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Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

It's time for another post from Evelyn @ Hanging By a Silver Lining. When you pop on over there to see what I've written you might notice a few things different about her space... namely it's different, she got a full makeover! How much fun is that!? But really, I know you all want to read about dead babysitters so I'll let her get talking. :)

Babysitters. I rather resent them.

Not because I had such terribly bad ones when I was kid. On the contrary, my parents hired fantastic babysitters. I remember one girl in particular who let us watch as much Star Wars as we wanted AND even did Darth Vader impressions. Awesome.

Another babysitter was this older kid who set up wrestling rings in our basement. My brother particularly appreciated his child-tending "skills".

All in all, the babysitters we had picked up where my parents left off...feeding us dinner, helping us get ready for bed, and making sure we were happy and safe. Only they were better than parents; they fed us delightful things like macaroni and cheese with hot dogs and peas, ramen noodles, and on a special night, TV dinners! They played for hours with us. And yes, they put us to bed, but then they did cool, mature things like homework.

If only I had known these babysitters were being paid a pittance.

A few years later I became the babysitter and I realized how pathetic the pay was for the workload. I was "lucky" to get one dollar per hour per kid. THAT was lucky. The usual fare was one dollar per hour no matter if there was one kid or seven demons. No matter that you not only played dress-up, Legos, barbies, AND cars, but you also read books, bathed, dressed, put to bed, re-put to bed, re-put to bed, bribed, threatened, and re-put to bed numerous children. No matter that you also then did the dishes, straightened the house, and re-put to bed that last stubborn kid.

One dollar per hour.

Now I am on the other end of the babysitting scheme. I am the one shelling out the cash for services rendered. And this is why I resent babysitters.

I still remember the experience we had as we hired our first babysitter. She was 13 years old and would be watching our then 3 year old Dee and 1 year old Jeigh. I figured it had been a good 10 years since I had babysat and with time and inflation the babysitting rate had to have gone up. Plus, I wanted to be the cool mom who understood just how rough babysitters had it and paid accordingly.

So, I asked her what the going rate was.

With a perfectly sober face she told me: "$3 per hour per kid".

WHAT THE?!? Seriously??? For a 13 year old? Well, okay. Looks like mommy and daddy won't be going on dates much. Who can afford dinner or a movie after paying the babysitter?

Want to know why else I resent babysitters these days? They don't do squat! They don't cook, they don't clean, sometimes they don't even change diapers! I have come home to a trashed house and soggy kids who have been sitting in front of the TV the whole four hours we have been gone while much texting abounded from the couch. This is when I have a particularly hard time passing over $20 plus dollars.

Let me give props where they are deserved. We have had some gems of babysitters. They do a great job! I am happy to see these girls have been trained in old school babysitting. Blood, sweat, and tears. It makes me wonder if their mothers did their time too when they were younger.

So, anyone else still bitter about their pre-minimum wage years? How much do you pay your babysitters and how much do you expect them to do while they are in your employment???


Cannwin said…
Amen! In Arizona we had this gem of a babysitter and we used her from the time she was 14 till she graduated from High School... she's married now, how weird is that!... but the problem was EVERYONE else used her too. She was a hot commodity

Then we moved to Montana and payed this sweet girl who the kids loved, but they loved her because as soon as we left she'd go get them out of bed and play with them... Then when we got home they'd all race back into their beds so that we 'wouldn't know' that they'd been up until 10PM.

UGH. I remember one of the ladies I babysat for telling me that she expected me to clean the house while they were gone and not just watch TV. And they gave me 'babysitting insurance' for their terror.

I haven't used a paid sitter in quite a while, but I totally agree, what happened to all the good ones!?
Moe said…
Ah, the terrors of baby sitting! I never had one as a kid as we were dropped at Gramma's every morning but I did baby sit. And I hated it! I only did it about 4 times ;)

thanks for popping by Cross My Hooks :)
Jennifer said…
My mom taught me to clean the house when I was sitting, as a way to get hired back again. It was a fantastic technique. I had more babysitting jobs than I knew what to do with. Sure it was only $1/hr, but I was thrilled to be making that much. I thought I was really rolling in the cash, actually.

Now, I'm the one paying. $3/hour/kid. And no, we don't go out very much. Or at all.
Anonymous said…
Evelyn, I have been extremely lucky up to now to have James' family living close and absolutely salivating at the chance to watch Evie for free so I haven't had to deal with the problem of paying lackluster babysitters however, if that happened to me where I came home to children who had been watching tv for hours and no changed diapers or dinner in their tummies I would fire the babysitter on the spot and make sure their parents knew what they were up to "on the job". I also remember wonderful times with babysitters as a little girl and I definitely don't remember them letting us watch tv the whole time or sit in squalor.

I plan on paying a babysitter 5 an hour for Evie right now because I agree with inflation that does seem only fair, but with that price tag I do expect them to be inventive and play with Evie as well as keeping to the schedule I wrote down. I don't know that I would want them cleaning my house but, picking up Evie's toys is a definite as well as cleaning up any messes their games may have made. And no tv. If they can get through three hours of church without watching tv they can surely get through three hours of babysitting without it as well. Just the opinion of a new mom. :)
The Paynes said…
I think it is a generation thing. I remember cleaning up, playing with the kids for hours, making dinner, and getting paid $4 for 5 kids. Now, I have to pay $7 an hour for my 5 kids and they don't clean anything, even though my house was clean before they got there. They are always on the phone and the kids watch tv or play Wii the whole time, despite my restrictions. And they eat all the junk food in the house. If I didn't have to, I would't hire teenagers, but I don't have much choice. It's been my experience that teenagers now don't work nearly as hard or even have the desire to work, as they did just 10 yrs ago. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what I've been seeing.
Myya said…
I don't use sitters (because I NEVER go out sigh) but I was one from the time I was 11. I let the parent decide what I wuold be paid & I did everything the house needed as well as completely occupying the kiddos. Definitely hard work for sure!!! I think the going rate here is $2 per kid per hour. Luckily if by chance I get to go somewhere without my kids, ahhh the hour or so I'm gone I leave them with one of my sisters so no pay required, although I do bring them home something. Oh & you totally have to get younger teens because once they hit 15 or 16 they are worthless... into boys & friends & texting. My neice is so annoying with all of that!
Sami said…
When I was a babysitter, I was paid $2 an hour for the first kid, and then 50 cents per hour per additional kid. I now pay my teenage babysitters around $5 an hour. I think that's decent. If they don't think it's enough, I don't have to ask them back. I agree though! Seems like nowadays it's rare to find a "good" sitter who did everything I did, and not cost you a kidney.
One time, I had a summer babysitting job. FULL TIME. I got paid $40 every 2 weeks to tend 4 children. It worked out to be about 50 cents an hour.
She still owes me money too.
Katy B. said…
I haven't used a babysitter in heaven knows how long...I am beyond lucky to have family near us who watch our kids...they even want them to spend the night on weekends!:) My heart goes out to all those who don't have it as "good" as we do. Seriously, I am so spoiled. That is why when Dave says he wants to move, after much back and forth debating...I usually win with, "We have free babysitting here."
Meaghan said…
I am a babysitter when I can be and whenever I babysit, I let the parents decide how much to pay me. I know that I NEVER leave a house messy after I'm done and no dirty bum goes unwiped. If they feel like paying me fifteen dollars for five hours, that's okay with me. If they want to pay more, who am I going to complain? I remember when I was younger, I had the coolest babysitters. They all were really good and never did anything my parents wouldn't want. I remember though that one time, I was getting over a cold and it had just snowed. I wanted to play outside while my parents told me and the babysitter that I couldn't. The babysitter didn't care and let me play. We would have gotten away with it... if it weren't for the huge snowman in the backyard. Needless to say, she didn't come back again :)
Cari Hislop said…
I'm pushing 40 and served my time as a teenage babysitter and I wouldn't have dreamt of cleaning (except for my mother). To me, it's rude to clean someone else's house without their consent.

I hated baby sitting, but it was money and took whatever they gave me. For a pittance they came home to a house still standing and children alive and well. That was the job. The kids were always happy to see me, even the kid who refused to go to bed so ended up watching ballet on the tv (Swan Lake) with me.

A babysitter is there to make sure the kids don't die, not to entertain your kids (though they might) or clean your house unless you specifically make that arrangement. If you expect more then you have unrealistic expectations. If you want more then hire a professional nanny!
Carli W. said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carli W. said…
I agree with Cari Hislop. That's at least what my view of babysitting was when I had to babysit hundreds of hours away from my life. I tried cleaning up messes I let happen or made myself, but cleaning other peoples' homes seemed like asking for trouble to well as work that I never have been willing do to. Granted, I was probably one of THE worst babysitters in the world. I kept getting caught in "babysit everyday" arrangements (for years!!!)...which assisted in carelessness on my part. Those were rough years.

Inflation has not gone up that high! $5 per hour??? That's ridiculous. $2 is pretty generous---considering inflation.

(I can easily say that...cuz I live so close to family and don't feel any guilt about not paying a dime) :)

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