Babysitter Confidential

Good golly, would somebody please duct tape
these two to a chair?

Babysitters are a fact of life for parents. Even though you may think when you bring junior home from the hospital that you’ll never want to part with him, the truth is by week three, you’re arguing with your spouse about who gets to go to the grocery store. Nothing says, “You need to get out more often!” like loitering around the produce section just so you can debate the best butt creams with other parents who won’t go home because they just can’t face yet another diaper horror show. The only way you and your spouse can regain your collective sanity is to find that one coveted babysitter you can trust and afford.

Needless to say, this is about as easy as hunting for Easter Eggs on Halloween, because once parents find good babysitters, they usually don’t want to share them.

Which is why when my boys were little, in a moment of desperation, one time I had to break in to my neighbor’s house to get the phone number of her babysitter.

Somebody get me the butt cream!

Okay, it wasn’t an actual break-in per se. I was feeding their cat while they were on vacation. I had the key and was welcome to go in and out of their house as I saw fit. One evening after our babysitter cancelled at the last minute I saw fit to go in and get their babysitter’s name and phone number, which I noticed was written on a whiteboard in the kitchen. I defended this sneaky act by telling myself my neighbor and I were close enough friends for me to do such a thing. Or at least that’s how I justified it in the heat of the moment.

I contacted the pilfered sitter, a lovely 16-year-old girl named Jessica who had just obtained her driver’s license. This was a big plus, because now we didn’t have to worry about taking her home after a wild night of drinking (us not her), thus eliminating the embarrassing risk of being pulled over for a DUI with a babysitter in the car. Which we never would’ve done, anyway, not necessarily because we were afraid of the law, but because we were even more afraid of being blacklisted by the parents of a perfectly good babysitter.

After I made the call Jessica came right over. My husband and I went out and we had ourselves a grand old night out on the town. I didn’t give my self-indulgent, babysitter-stealing ways a second thought.

Until the next morning, when I experienced that darn “day after” shame.

Rule 1: Do not covet thy neighbor's babysitter

I was feeling a little guilty because a couple of weeks prior to that I had asked my neighbor for a babysitter referral and she told me she didn’t have anyone she could recommend. So imagine my surprise when I saw Jessica – babysitter, followed a phone number, written on the white board above her desk.

I made a mental note to ask my neighbor about it later. But now that I’d simply forged ahead and called my neighbor’s secret sitter without her blessing I was no longer in any big hurry to bring up the matter. I figured it would eventually surface all on its own one way or another.

And sure enough it did—two weeks later, to be precise, when Jessica pulled into our driveway and waved at my neighbor, who was working in her yard. By the look on my neighbor’s face you would’ve thought I had enticed her husband to give in to my sultry ways. In fact she probably would’ve preferred that I had done the horizontal tango with her hubby than deny her the freedom she had once known by having a babysitter as good as Jessica all to herself. It was an awkward moment. I knew I had to do something. I walked over to my neighbor as she angrily attacked a lilac bush with pair of clippers that were so scary they looked like they could’ve gutted a warthog.

“I’m sorry Ellen,” I confessed. “I meant to tell you sooner.”

“How long has this been going on?” She asked furiously as she hacked off a thick branch in one swift chop.

“It all started while you were on vacation. I thought it was just going to be a one-time thing. But she was so good, and she said she needed the money for college.”

“I suspected something was going on. She wasn’t as available as she used to be. But I never guessed it was you.”

I hung my head in shame. “We can share her,” I offered meekly.

“Oh, please. This is Utah, we may share our husbands, but you know as well as I do babysitters are sacred. I’ve got five kids, four of which are boys. Jessica could handle them all like a seasoned nun at Catholic boarding school.

“You’re Catholic? I thought you guys were Mormon.”

“We’re neither. I’m just really fertile. And now I have to find a new babysitter, because you only have two kids, who for some strange reason, go to bed at a reasonable hour. So just who do you think Jessica is going to save herself for on New Year’s Eve? Or any weekend night, for that matter? Huh? WHO?”

Um, she had a point.

And with that my poor defeated neighbor turned and stomped into her house, leaving me to consider my actions and wonder, what was I thinking? She’s right! New Year’s Eve DOES book up fast. I’d better get in there and call Jessica pronto!

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on Amazon.com.

20 comments on Babysitter Confidential

    1. I especially like it when they call to tell you they can’t babysit because they’re sick and you can hear music and a party going on in the background. Geez, at least have the decency to go out to your car to make that call!

  1. The worst is when someone else ruins the whole gig by overpaying the great sitter, therefore setting the bar to a level that with which you may not be able to compete. We are past the babysitter days, but now we have the most amazing dog sitter…

    1. I know! I remember when we started hiring babysitters and I couldn’t get over the sticker-shock from what I was paid as a sitter in high school versus what I had to pay sitters for my kids! Plus, add those big spenders paying premium prices and suddenly it was just cheaper for my husband to go sit in the car in the garage and share a bottle a wine while the kids stayed inside and watched TV.

  2. Yesterday I went to the library for 15 minutes to get a breastfeeding book and left Miss C with my MIL. Even though it KILLED me (truly, truly brutal) to leave her for the first time in 10 months, I can imagine I will feel a little differently in a matter of weeks! Great post, as per usual 🙂

    1. Thanks for your sweet words about my post! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. And yes, just give it time, soon you’ll be begging your MIL to help out with babysitting as often as possible. You’re so lucky you have her close by to pitch in when needed. We didn’t have that option. But when our moms did visit, we’d try to pack in as much nights out as possible–even if we were too tired we’d rally. Couldn’t waste a built-in babysitter opportunity!

      1. Unfortunately she doesn’t live close by. She’s just here to help us get our bearings in order while the baby is new. This means that I will indeed need to eventually HIRE a babysitter which scares the bejesus out of me. We’ll likely just try to get the baby to like Mad Men as much as us so she can just hang out with us all the time :;)

    1. You were lucky! Both our parents lived out-of-state so having grandparents babysit wasn’t an option. Once in a while we’d sponge off our friends parents, but that wasn’t always a sure thing. By far, grandparents are the best!

  3. If you think finding a babysitter is hard you should try being a single working mother who lives 2,000 miles from the closest family member looking for affordable AND reliable daycare WHEN the state gets rid of all day kindergarten. Phew…was that a run-on or what!?

    1. Yes, it’s a bummer that school districts are getting rid of all-day kindergarten. That REALLY unhinges a lot of working parents, especially when grandparents and close relatives are not an option. There’s something to be said for moving back to your home town (or where ever your parents live) when the babies come along.

  4. OH Stacy, you are bad, but it makes for great writing! It’s a vicious world out there; every woman for herself! Shouldn’t the blame game really fall on the baby-sitter… she should be the one to say, “sorry, but I’m taken!” Doesn’t she have boundaries?!?!?!?!!? HAHAHAHAHHA!!!!

    Sorry that I haven’t linked back regarding the Sunshine Award! I really really really do appreciate it… it’s just been so busy around here lately, that I haven’t been blogging, and I have many blogs to read. Dang-it, I know that’s a sucky excuse, but somehow this comment is turning into a guilt trip on myself, and it’s working. I will get a post out by this weekend ~ promise!

    1. No worries, Carol. I know you’re busy, so I doubly appreciate you reading my blog and commenting. I know what you mean, though, about not blogging as often as you’d like. Life, kids, family, and that nagging nuisance about doing some sort of work to earn money keeps getting in the way. Now if someone would just pay us for being fabulous we’d be rich beyond our dreams! Right?

  5. A good babysitter is waaaaaaaaay more useful/beneficial/priceless than a good friend. After all, without a good babysitter it doesn’t matter how many good friends you have – you’ll never see them anyway! You’re so funny, love the blog 🙂

    1. I never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right! What good are friends if you can never go out to see them? At that point they just become a tease for what your life USED to be.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate your kind words and enthusiasm about my writing. Please come back again soon! 😀

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