I was a part of the Babysitters Club before it became popularized by a series of books and made-for-tv movies. In fact, reading those books and watching the movies made me realize just how important a role babysitting played in my life.
I was the go-to girl in my family. Whenever the adults had an event to attend, I was stuck watching the babies. There were times I was excited, moments when I was frustrated, and situations where I thought my life couldn't get any worse. And this was just the first hour of my shift!
I never had any girls to baby-sit; for awhile my family seem to only produce boys. It was a breeze. No finger nails to paint, no Barbies to dress-up, and no shying away from dirt and bugs. The boys were also my cousins, so I assume my level of patience was higher because of this factor. Had it been some regular babysitting gig, I may have thrown in the towel earlier. Luckily, I didn't.
I've learned a lot from babysitting. Mostly my love for children. I loved the way they made me cry and laugh in the same breath. I loved the way the simplest of objects could entertain them for hours. I loved their inability to understand that nightfall meant it was time for bed. Okay...scratch that last thought. I hated the way babies operated on their own schedule and how they thought my weary eyes were an attempt to make a silly face at them. My love for children far outweighed my dislikes. This prepared me for motherhood and established an appreciation for family support.
My family has supported me in my time of need (and want-like a girl's night out). They were and are willing to lend a hand whenever I need them. I never have to worry. I just don't want to wear my welcome out.
If you have the opportunity, volunteer to help-out a family. Even if for a couple of hours, having a few moments to yourself can really make a difference in your day. Teenagers make great babysitters as well. I would know, I was one. If you feel uncomfortable letting a teenager watch your kids alone, have them come over while you're home just to alleviate you. At least you'll be in the home, but you won't have to dedicate your full attention to the kids.
Babysitting is rewarding. It's an experience. It is also memorable. It teaches life-lessons.
I'll leave you with a song from one of my all-time favorite movies, "Adventures in Babysitting":
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