The best and worst parts of babysitting
$10 an hour to watch Frozen and snuggle with their two puppies on the couch? Yes please
The first time I was asked to babysit at age 12, I was ecstatic. Nothing like proving you’re mature enough to adults than by staying home alone and watching their kids. Now years later, babysitting is another job I’ve grown to enjoy and rely on in the college break months to make some cash. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never babysat in your life. At one point or another, we’ve all been guilted into watching a younger sibling or just relying on a neighbor, friend, etc. to pay you to watch their kids so you don’t have to get a “real” job.
Overall, babysitting is the ideal gig, and here’s why:
Getting paid to “play”
Last time I checked, no other job pays to watch Disney movies, play backyard sports, color/paint, play Wii, and snuggle with pets. I will never complain when the kids ask to watch a movie while watching them. Babysitting gives you an excuse to revert back to an eight-year old without judgments, while also making money for doing your job. $10 an hour to watch Frozen and snuggle with their two puppies on the couch? Yes please. I’ll take that job any day.
One of the best perks about watching children is eating like children—and that means pantries full of goldfish, cookies, ice cream, soda, and all the best junk food they have to take you back to your pre-healthy eating days. The best thing to hear from a parent is, “We have lots of snacks, so please help yourself.” Even better than that? When parents give you money to order in and say, “Get whatever you want, it’s on me.” I can certainly do that, no questions asked.
Need I say more? Kids take the best selfies, and put one of these suckers up on Instagram, you’re guaranteed at least a solid 50 likes. Who can resist a cute three-year-old face?
Making a difference in the kids’ lives
The cheesy one was bound to happen, but yes, there’s nothing quite like those little moments that make you realize you’re a kickass babysitter. Some of my favorites include breaking up silly fights between siblings to bring peace, the homemade cards and pictures the kids adoringly dedicate to you, and helping them with any problems, whether it be with homework or replacing a broken toy (usually with an iPhone). I especially love the huge hello and goodbye hugs I receive upon entering/leaving… and yes, even when they request my cell phone number so they can text me or follow me on Instagram. (At least I can count on an 11-year-old to consistently like my photos!)
Now, just like anything else in this world, there are some downsides to the job.
While I’m usually pretty good at avoiding this on most nights, it’s inevitable that the younger kids will cry at least once while under your supervision. Usually, sibling fights provoke crying and those happen to be the worst kinds to break up, but like I mentioned earlier, the most rewarding. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, kids need one of two things: Mom/Dad or a nap. Typically, whatever problem is at hand can be solved by the latter, which means relying on those good ‘ol Disney movies to calm the kiddies down and soothe them to sleep. (For a little, at least?)
Speaking of sleep, this forbidden word is by far the worst to bring up to an energetic young cherub. Fortunately, if nap-time was nonexistent earlier in the day, bedtime tends to come earlier for the younger ones. As for the older ones, they’re so self-reliant they just put themselves to bed… Not complaining.
Kids are dirty by nature. The younger ones have no clue how to use forks/spoons properly, play outside without covering themselves with dirt, and yes, even sometimes wipe their ass. I can’t blame them though, and they’re so cute when they innocently stare at you with their wide-eyes. I’m not a clean freak, but do I appreciate a little cleanliness? Absolutely. This job is certainly not the place for it, intentional or not. If you’re babysitting, accept the fact that staying clean is (most likely) not in your future.
That being said, it’s undeniable that babysitting truly is one of the best jobs out there. If you’re fortunate enough to spend your summer days in the company of babies, toddlers and tweens, then you’re pretty lucky. You’d be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy yourself and what they can teach you without even knowing it. No matter what, I plan on continuing this job for as long as I can. Maybe it’s because I’m realizing that college graduation is quickly approaching and I’m in denial that I’m growing up? But then again, aren’t we all? Whatever the case may be, babysitting is one job that will never get old (no pun intended).