October 15th, 2020


two sides of hiring babysitters

Marc and I did not have healthy family members in town to watch our babies. We used to joke very enviously about the lives of couples who had babies in proximity to a grandma. Those parents would roll their eyes telling us "it's so annoying that my mom wants to watch the baby AGAIN, we're so sick of date nights with just us!" marc and I would nod and listen to them politely, smile with our lips as tears fell from our eyes. well, not really listen, since we just had to see it on facebook. "listening" implies that we were participating in an adult conversation with someone else.

I remembered this reading a thread in a mom group I'm in, one of the members asked "How old were your kids when you left them with a teenage babysitter you hired?"


here is my impression/summary of the two types of answers.

Moms with family in town

"Well, when our son was born my mom would come over to keep me company or watch him while I napped or bathed or painted my toenails, then after a few months she watched him by herself. After I left him with just her for a while, I felt okay leaving him with my sister, then my other sister, but he was a year before we went on weekend trips or European vacations. When he was four he had a daycare teacher we really liked so we did hire her one evening, I guess that's when we hired sitters! When he was seven we needed someone again, and after narrowing down our top 10 licensed applicants for interviews we hired one of them for two hours. Oh I just realized you asked about a teenager? As in, 19 years old? My goodness that would hardly be responsible, I cannot imagine anything is worth risking your child's life with someone underqualified! We would not do that, we actually love our son."

Moms without family in town

"When our first kid was six months we heard from a neighbor that her cousin's hairdresser's former roommate's daughter had just turned 12 and had tons of younger siblings so we were like fuck it, here's our baby. Second kid was two months and we just hired a middle schooler off facebook marketplace. Whenever a sitter hits 16 we start looking for younger ones for the backlog because you know they're about to get a job at wendy's or whatever and bail on you. Follow me for more pro tips. Peace!"

A little satire there but you know... not all. The truth was that we have hired LOTS of teenagers to watch the kids, and it's always been fine. I nursed both girls so it's hard to escape that leash for the first year. But then it's okay. I babysat all the TIME as a teenager. It's nice to have some money from a job that doesn't require a car, you get to set all your own hours, get paid in cash. I definitely got left with some tiny babies! Usually it was crazy toddlers or younger elementary school kids. But each time, we survived. I was left with teenagers as a kid and loved it, watched lots of kids myself, then hired sitters for my own kids. It's not cheap, but the mental health I feel after a date night with marc is worth. every. penny.