Welcome back to the Moms That Inspire Series! The business I’m sharing today is a one that is close to every busy mom’s heart…a business that provides a babysitter you can trust! I’m pretty sure I have your FULL attention now ladies!
How many times has this happened to you…your favorite sitter is unavailable, moves away or you don’t know where to start looking for a sitter in the first place? You search through various resources to find a babysitter. You get recommendations from friends, go on neighborhoods sites looking, etc. but can’t seem to find someone you’re comfortable with as your go-to sitter.
We all need a sitter from time to time. I’m using the word need on purpose here because we do! We have meetings, errands, date nights, events that we attend that are adults only. I was recently in this position myself on parent/teacher conference night. I needed to be able to converse with my children’s teachers without my kids being in the room. I wanted the teachers and I to be able to speak freely because as parents these opportunities can be rare. Luckily for me I was in the process of writing this article and was able to hire the very business I’m writing about!
Why did I choose them? This business is a moms babysitting for other moms service. I would not be getting someone unfamiliar with taking care of children, I would be getting experience and the care that comes from a fellow mother. I have to say in all honesty that my husband and I could not have been more impressed with our experience.
Our sitter Kristina (a mom of 2) arrived early, asked all the right questions before we left, sent photo updates while we were away, filled us in when we returned throughly and even left a thank you note for entrusted her with our kids. She also came with crafts, games and other activities to entertain our kids. Lastly, and this speaks to the care of this lovely mom, she did not jump up and run off when we returned. She was in the middle of a card game with my kids when we arrived home and continued playing until the game was finished. This told my kids without words that she enjoyed her time with them, that they were not “work” she couldn’t wait to be done with. This did not go unnoticed by the kids or by us, it was just plain amazing!
(Our sitter Kristina pictured above with some happy kids she babysat for)
Because I have now tried this service I am even more excited to share it and the mom that started this business with you. (I was already excited because I loved the idea from the first moment I heard about it). So please join me as I talk to Sarah Bartlett-a wife, mom of 2, former teacher and businesswoman about family and motherhood, starting a business, caring for children and what she noticed in her community that sparked her business idea:
Tell me about yourself and your family:
“My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We met while I was attending John Hopkins University, where I graduated with my Master’s Degree as a reading specialist. I am blessed to be the mommy of two energetic and happy boys ages 2 and 4. Thankfully I’ve been a stay at home mom since my oldest was born just over four years ago.
My career as a teacher came to an end of the summer I gave birth to my oldest. I knew I wanted to stay at home with him until at least kindergarten and we promptly moved to Florida shortly after he was born, in 2014. My youngest was born in the winter of 2015 and I thoroughly enjoy my role is mommy of two, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss teaching.
I was born and raised in Rochester New York and always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I would make my younger brother play “school” with me as I created worksheet after worksheet of sample writing tasks for me to administer and grade! I feel extremely fortunate to have had a career that I truly loved. I worked in one school for the duration of my career and adored my principals, coworkers, students, and parents. I’ve always had a passion for working with children.
My interests have always included things my entire family can do together. I grew up in a family of all tennis players and very much enjoyed competing. I still enjoy vacationing to our family cottage located in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York where we enjoy boating, fishing, skiing, tubing, playing board games and most of all, quality family time with my entire extended family.”
Tell me about your business:
“Mommy Dazzle is the only organization that hires current moms exclusively to perform sitting services for your family. We are a team of moms working together to help other moms. Who better to watch your children that an experienced mother with an intimate understanding of what it takes to love and care for your children? The process of finding a reliable, trustworthy, and experience babysitter is a major hassle. Most parents find themselves going through a traditional agency only to find young babysitters with no real parenting experience. We created a better way!”
What made you get started in this business and how long did you think about before you did?
“About 4 years ago, I retired from my 11 year teaching career in Bethesda, Maryland and my husband and I relocated to Tampa, Florida with our son. I always struggled with the idea of leaving my baby with a total stranger. Being new to the area, it was very difficult for me to find experienced and reliable babysitters that I could trust.
Shortly after getting settled we had our second son and it became more difficult for my husband and I to spend time together, run errands, or just get some alone time without having to worry about finding a sitter.
Since we didn’t have many options and I wasn’t comfortable having a high school or college age babysitter with no parenting experience to watch my children, the options were even more limited. I became involved in a local mom’s group and soon discovered I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. So, a few of us started to help each other out by babysitting for one another from time to time.
It then became abundantly clear moms were much more comfortable leaving their children with another mom and so the journey began to build a different kind of babysitting experience for our friends and neighbors.”
Any advice for a fellow mom getting started in a new business?
“My advice for anyone getting started in creating something on their own is just to simply start. Don’t wait for the right moment, for the perfect business name, or for all the stars to align. Just begin. Take a baby step, then two more and be flexible enough to bend and turn down a path that may not be perfectly straight. I really didn’t have any intention on building this to include other moms on my team, but the client demand was there and other moms started approaching me…and it has quickly turned into something great.”
Why are you passionate about this business?
“I’m passionate about the service I’m providing because it provides so much comfort for my clients. Many of my clients have infants and are reluctant to leave their babies in the hands of teenage sitters who simply don’t have the personal experience of being a mom yet and the majority of my clients have never left their children with anyone outside of family members. I know how hard that is, I was that mom! The mom who rarely went out on a date night with my husband. The mom who fed and bathed her kids and got every little detail ready before the sitter arrived. The mom who had a sitter come AFTER the kids were already asleep. But when you know that a mom of young children herself is the one caring for your kids, that is a true game changer!”
(Kids helping their MommyDazzle sitter in the kitchen)
Why part time instead of full time, why is this right for your family?
“The business is a full-time effort while I also maintain my main role as a stay at home mom. I’m able to work remotely during a play date, while my children are happily engaged in a quiet learning activity, and during the evenings once they go to sleep. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that I’m creating something that truly helps other moms and while doing that, I get to spend precious time with my own children.”
(A play date-the sitter brought her kids to join her and the children she was sitting for)
How do you find the moms that work as sitters for MommyDazzle? How does it work with bringing their children to appointments?
“All of the moms on my team have come through referrals and word-of-mouth. Most of them have been following my site for a while and two of the moms on my team are actually clients of mine. They experienced our service and wanted to help other moms as well. Anyone interested in working with us will go to the website and click join the team. An application is then emailed. We do a background check, referral check, and then an interview.
We have several moms on our team who have school-age children and daytime babysit solo. A lot of our moms have children under age 4 and do bring their children with them to daytime babysitting appointments. All of our moms arrive solo for evening appointments. In rare circumstances, the Moms might need to bring a child to an evening appointment, but that is always communicated prior to booking. There are no surprises when working with us. We inform our clients of what to expect prior to booking each appointment.”
How do you learn about the children you sit for beforehand?
“Once an appointment is booked, usually through our Facebook page, a very thorough new family information form is sent to the client. We gather information on their children and their rules, expectations routines, etc. This form is then saved and sent to the appropriate sitter for each booking.”
(Another fun play date with the client’s children and the sitter’s)
What challenges have you faced in your business?
“The main challenge I’m facing is with more demand than I can currently fill. We are actively hiring moms who are passionate about caring for children to join our team. Being able to work as much or as little as you’d like while also being able to bring your little one with you and having a built-in play date is a win-win!”
What are your goals as you continue with this business?
“My goal is to reinvent the babysitting experience for young families. Clearly this model works on a local level and our plan is to expand geographically into other surrounding areas of Florida and into other states as well. There’s a need for this service everywhere. There are also other services that we intend on adding to the MommyDazzle brand as we grow.”
(Two different crafts kids enjoyed with their sitters)
What areas do you service?
“We are growing! Currently we service Westchase, Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, Citrus Park, Carrollwood, Clearwater, Odessa, Land O Lakes, Trinity, South Tampa, St. Pete’s and surrounding areas.”
(One of the MommyDazzle sitters and her family. You’re getting REAL moms!)
What has surprised you about motherhood? What gives you the most joy and the most challenge?
“I always knew I wanted to be a mom and I’m forever grateful for the modern science that made that dream possible for me. I didn’t particularly feel connected to infants or toddlers, but I did very much enjoy adolescence aged children and knew I’d be a “good” mom once my kids reached middle school. What has surprised me the most is that I have absolutely enjoyed every stage my children have gone through (granted my oldest is 4). I didn’t expect to be comfortable with a newborn right from day one, but… I was. I didn’t expect to enjoy the early years of learning to walk and talk…but I did! I really didn’t really expect to have the patience for dealing with 2 and 3 year-old tantrums,…but I do! And I didn’t know if I’d have the energy for all the “questions” of a four-year-old,…but I have!
(A client’s child enjoying outdoor time with his sitter)
I feel beyond blessed to be raising my two boys with my husband and finding time to enjoy each other alone is challenging, but taking a step back and enjoying every day moments is something I’m so very thankful for.”
What would you want your children to know about why mommy does what she does?
“Our family is very entrepreneurial. My husband has started several companies and we are working as a team on this particular venture. Everyone in our family likes to solve problems, create things, and put them out there into the world. I want to set that example for my children.”
A big thank you to Sarah for sharing this business with us today. I felt there was no righter time than now to share this business with you because the holidays are here! I suspect there will be parties and events that are not kid friendly in your future.
For my local readers I want to give you this idea to solve the “What do I do for a sitter?” conundrum we all face this time of year. You can find Sarah’s business, MommyDazzle on the company website https://mommydazzle.com/ or on the company Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/mommydazzle/ to get more information or to book a sitter.
(An example of pleased clients- Justin & Mollie Davis enjoying an evening out watching “Chicago” at the Straz Center while MommyDazzle takes charge back at home…this could be you)
I’ll see you next week for Mom-spiration Monday. I’ll be sharing another business that really sparkles! The woman behind the business…she sparkles too! Janet