My Response to the Babysitter Post, Or: In Defense of Jan

Holy Moses.  That was an unexpected hornet’s nest of hate.

I’d just like to thank those who were so encouraging and kind in their responses.  It’s nice to feel like part of a community.

I’d also like to thank those who disagreed with me civilly and gave me some good ideas to think about.  I like the idea of a base pay and adding on a bit for each additional child.  I also like winning loyalty with cupcakes.  JoEllen’s idea of getting in with the parents was helpful too.  Such a well-rounded discussion. I also wanted to clarify that I DO swap with people for babysitting.  Often.  Its the perfect bartering system that allows my friend and I to both work.  The point of expensive child care is not to moan that I can never go out (because I can) it is to say that kids are losing out on some money by expecting lots of money.  Which is not their fault, and not all teenagers are lazy (as I said in my post, they have never been more impressive or so useless), it is our fault for setting up such a high bar for their wages.  That’s the point.  And if you say, “Well they shouldn’t have to work at all unless they can’t get minimum wage” then I say, “That is exactly the problem I am describing.”

And, finally, can I express my deep disappointment in the progress of humanity?  Seriously hurtful things here, people.  I open my inbox every day, just like you, after I brush my teeth and make the bed.  And just like you, I hope for some surprising communication with a friend or family member.  Instead I have been getting a barrage of personally-directed hate mail.  Yes, I am cheap because I have very little money.   I don’t go on elaborate dates, usually it is to the evening session of Stake Conference.  No dinner, no ice cream.  My entire going-out budget is directed toward the babysitter, because that’s all I’ve got.  I’m not skimming from her so that I can go to the spa.  I’m giving her everything I have so that I can go to the temple or a church meeting.  Otherwise, I’d take my kids with me, because I feel like the best way to show my children the value of motherhood is to spend lots of time with them.  Not pay someone else handsomely to do it (. . . baffling logic. . . )  When I have a bigger budget, I hope to be able to pay them more.  (Actually, I hope my kids will be old enough to take care of themselves when I have a bigger budget). But that is my business, and my babysitter’s business.  Not yours.  And throwing such hurtful assumptions does actually hurt someone.  Me.  I am a person.  There are people at the other end of these tangles of cable and servers.  Please don’t be vicious just because you are anonymous.

This is me.  I'm a person.

This is me. I’m a person.

And if you still have issue with what I wrote, (Thesis: Babysitting and other under-age jobs for tweens can be important experiences in getting kids ready for the work force.  Make sure they know what is expected of them and pay them thoughtfully what you deem appropriate, not blindly or proudly or else you may be contributing the the problem of entitlement that is plaguing our society), please re-read it all the way through.  The comments are twisting me all out of context.  And if you still don’t agree and “would never let my teenage daughter babysit your bratty kids” then so be it.  (For the record, I wouldn’t ask your daughter to babysit for me). I don’t expect to win everyone over.

And if it just felt good to air your grievances about your own babysitting experiences, then bless you.