Why I Suck Up To My Babysitter

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crowningAfter dragging my feet for a very long time, I finally hired a sitter. Now I make daily sacrifices to the patron saint of babysitters in hopes that she will never ever leave us.

Since I gave birth to my twins, I have found that the anxiety I already had before having them has been multiplied by a thousand. This huge increase in feelings of panic makes it really difficult for me to be apart from my boys. It’s not that I believe myself to be the only one who knows how to take care of them. I don’t worry about the everyday mishaps, the bumped heads, scraped knees or the occasional bite fight over a toy- Lord knows those things can and do happen on my watch all the time. It’s the fear of a freak accident that makes me so reluctant to leave them. I have visions of a tumble off the couch with an awkward landing that leads to a fractured spine, or a topple into the toilet bowl that ends in an accidental drowning. The rational part of me knows that those things are unlikely to happen and that they could easily occur with me there, but that’s the thing about anxiety- it’s not rational.

My husband and girlfriends let me make excuses as to why I couldn’t leave the boys until they were a year old. Besides a rare night of letting my mom watch them here or there (during which I would spend the entire time pestering her with text messages for updates) I didn’t leave the babies. I would bring them with me to try on bridesmaids dresses or to celebratory lunches with the ladies. My husband and I would sneak in mini-dates after they got their vaccinations and they would sleep next to us in the booth while we had a quick lunch out. But after a year of letting me be a three-headed monster, my husband and friends finally convinced me that the time had come to hire a sitter.

We subscribed to an online service and thanks to the fact that our town is surrounded by colleges, we were quickly overwhelmed with applicants. After sifting through them all, emailing a few and meeting several more in person, we settled on a sweet girl named Mina.*  Of all the sitters we met with, Mina was the only one who made a point to learn the boys’ names. The boys warmed up to her quickly, she got down on the floor to play with their toys and she looks a little like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I thought it must be good juju to have someone who’s a dead ringer for a Disney princess as your babysitter.

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  1. Andrea

    August 31, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Sucking up to baby sitters is KEY. You also have to treat them well (i.e. snacks) and pay them well. Around here, people actually poach sitters, trying to lure them away from their primary family.
    I have done all the things you mentioned because otherwise it is sayonara Andrea’s family. It is definitely a seller’s market around here.

  2. Kate

    August 31, 2014 at 9:32 am

    So glad you found someone you like/trust! I, too, have the same anxiety about leaving the little ones, especially in the first year! Funny story – last summer I was out with my 3 year old and 18 month old at the park. I saw a babysitter with twin toddlers, doing an AWESOME job. Not texting, totally attentive, able to chase them both simultaneously somehow, kept them safe, etc. I stalked her for a bit that day and finally approached her and asked her to sit for us! She is still with us and we laugh about my stalking!! 🙂

  3. Valerie

    August 31, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Awww, she sounds great!!! Sadly, we have never had an “official” babysitter and always use family but they have always been in daycare so they are definitely exposed to outside caregivers. Prob just our cheapness coming out. Lol.

  4. Bethany Ramos

    August 31, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I’m so glad you found a good babysitter and can get out of the house! I also have similar toilet bowl drowning paranoias. We love out babysitter and are sticking with her because she’s the only one who hasn’t stood us up.

    • Megan

      August 31, 2014 at 9:52 am

      When M was busy over the summer Kyle tried to get me to use someone else. I had such a bad feeling, and then she flaked out on us, so I got to do my ” told you so” dance.

  5. Katherine Handcock

    August 31, 2014 at 10:15 am

    It is 100% worth it to have a great sitter! People sometimes express shock that our sitter charges $10 per hour (minimum wage here), and all I can think is, “She doesn’t charge us differently for having two kids and she’s amazing. How is it not worth it to compensate her the same as if she was working a shift in fast food or retail?”

  6. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    August 31, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I’ve still never been able to bring myself to hire a babysitter. I’m not proud of that, and it’s something I’ve thought about, but it’s something that’s never happened. It’s also not as much of an issue anymore either since we live next door to my mom, and we don’t go out very often, like, if we’re lucky, once a month.
    It’s really great that you’ve found someone you trust with your twins, and she sounds great! I can understand why you want to make sure you don’t lose her.

    • Megan

      August 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm

      I get where you’re coming from. My mom is a bit over an hour away, so it’s just not practical to have her be our only sitter, but if we lived closer I would probably be right there with you. Trusting someone else with your kid is tough!

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      August 31, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      We used to live over 3 hours from my mom, but she would come to visit almost monthly when our 5yo was a baby/toddler before we moved. I tend to be pretty socially awkward in person, and I didn’t know many people in that town, and I didn’t know how to find a babysitter or how to ask someone about it. I knew a lot of people that were cool to watch our cats, but not out son, hah.

  7. Hally Yust

    August 31, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Make sure to set up secret cameras, you never know what someone is capable of.

  8. koolchicken

    September 2, 2014 at 5:16 am

    I wish I could go the sitter route, but I still don’t feel comfortable. I guess it’s just because where I’m from you’d never go about finding a sitter the way you have. You’d simply ask a girl you’d probably known her whole life to do it. It would either be a relative or the daughter of a close family friend. Now that I’m living 3,000 miles from where I was born and raised I just can’t bring myself to basically say to a stranger “Hey, want to spend time with my kid in my house with no supervision”.

    I did find an hourly sitting service not too far from where I am. I do have to drive, but I can drop my son off and he has the opportunity to play with other kids and new toys. It’s like $10 an hour and there are kids coming and going throughout the day so it would be hard/impossible for abuse or neglect to take place. And they’re really good to my little guy so I don’t worry anymore.

    Maybe as he gets older I’ll become more relaxed. But for now this is the perfect compromise for me.

  9. alexesq33

    September 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    My mom lives with us and takes care of the twins during the day while we work. We are constantly buying her spa and restaurant gift certificates for things to do on the weekends to show our gratitude!!! 🙂
    But sometimes, family, ugh. It would be easier to have a wonderful sitter we loved on occasion (um, no judgment as to exactly what you want to DO on a Friday night, just come over and watch the kids and don’t ask questions – this does not work with a mom – or at least, not with my mom!)

  10. Kristin

    September 2, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    As a former babysitter (and a well loved one I think!), we really do appreciate and notice the perks. We do notice that you keep coke zero in the fridge even though you have sworn off soda. We notice when you put baby in that adorable onesie we love or may have even bought for her. It’s just as hard to find the right kid and parent to babysit for as it is to find a good babysitter. So thanks for being a good host and employer! I promise she has noticed what you do, and she’d prob rather be at your house with the twins than at the restaurant.

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