I get it. As a parent, it must be super hard to leave your child with a babysitter, someone you might not know that well. You want to do whatever you can to ensure your child is safe. So that's why this is a complicated story.
"This all happened today," the post on Reddit's "Am I the A-hole?" reads. "I am 18F and babysit at 2-year-old girl, I'll call her Bailey in this post." She explains that she and Bailey go to the park and walk through their small town every afternoon. The park is by the high school her 17-year-old boyfriend attends.
On this particular day, her boyfriend was walking to an appointment after school, so she casually texted him that she and "Bailey" were at the park. He stopped by, played with her and Bailey on the swings and slides for five minutes, then left and went on his way.
When they returned to Bailey's house, Bailey's mom asked the babysitter to tell her about their day. When she did, she didn't mention seeing her boyfriend because it the visit was so short and "inconsequential." She and Bailey see people they know while they're out all the time, so she just didn't think it was that big a deal.
But then, Bailey's mom said, "I drove by the park today and saw a man playing with you and my daughter. Please explain." She told her the truth: that her boyfriend was on the way to an appointment and stopped by for a couple of minutes. She also stressed they were never anywhere private with Bailey. Plus, he has little siblings and is great with kids.
When the mom asked if she told him to go there, she responded honestly and did say she texted to let him know they were there. When she left the house, on her walk home, she got a text from the mom saying, "Thank you for your time with Bailey. We no longer require your services."
She is "embarrassed by how this played out" but still wondering if she really did something wrong. According to her, her boyfriend is a great guy. He's on the football team, and volunteers for Big Brothers. "I would even recommend him as a backup sitter because he watches his younger siblings all the time," she adds. To her, it really didn't seem like a big deal at the time for him to stop by the park for a few minutes to say hello.
One commenter laid it out like this: "You are not Bailey's mother. You don't get to decide what is and isn't OK... You were fired for your lapse in judgment... Take this as a learning experience and move on."
I agree it was the mom's prerogative to feel how she did about the situation. Obviously, she's going to do what she believes is in the best interest of her child. Now, would I fire this person if I was in the same situation? I don't know. I think it would be just as justified to use it as an opportunity to teach a young woman who's starting out her professional life about what is and isn't appropriate.
It also doesn't seem strange for them to run into people in public, and she was with Bailey the whole time the boyfriend was present, so I don't exactly see how this is that different. Then again, I'm not the parent of this child. And I don't actually know what I'd do in this situation.
One commenter brought up a good point: "If the mother was that concerned, why didn't she stop and get her child when she drove past? As a parent, I wouldn't drive past something involving my child that made me uncomfortable and think I'll deal with that later."
This is a great point. It seems more like the mother was less concerned with Bailey's safety than teaching her babysitter a lesson about appropriate behavior. And that's fine. That's acceptable. Like I said, that's her prerogative.
This young woman is only 18 years old! She has a lot to learn! And that's OK, too. I don't think she did what she did with any malicious intent. I think she truly believed it was no big deal, and for another family, it might have been fine. But I don't fault the mother for reacting the way she did, even if she wasn't immediately in fear when she saw her daughter with the boyfriend at the park.
It's best to be super transparent with your employer and be super sensitive to the people you let their child around. And now this babysitter knows for next time.