Recently, I saw an interesting question posed on social media from an honest mom friend that was looking for an objective answer. She wondered… If both of your kids are sleeping, is it reasonable to ask babysitter to do a few small tasks around the house?
I totally understand where she’s coming from. Our kids have the very early bedtime of 7 PM. There have been a few times when our babysitter has come over after the kids have gone to bed just to keep an eye on the house and watch TV. We still pay her the same hourly rate of $10 per hour, which seems to be common in our area of Texas.
So, the babysitter gets $10 an hour when watching two lively children, a toddler and a baby. She also gets $10 an hour when she kicks up her feet on the couch and watches TV while our kids sleep. (Just as an aside, our babysitter does an excellent job every time she watches our kids.)
I’ve thought before about how much we should pay her when the kids go to sleep, just “to get our money’s worth.” But instead of attempting to cut her pay if she comes over to watch sleeping children on the baby monitor—which I think is entirely unfair—or trying to even it out by asking her to vacuum instead, we just leave it as-is.
In my way of thinking, a babysitter is not a housekeeper. I know some people may have nanny arrangements that involve some light housekeeping, but this is something we have never discussed with our sitter. She is the sitter of babies, and nothing more.
Since we pay her an average hourly rate of $10, per her request, I feel like it all evens out in the end. There may be times when she does more work than necessary as she tries to put two kids to bed (good luck with that!). There may also be times when she does “less” by watching the house after the kids have gone to bed. It all evens out in the end.
Sitter arrangements may vary by family, but in our house, a babysitter has one job only. She does an amazing job of watching our kids. She tidies up toys and dishes, but I’d never dream of asking her to clean my house.