SAHMs Aren’t Free Babysitters So Stop Asking
When I first started staying at home, it was not by choice. I graduated right when everyone was flipping out about the economy, and there was no job that I could take that would make the cost of childcare and gasoline worth it. This means that I got to be an involuntary stay at home mom, and furthermore, I started swearing at people a lot because for some reason people assume that you have nothing but free time to watch their dumb kids, too.
I guess I could see their reasoning; I was home all day, they weren’t, daycare is expensive as balls, I was free.
My reasoning, on the other hand, was that I didn’t even want to be a SAHM, and that was with my child, whom I love. I don’t love your kid. I might like them. I might even give them kisses on their squishy little cheeks. But I don’t love them, and once you start asking me to play den mother to your idiot child, I will start saying things that make you cry, and eventually I won’t like you either.
I don’t have this problem much now, which is strange because if anything, I’d be more apt to say yes to these requests now that my own child is at school for eight hours a day. I work, but I also do stuff like go on walkies and take long showers and watch Bollywood movies and eat tacos while I wait for her to get back. I could squeeze in some babysitting, as long as I sighed about it a lot in front of you while rolling my eyes.
But back in the day? When I was coping with the roller coaster of fluctuating between isolated boredom and being crushingly overwhelmed by mothering and running errands? It seems like every day someone was wondering if I had a free minute to watch their children indefinitely because day care was eating into their Las Vegas vacation fund and they needed to cut the fat somewhere.
And it wasn’t just other parents. People asked me to fetch their mail, take their dog out, run to Whole Foods to pick up sea-salted cabbage, or bring them coffee.
Bring. Them. Coffee.
I’m not into martyring myself, and even when I stayed at home full time with a toddler and no one for company but Shahrukh Khan and his rippling abs I tried not to complain very much.
But I was also insulted that people thought so little of what I had to do; raise my child and also feed her sometimes and also pay bills and stuff that they thought I could easily be their free nanny/intern/dog walker. It was irritating in the way that I would never ask my friends to give me free stuff from their work, so why were they trying to score sweet babysitting swag from Theresa, Inc.? Apparently, I’m not the only one who got a little shafted by inconsiderate people, either:
SAHMs aren’t free babysitters, so either stop asking us to watch your kid or at least offer to pay us dollars to do it.