We love a good babysitter. Hell, we love even a mediocre babysitter (kidding) (sort of). The ability to pay someone to watch our kids for a few hours so we can go be a non-parent and do non-parent related things? Absolutely, yes, we bow at your feet. Thank you, babysitting coalition, for bestowing your gifts upon us parents in exchange for pay and whatever food you want in the fridge. The list of streaming passwords and number for poison control is on the fridge, text us if something/someone is on fire.
Having hired more than a few sitters in our day, we’ve encountered pretty much every type of babysitter you can imagine. And yes, there are types! Not all babysitters are created equal, and each has their specific strengths and weaknesses. Chances are, if you hire sitters regularly, you’ll encounter one or more of these types of babysitters, too. We know we have our fave—which is yours?
Bless these little worrywarts. Worriers come in all ages, all genders, from all walks of life. These sitters are keenly aware that they are in charge of someone else’s precious children and therefore, they are hyper-attentive to every single need of those kids. Your kid didn’t eat their broccoli? The Worrier made a note of that. Kid cried because of some invisible ailment? The Worrier made a note of that and also pre-dialed the pediatrician. Kid bumped their head in the tub? The Worrier made a note of that, texted you immediately after it happened, drew a ring around the goose egg on their noggin, and documented the injury with photos and notes every three minutes. The Worrier is not the sitter who is going to check in once in four hours and then tell you everything was great when you get home and relieve them from duty. You will hear from them throughout their shift, probably multiple times and will be left with a detailed log kept during your absence.
The Fridge Raider
Now obviously, if someone is doing the major solid of watching your kids for a few hours so you don’t have to, there is an expectation that they will be fed while babysitting your kids. That is absolutely, 100% fine. But The Fridge Raider takes eating on the job to a whole new level. Our friend Raider sees an opportunity during their sitting gigs, one that involves eating as much as humanly possible. We don’t judge; for real, eat WTF you want, it’s the very least we can do! But Fridge Raider sees each sitter job as their own smorgasbord, a chance to feast and eat to their heart’s content. Raider is going to hit the prepared foods, the fruits, the veggies. Raider is going to use the last of your milk for a pregame bowl of cereal and then make a pot of coffee to be able to use the fancy flavored creamer. And you know what? You won’t care. Just make sure you grocery shop before hiring Raider, or else you’ll need to make a trip first thing in the AM after they’ve been there and cleaned you out.
Now, when you hire a babysitter, it is usually for the sole purpose of having them watch your kids. Keep them safe, fed, entertained, get them to bed if applicable. We don’t hire sitters and expect much more than that—that is MORE than enough! But The Helper is a special kind of sitter. The Helper does all of the kid stuff and then moves onto helping in other ways. They might fold the kids’ laundry while they watch a show together or Ajax the tub after bath time. They’ll make dinner, clean up and portion the leftovers into lunches and snacks for the next day. After they read your kid’s favorite book, they’ll reorganize the bookshelf so it’s color-coded and alphabetized. And when the kids are asleep, Helper will ‘tidy up’ the house, which if you’re being honest, is a higher level of tidy and clean than the results of your weekend house-cleaning seshes. If you luck out and get The Helper as a sitter, put them on retainer IMMEDIATELY, pay them handsomely, and talk to an attorney about perhaps drawing up a non-compete clause so you can corner that market.
On the opposite side of the sitter spectrum from The Helper sits The Whirlwind. Full disclosure: Whirlwind will be your kids’ FAVORITE sitter. Why, you might ask? Because their singular focus during their time with your kids is to have as much fun as humanly possible. They’re there for a good time, not a long time. Kids want to paint the driveway with their butts and some finger paint? Have at it. Hide and seek for three hours where they spend the entire time tearing the house apart to find each other? Why not. Fashion show with every single item of clothing they own? Whatever helps pass the time. Whirlwind can’t see farther ahead than the kids’ enjoyment, so they pivot quickly from one activity to the next usually leaving behind plenty of messes that, wouldn’t you know, they weren’t able to get around to cleaning up before you got home. Time flies when you’re having fun! While having Whirlwind babysit may end up being more work for you in the long run, you know in your heart of hearts that their attention was on your kids at all times, and that your kids had an absolute blast. So they may not be your go-to sitter on a school night when you have a PTA meeting, but Whirlwind is quite possibly the best weekend date night sitter you can hire.