Childrearing

10 Things That Will Make Your Babysitter Hate You

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6. You hover (and spy).

I’m sure it’s distressing to leave while your child is crying and screaming for you. But, honest, 99% of the time, the minute you’re out of earshot, your kid’s snapped back into happy mode. Dallying around or trying to comfort your kid does nothing but prolong the goodbye tantrum. Coming back intermittently to “visit” or “check in” is actually cruel, turning one goodbye into many and disrupting the probably quite happy rapport we’ve established in your absence.

Worse than the hoverer is the spy. At a certain point, you need to either trust us or not. If you feel the need to spy on us, then maybe you shouldn’t leave your kids with us. Kristy once caught a stay-at-home parent watching her through a sneakily angled mirror in another room. WTF, parents? And nanny cams—they’re not just rude, they can be a violation. Do you know how many times I’ve changed out of clothes your baby puked on and prepped for after-work activities in front of said baby? Because I’m responsible and don’t want to leave them alone? Are you watching me change? Can you please not?

 

7. You expect us to be tutors, cooks and/or housekeepers.

I have happily gone above and beyond with homework help, done laundry, made delicious** meatloaf (despite my being vegan) and more! That’s because I’m fucking awesome. Also because I communicate well with my clients. They didn’t spring these tasks on me, expecting it to be no big deal to totally revise my job description.

It’s reasonable to ask us to ensure your kid does their homework. It’s not reasonable to ask us to teach them whatever they need to know to do it well. It’s great that you’re teaching your toddler French. It’s less great to ask the nanny (who doesn’t speak French) to create an immersive environment for an hour a day. I’m happy to put away our lunch dishes. I’m not happy to clean your entire kitchen. Unless we’ve agreed in advance and I’m getting paid for it.

If you want a babysitter to do extras, pay extra. Do you expect your hairdresser to polish your shoes? If so, I sure hope you’re tipping well!

 

8. You dump extra kids on us without warning (or a bonus).

I set rates based primarily on the number of kids I have to keep happy and healthy per hour. You fuck up my whole system when suddenly it turns out little Braedon will be joined by little Freedom for the day. I know, you (claim to) believe it’ll be easier for me since they’ll entertain each other. This may be the case. Or maybe they’ll develop a Pokemon blood feud and suddenly I’m trying to clone myself as they run screaming in two different directions down Ocean Parkway. I don’t know Kid #2; they don’t know me. Neither of us knows what we’re in for. It’s totally fine to ask us about play dates and how that might affect our rates. But you know what happens when people make assumptions.

 

9. You quibble over our rates.

Childcare is expensive. Everyone should have access to quality affordable childcare and it’s a disgrace that so many don’t. I am not, however, trying to solve these systemic problems by neglecting my own bills and running a childcare charity. My rates are my rates. If they’re too high for you, I sympathize! If I had a kid, there’s no way I could afford to pay me on my income! You’re under no obligation to hire me, and I’m under no obligation to cut you a deal because you swear you’ll hire me all the time. I’d rather get hired all the time at my actual rate.

And no, there isn’t a flat rate for late nights because I “can just sleep”. I like sleeping in my own bed, where I’m not waking up every time your kid has a notable dream or wants a glass of water.

 

10. You ask when we’re going to have babies of our own.

This is just invasive. Also, are you planning on giving me paid maternity leave and then a stipend for or on-site childcare? How exactly do you imagine this’ll all work otherwise?

*Totally her real name.

**So I am told

(photo: Senol Yaman/ Shutterstock)

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