While I no longer nanny full time, I still babysit because freelancing is so flexible and lucrative that it gives me space to pursue hobbies, like other peopleâs kidsâs diapers. But itâs not all soiled Pull-Up wrangling, I also have to deal with parents.
These days Iâm able to be very selective about my clients, and all my recent clients get gold stars. But Iâve been doing this a long time, and (wino skeleton from The Last Unicorn voice) I remember. As do my nanny/babysitter friends.
This list isnât about serious abuse. (Donât do that either!) This is about those smaller acts of disrespect that parents may not even realize are fostering resentment in those theyâve entrusted with their spawn.Â If you donât do any of these things: high five! But for the rest of you? Here are ten things we might hate about you.
1. You insist we take your kids out every day.
I get it, exercise and âfreshâ Brooklyn air are good for growing kids. But; weather. Sometimes itâs 110 degrees or thereâs a blizzard. If you trust me with your child, please trust me to decide whether itâs worth it to slap the rain cover on the Maclaren which, while keeping your baby snuggly-dry, does exactly nothing for me as I trudge my increasingly waterlogged body over to the library. Oh, you can hold an umbrella and push the stroller at the same time? Fine, you are a better and more talented person than me.
Some weather actually poses a genuine threat. Kristy* holed the kids up in a store to wait out an electrical storm that hit during their walk and got screamed at as a reward. If you want your kidâs claim to fame to be surviving a lightning strike, perhaps you should work on this goal together and leave the help out of it.
2. You donât respect our time
We promise to be at a designated location caring for your children during the hours weâve agreed upon. But thatâs it. You can ask if weâre available at the very last minute on our day off, but we are under zero obligation to say yes, and the reason is frankly none of your business. Our lives do not revolve around your offspring, however much we love them. Maybe weâre working another job, or out with friends, or smoking pot and watching ALF in a snuggie. These are all valid reasons to not pinch-sit for your kid.
On the days we are ensuring your kid eats, plays and doesnât die, please come home at the appointed hour. Of course, shit happens, so unless Iâve explicitly told you I have to leave by a certain time, an apologetic text saying youâll be 15 minutes late is a reasonable inconvenience.
What is not okay is what happened to Dawn, who was babysitting while Mom and Dad had a night out on the town. Said celebration was supposed to turn into a pumpkin at midnight, when Dawn would go home, sleep for 6 hours, and go sit for another family. Because thatâs how Dawn pays her rent. But instead, the toasty birthday couple came home at sunny 6 a.m., oblivious to the hours Dawn had spent calling them (and being sent to voicemail) and debating at what point itâs be appropriate to report them missing.
She didnât, as the tipsy couple assumed, âjust go to sleep.â (You really want to leave your kids with someone whoâs going to peace out into dreamland when youâve been missing for six hours?). What she did do is immediately go to the other familyâs home, without even changing her clothes, and spent 10 hours trying to provide adequate childcare while struggling to not fall the fuck asleep. Donât ever make your babysitter pull a Dawn.
3. You cancel last minute (and donât offer to pay).
Hopefully, we like your kids. We may even love them. But watching them is still a job we do for money, so we can pay bills and eat and stuff. Itâs very frustrating when a paid job weâve been counting on is cancelled last minute, especially because we may well have turned down other paid work to be there for you and your darling.
If you need to cancel in under 24 hour hours, offer to pay the sitter in full. Sorry, but bitches gotta eat. If you wouldnât take this crap from your boss, donât dole it out.
4. You donât tell us your kid is sick.
I do often babysit for sick kids, but itâs only fair to tell me the situation so I can assess the risks for myself and possibly prepare with gloves/mask/etc. Not only are we almost guaranteed to get with whatever nastiness is breeding inside your child, many of us work for other families. Congratulations, now the whole block has the stomach flu.
5. Youâre inconsistent with discipline.
We try our best to work with whatever cockamamie discipline system you have set up. But for that to work, your kid needs to listen to us. Donât undermine our authority. If, in accordance with your rules, we say âno,â and little Pork Belly goes crying to you, donât just say yes because youâre distracted or vulnerable. Explain that while weâre sitting, what we say goes and keep it moving.