Good babysitters are a GODSEND. Having someone reliable, someone trustworthy, who likes your kids and who your kids like, is a real gift. And being able to offload the parenting duties for a few hours of 'me time' is not a luxury, but sometimes a necessity for a sane mind and happy parent.

Finding a good babysitter however, is not always easy, but it is worth persevering until you find one you're happy with. Ask your friends, other mums at playgroup, or call your local TAFE, and ask for students from their Early Childhood courses. Try asking one of your littlie's daycare workers or the girl from the creche at the gym. You can be sure they are vetted and trained, and your littlies already know them.

No matter how great they sound, meet potential babysitters face to face. Don't hold back if there is anything you want to know, and listen to your instinct. Satisfy yourself of the fit, be sure they know exactly what you need, and that they can deliver. And before you book the restaurant, let the babysitter come and meet your littlies. Watch their interactions, and if you're not 100 percent happy, don't be afraid to choose someone else.

The best babysitters are those willing to help out with domestic chores. If you can score one of those, you're on to a winner, but you may have to pay extra. Having someone else to prepare lunch boxes, load the dishwasher, cook dinner and fold laundry can really take the pressure off, and can be done easily enough whilst littlies are asleep or playing nearby. Please do consider doing this. It can make such a difference to your day, and free you up to do all those things you never have time for.

To be the best mum you can be, you need time away from your kids, and time away from the chores. A good babysitter will give you just that, and once you've found her, never let her go.

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