Asking Me To Babysit Your Kids: Worst Idea Ever

I love kids. However, as a rule, I don’t like all of them. Everyone assumes that, as a 20 or 30-something woman, your “maternal instincts” will kick in and save the day whenever you’re in the presence of a “youth” under the age of 14. Mine tend to roundhouse so hard that they knock themselves out. Then the fear takes over.

Like any responsible adult, parenthood scares the crap out of me. I have this recurring nightmare where a baby in a trench coat and dark sunglasses lures me to his van full of Xbox games and Curly Fries. And when I get too close, he drags me inside, straps me to a chair and forces me to watch Baby Signing Time DVDs on repeat. There are crying toddlers in the background. I wake up sweating.

Maybe it’s the “Single Girl” side of me, but my brain just doesn’t equate children with happiness or bliss yet. Maybe someday. Most often, I associate children with hyperactivity, crushed Cheerios and screaming. Even my dog (also single) leaves the room as soon as my nephew enters. She can smell fear. And that fear is mine.

Actual footage of me with a baby

Actual footage of me with a baby

If having children doesn’t frighten you, that’s great. I’m proud of you. Remember though, that with great power comes great responsibility. And by that I mean you should never ask me to babysit. Because it would be better to leave the baby with a flock of wild geese.

When you ask me to watch your kids, I will automatically assume that they shouldn’t be fed after midnight or they’ll turn into David Bowie. Or a Gremlin. I’m never sure which.

I may or may not dress the baby in Cabbage Patch clothes. There will be a lot of crying and whining. And they don’t make pacifiers big enough for adults, trust me I’ve looked.

Kids scare me because they act like everything they do has been pre-approved. “Oh, this huge bag of Skittles? My mom said I could eat these before dinner.” “But dad said I could have three hours of video games as long as I did half of my homework!” “Grandma said we could start a revolution as long as we get back to the neighborhood by 10:30!”

I automatically believe everything they say because nothing is off-limits anymore; a friend of mine said she sold an iPad to a young couple who told her they were giving it to their 2-year-old for Christmas. One can only assume he needed it to keep track of his Twitter followers and update his LinkedIn account.

This angers me because I was never allowed to use social media or buy an iPad. And that was just last month. And what makes me even more upset is that these kids end up using it to bully and intimidate. For example, yesterday they said my hair was stupid.

What I’m trying to get at here is that I’m not great with the whole parenting thing. When I was 7, I had a pet rock and accidentally sucked it up with the vacuum hose. I’m not saying I’d accidentally vacuum up your child… but I might accidentally vacuum up your child.

What about the rest of you single ladies? Are kids your thing or do they scare the living bejeesus out of you too?

Photo credits: Greg Gayne/FOX, The CW

  • Chrissy Shreve

    Even as a mother of two, I share the sentiment. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my own kids because hey, they’re mine, but caring for someone else’s? Terrifying. Oh, he’s allergic to peanuts? I’m so sorry, I had no idea! You told him he could stay up all night? I thought he was just saying that so he could. Etc, etc. The assumption that you’re comfortable babysitting just because you have kids is also a prevalent misconception.

  • Devin Hawe

    Even as someone about to get married, and a strong possibility of not having children, I don’t like babysitting. I’m very picky about the kids I like, those kids I will watch…maybe, if it’s urgent. Otherwise, that child is not mine and I’m afraid I will break it…or yell at it. Plus not only are you in charge of the kid, but chances are you are sitting for them in their own home, which means you are in charge of not burning down the house as well. Something I almost did as well. Popping pop corn in an unfamiliar microwave is not always safe. So I’m totally with you on this one. :)

  • Laura Ayres

    When my husband and I got married three and a half years ago, we decided we were not going to have children. Then all our friends started having kids… and once we saw the way they interacted with their own little “mini me’s”, we realized that it was something we would really miss out on doing if we decided not to.

    Here we are now, 8.5 months pregnant, and while I am excited by the new little one that will be here in a little over a month, I look at these same friends with their kids and think “oh my God… what were we thinking?” Their cute little “mini me’s” are now in the terrible two and brain throbbing three phases and when they ask us to baby sit, my response is usually violent and goes along the lines of “over my dead body”.

    But here’s the thing… they all (and I mean ALL) have raised their little monsters as you’ve described. These toddlers sit in front of their ipad/iphone/laptops/tv’s all day. They don’t ever get told no (heaven forbid little one cries and doesn’t get his/her way) and on the rare chance they are told no, they debate it till the parents give in. I never thought I’d witness a 30 year old debate with a two year old and lose, but my friends usually lose… every time.

    I guess my point is, I would never ever babysit someone else’s little brats, but I look forward to raising my own because I can raise her the way I want to… and when my friends look at how I’m raising her, I will allow them to silently judge me as I do them because at the end of the day, none of us REALLY knows what we’re doing.

    • Mels Lien

      Good for you– as a former pre-school instructor and Montessori teacher, the things I’ve seen… yikes. A lot of young parents don’t want to discipline their kids and it shows.

      It’s important to remember, as you have, that having children is a responsibility, not JUST a “gift”. You have kids to raise them into adults, no matter what their emotional or physical instabilities or inadequacies are. People forget that.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Ju Li

    Thank you – I feel the same way! I am a 31 year old single woman and I have to say I generally adore my best friend’s little ones (2 & 4y) but I still feel I wouldn’t be capable of dealing with my own child on a daily basis. Not only because of a lack of patience on my end but also because – this may sound way too selfish – I feel that having kids would hold me back from the life I want to lead.
    But nowadays so many people regard you as crazy if you are in your thirties and tell them that you have no urge to start reproducing sometime soon. Some people just have a different path in life and don’t regard being a mother as the ultimate goal and should not be judged for that just because it is obligatory to have children at some point.
    As for babysitting: no way, I would screw up so bad. I have no “children skills” whatsoever!
    (It is a shame though that my mum will probably miss out on having grandkids, she’d be an awesome granny!)

  • Tonya Kay Gaddis

    People assume that everyone should have kids and that everyone wants kids. That is not the case! I have been married for six years, am dangerously close to 30, and have had no desire for children. My husband feels the same way! And I know I’m not alone, there are alot of “childfree” by choice out there.

    I like kids though, and I have babysat from time to time. But it’s with the kids I feel comfortable with which makes a huge difference! And it really is just being nice to the parents to let them know, hey, I may accidentally do something really dumb like have your kids eat pop rocks and drink soda at the same time!

  • Mels Lien

    Thanks for reading, everyone– I am loving reading your comments!

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