A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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Babysitter Small Talk
August 18, 2014
Is it just me, or is talking with the date-night babysitter the most awkward thing ever? It doesn't matter how many times we've had the sitter over, or how much I like her, I come home and I am always at a loss of things to say. On the scale of "awkward exchanges" it ranks right up there with talking to the person who you've gotten a free sample from at Costco, when you know perfectly well you aren't going to buy a metric tons worth of jimmy dean sausages. "Oh really? Tell me more about the maple syrup seasoning."
Small-talking with a babysitter is worse though, because they're IN your home. And you need to talk to them (potentially) about how your child was a monster and didn't cooperate during bathtime, or how they cried for 45 minutes straight when they realized you had left, or went through 3 dirty diapers...you know, for example.
And to make matters worse, I'd say 90% of the time, when we have a babysitter, Chewbacca's dad and I go out for a special event, which almost always includes drinking. Who am I kidding- everytime we've had a babysitter it involves us drinking. And we're normally up way past our bedtime, so all I want to do is wash my face and pass out and pray that Chewbacca sleeps through the night. But you go into your own home, and there's this super sweet babysitter who's been lovingly taking care of your child all night, sitting on your couch, when all you want to do is kick off your high heels and throw on your pajamas.
But instead, you have to be this responsible parent, a title that still feels odd, and talk to them about....what? Her summer plans? Covered that when she first arrived. Her apartment hunt? She decided to stay in her current place. Dead end conversation. How Chewbacca behaved? He had an epic meltdown, your son is a monster.
And then to top it all off, it's somhow so uncomfortable to pay someone cash in your own home. Maybe I'm just the most awkward human being around (possible) but I always feel so weird paying someone cash in a place other than a register. Do you just hand it to them while they're talking about something else, so it's not a big deal. Like "hey, I do this all the time, no big deal here, I carry around wads of cash constantly". Or do you hand it off with a "thank you for putting up with my monster of a child"? Do you even mention how much you're paying them or just assume that they can trust you to calculate basic math.
I've worked countless times as a babysitter when I was younger, and it never felt so awkward on the receiving end. So, I suspect this is one of those things where the only one who feels awkward is me, and that the babysitter probably doesn't even notice. Either way, it really only lasts about 10 minutes, and then they're gone, and I can kick off my heels and get a solid 5 hours of sleep before Chewbacca wakes up for the day...