I didn’t do the working mom gig for long—only 10 weeks after my first child was born. I was a teacher at the time, the primary financial support for our household, and my husband (a full-time student) and new baby relied on me to not only pay the bills and buy the groceries, but also provide health insurance for us all. So after my maternity leave, I had to return to work and finish the school year.
But we didn’t have childcare. We had searched throughout our pregnancy, finding no in-home centers we were comfortable with and year-long waitlists at daycares. Year-long?! Babies on this waitlist aren’t even conceived yet! We were scared and confused and about to be parents.
Finally, a spot opened up at a nearby daycare, that, to be honest, wasn’t our first choice. Or even second choice. But it was something and we had to take it. Those 10 weeks came and went, and as my husband earned his degree and landed a job, I transitioned into the SAHM life. My child was fine at that local daycare for a couple months, but that experience definitely opened my eyes to how difficult it is for parents to find someone we trust to watch our precious babies.
Yet, this is the reality for working moms everywhere. Especially in the U.S. where we lack maternal (and paternal) leave policies and force moms back into the workforce when they are still recuperating from childbirth, and their babies are still very young.
Working moms also re-enter the workforce after years as a SAHM. Moms who recently divorced, were widowed, or whose spouse lost their job. Or moms who gave the SAHM gig a go and know it’s not for them. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that moms need someone responsible and caring to watch their young children, or else they can’t do their job.
Because it’s true—raising kids really does “take a village.” And that village includes nannies, babysitters, and daycares. Good ones that we can trust.
Thankfully, some companies out there are recognizing how important moms are to the workforce and working to alleviate some of the challenges they face to getting back into the workforce.
For instance, The Mom Project, which launched three years ago by former Proctor & Gamble commercial executive Allison Robinson, is said to be the “leading career destination for moms.” And in being an industry leader, The Mom Project knows that oftentimes, even if a mother lands a job interview, a giant hurdle to overcome is finding someone to watch her kids. And can she even afford to pay a sitter when she doesn’t have the job yet? So, to overcome this roadblock and get more women to job interviews, a partnership with UrbanSitter was born.
What is UrbanSitter? It’s an online database where parents can find nannies and babysitters, and where potential childcare workers can find jobs. But it’s even more than that.
“UrbanSitter searches for real-world connections and tries to replicate the old, pre-internet, word-of-mouth process,” UrbanSitter co-founder and CEO Lynn Perkins tells Scary Mommy. The site connects you with potential sitters that your Facebook friends, mommy group friends, LinkedIn contacts, or other members of The Mom Project have used. It’s basically word-of-mouth, social media style. And as we all know, the best way to find a good sitter is through a recommendation from someone we trust.
Moms don’t just leave their kids with anyone, though. I certainly don’t. Do you have experience? Will you be on your phone the whole time? Are you willing to wipe my child’s butt if he needs help? Do you know that he’s allergic to nuts and how to administer an EpiPen and that he’s a compulsive liar and will tell you that I allow him to eat 10 packs of fruit snacks for dinner? These are only a few of my concerns when hiring someone to manage my wild kids.
Of course, like any other database/search engine that finds reputable childcare, UrbanSitter uses background checks and posts parent reviews. But the site also uses video clips and data about the number of bookings a sitter has had, repeat bookings (always a good sign), how quickly they respond, and whether they have skills like CPR training or are bilingual. Also, UrbanSitter is a babysitting service for the modern age, using “real-time bookings (a la OpenTable) and payment (a la Uber),” they tell Scary Mommy.
Here’s how it works: Through its network of over 100,000 talented professionals and more than 1,000 companies, The Mom Project helps mothers find jobs. And, anyone who secures an interview through this resource will receive a $75 babysitting credit from UrbanSitter. This means they can find someone to watch their kids—for free. Also, this partnership grants every single member of The Mom Project a free first month of membership on UrbanSitter.
This is the village right here. Women supporting other women. Realizing what a mother needs to get back into the workforce. Realizing how expensive, yet essential, childcare is. And making it possible for a mother to go on that job interview and maybe land a job through which she can support her family and further her career.
It’s not just about helping women land a job, either. We need to work for companies who get that we have two jobs—the one they hired us for, and as mom at home. And who understand that our kids come first. That’s why “the opportunities you’ll find at The Mom Project are curated with progressive employers who totally ‘get it’ and are passionate about supporting and respecting working parents,” their website explains.
The folks at The Mom Project help women find part time and full time jobs. Jobs in offices and jobs working from home. Jobs with traditional 9-5 hours and flex jobs. And more and more companies are realizing that allowing women—women who are also mothers—to work flex hours, work from home, or both, means greater overall productivity. I mean, who works harder, can multi-task better, and knows how to work through sickness, noise, and exhaustion better than a mom? Nobody.
Whether you’re re-entering the job circuit after staying home with your kids for 10 years, or you’re forced to go back when they are babies for financial reasons, or you realized that stay-at-home life isn’t for you and you need a job that forces you to put on real pants and interact with adults everyday, it can be a challenge to find a job when you’ve got littles at home. Moms should know their worth and have the resources and support they need to get back in the game so they can kick ass when they get there (which they will.)
So if you’re ready to take the step and you’re asking yourself, can I do this? The answer is yes, you can, Momma. Because there are a bunch of other working moms out there, just like you. And they got your back.