8 Valuable Lessons From ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’

If you’re a woman of a certain age, you’re probably very familiar with the Baby-Sitters Club. Maybe you read the books, maybe you watched the movie, maybe you can sing the television show theme song by heart. Not that I can do that or anything! That was totally just an example that was not drawn from personal experience, obviously.

No matter what your connection to the BSC is, we can all agree that those entrepreneurial girls from Stoneybrook were full of lessons. Lessons that I, an adult woman, still hold dear. . .mostly because I spent countless afternoons rereading the BSC books and now the plots are burned into my memory, taking up valuable brain space that could probably be devoted to something more relevant to my everyday life. Although I could probably write all day about what I learned from the BSC, here are just a few of the most important things Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, Stacey, and the rest of the girls taught me.

1. No one wants to be Mallory

At some point, you and your friends probably tried to figure out which BSC member you were. Maybe you were bossy and had big ideas, so you were Kristy. Or maybe you were creative, yet bad at math (and way into candy), which would make you Claudia. But no matter what, you did not want to be Mallory. Mallory had the gall to go on babysitting strike, which is totally unacceptable. Listen, Kristy Thomas runs a tight ship, and you can’t just go on strike whenever you feel like it, Mallory.

Personally, although I wanted to be artsy like Claudia or have a cool boyfriend like Mary Anne, I was totally a Mallory. Curly hair, always reading, a writer. . .actually, I’m still a Mallory. Even Ann M. Martin herself admitted that she didn’t have any “strong feelings” for Mallory, which makes me feel a little bad. Poor Mallory.

2. Ghosts are everywhere

There are not one but two Baby-Sitters Club books with “phantom” in the title (Claudia deals with phantom phone calls and Jessi deals with a “dance school phantom,” which sounds like a very graceful and elegant haunting). Dawn thinks there’s a ghost in her house. There’s an entire BSC mystery series that features a surfer ghost, a lighthouse ghost (?), and a ghost cat. Naturally, Mallory is the one who has to handle the ghost cat. You would, Mallory. This just goes to show that ghosts are all around us, whether you’re babysitting or wearing a stylish beret near a lighthouse.

3. Everyone deals with family drama

Sure, Stoneybrook might have seemed like an ideal place to live, but everyone dealt with problems. Dawn and Mary Anne’s parents get married, which is cool but also weird. Stacey’s parents get divorced. And Kristy has to deal with Karen, who existed primarily to annoy everyone else. Seriously, I can’t be the only one who resentfully read all the Baby-Sitters Little Sister books because I’d already read all the regular BSC books, right? And, of course, Claudia has to deal with her sister Janine, who dresses like a 40-year-old lawyer.

4. Things were different in the ’90s

The BSC books were written in a simpler time. When Kristy gets her famous “great idea” and starts the best club that Stoneybrook has ever known, the girls are in 7th grade. While today’s parents might let an occasional mature 13-year-old watch their children, they probably would not hire a company run by 13-year-olds that employs the occasional 11-year-old. I’m pretty sure Ann M. Martin never wrote Jessi and the Child Labor Law Investigation, but wouldn’t someone have been concerned about how much these kids were working? Maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t start my own baby-sitting club and instead had to hustle for my own gigs like a chump.

5. Logan likes Mary Anne

Logan has always liked Mary Anne. Logan will always like Mary Anne. Logan and Mary Anne are probably married with two kids by now. Sure, Logan and Mary Anne might break up and he might date Cokie Mason, but Mary Anne misses Logan. We might not be able to count on much of anything in this life, but the one thing we know for sure is that Logan likes Mary Anne.

6. Makeovers are bad news

You know how in movies, sometimes a character gets a makeover to the tune of an ’80s pop song, tries on some clothes in a montage, and ends up looking like Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries? That doesn’t happen in BSC. You want to get a makeover? Too bad, everyone hates it! In fact, they liked you better before. Sorry, Mary Anne. You might think you look great with your pixie haircut and your printed-leggings-and-oversized-shirt combo (actually, that would probably be a great look today), but your friends hate you now. Even if your dude friend is basically dressed exactly like Dawn.

7. There will always be Cokie Masons

Does the name Cokie Mason strike fear into your heart? That’s because Cokie Mason was a stone-cold witch. She spent most of her time trying to ruin the BSC’s business and lives. Also, she was into pranks, which is basically the worst thing a person can be into. We all have a Cokie Mason or two in our lives, although hopefully our own personal Cokie Masons do not send us creepy, made-up chain letters. However, the BSC wiki tells me that Cokie “may or may not know how to read,” so I guess she’s already punished enough. I mean, she’s also named Cokie, so she clearly has her own issues to deal with.

8. We all need a friend with big ideas

Kristy may be bossy and she may only own three dresses, but she’s the one with the brains. If she hadn’t started the BSC, where would all the other girls be? Definitely not hanging out at haunted lighthouses, that’s for sure. Sure, Kristy doesn’t always know how to mind her own business, but everybody needs a friend who knows how to take charge (if you don’t, then you’re probably a Kristy).

Clearly the BSC had a big impact on my life, but what about you guys? What do you remember from the Baby-Sitters Club? Also, feel free to share which girl you most related to. As I already mentioned, I’m pretty much a Mallory, but also I’m a little bit of Mary Anne’s dad.

And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education! Leave a comment, email me at [email protected], or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.

Images via ‘90s Flashback, Scholastic, Barnes and Noble, Shredded Cheddar, Valley of Sweetness