Growing up I was a HUGE fan of the Baby-Sitters Club books.
It’s really funny now that so many of the people I know would highly benefit from such a business. I mean really, why has there not been a group of high schoolers in the DC metro area not taken advantage of this business opportunity? You guys would be millionaires already. Just saying.
As a gift to some good friends of mine, I had offered a free night of baby sitting while they went out to the movies. Actually the gift was given during their child’s first birthday party. He didn’t need more gifts, but I wanted to give it to his parents because I figured they could use a night out/off.
I haven’t had a real baby sitting job since college days so it’s been over ten years but I wasn’t perturbed. It was like riding a bike again. Maybe it’s a sign of the times and things have changed since then, but do people not give out numbers for emergencies anymore? I was expecting to get the after hours pediatrician or neighbor’s and my friends were like eh, just call 911. Also I would be changing my first diaper in YEARS. Thankfully the parents got the messy diaper out of the way before they left so I didn’t have to deal with it. I was also told you can help yourself to anything in the fridge. I felt like I was 15 all over again. It was lovely.
Things went well for most of the night. The baby and I had a very nice time together. We ate Cheerios (he ate, and then fed me a few), played with a toy train, watch him get in antics with the dog, and I read several books to him. He’s an adorable baby and I love him to bits. And it was quite delightful.
But then it was time for bed…..and I couldn’t get him to go to sleep. I did everything his mom told me to do: give bottle, change diaper, switch to pacifier, etc. I leave the room……cries. Waited ten minutes hoping he’d calm down. No, such luck. I went back in the room and stayed with him for a little while longer. Leave room….WAILS. I wait about 20 minutes that maybe he’d stop? Nope. So as a last resort, I just grabbed an IPad and he curled up in my lap and we watched Baby Einstein together. Let me tell you, that thing calms down babies AND adults. It nearly put ME to sleep. (Also if one were to watch that on drugs, it’d be quite trippy.)
And I know that parents deal with this ALL the time. And it’s not the baby’s fault or the parents’ fault AT ALL. But when I couldn’t get him to sleep, I felt like the most horrible person in the world. The thought of “oh my gosh, I am never going to become a mom because I cannot get this baby to bed” kept rushing into my mind. Which is of course silly because I have been hearing countless times over the past few years of my friends unable to get their kids to sleep. But as this was really my first time doing it at the age where I can now really think about one day having babies soon, it almost was like getting thrown in the line of fire without training. And I feel like I failed miserably.
Before you say anything, yes, I have already been told by countless amounts of people that this is normal, that kids do this, that it’s ok, that “hey, at least you got to leave”, etc. But in a moment of truthfulness, not being able to put him to sleep brought out a lot of fears and insecurities in me. What if I never do have kids? What if I’m not going to be good with kids? What if my kids hate me? What if I hate my kids? What if other people judge me for not being good with kids? What if I’m never meant to be a mom or wife and this is God showing me this with a crying baby? It was whole thought rampage that went through my head and it frightened me.
On the plus side, his crying did tug at my heart so I know I don’t have that cruel side in me that would ignore crying. So there’s that going for me.
I realize that right now as I am single and don’t have kids, I’m more flexible in my life right now. And while I do hope very much that all that changes some day (sooner rather than later) as of this moment, I can use this freedom and bless my friends with it. I really don’t get anything out of it (other than hopefully being prepared for when I have kids one day) and nor do I really want to. I want to do this because I love my friends and this is a way that I can show love to them. I’m already prepared next month to help out another set of friends with their two and a half month old baby for the weekend. So need a baby sitter? Save time….call me.