I like kids. I really do. I volunteer at church to teach them, I love hanging out with them and I have some of my own! But for some reason, I don’t like babysitting other people’s kids. I’ll be the first person to say it takes a village to raise children. And I admittedly have heavily relied on my village at times. But I have also spread the village love and tried not to overuse them (with the exception of my mother, because, well, she’s my mom!).
Some people have “the gift”. It’s what I call it when you have lots of children and it doesn’t seem to phase you in the least. I don’t have “the gift”. But I know many who do. One of my best friends from High School has 1o kids and counting. They just keep opening up their home to foster children and adopting them. I LOVE that about her. But I secretly wonder how in the world she keeps her sanity. The thought of the meals, diapers, requests, and laundry makes me hyperventilate and need a long bubble bath to recover.
I feel like there are some unspoken rules when asking your friends to watch your kids:
- It shouldn’t be for a long time. If it’s not my “job” i.e. I’m not getting paid for it, you should be sensitive to how long you leave them. And I don’t want to get paid for it! I don’t mind doing it – really – just don’t drop them for 6 hours and then be late picking them up.
- It shouldn’t be a habit. If you need a babysitter for a date night – sure, I’ve been there, you’d rather have your money to eat dinner then pay a babysitter. But if you’re asking me to watch your kids consistently while you work – just no. Some things you need to pay for.
- Return the favor sometimes. I don’t want to have to ask you to return the favor. If I’ve helped you when you’ve been in a pinch, or needed a break, offer the same in return.
- If your kids don’t listen to authority, don’t ask me to watch them. There is nothing worse than spending the afternoon, evening, day with kids who are disrespectful. And you know if they are or not.
We all need a break sometimes. We all need help sometimes. When you do need that help, just remember these things. You don’t want people moving out of your village.