Category Archives: Childcare

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To sit or not to sit…

NOT the babysitter in question. Though she is welcome to watch my kid ANYTIME!I don’t remember exactly when I started babysitting, but I know it was before I could drive as I remember being driven home by relaxed parents after a night out without kids or walking home if it was in my neighborhood. I don’t remember babysitting much after I got my license, but it’s likely that I was so busy shuttling my sister back and forth between choir rehearsals that I didn’t have time to watch kids.

One of the rules I remember about babysitting was that I always called my parents if I knew the parents I worked for were going to return later than planned. That rule was instituted after I came home 3 hours later than expected. Another rule we started was that I was to call my parents to let them know I was on my way home if the dad was driving me home. This was to prevent anything from happening on the way back to my house. Nothing ever did, but it was better to be safe than very sorry.

I don’t recall ever watching kids that I didn’t know. I only ever watched kids from my church or neighborhood. Which meant that my parents knew who the families were, knew the kids, knew the parents. I can’t remember working for total strangers.

Which makes me wonder… What do the parents of one of the sitters I use know about me? One of my “paid” sitters (as I have sitters who refuse to accept payment due to our friendship) is a high school student I know through my church. Not a member of my church, but someone who frequently attends the Sunday evening youth program. This person is a good friend of many of the young members of the church and is good with my daughter. But I’ve never been to this person’s house, and I’ve never spoken to the parents. Ever. I wouldn’t know them if I passed them on the street. I am not saying anything against the parents for not asking to meet or at least talk to me on the phone, and I don’t know what they know about me. I just wonder how I would respond if, 10 years down the road, “Em” is asked to babysit for a child whom I’d never met and whose parents I didn’t know.

Would it matter if the person was a member of a church or organization that my daughter regularly participated in? Would it matter if friends of my daughter and mine told me this person and their family were great and totally “normal” and recommended the babysitter?

What do you think? Would/have you let your teenager babysit for people you don’t know?

 

**I have decided to ask the babysitter to give me their home number so that I can attempt to reach out to the parents and introduce myself. I still welcome your responses.**

What’s my name again?

I have a wonderful mom. She works from home and has volunteered to pick up “Em” from Kindergarten and keep her with her at home in the afternoons. It’s awesome! Gone are the days of paying $800 a month for preschool (yes, it’s pricey, but it kinda has to be if you want your child to be prepared for school). I can finally really start saving for a down payment so Em and I can have our own place.

Having free, familiar childcare is great. However, there is one event that can happen: your child calls you by the caregiver’s name. Or just the opposite, your child calls the caregiver, “Mom.”

I’ve been through this before, when my daughter was at an in-home daycare when she was a toddler. She would call “Annie” “Mommy.” Some other moms I knew got upset when their kids used the wrong name for them. For me, I shrugged it off, knowing that Em knew I was her “Mom” and that Annie was someone who took care of her. At that young age, the word “Mom” didn’t mean anything more than “woman who feeds me and makes sure I don’t hurt myself.” In my heart, and hers, I was more than that, but she didn’t have a different word for it.

Now that Em has started Kindergarten, she’s mixing up her names again. She’ll mistakenly call me “Grandma” and call her Grandma “Mom.” Sometimes she catches herself right away and giggles, “Whoops! Sorry!” Sometimes we see how long it takes her to realize what she said. It’s actually kind of endearing. And I’m sure my mom doesn’t mind. Em’s as much her kid as she is mine, since we’ve been living in my folks’ house since Em was a little over a year old. She has three “parents” but she definitely knows who’s who when it comes to genealogy.

For me, it means she’s comfortable where she is. Since I know she’s getting the same kind of care from my mom as she would get from me, she’s welcome to call my mom “Mom” from time to time.

So thanks, Mom! I mean, Grandma! Wait, what’s your name? What’s mine?