27 Dec
Is She a Babysitter or a Parking Expert?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I recently left my 6 year old and 5 month old son with a babysitter. When I returned, I realized that her car was parked in a different spot. Turns out, she ran out and moved it while I was gone to avoid getting a ticket. She claims that she was only gone 2 minutes and the baby was sleeping at the time. I was upset about this. What if she had gotten locked out? Shouldn’t she have at least asked me first? Am I over reacting?

Signed,

Mama Bear

___________________________________

Dear Mama Bear,

Here at The Mouthy Housewives we have an iron clad policy not to answer a reader’s question while feeling angry.   And the fact that I just made up this policy shouldn’t detract from its validity.   But, see, I read your question over an hour ago, I counted to ten and took so many deep breaths that I should register comatose on the relaxation scale, and yet, I’m still seething.

Because leaving a child unattended for however short a time period is unacceptable.   And the fact that it was two children is twice as unacceptable.   Unacceptablemus maximus.

Fortunately, she moved the car, avoided a ticket, and your children were unharmed.     That’s the good news.   The bad news is that she seems to value not getting a ticket over your children’s safety.   You are not okay with what she did and are now questioning, correctly, her judgment.

I mean, are you supposed to leave her a list of do’s and don’ts? When we hire caregivers for our kids we like to assume that they are on the same page as we are, and often leave some things unspoken.   If we have to mention things such as “please don’t let my baby do any deep-frying” and “my toddler is not allowed in the shooting range” it makes having a babysitter more of a burden than necessary.

Do yourself a favor and get a new babysitter.   One that will park herself in front of the kids.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

21 Responses to “Is She a Babysitter or a Parking Expert?”

12.27.10#1

Comment by Wendi.

Perfect answer.

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

Absolutely.

12.27.10#2

Comment by Lynn MacDonald.

I trained all my kids at an early age to move the cars themselves. That way the babysitter can stay in the house while the kids do the work. Child labor is a useful tool. Just saying…

12.27.10#3

Comment by Cheryl.

I think my head just exploded. Great response.

12.27.10#4

Comment by Plano Mom.

Awesome answer. It’s not the baby I’d be worried about. I remember being petrified of leaving my six year old alone in the house. He’s just a little too creative and intelligent to be safe.

12.27.10#5

Comment by Lauren.

My son (almost 2) can deadbolt the front door. I don’t think it is acceptable to leave the child at all because things can happen in a split second!

12.27.10#6

Comment by Angela.

My husband and I occasionally have to park a half a block away, just to avoid leaving our 3 yr old son unattended to play musical cars. He developed a love of scaling the 6 ft tall entertainment center in under a minute before he could even walk. There is NO WAY I would EVER leave him alone.

12.27.10#7

Comment by Kimberly.

In some states, the sitter can be prosecuted for what she did.

12.28.10#8

Comment by Devil's Advocate.

Mama Bear,
If you are uncomfortable with what your baby sitter did (and you have a right to be… its your kids she is taking care of), then definitely, find yourself another babysitter. The last thing you need when you go out for some relaxing adult time is to be worrying about what the babysitter is doing with your children at home.
But I do have a question for you, and all of you… how much are you paying this baby sitter? Are you paying her enough to make a 30 dollar parking ticket worth it? Because I sure don’t. Now don’t get me wrong, I would not be comfortable knowing that a babysitter I left in charge of my kids was not in my home at all times watching them. But I don’t think we have a right to mock her intelligence or flame her for what she did when we leave our kids alone everytime we run to the bathroom or take a shower. My showers take a lot longer than 2 minutes. And I certainly don’t wait for my husband to come home every night before I take one.

LrkMrk Reply:

Great point.

But I also thought, why’d she park there in the first place?

Becky K Reply:

I am glad you said this, we don’t know the full story, only one side. As we all know there are two sides to every story. We don’t know if parking is difficult where she lives and maybe she was worried about parking far away and having to walk to her car at a late hour. There are many reasons for why she parked where she did. Before we convict her we need the full story.

willa Reply:

Hafta say I kinda agree. We as mothers aren’t able to be in view at ALL times. We do need to go to the bathroom for God’s sake. And most of us are comfortable leaving our little one in a playpen/crib while we are doing the deed. The baby WAS sleeping, hopefully in a crib and not on the couch or high ledge. And at six most children has sense enough to sit in front of the T.V. while babysitter/Mom’s out of the room. I would, of course, lock the door and bring my key. Just thinking maybe the babysitter is getting a bad rap here. I personally can’t go too long without a shower, though I have extended the time with a good go over with wipies. But that only goes so far. Ask my Hubby.

Emily Reply:

I’m with you on this one. My kiddo is unsupervised while I shower. For 30 minutes sometimes. I have no other option unless I want to simply…. not shower.

There are tons of times when we as parents allow our children to be out of our sight. We don’t stare them down and I don’t know any parent that actually sits down and plays with their child during every awake hour. I’m the morning, I glance towards the toys from time to time while I drink coffee and check my email.

Why do we expect a babysitter to do what we don’t do?

I wouldn’t like the car moving thing. And I would ask her not to do it again. but I think this was maybe blown out of proportion.

Rainyday Reply:

Yes, but we are PAYING babysitters to watch our kids. Twice now, sitters have gotten themselves locked out of our house while the kids roamed free inside. (Neither sitter has returned, especially the one who went out for a smoke (!!!) and got back in by breaking the basement window and then DIDN’T TELL ME ABOUT IT until I called her asking about the glass all over the floor.)

12.29.10#9

Comment by Marinka, TMH.

Thanks for weighing in, but I’m standing by my advice.

The babysitter made a choice–not risking a parking ticket vs. the care of the children who were entrusted to her. That doesn’t make me question her intelligence, but it certainly speaks volumes about her judgment.

12.29.10#10

Comment by Karin.

I’m with devil’s advocate – even if I do wait until my husband is around to take showers (there are selfish reasons behind this – undoubtedly, there will be something that needs to be intervened in while I’m in there), I walk to the mailbox across the street while my kids are inside, I garden while they play both inside and out, I do the dishes while they play upstairs and as long as at least 2 of them are outside, I don’t always stay outside with them and I certainly didn’t stay inside every time my babies napped forcing the older kids to find something quiet – I’d sit on the porch while the older ones ran around, rode bikes and scooters or played with chalk outside. I don’t hover over my kids constantly b/c it’s not good for me or them. Being a mom of more than one child necessitates divided attention (heck, this is often true of just one kid) and kids need some autonomy and deserve a little bit of leeway to earn trust and independence. 6 years old in line of sight from the house is certainly old enough to begin this. Now, I also don’t know the whole situation – house or apartment, could the car be seen from the house/apartment, where was the child at the time and did he/she know where the sitter was, is the neighborhood safe, is the kid mischievous, does the babysitter have a key to the house, how often does the sitter come? there are a million other questions that I can see mitigating here but it really boils down to how comfortable the parent is with the sitter (and secondly, how much they need a .

Karin Reply:

how much they need time without their kids – seriously, there are some days that I would barely vett a sitter b/c I’m going so crazy that anybody has to be better than me)

12.31.10#11

Comment by vodka tonic.

Anyone who hasn’t left their kids alone for a minute probably needs to take a dump really badly. This is nothing I would fire my sitter over. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND A BABYSITTER?!

01.01.11#12

Comment by random person.

I would so fire that babysitter!! I mean seriously you can’t leave the kids alone for a single second. When I go to the bathroom, my 2 month old is sitting on my lap. I don’t even wipe anymore because I’m afraid he will fall off when Lean over to wipe, when I shower, he comes in with me because it is NEVER acceptable to leave him alone. He sleeps in the living room until 10 when I go to bed, then he sleeps with me, because its irresponsible to leave him is a crib is a separate room. When I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I wake him up and take him with me again. Because I am a RESPONSIBLE parent; who NEVER leaves him alone, even when I’m having sex. I make sure he is in the same room so I can be sure nothing happens to him. Anyone who does anything different does not deserve to have children or even live.
As for the comment about judgement, it’s not parking vs children. You can move the car without lighting the child on fire. It’s not like its one or the other. Moving the car does not mean the child will suffer ill consequences. It takes less time to move the car then it does to make yourself a drink

Emily Reply:

hehe 🙂

09.28.11#13

Comment by Anne-Marie.

A thirty dollar parking ticket? What dream city do you people live in? Where I live, the tickets are more like 78 bucks. Sure, it’s bullsh**, but that’s how the city is making up for a huge deficit. And the city is H-U-N-G-R to the Y! I’ve gotten parking tickets at 5:58 when the free parking starts at 6pm.

Instead, why don’t we come up with a plan- where can this poor girl park where that won’t be a concern? Can she be picked up at this spot? Or is it just 1hr parking or walk?

You can’t expect her to only have the option of one-hour parking and expect her to eschew saving 78 bucks. Or 30 bucks. It doesn’t have to be an either/or on the child safety issue, which is, of course, real, and the most important issue.

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