All moms want their kids to be in good hands when they're out, but second-time moms (or third, or fourth...) require a little bit less than newbies when it comes to babysitters.

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

There's no doubt about it, the more kids a mama has—or the older her kiddo gets—the more laid-back she becomes. And that includes her list of requirements for potential babysitters. Elaborate background checks and a letter from the sitter's third-grade science teacher? Not for veteran moms. Here are the differences between what new moms and experienced moms look for in a babysitter. The kids are going to be alright.

The Referral

New Mom: Runs a background check and needs at least five references, dating back the last 10 years.

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Experienced Mom: If a friend of a friend trusts the sitter, we're good.


Hiring Process

New Mom: Invites the sitter over a few days before any actual babysitting takes place in order to make sure baby likes her. And so she can spy.


Experienced Mom: Has the sitter come over 15 minutes early the first day (OK, 5 minutes).

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New Mom: Wants someone who can answer the battery of hypothetical questions she's prepared exactly to her liking during the (hour-plus) interview.

Experienced Mom: Hypothetical questions? Yeah, no. She wants someone who seems responsible and sane, because her kids are downright exhausting.


Giving Instructions

New Mom: Writes out a detailed list of exactly what's supposed to happen at each and every moment she's not there. No sitter—no matter how great—could possibly know.


Experienced Mom: Briefs the sitter via text after she's already gone. And if she forgets anything, the sitter will figure it out.

Against My Better Judgment

New-Sitter Worries

New Mom: Worries her child isn't going to like the sitter.


Experienced Mom: Worries her children are going to terrorize the sitter.


Keeping Tabs

New Mom: Wants a sitter who will text every half hour with updates.

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Experienced Mom: If she doesn't hear from the sitter, she assumes everything's fine.


Bedtime Expectations

New Mom: Hopes the sitter will be able to put her child to sleep for the night.


Experienced Mom: Hopes whomever watches her kids will be able to put them to sleep—for a little while. She assumes the kids are going to get up at some point during the night. It's all good.


The End Goal

New Mom: Looks for a positive role model who will engage her child the entire time she's gone.


Experienced Mom: Looks for someone who will keep her kids alive while she runs a few errands.

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