How To Avoid a Nightmare on Babysitting Street
Guest post by Amee Cantagallo, Madame Deals
I have found the search for a good babysitter is more grueling than selecting your next car. The work involved in getting away for dinner is almost not worth the meal. Having three children and finding a sitter for them is harder than giving birth. When I was growing up, the "girl down the street" watched us. I am almost sure my parents let anyone watch us. You just can't do that anymore. The world has changed so much in the thirty years since my parents needed a sitter that you have to interview people with strict criteria prior to leaving your children with them.
The neighborhood teenager is overbooked in their attempts to build their resume for college. When you find one who is qualified and not prone to texting the entire time they are with your children, you learn they expect a salary comparable to a person with an MBA. Who ever thought you had to pay so much to have someone sit and watch your cable television and eat you out of house and home.
If you think about it, a babysitter only actually interacts with your children for about two hours prior to them going to bed. Thirty minutes of that time involves getting ready for bed. I leave a detailed list because I found the most obvious items have been overlooked by my babysitter. Even the simplest things like placing the children in the pajamas which have been laid out tend to be overlooked by many sitters. I mean what baby needs to wear a swimsuit to bed? I then write a detailed list of what goes on during the bedtime routine. It is fairly normal, brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, putting on their pajamas and getting into bed for a story. The kids go into bed without hesitation so even this is not difficult.
I have had some wonderful sitters but I have also hired my fill of sitters whom we will not hire again. Here's a few attributes to consider:
Hire a Non Smoking babysitter: You must NOT smoke ... not during babysitting hours and preferably, not at all. That does not mean take my children outside and smoke "away" from them since you are supposed to be near them when watching them and I hired a non-smoker. Did you recently start smoking? I'm talking about in the two days between when I hired you and when you started.
Hire a Literate babysitter: I need you to be capable of reading the list I leave. The list contains important information on how much formula to give in the bottle. The bottle needs to be liquid. It does not need to be the consistency of wet sand.
Hire a Responsible babysitter: We agreed you would arrive at 4:30 PM to get to know the children. At 5:15PM you are still not here. The excuse you have when you arrive at 5:30PM was you were on Central time.
Hire an Appropriate babysitter: I appreciate enthusiasm and I appreciate your creativity. I would, however, appreciate it if you did not teach my children "The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, we do not need water, let the mother tucker burn." We would rather they learn the chicken dance. Thanks!
Hire a Healthy babysitter: I am grateful you fed my children something. I am not sure cookies, cake and goldfish snacks are a meal. I understand that is what they asked for. However, let's remember they are under 6 years old. I know the goldfish look healthy because they are no longer the florescent colors they used to be but they do not meet the healthy requirements meant to call a meal.
Hire a not so Fashionable baby sitter: I am so glad you came dressed to the nines. I am not sure how you are going to take the children on a walk in 4 foot tall platform shoes and a skirt you got 1/2 off. You received that discount because the skirt is half gone. I am also afraid that while picking up my child you may injure them with your necklace which resembles a tool belt. If, in fact, you make it through ten minutes dressed like that, please do not bend over. My son doesn't need a lesson in sex ed yet. I apologize for offending you by offering to lend you something to wear.
Hire an Honest babysitter: I know we have a lot of tempting items lying around. I would appreciate if you leave them at my house when you leave. I know the magazine with the latest haircuts is a necessary object but asking me to borrow it instead of bringing it home is fine. I would also like to have the necklace back without having to call your mom. When I call your mom, she should not say "Oh! NO! Not again! I would have assumed when we interviewed you both that an adult would have warned me you provide your very own five finger discount and would not need a little extra cash for doing a good job because you have created your own reward.
I am sure we have all hired people whom we think are a good fit but they turn into a nightmare on babysitting street. I am still looking for a sitter who is available and reasonably priced. The most important thing is my children are safe and well taken care of and those that who have come before them do not come again.
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About Amee: Mom, Mommy, Hun, AKA Madame Deal... I am a work at home mom who can’t sit still. I currently manage a team at a software application company, and I run a team of three children at home, operate as a landlord for our rental properties, and I own and operate Madame Deals. In my spare time I….. what spare time? I manage to read, shop, travel, and go out with friends. I know that following your dreams and your heart is important and sleep is overrated. I also believe the resolutions are obtained through hard work if you want something make it happen. The beat that I march to is if you have time to complain you have time to create change. “ I am the gal that believes it is not what you save but what you spend”