There is a serious shortage of acceptable babysitters. We used to have four of them — they answer to Grandma, Papa, Granny, and Papaw. Then we moved to a land far, far away, and ever since then it’s just been us…for everything. It’s not that we don’t need the help. In fact, sometimes it feels like we really, really need the help.
I would like to write — or speak — a complete sentence without someone yelling for help from the bathroom. I would like to stay in bed when I have a 101-degree fever instead of figuring out how to entertain two small people while simultaneously trying to avoid them so they do not also catch the plague. I would like to one day have a meal with my husband that does not involve high chairs, coloring books, and frantically cutting chicken into teeny-tiny bites before someone implodes.
Even though my children are the very heart of my soul, once in a while a girl kinda just wants to go on a date. That sort of thing requires a babysitter, but here’s the hard truth: The thought of leaving my children with a stranger has always made me break out in a cold sweat.
We held out for almost two full years. Two years. But finally, a couple months ago, I signed up for a popular nannying/babysitting site and published a “Seeking Help” post.
I tried to ignore my niggling reservations. Some of the most phenomenal women I know have nannied — there had to be someone out there for us. How difficult could the process be?
Sort of impossible, it turns out.
Fifty-four people replied to our posting. Fifty-four! So many choices! I opened each email hoping I would feel utterly compelled to interview everyone. I wanted to be drowning in interviews.
But too many things were bafflingly wrong.
Dear babysitter applicant, I’m sure you are a wonderful person. I bet you have parents who love you and pets who count on you and plants that you always remember to water. And your wonderful-ness is what makes this such a shame, because girl (and the occasional guy), that application of yours isn’t doing you any favors.
Maybe it kind of sucks that you’re asked to upload a picture at all — not every job encourages a headshot along with a resume — but this particular babysitting site does.
Let’s be clear: I don’t really care what you look like. I’m not actively looking for a flawlessly symmetrical face or people who only part their hair to one side. It’s the photo choices that are head-scratchingly cringeworthy.
I’d never post the real pictures here, but I can recreate the most common fails for your viewing confusion. (Note: All photos are based on actual applications we received. To be considered eligible for this parody, at least three different applicants had to submit a photo of each type.)
Perplexing Picture Choice No. 1: With a Filter…in Bed (Yes, Seriously)
Look, Snapchat filters are the bomb. They do my makeup way better than I can, my skin always looks more glowing than freshly bathed baby buttocks, and they make for some perfect Facebook profile pics. But this is a job application, not your boyfriend’s inbox, and I’m just not sure about this. You are literally under the sheets. Did you take that sultry-tastic picture specifically for this potential new — erhm — position, or was it actually the best pre-existing option on your phone? I’m only human, and this makes me question your decision-making skills. Also, have Jude and Gavin and Ben and Ethan and Arnold taught us nothing? (P.S. Hi babe, I totally trust you.) Thanks for applying, but please stay out of my house.
Perplexing Picture Choice No. 2: An Animal
There’s no way to be sure, but I feel like that’s not you. Your puppy is probably perfectly responsible though. And also super cute. All right fine, call me.
Perplexing Picture Choice No. 3: Far, Far Away
Wow, that’s some pretty neat scenery — love the whole forest thing. (Also popular: you on a boat surrounded by a vast expanse of water; a from-behind, almost-profile shot of you in the distance, gazing at something; or your minuscule silhouette against a sunset.) Man, lots of trees out there, and some grass, and sunny skies, and — Wait! It’s a person! Maybe she can be our babysitter! Let me send up a flare.
Perplexing Picture Choice No. 4: The Car Selfie
Almost half of our applicants used a picture of them behind the wheel, all strapped in and everything. What is going on? Aren’t you supposed to be driving? Here’s hoping you were just really bored at a stop light (even though we’ve all seen videos that prove many people do this while the vehicle is in motion *face palm*). Thank god that car seat is empty, because danger, Will Robinson!
Fact: Statistically, 99.9999999999999% of humans have taken a selfie in a car. This is according to a super-credible and definitely real study conducted somewhere near you. Anyway, I never understood the phenomenon until I did this parody, but now I think I get it. The lighting! The solitude! The freeing ability to hide all manner of sins behind massive sunglasses! The next time life calls for a selfie, this might be my new go-to, but I will be parked.
Perplexing Picture Choice No. 5: The Mugshot
Please don’t hurt my children.
Speaking of facial symmetry, I recently learned (from this photo) that apparently my nostrils are two different sizes. #themoreyouknow (And this is why we heart Snapchat filters.)