Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Babysitter Pirating

For those of you out there (and you KNOW who you are) who like to steal other people's babysitters let me just be the first person to tell you that it is not the best way to win friends and influence people.
In the past I have been lucky enough to find wonderful sitters. Mostly adult women who are extremely capable, who love my kids and who actually play with them when they are here. I pay my sitters very well in hopes that any ill behavior from my precious darlings will be quickly forgotten and in order to maintain loyalty.
On RARE occassions I have shared my sitters with friends who were in desperate need of a warm body. Mind you, I've always tried to give out the names of my mediocre sitters first but that doesn't always work out. I am generally a very nice and generous person, but when it comes to my sitters I am like a greedy kid in a candy store. I don't want to share! However, on the rare occassions when I have shared those coveted phone numbers with only my dearest of friends it is with the understanding that it is a one time deal.
Laugh if you must, but I'm not kidding around here. Most of my girlfriends are fully aware that if they're planning on calling one of my sitters they better make sure I don't need her first. I, in turn, return the courtesy by doing the same. I even have a couple of sitters who will call me before taking another job to see if I need them.
Occasionally, however, a situation may occur when one of my sitters is, say, at the pool with someone else's kids and one of the mom's approaches her and asks for her number. I'm sorry, but that's just not proper babysitter borrowing etiquette. You don't go straight to the source, my friends. You must work through the broker.
Bottom line...take care of your sitters and they will take care of you. Watch out, though, for those sneaky, sly mommies who meddle their way in and steal that wonderful sitter right out from under you.
Oh, and by the way, Dads are even worse about this than Moms. You get a bunch of guys talking about who sits who's kids and you're done. They throw out names and numbers like a pimp on crack.


The 5 Bickies said...

I learned your lesson the hard way and got burned. Didn't realize she was going to steal my sitter and put her on full time retainer. It was ugly! Needless to say, we are no longer friends.

Kricket said...

I hear ya! My BFF's and I have a pack regarding babysitters. Although other people that we know are constantly trying to pick up our sitters. Luckily our sitters will call us first.

The Charmed Life Online said...

Amen! My husband has bragged about our #1 sitter to a million people. You know how often I get her now?!!!

Kerry said...

I couldn't agree with you more! We have one really good babysitter and when I hear she has been "moonlighting" with my neighbor I want to hurt that neighbor!!

suburban prep said...

My sisters have been lucky because they usually have my parents, one of my brothers or myself to call upon when they need a sitter. I don't usually sit for anyone else.

magnolia mama said...

I hate sitter stealers! Our new sitter just started today and she told me she sits one day a week for the local NFL coach. Dang...they can pay her way more than me. I hope they don't offer her more hours.

Feener said...

there was a HUGE fight btw 2 of my friends b/c of babysitting stealing. it was BAD !!!

SnappyCasualGifts said...

that is soooo funny and true. I don't reveal numbers and I'm pretty quiet about the names too. It is hard to find someone you trust with your child and to be in your home. I think you are doing the right thing by keeping them to yourself.

Ms. Preppy said...

Oh yes, I'm on the other end of this. I am a highly sought after babysitter in my area. Like, you better call a month in advance to get on my calendar. But I do have a couple families that I am very loyal to...will cancel other plans for, will give up my New Year's Eve for, will come over at the last minute with wet hair and no makeup, etc. I used to be offended when the families I sit for wouldn't give out my number to their friends, but now I am totally flattered by it!

Some tips to keep your sitters loyal:
-Pay well. VERY well. Take what you think is paying well and add $5 to it.
-Remember her birthday with a gift, cupcakes, something made by the kids, etc. Gifts should be worth one night's pay.
-Remember her at Christmas.
-If your sitter is in college, think of her during finals and midterms. Bring cookies or some leftovers from a homecooked meal. And DON'T try to book her during these weeks. Call and tell her to give you a call once finals are over and make plans based on her schedule.
-Don't cancel. If you have to cancel, pay her anyway. Not the entire amount, but make a nice gesture.

OK, that's all for now. :)

Kimber said...

Oh. I have had my babysitter stolen ONCE.. and now I guard them with my life (and my wallet).