Almost two years in, and we are STILL knee-deep in the never-ending search for decent childcare. I curse all of you who have family nearby to provide free (albeit guilt-inducing) childcare last-minute. You have no idea how fortunate you are. For the rest of us who were deluded enough to think it’s a wise to attempt raising a family on the opposite side of the continent from any family…well, you know, the struggle is real. One would think it shouldn’t be that difficult to find someone remotely normal to watch your child. But, alas it has proven to be a seemingly insurmountable task. Perhaps I’m too picky. Perhaps my expectations are too high…but I’m pretty sure my apparently unattainable standards are entirely reasonable. I could throw a stone in any small town suburb and hit at least 10 high schoolers who fit the bill. Yet in an entire city full of people I can’t seem to find one willing sitter that:
1. Speaks english.
2. Is remotely normal.
3. Isn’t going to harm or neglect my child.
4. Is capable of keeping up with and entertaining a busy toddler.
5. Can provide basic life care: feed, change diapers, put down for nap/bed, keep alive.
To be honest I am sick of interviewing sitters. It is annoying at best. Especially when most of the sitters are NEVER going to be alone with my child – nor should they be alone with any other child.
So, to save my time and yours (prospective sitters), I have come up with a list of ways to NOT get hired – please avoid the following and you will be well on your way to a cushy gig making a disgusting amount of money to play with a toddler (something the people who are paying you get to do ALL DAY, EVERY DAY for FREE.)
The following are 6 surefire ways to NOT get a babysitting job:
- Be a middle-aged man. I’m sorry. Gender equality my ass…if you are a middle-aged man with a profile on a babysitting site, despite your obviously genuine love for children, all ANY parent sees is PEDOPHILE. I know, it’s not fair. But it is the truth. The only exception to this is if you are under 25 and attractive. Then and only do fall under the highly coveted category of “Manny,” and thanks to abundant celebrity usage of cute little manny’s, you can actually charge premium rates for your services. BUT, if you less of a hot young manny and more of a mid-40s, slightly bald, slightly overweight and have questionable facial hair, you are in fact super creepy and should definitely find another career path.
- Post a bikini selfie as your profile photo. This is NOT tinder! Think girls, think. Who is hiring the babysitter? 99.999999% of the time, it’s the mom. I repeat, the MOM is doing the hiring. Even if she is a total MILF, she is a HUMAN BEING…and NO WOMAN is going to hire some playboy pin-up in a string bikini to watch her children. It’s. Just. Not. Gonna. Happen. So put on some clothes dammit and post a nice sensible photo. The same goes for those of you that post a photo clearly taken while you were out clubbing. If your “clothing” is made entirely of spandex-like material from the Junior department or perhaps your ensemble could be mistaken for the costume you wore to the pimps and hos party you passed out at last weekend…DO NOT, i repeat DO NOT use that photo – even if you think it’s a super cute. It will not be appreciated by a 30-40 year old woman looking for someone nice to keep her kiddos safe while she stuffs her ass into Spanx and tries to feel sexy for her oh-so-hot date night to drink wine and paint pottery.
- Lie about your experience. We are leaving our most valuable possessions with you. Do not lie about having experience. We will check your references. We will also notice if you say you have experience with babies and then act as if you have NEVER held a baby when you come to meet us in person. Did you think you would just know what to do? Did you perhaps think the hours you spent watching Teen Moms was preparation enough? One sitter literally looked like she was holding a razor-blade encrusted dirty bomb when we had her hold Avery when he was around 5 months old. I’m not sure who was more uncomfortable. I do know she was most definitely NOT hired.
- Lie about anything else. One prospective sitter happened to lie about being comfortable with pets. This one I don’t understand at all. We are VERY clear in our job postings and I even reiterate it with sitters on phone interviews that our bulldog Riley is VERY friendly, has full run of the house and will lick you non-stop. Yet, one prospective sitter came over and literally cowered in the corner afraid to come into the house because our dog was sniffing her. She actually asked, “Can the dog, like, be somewhere else?” Um…no. She lives here. She is kind of part of the deal. That’s why I mentioned it, oh, 17 times and double and triple checked that you were ok with dogs. Clearly you like the idea of dogs, or perhaps you think they are cute in viral videos, yet have never actually been in the room with a real live animal. Next, please!
- Don’t send references. If you really don’t want to be hired then tell me you will send your references and then just never do it even when I email and text you to remind you. See #3 above, because I now suspect that you lied about your experience and when faced with the reality of submitting references had to acknowledge that you in fact, do not have any. This is the only reason I can think of to explain why you couldn’t send references. That or everyone you have ever babysat for will never hire you again because you are terrible so you can’t possibly use them for references. Neither of these explanations will score you a job.
- Don’t show up for the interview. If you don’t show up for the interview, or “miss” the phone interview, I will assume you are no longer interested. Because if you were, you most certainly wouldn’t blow me off. This is a huge red flag since I would be hiring you to show up ON TIME so that I can be ON TIME for whatever appointment, event, audition or job that I need to hire you for in the first place. News flash, I’m not just hiring you because I want to go wander around the mall. I’m hiring you because I have somewhere to be. If you can’t manage to arrive on time on the day you are (in theory) doing your best to impress me, I have very low expectations that you would be able to actually arrive on time for work.
Avery is almost two…I have only left him a handful of times with a sitter – partly because well, stay home with him and rarely work. But, largely because it has been the bane of my existence to find someone remotely affordable that I’m confident will keep Avery safe and won’t sell him on the black market. I could go on for days about some of the gems I have interviewed (There are some SERIOUSLY crazy people out there). If you are charging $20/hour for your time, you BETTER be amazing. Like teach my child mandarin, violin and cook gourmet meals amazing. I have yet to find such a person. Actually, we did find one AMAZING sitter who after about six months moved to New York City with her boyfriend…that was a very sad day. We are now on our 7th or 8th sitter, skeptical, but hopeful. She’s a little inexperienced, has put his diapers on backwards twice now, and has yet to successfully get him to nap…but she’s super sweet, he likes her, and she had glowing recommendations. Most of all she communicates clearly about everything and is genuinely interested in how to get things to go smoother next time. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers she can figure out which way is up on the diapers. If you are amidst your own epic sitter search I feel your pain.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series: How to NOT get fired as a babysitter (aka how to not suck so badly at your job that no parent would ever call you back)…