Meet Katie, a sitter for Helpr

Meet Katie, a sitter for Helpr

Please briefly introduce yourself!

I grew up in Chicago and have been dancing since I can remember. I started babysitting in high school. It was a great job for me because I could balance it while dancing. I have travelled and lived abroad for dance and during that time I continued to babysit as an extra source of income. I think dance and babysitting have a lot in common because there is a lot of nonverbal communication.

When did you start babysitting with Helpr, and why did you decide it was something you wanted to be apart of?

I started around 9 months ago because I was in New York for a dance-related event. A friend of mine got babysitting jobs with Helpr in New York, and encouraged that I try it. I had babysat through Care.com and wasn’t having luck. With Helpr, I was getting jobs immediately, which was amazing.

Can you tell me a bit about your childcare background?

I have been babysitting for 10 years. The first family I started nannying with was a 6-year-old and 10-year-old, so it was a lot of driving to their events and meal prep. Then I started to work with kids under 2, and it has been something I have really enjoyed. I have had about three long-term nanny jobs with infants and I am always so honored because I have been the first person to be with them aside from their parents. I also teach children’s dance classes which has given me more experience with kids.

What do you like most about being a sitter?

I love being a sitter because the work is so playful and creative. Kids have great imaginations, which makes everything fun. The kids that I work with believe that the little things in life are meaningful. They have such great appreciation for everything, which is always a good reminder for me to apply to my life. I also like that babysitting reminds me to be present. It forces me not to have my phone and I end up enjoying my time much more because I feel connected.

What makes Helpr different from other platforms?

Helpr is different than other platforms I have tried because they truly make you feel like you’re a part of a team. They guarantee that their sitters are screened and high-quality, which is especially important when I’m working in a big city. Parents who use Helpr know right off-the-bat that they’re getting a quality caretaker. I also like that Helpr lets me book jobs via an app, just like Uber. It makes looking for jobs easy because Helpr notifies me when a booking is available and I have the choice to either accept or decline based on my schedule. I have tried other platforms like SitterCity and Care.com, and I didn’t find them as convenient and user friendly as Helpr. I also didn’t have much luck finding jobs because the parents would have to manually choose me, but since all the sitters on Helpr are extensively screened beforehand they trust me to be assigned to any family. It is also great to be working with a company that is led by women!

What is your ‘go-to’ or favorite activity to do with the kids you babysit?

I love to dance and listen to music when I babysit. I love to get the the kids moving through dancing and performing. I also love to play and take the kids outside whenever possible! I think playing games and having picnics outside is so fun and special.

What have you learned about yourself since working alongside children?

I really enjoy the way I operate with children. I feel like I am present and operate from a more grateful and playful state. In “normal life” it’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed, but when I’m around children I don’t want to bring that to the table. From working alongside children, I am learning how to carry this into my outside life. Children are great teachers!

What has been the most rewarding Helpr experience? Can you tell me about a time where you felt like you were really able to help a family in need?

I always feel very rewarded when the child gives you their ‘stamp of approval’. It takes time for the child to start to trust you and when you finally reach that point it's quite rewarding. For example, I babysat two kids for two full days. The first day everyone was unsure and nervous, but by the second day the kids were excited to see me come back. It felt good to earn the kids’ and parents’ trust. This family was also new to the area, so I enjoyed helping them feel more adjusted in the area.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I imagine I will still be dancing and hope I will still be working with kids in some way. It’s crazy to think maybe I will have my own kids by then.  

Meet Lukas, an employee at Snap and parent of two kids

Meet Lukas, an employee at Snap and parent of two kids

We sat down with Lukas Blakk, Mobile Release Manager at Snap, to learn about how back-up care impacts her work and family life.

How many kids do you have? How old are they?

We have a 12 year old and a 3.5 year old.

How long have you been at Snap and in what position?

I'm a Mobile Release Manager and have been at Snap for over a year.

Can you describe what finding backup childcare was like before Helpr? Did Snap offer anything?

We got our 3-year-old within a month of my start date at Snap, so I didn't have experience finding backup childcare. It was a blur of getting him to California from the East Coast, finding the right preschool, and then figuring out how to get alone time with my partner. Snap offered Helpr from the get-go so it was an immediate, and very welcome, relief to have such a service.

Does your partner work?

Yes, she's the provost for an arts college and extremely busy.

How often have you used Helpr since it's been offered to you as a benefit? Can you provide any specific examples of how you used it? (i.e. critical backup care, date night)

It's been critical on a couple of days where my youngest's preschool was closed. Helpr also gave us a couple of times to rest and recover from the deep dive into preschooler parenting. Getting a Helpr for the first time to take ourselves to brunch and to the spa for an hour was invaluable to our sanity in the first few months. Another time, his preschool was closed but I had a meeting in Cupertino with Apple that I absolutely could not miss. Helpr was there to save the day.

Would you be less productive at work without Helpr? How?

Knowing I can book a Helpr in a pinch is definitely key to feeling like I won't disappoint my team.

How important is wellness to being both a present parent and employee?

Super important to me! I'm not as young as some of my co-workers and I have a lot of need to be efficient in my work, but also really present with my family. Being able to have flexible hours is huge (Snap is great for this) but so is having extra benefits that support me in providing time for myself and my partner when we need to rest.

My partner and I also don’t have parents nearby. So in many ways, Helpr offers a benefit that’s similar to having family in-town, because we can call on Helpr in a moment’s notice.

Meet Ashley Mason: Featured Santa Barbara Babysitter

I grew up in a tiny town between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, California. A place so small there are only two high schools in the entire county. I am the oldest girl of three in my family so you could say that this is what started my journey in being a babysitter. I decided to move to Santa Barbara 4 years ago to get an immersive college experience but what I didn’t expect was to fall so in love with this beach town. Currently, I'm a drop-in babysitter and love it. 

What did you love most about being a kid?

When I was a kid I loved school and/or being in charge. I remember begging my mom to allow me to go to summer school when I did not need to so that I could continue going to school throughout the summer.  During the year, the school librarian would come by my classroom almost daily to remind me she was there and encourage me to come and get a new book to read that day. One of my favorite accomplishments was having read the most words throughout the year in the fifth grade - even beating out the smart boys.

 

What are you most excited to share with kids you babysit for?

I am most excited to share my knowledge. I love when I teach a kid something new and they are able to retain that information with them forever. It’s fun having a friendship with such a tiny person because they get excited so easily which makes me excited. I think when they see that I am interested to play with them and let them take the lead, they have more fun exploring. 

Why do you like most about being a sitter?

I like being able to work with lots of different families. I have met people from all over the United States and it always intrigues me to learn about their different parenting styles. It is very interesting to see how kids from different areas reflect their regional culture. Meeting new people all the time is really fun for me.

 

What have you learned about yourself since working with children?

I have learned that it’s okay to embrace my emotional side. With children, their emotions are always so big. If they fall down it is the worst thing that could ever happen to them and they cry and cry. On the opposite end though if they get 100% on their spelling test, they are ecstatic and nothing could make them happier. As an adult I feel that society encourages us us to suppress emotions, but since I'm around children so often, it's taught me to embrace the natural ups and downs. 

Favorite activity with kids:

Definitely arts and crafts. Kids are so creative. Teaching kids new ways to create then have them show it off to their parents first thing gives me a great feeling.

During solo time, you’ll find me:

Either watching Grey's Anatomy or catching up with my friends and family who live far away.

I can’t live without:

A full night’s sleep.

My favorite sitter as a child:

My Auntie Stephanie. My younger sister and I spent many summers at her house. She taught us to bake and sew.

In 5 years, I'll be:

Hopefully more established in my career goals and more clear on what I want in the long term. I hope to have traveled more and lived in a few more places. 

3 non-essential items that help carry you through your day:
Chapstick, glitter, and knowing that I have my bed to go home to at the end of the day.