(I posted a part 3 follow up on paying the sitter last night if you missed it.)
I didn’t intend to take up an entire week posting about babysitting, but I’m kind of glad I did. I certainly feel so much more comfortable using my sitters after talking with these girls. I hope you do as well. Here are some final snippets of good info they offered.
Hiring a sitter on a school night? Tell them ahead of time if your kids will be going to bed while they are there so they know if they should bring homework or not. The evenings are their homework time but they won’t bring it if they think the kids will be awake.
Sitters plan stuff after sitting. So calling while you are out and asking if you can stay out a few more hours is usually not cool. They will always say yes because you are the grown up. But then they will rearrange or cancel their own plans. We don’t want them to have to do that.
They would rather deal with the mom than the dad. That’s just the way it is. Dads are awkward. That’s what they said.
Having dad’s pick up the sitter and take them home is a bad idea. A man in a car alone with a teenager who can’t drive yet is never a comfortable thing for her. Not to mention the fact that you want your man to avoid any situation where someone could misinterpret his intentions, if you know what I mean. You just never, ever know. So avoid it. Your sitter will thank you.
They call their own mom before they call you. You call out over your shoulder as you leave the house: “Call if you need anything! Anything at all.” They never will. Can’t find the wipes? They’ll use a wet paper towel. Don’t know how to work the TV after the kids have gone to bed? They’ll sit in bored silence until you get home. They would rather improvise than bother you.
From their perspective, bringing you back into the situation you are paying them to handle means they are basically not doing their job. I can’t think of a mom in the world who thinks this way. The rare times sitters have called me, I’ve been thrilled. But in their eyes, they would rather do ANYTHING than call you.
In fact, I asked them to finish this sentence: “I think you’ll never ask me to babysit again if…” Two out of three said “…I have to call you because the baby won’t go down.” I went on to ask them if there was any circumstance under which they would call.
“If someone gets really hurt or stops breathing.” I think they may have been exaggerating a bit on that one.
So instead of risking never being asked to babysit again, they do what is safe and natural for them: they call their mom. They also added it isn’t so much for Mom to tell them what to do, but to reassure them they made the right choice. Basically, that they aren’t failing at their job. Their words, not mine. Wow.
They check on kids while sleeping. They are worried they will stop breathing. They don’t like to be the last one to have seen the kids before they go to bed in case something goes wrong in the night…especially with the babies.
Either I have some exceptional, out of the ordinary sitters, or all women are basically alike. They sound like new mothers: calling their moms, checking on sleeping babies, worried about if they are making the right choices. I say all this to remind us moms of the great opportunity we have using high school students to watch our little ones. Not only are they the coolest people on planet earth to our kids (and to me, let’s be honest). But these girls are just like us…only younger, more stylish and stretch-mark free. I think they need to know that we support and appreciate them.
Thank you all for the awesome commenting that went on this week. And thank you sitters for being real with me and staying the night with me when the man left town and not killing me for posting this photo that you took with my computer while I was sleeping at 3 am.
Speaking of while I was sleeping, has anyone noticed that I have Sandra Bullock as a sitter? I mean really, people…she looks just like her.