Mom Tried to Exploit Babysitter into Working for Almost Nothing

Robin Zlotnick - Author

Oct. 9 2019, Updated 1:53 p.m. ET

Source: iStock Photo

I never understand parents who don't want to pay their babysitters a fair wage. These are the people who are watching your children! Making sure they stay safe! Wouldn't you pay more to know that the person you hired is going to do a good job?

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But that's not how everyone thinks, clearly. Some people still view childcare as justified unpaid or underpaid labor. A lot of that has to do with the fact that it's an industry historically filled with women. So this out-of-touch mom who refused to pay her babysitter a fair wage is reinforcing years of systemic patriarchal crap that we don't have time for anymore in 2019. Get a load of this woman, who was called out on the ChoosingBeggars subreddit. 

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So this woman is asking for a lot: a last-minute sitter for that very night to watch three toddlers who aren't potty-trained. That's already a handful. To this sitter's credit, they were on board to make it work. I did a lot of babysitting in high school, and to me this already sounds like a nightmare situation. 

There's a difference between babysitting school-aged kids who can use the bathroom and entertain themselves and having to wrangle three toddlers who are still in diapers. At this point, you're probably thinking this mom better offer to pay this sitter what they're worth. Of course, she has no such plans. 

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Fifteen dollars an hour for watching three un-potty-trained kids is a very good deal. But this mom didn't see it that way. "In no way will be paying 15," she wrote, like she was taken aback or something. "We've had several sitters in the past and never paid more than 8." 

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Maybe they had young high school kids come and watch their kids for $8 an hour, but that's extremely low by today's standards. She said she could do $60 for the night, but she's asking for a sitter from 6 p.m. "at least 'til midnight, possibly later." That's at least six hours! 

Even when I was babysitting in high school over ten years ago, I was making more than $8 or $10 an hour. This is absurd, and I really feel for this babysitter. This mom is trying to make the sitter feel bad for charging a fair amount. I'm glad the sitter stood their ground, though. 

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It's so hard to stick to your guns when you are in a position to set your own rate. It can be tempting in some cases to settle for less because it's a job and it seems better than not making any money that night. But if you know your worth, you will find people who are willing to pay you what you deserve. This mom clearly isn't one of those people.

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Of course she tried to pull the "Our kids are well behaved" line. They all do! Even if the kids would supposedly be sleeping for most of the time, it's not OK to lowball the professional who will be taking care of them. 

I can't believe she had the audacity to say (or, well, half type out) that the babysitter should be grateful for her offer. That's like going to the cashier in a store to pay for a shirt that costs $15, offering to pay $8 instead, and saying they should be "grateful" when they refuse to take less money. 

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Oh this makes me so mad. Good for the sitter for seeing right through this woman and her exploitative habits. Just because she used to make $10 an hour babysitting before the internet existed doesn't mean that's still an appropriate amount to pay the person caring for your child.

Childcare workers deserve living wages too. I know we tend to think of babysitters as kids looking to make extra spending money, but that's often not the case and also beside the point. You're leaving your kids' lives in the hands of this person. Pay them $15 an hour. At least

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