Dear babysitter,

I’m so extremely grateful to have your services. You don’t even know.

Time out of the house without kids for this mom is a true luxury. Not because I don’t love them to pieces, but because doing pretty much anything without them is a million times easier. The grocery store, the eye doctor, the hair dresser. These simple tasks are near impossible with my little munchkins beside me (trust me, I’ve tried). So while you think I’m out pampering myself with “me” time, I’m probably at Walmart trying to buy supplies for a birthday party or a CVS picking up a prescription that’s been sitting on their shelves for two week. OK, I might sneak in a pedicure… but only if there’s time.

I was like you once; eager to make some cash. For me, babysitting seemed like a pretty easy job, with low expectations, few pre-requisites, and zero oversight. I’ve been there, and I know it looks pretty basic on paper. And if that’s all it seems to you, that’s OK. I totally understand! But now that I’m a mom, there are a few things you need to know. Things I didn’t know when it was my turn. So take a seat and put down your phone. This is going to get deep.

These kids you see here… they’re my everything. They mean more to me than anything on earth. They are the most precious creatures in human existence, as far as I’m concerned. If anything ever happened to them, my life would end. My purpose would die. So when I leave them in your hands, I am handing you my life, essentially. I’m trusting you with the reasons I breathe. I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just trying to give you some perspective. These aren’t just “some” kids you’re watching. They’re my kids. And I need you to watch them and care for them as if they were your own.

Kids are unpredictable. Let me rephrase. My kids are unpredictable. Just because my toddler is sitting in the sandbox at this very moment, there’s no telling where he’ll be when you look back up from your phone. Stay close. Never assume. Hover. I know the articles say not to hover over kids. But these are my kids and you’re only here for a few hours. So go ahead and hover! Maybe this sounds extreme, but you don’t know which gates my kids know how to open. You haven’t seen my toddler contort his way through the fence. And you probably don’t know which of my neighbors have pools or dogs who think toddlers look like tonight’s dinner. So for the sake of erring on the side of caution, just hover… ‘kay?

Sh*t happens. Yes, I know. It happens to me all the time. And I’m not just talking accidents, tantrums, and close calls. I’m talking actual sh*t. So I have no unrealistic expectations that it won’t happen on your watch occasionally too. Just remember that I’m here for you. I want to help you if I can. And if I can’t, use those emergency numbers I left for you. Please. No egos, no fear of repercussions. If you’re deep in a sh*tstorm of any kind, use your “phone a friend” lifeline and call me.

Please tell me everything. I don’t want a canned response that the kids were great when I get home. If they were living terrors and total brats, I want to know! My kids are perfect to me but they are in no way perfect. Getting a realistic dose of how the day went helps me gauge what I need to work on with them, what kind of discipline is in store, and perhaps justify a bigger tip for you! Worried it might make you look bad? Like you didn’t have full control of the situation? Don’t be worried. I am their mother and I never have full control. Truth.

Lastly, don’t undermine yourself. You are a smart, caring, responsible young adult. I value your services and I want to pay you accordingly. When I ask you how much you charge, don’t lower your head and mumble “whatever works for you.” Give me a solid, deserving price with confidence. You’ve earned it. Remember, as far as I am concerned, you have the most important job in the world. I want to pay you, and I want you to feel appreciated. Because, dear babysitter, I appreciate you, and I want you to come back.

Please, please come back.

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Celeste Yvonne

About Celeste Yvonne: Celeste is a popular blogger and personality who writes about all things parenting. Celeste openly speaks about her struggles with alcohol, and two years ago she announced her commitment to becoming a sober mom for the sake of her health and her family. Her piece about a playdate that went sideways when another mom started serving mimosas has reached over 14 million people. Celeste lives in Reno, Nevada with her husband and two boys ages 3 and 5. Follow Celeste at http://www.facebook.com/theultimatemomchallengehttp://www.instagram.com/andwhatamom or http://www.andwhatamom.com

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