Hugs, kisses and waves; and then you’re out and the kids are the babysitter’s problem. Or maybe your kid cries a lot when you leave thanks to that evil separation anxiety thing, and you have to sneak out while he or she is eating the cookies you gave him so that you can forgo the crying. Either way, it’s still the babysitter’s problem. My husband and I have a very trusted babysitter (though we don’t use her much since our parents want to keep the kids most of the time), and no matter where we go, how long we are gone or what kind of mood our kids are in when we leave, she has nothing but lovely things to say about our kids.
She’s a delusional liar.
Or maybe she’s not. We do understand that our kids are much better around others than they are around us, and that’s all right. But that does not change the fact that we know our kids are not perfect and that having four of them has to be a challenge for the sitter at times. It’s sometimes a challenge for me, and I love them. But the truth is this; I babysat for a few kids when I was in my teenage years, and I know what it means when the sitter says, “They were amazing!” before hurrying out the door like she’s going to be attacked by a rabid animal. It means 1, they were great; or 2, they were tiny little terrorists that almost killed her, but she’s not about to tell you that. She’s also not telling you any of the following.
Seriously, terrified; these are not her kids. These are the children of another person, and there is great responsibility in caring for the kids of others. She is constantly terrified that someone will end up hurt through no fault of her own and you will hold her responsible. She might even care if your kids get hurt because she genuinely likes them and doesn’t want them injured.
She’s checked out the house
She knows what’s up. Most sitters won’t go through your drawers or anything that personal, but she’s walked the house, looked at the photos and she’s checked out what’s going on when things are quiet. She knows your photos and she’s gone through the albums on the shelves. She’s getting a better idea of who you are.
She’s checked out the food
And if it’s good, she’s probably helped herself to a bit. And she’s probably helped herself to more than that, but she gave the kids some, too, so that you wouldn’t blame her for the missing good stuff. The kids will cop to eating it, and you will be fine with that.
She might not even like your kids
Not everyone likes your kids, you know. What am I saying? Of course you know; you probably don’t even like your kids all that much all the time. I know I don’t. I always love them, but sometimes they make me so crazy that I don’t always like them. So there’s that.
She texts a lot
When I was babysitting growing up, there was no such thing. But if the house had call waiting, I was on the phone with my friends watching your kids. It’s what young girls do. Today, they take selfies and post to social media and text. It’s a way of life. But they’re still watching the kids. They’re multi-tasking pros.
The TV did the bulk of the work
Look, I’m a parent and I know how this goes. When I was a babysitter, I’d turn on a movie and let the kids sit and watch it. And you can always tell which kids aren’t allowed to watch much television. They sit and watch. The others will not watch for very long before they are up and about.
She lets the kids do stuff you won’t allow
What? Like you never let someone else’s kid have ice cream, oreos and pie for dinner and then claimed that they ate spaghetti. Kids are down with this, sitters want your kids to like them and everyone really wins. If your kid loves the sitter more than you, chances are good a lot of this is happening when you are not home.
She hates your kids
Sometimes, you just don’t like someone’s kids. I was once hired to babysit two kids that were around 6 and 8 when I was about 14. The family offered me $175 per week to watch their kids 5 hours a day, 4 days a week most of the summer. Their kids were so rude, disrespectful and awful I quit after 2 days. And trust me; when I was 14, $175 a week was a LOT of money. I still remember those kids with fear and terror – I never liked them and probably never will.
She really loves your kids
And then there are kids that you cannot help but love and adore. I used to baby sit for a little girl who was so sweet and so wonderful that I always wished she were my own. I imagined that if I ever had kids they’d be as sweet as she. What I didn’t think to wish for was that my own would be that sweet for me and not just for the sitter. Now I have three that are just so sweet for their sitters and monsters for me sometimes.
You don’t pay her enough
No one ever does. I can tell you that for certain. We believe we pay our sitter too much – but we have four kids and we believe that what we pay is really, really nice. But she’s not used to four kids, infant twins and all that this household entails with that many kids. She probably doesn’t feel that the amount we give her is enough. And I don’t blame her. That’s why we often give her bonuses. We value her very much.
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