We have now reached another milestone in our family’s history where we no longer require the hiring of baby sitters.
My oldest two children haven’t allowed a fire in the house in months, which means they are mature enough to stay at home by themselves and look after their younger brother, in small doses.
But for well over a decade, that wasn’t the case. We were fortunate to have family nearby, and friends who would actually volunteer to keep our kids sometimes. But most parents with young children don’t have that luxury, and finding a responsible person, or just a person, to baby-sit was almost as hard as finding a good plumber.
For those struggling to find a good baby sitter, I, as per usual, have some tips and advice for what to look for in a baby sitter, how to keep a baby sitter and signs that you’ve hired a bad baby sitter.
You’re welcome in advance.
First of all, in finding a good baby sitter, look for:
• Someone who doesn’t date.
Dating often gets in the way of your social schedule, which is our only concern for this exercise. Either find a nun, or a baby sitter too young to date or so old that the last date they had was via horse and buggy.
• Someone who won’t run their mouth.
You can’t imagine the lies your kids will tell while you’re gone — “My daddy fixed it where we get cable for free,” “My daddy lets us watch ‘Temptation Island’ all the time,” “Here is where my daddy buried his money in the backyard.”
A discreet baby sitter can save you big money on attorney’s fees.
• Someone who you haven’t seen on an episode of “Cops.”
Unless they are a nun, or a cop.
To keep a baby sitter, make sure to:
• Sabotage any attempts at dating.
If your young baby sitter turns dating age, you must do everything in your power to stop it, or you will lose her and be forced to find another baby sitter. I would suggest not sullying the suitor’s reputation — it could backfire.
Instead, you can create a number of small inconveniences to thwart the dating process before it gets started — slashing the guy’s tires; mailing him anonymous, threatening letters; pouring honey on him and tying him up in the woods — that type of thing.
• Pay well.
If it comes down to baby-sitting for you or another couple, money talks. Pay more than the going rate and you won’t be the one searching for a sitter the night of the big shindig.
Some signs you might have hired a bad baby sitter:
• They show up toting a keg.
• Before you leave, they ask if you have a block on 1-900 numbers.
• When you call to check in, her pimp answers the phone.
• When you reach for your wallet to pay them, they say “Don’t worry. I’ve already taken care of that.”
Bottom line: If you can find a nun, sign her to a longtime, binding babysitting contract. Unless she shows up toting a keg.
Oh, and my two oldest children aren’t available for babysitting. They already have a gig — unless you’re willing to pay twice the going rate. In that case, they’re free, and have never been on “Cops.”
Len Robbins is editor and publisher of the Clinch County News in Homerville. His column appears weekly.