Over the nearly three years I've been a mom, I've used babysitters more than a handful of times. Every sitter has different strengths and creative gifts, of course. Our sitters have all been well-qualified and quite popular with other parents, too! Sometimes so popular that it was hard to find childcare for a weekend evening. The best babysitters are in high demand and spend time in lots of different homes. Since each family has their own set of rules and expectations, a great sitter will adapt quickly to those changes. But sometimes, parents can set up unrealistic expectations for babysitters. Those weird rules can be the most revealing about families - and some of these babysitters want to tell all!
No Peanuts, Please
My own kid has a peanut allergy, so I'm used to giving babysitters the spiel on his Epi-pen. But I can't imagine saying what this mom told her nanny!
"Not necessarily a rule but the first time I went to their house they told me about their daughter’s very serious peanut allergy, walked me through the epi-pen, prevention, phone numbers of their neighbors who were doctors- all fine so far. I took this very seriously. But then the mother put her hands on my shoulders and said “if she dies we wouldn’t blame you. It wouldn’t be your fault”. While I appreciate the thought this freaked me the hell out and I was 100 times less comfortable."
That Kid Is Sweet Enough
(Something tells me this mom and I would be friends.)
"The only thing she specifically wasn't allowed to do was eat a bowl of sugar."
No Potty Training Allowed
As a cloth diapering mom, this kind of weird obsession really concerns me. I wouldn't have gone back to a family with this kind of dysfunctional family rule.
"I had to change the kid's cloth diaper every 2 hours on the dot. The kid was 6. I assumed it was for some sort of disability or something, but no. His parents just didn't want to potty train him, and the kid was content with being babied. I remember just making the kid put his own diaper on and encouraged him to use the bathroom if he had to go. I never went back."
Positive Affirmations Only, Please
I'm sure these parents meant well. But...this is really weird, people. No one thinks this is normal.
"I had to put the kids to sleep with the CD player going. That wasn't the weird part.
It was a recording of their parents basically going "Molly, you are wonderful. You are a star. You're going to shine bright." That isn't super weird...But it was like several hours long, and apparently, they listened to it every night."
Hold The Hot Sauce, Please
This kid sounds like a real treat to babysit!
"No hot sauce after 9pm.
To give some context, the kid LOVED hot sauce...but his folks were super overprotective...maybe they had heard of ppl eating too much hot sauce an throwing it up as it would not settle?
Honestly, the kid was made of solid steel...we went to Taco Bell pretty much every time I babysat."
Please, Watch TV While You Babysit
Part of me feels bad for these parents. At the same time, I'm glad they found a way to enjoy things in moderation. Hopefully, they can teach their kid that, too!
"My mom babysat for this religious family whose church did not believe in television or their members watching it. She would bring a portable tv with her to watch once the kids were asleep. The parents came home and they were captivated by it. They would invite her over just so they could watch television."
Drive Around In Circles Until The Babies Fall Asleep
Every desperate parent has tried this trick. But telling a babysitter to drive the kids around for that amount of time? That's excessive.
"Asked me to drive their three-year-old twins around in my personal vehicle for 2.5 hours because “that’s the only way they can nap”.
No. I simply put the kids in their beds, closed the door, and they were asleep in 15 minutes."
Keep Your Hands Out Of The Cookie Jar
Okay, this sounds like a house run by a mom with serious neuroses! I feel positively average, relatively speaking. Yikes!
"I used to babysit for this family when I was in high school (in the 80s) and they had no books or reading material of any kind, except that there would usually be like two sections of the WSJ and a running magazine lying around. No. Books.
Anyway, once I went over there and the mom told me like nine times, BEGGED ME, not to eat the box of 'Nilla Wafers that was in the cupboard because she needed them for a recipe the next day. BEGGED. I was like, "Ok, got it. They're totally safe because I don't even like vanilla wafers!" She kept mentioning it, and it was the first thing she asked me about when they got home."
Tell Them Lies, Tell Them Sweet Little Lies
Ok, this rule is weird. But maybe the parents are actually REALLY cool?
"The 3-year-old HAD to watch this VHS tape of a live Fleetwood Mac concert before bed.
I was like, okay cute, that’s adorable, 3-year-olds love the weirdest things she’s so quirky and this will be fun.
But she didn’t love it. She always wanted to watch land before time instead. But it was always on the note left for me. Like /pager number, pediatrician, chicken soup for dinner is in the fridge and, and WATCH FLEETWOOD MAC at 630 before bed/
Obviously, the family eventually found out I wasn’t making her watch it, as I had no fucking reason to believe it was a secret. They were clearly upset by this and I was never called back to babysit."
No Fun In The House
This seems fishy to me. What was mom doing?
"One mom told me to let her boys do whatever they wanted to have fun - as long as they stayed in the backyard and didn't come inside the house. Not even to get a drink or to pee. She sent us outside with a cooler full of drinks and locked the door. It was only a few hours, but it was the weirdest babysitting experience I've ever had. She didn't even leave the house! She just stayed home alone while the kids were outside."
I've never been a babysitter myself, but it sounds like a trade with many hazards! I totally understand common sense rules like "no jumping on the couch", but some of these rules are just downright weird. One of our former babysitters told us about another family who wouldn't let her use their Wi-Fi when she was there. In fact, those parents had lots of rules about screen time: No TV, No Wi-Fi, and No Facebook. To each their own, I guess!
Have you ever encountered weird rules for babysitters? What's the weirdest one you've heard of? Tell me on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3 with #WeirdBabysitterRules.