Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dear Babysitters

Dear Babysitters,

I love you. Each of you. I trust you. You came highly recommended from trusted sources. My kids love you. Some of you have even gone above and beyond to invest in them, making them feel special with your special-hot-chocolate or ice-cream-decorating or even just fun crafts.

You are a valuable part of our weekly lives. You enable my husband and me to date and connect and strengthen our marriage. In the summer, you give me a breather, time to exercise, unwind, so I can be a better, more refreshed mom. (And let's be honest, give the kids a break from me too;)

So there's no argument here that you are appreciated and your job is important. But you don't pay taxes on that $15 an hour some of you have started asking for. (Remember folks, I live in CA. My GA friends probably think $10 an hour is a stretch.)

You are not a full-time employee of a company required to pay you $15 an hour.
You take care of my most precious possessions for about 3 hours, maybe 2, then you sit on the couch and watch television until we get home.

I'm willing to pay my really good sitters $2 an hour above minimum wage just to keep them happy and coming back and possibly choose my home over someone who's only gonna pay minimum wage. I think that's pretty darn fair. It's tax-free cash, people. Remember that.

And some of you don't even clean up my house at that price! I come home to a downstairs covered in toys, kids bedrooms a wreck, art supplies laying everywhere, and dishes! (Oh my goodness, don't even get me started on the dishes.) Would it kill you to wash the dishes? Even the ones I might have left from earlier in the day? With soap?

I figure some of the blame is on your parents because someone never showed you how to properly wash a dish or how to straighten a house. Many of you still live at home or in college dorms, and I pity your roommates.

So let me spell it out kindly for this generation of babysitters that somehow has grown up untrained and unaware--blame who you want. When you come to my home, for $2 an hour above minimum wage please...

Love my children. Pay attention to them. Play with them. Feed them. Moderate them. Oversee them getting to bed clean and at a timely hour. Keep them safe and your first priority at all times, at all costs.

Clean up ANY messes you and the kids make. In the garage, back yard, their rooms, on counter tops--take a damp rag or paper towel, and a little 409 and make it clean. Windex is for mirrors and windows. If you don't know how to clean something, my kids can probably show you how.

If you accidentally make a mess of the microwave, stove, or anything while cooking dinner, please wipe it up. Try to avoid scorching nonstick pans on the stove.

Wash all the dishes. If you're unsure of whether you can put it in the dishwasher, fill the sink with hot, soapy water. Place dirty dishes in said water. Scrub away all the food. Rinse with warm or cold water. Place on the towel next to the sink to dry. If the dish still has suds on it, it's not clean. If it still has food on it, it's not clean. If it still feels greasy, slimy, it's not clean.

Before you sit down on the couch, please take two minutes to walk around the house and put things back where they belong. At least get them off the floor. Fold towels, blankets, etc. Just make everything look neat.

That's it! Thank you for a job well done.

If you insist on asking for $15 an hour, I expect all of the above to be done as well as...

ALL the dishes. I don't care if I have left them there for 3 days. Remember, you don't pay taxes on that $15 an hour, and even McDonald's is gonna make you scrub dishes, ones A LOT dirtier than what's at my house.

If you want to treat my kids to something other than fish sticks and tater tots, that's on your dime. Please don't ask me to compensate you.

Take the cordless vacuum and get the downstairs floors spotless. All counter and table tops too.

Feel free to walk around the house and do something a little extra for that $15. All the cleaning supplies you need are under every sink in my house. Just because you didn't make the mess doesn't mean you can't clean it.

And that's that. Americans all over the US are fighting for $15 an hour at jobs where they will be required to pay taxes, and they go home to mouths to feed other than their own and bills to pay.

I commend you for trying to make money for yourself, for investing in the lives of children, for having the courage to even negotiate pay with me, but please don't be unreasonable, and for heaven's sake make it worth my money, or maybe I will just try instead, or call around for more reasonable babysitters.

I love you, but most babysitters aren't irreplaceable. Let's work together to make this work.

A Slightly Dissatisfied Mom

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