvious advantages of this service are as follows:
-You can use a babysitter giving very little notice for very short periods of time. This service is perfect for either short one offs (think: ‘Oh no! the baby is still napping and I need to pick my child up from school but I don’t want to wake the baby because she’s been up all night and is exhausted’) OR a great solution for regular breaks away from your baby (think: ‘Oh good grief, I have twins and need to go to the supermarket to get my weekly shop/or want escape the house without needing a small suitcase to do so.) Or you may simply need an hour in the gym or a few hours to do an aerobic class (not my bag, but something people do actually do apparently).
-You can choose how much you want to spend on childcare. Rates vary – I have seen people charging from £8 – £12. It’s up to you who you choose – you might need someone with very little experience if it’s for a short period of time when a child is sleeping or perhaps you have a deadline and will be in the house anyway. OR you might want to spend a little more and get someone with a lot of expertise for peace of mind (I spotted a Norland nanny when browsing – look them up, they make Mary Poppins’s CV look woefully inadequate).
-Finally, I see it as a huge advantage that no money changes hands on the night. It avoids that painfully awkward counting out of money moment at the end of the evening. And the inevitable argument we have in the cab every single time we go out (Me: ‘did you get out enough for the sitter’, Him: ‘not sure’ *casually reaches for wallet*, Me: ‘QUICK! we’re nearly home’, Him: ‘Nope, better stop off at a cash point’ Me: *rolls eyes*, Cab driver: *rolls eyes*) That might be super specific to us but to do it all over an app on your phone is MUCH more convenient and involves MUCH less eye rolling.
In conclusion I think everyone should have this app downloaded for the ‘just in case’ times and for others it’ll be the long term solution they have been waiting for. I wish this had been around when mine were tiny – you can’t put a price on the knowledge that should you need it a couple of hours of freedom are just around the corner. Or in my case a much needed night out with my better half (*eye roll* purely for old times sake).
If you would like to try Bubble out you and get £10 off your first babysit then just enter Promo code CCWZS on the app.