I babysat a lot as a teenager. A lot. My Saturday nights pretty much consisted of a standing date with George Clooney on Sisters and whatever free snacks I could score. (Not so bad, in retrospect.)
There were the good houses to babysit for and the bad houses. The good ones were stocked with Oreos and Hawaiian Punch and Cool Ranch Doritos. They had phones that I was free to use and cable stations that my folks didn’t subscribe to. The parents were laid back and funny and, most importantly, they always rounded up.
The bad houses had barren pantry’s, void of yummy treats and only milk to drink. They had educational magazines, network TV and actual stuff for me to do, once the kids were tucked away in bed. Those houses sucked, and had I not been saving my pennies for the newest Tiffany and Debbie Gibson cassettes, I would have declined those jobs in a heartbeat.
I vowed that when I was old enough to employee sitters I would be the house that sitters enjoyed coming to. I’d be the cool mom who seemed more like a friend than a boss. I’d have the best kids who were just a joy to watch. I’d offer the best snacks and fun magazines and make people yearn to sit on my couch.
Needless to say, I am not. I introduced a new sitter to the kids this week. She is wonderful and trustworthy and everything you want in a babysitter. Things were going along swimmingly until it was time for lunch. I made the kids their fruit and sandwiches and told the sitter to feel free to eat anything, opening the pantry for her. Inside, I found dry pasta, olives and baking staples. And that was it. Instantly, I realized which category my house fit into.
Sickened, I paid her an extra ten bucks to get lunch and sent her on her way– the last thing I want to be known as is that mom in the sitter circuit. I’m heading to the market before she comes back on Friday, and I’ll be leaving with Oreos, Doritos and fruit punch. Just for her.