I’m Not Paying A Babysitter Double-Time On New Year’s Eve

shutterstock_50580199I know that a lot of people look forward to New Year’s Eve and love to celebrate. I’m not against being festive. I just think it’s the worst possible holiday to be amongst the public. Well, maybe a close second to St. Patrick’s Day. I am so glad my child gives me an excuse to stay home, put on my pajamas, and watch the ball drop from the peace and comfort of my living room.

Apparently, many parents don’t feel the same. Today Moms has a feature today about the lengths parents are willing to go to secure a sitter for NYE.

Desperate parents offered Philadelphia babysitter Jami Stilson all kinds of perks. One stay-at-home mom and her construction worker husband offered to pay her $25 an hour — more than double her normal rate of $10 an hour — plus a $100 bonus to watch their two children. When Stilson declined, the mom said she’d pay Stilson that rate just to recruit a friend to do the sitting.

Another couple with a 5-year-old son gave Stilson a free week’s vacation at a timeshare in Rehoboth Beach. When she’s working with children, complete strangers sometimes approach her, ask her to babysit their kids and frantically scribble down her phone number.

I wish I had a timeshare to offer up. I also wish babysitters were $10 an hour in Brooklyn. I’ve never paid less than $15, and I’m pretty sure $20 is the going rate. At any rate, it doesn’t matter – because I will not be paying some exorbitant price to dine at a restaurant charging twice what they normally do or praying that I will have luck securing a cab back over the bridge.

I know, I know – Bah, Humbug. I don’t mean to be so negative about it, but being in the service industry for years will ruin just about every “adult” holiday out there. Having worked every New Year’s Eve for the last 15 years, I am genuinely looking forward to relaxing at home under a blanket. Having been in the industry for years, I’m going to give those of you parents that are going to brave the public and pay through the teeth for a babysitter some tips:

Have a hole-in-the wall you’ve been dying to try? Plan a night there, instead of booking at the fanciest spots in town that will undoubtedly be charging ridiculous prices. Getting dressed up and going to a discreet spot is fun. Even better if it’s BYOB and you can spend the money on a fantastic bottle of champagne to bring with you.

If you live outside of Manhattan and will be venturing into the city, resolve to take the subway home. Finding a cab on NYE in Manhattan is not only impossible, it will take hours, frustrate the hell out of you, and ruin your night. Wear a heavy coat and brave the subway system. Trust me.

Do you know another couple with kids? Pitch a sleep-over, and share a sitter. Most sitters charge a little more for more than one child, but it’s definitely not double.

Whatever you do, have fun. I’ll be thinking of all of you festive souls as I’m sipping hot cocoa on the couch.

(photo: Vlue/ Shutterstock.com)


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  • CrazyFor Kate

    Uh… good for you? Seriously, going out or staying in is totally each person’s call.

    I will tell you that I LOVED New Year’s babysitting, though, it made me feel like the queen of the castle, and the kids loved it because I’d usually let them do things their parents didn’t necessarily approve of – “CRAP! It’s five to two! Quick, I’ll clean up all the Skittles while you hope into your PJ’s as fast as possible – and take that PG-13 DVD out of the player!”

    The contract between teenaged babysitters and their charges is sacred.

  • bumbler

    huh, I never charged more than my regular rate ($5/hr per kid) even on holidays. Last time I babysat was about a year ago. I guess I’ve been getting ripped off!! lmao

  • Daisy

    Wow. When I was a teenager (not that long ago–I’m only 23!) I had a hard time finding anyone who wanted me to babysit their kids and I never got paid more than $5 an hour, usually less. And it wasn’t because I was a terrible sitter–I always brought along some toys and games, played with the kids instead of watching TV or texting, and had them in bed mostly on time. I just didn’t know that many families that had not only kids, but also the money to pay someone else to watch them! I cannot IMAGINE being paid that kind of money to baby-sit. Even on New Year’s Eve. Most teenagers don’t have anything better to do NYE anyway–too young to go to real parties, too old to want to hang out with their parents. Might as well hang out with someone who at least wants to play Lego with you!

    • Katherine Handcock

      All depends on the area. Where we used to live, people were shocked that we’d pay $20 for five hours of sitting. In our new area, going rate is about the same as minimum wage (which is $10 here). In my case, if my kids are getting to stay with a sitter they love and we trust, it’s totally worth whatever the going rate is for me!

  • LiteBrite

    I would happily pay a babysitter double-time if that meant my husband and I could go out together. Alas, no one is available (Including our parents. Since when did they get a social life? Ha ha) so he is once again staying home with the boy while I venture out. I don’t think he minds. He’s not a huge fan of crowds, and this way he gets to watch the Transformer movies without listening to me complain.

  • lin

    I think it really depends where you live – $5-10 is normal here, and I would probably give a $25 bonus for NYE. No real interest though – can’t think of a worse night to be out in public!

  • Tinyfaeri

    You could always get a bunch of people who either have kids and/or really like kids together and have your own party, kids included. That’s what my SIL’s done for years, and where we’ll be going with our 9 month old this year. There will be a ton of kids aged 0-12 there, their parents are all very nice, and we loved going even before we had kids. They have alcohol, food, and good company – all the good parts of going to a restaurant or club or “event” without all the drunk strangers.

    • LiteBrite

      A bunch of us used to do that. Every year someone would agree to host the party, and I agree that it was a lot of fun. Then somebody got a bug up their butt about going out, and now that’s all anybody wants to do.

      To be honest, I don’t even really want to go out tomorrow night, but my two friends got a hotel room and I monetarily committed to it a couple of months ago.

  • C.J.

    I have no interest in going out on New Years Eve, we stay home and spend it with the kids, sometimes we have friends over. I’m very lucky though, if I wanted to go out my babysitter wouldn’t expect to be paid extra, Though I would probably give him extra anyway. The going rate around here is $5/hour so that’s what I pay him on a regular day. He told his mother that he thinks it is easy money and I give him too much because he really doesn’t have to do much work and he likes to watch movies and play board games with the kids.

  • Ale515

    My parents did do Times Square one NYE. They will NEVER do it again. Not because of the crowds. But because walking around that place, people in the hotels above you fill balloons with very cheap, nasty smelling perfume and drop it on people. If you don’t live anywhere near 42nd St. You are screwed and smell horrible the rest of the night!

  • DangerGirl

    “hoards”? I think you mean “hordes”. For Christmas, I would like Mommyish to get a real editor.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

    Hey, they’re just charging what the market will bear. I’d do it if I thought someone would pay that too (seriously, I don’t make 20/hour at my real job!).

  • Nikki

    Wow. I can’t believe a lot of people here still pay babysitters $5 per hour. I was getting that when I was babysitting as a teenager more than a decade ago! I guess you don’t have to give teenagers cost of living raises, and they do usually get full fridge and entertainment privileges… Maybe I’m paying my babysitter too much!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30828203 Erica Christine

      That’s what i got as a teenager too. I’d say that’s a good rate if you get food and mostly watch tv. Some kids are too high maintenance. Once watched a boy that wanted me to play sports for hours on end, bossy, always had to be right, and just a sore winner. I’d never watch that kid again @ $5/hr.

  • Yves

    I live in upstate NY and average pay is about $5/hour babysitting…same as it was 10 years ago when I was a teen and babysitting. Not even worth it in my opinion, unless you’re 14 and can’t go anywhere else to work. Lol I need to drive down to NYC and get a babysitting gig on NYE lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/samantha.ueno Samantha Ueno

    I think New Year’s Eve is a special time that I would want to share with my kids if they can stay up (even if they can’t) I had my 5 month old with me with earmuffs fast asleep in my ergo while watching fireworks with my husband. Was magical.

  • http://twitter.com/DecaturFlora Flora

    Crap on a cracker, that’s nutballs! I love New Years Eve, always have, probably because my parents carted us around everywhere they went– always a house party, never a restaurant or the Peach Drop (ATL’s ball drop) or somewhere with lots of crazy drunk people spending loads of money. When I worked restaurants, I loved it because the management would give us each a bottle of champagne and everyone would come over there from the other restaurants after everyone cleared out.

    I guess what I’m saying is, as someone whose favorite holiday is New Years, WHY WOULD YOU PAY THAT MUCH FOR A FREAKING BABYSITTER FOR THAT NIGHT?! Have people over to your place, go over to a friend’s place, I mean really!