I'll admit it, before this summer I rolled my eyes at the people who told me that for their summer job they were going to be babysitting.
I would think to myself “Are they too lazy to go out and apply for a real tax-paying job?" After all, saying that you used to babysit isn't really something that you can put on a résumé (but then again, neither was my job at Wendy's that I worked at when I was 16, but I digress).
I used to think babysitting was for the 12 and 13-year-olds who had nothing better to do and who couldn't actually go out to get a “real job" because of, well, child labor laws. I used to think it was for the people who wanted to take the easy way out for summer work and didn't want to work a customer service job.
And I'll admit it—that was stupid thinking on my part.
For the past two summers, I've always worked two jobs and this summer was going to be no different. And when my aunt told me that she needed someone to watch her three boys for the summer, I knew that babysitting my cousins would be a good morning job before I went to my second job.
It would be easy, right?
Turns out, it's not. Babysitting three boys ages 6-12 is hard and it can be exhausting sometimes. Kids are unpredictable and you never know how a day is going to turn out.
The amount of energy kids have is unparalleled to any amount that I will ever have. It's hard to keep up sometimes, especially when all I want to do is stay home and do nothing, but instead, I have to build a volcano that they want to explode with dish soap lava. I mean I could always catch a few Z's while I'm hiding in the pantry during hide-and-seek; after all, they never find me when I'm hiding in there.
Despite wanting to be their friend and be goofy with them, there's a line that as a babysitter you need to find. You can't always be fun and happy with kids--you have to be prepared to lay down the law or give them a stern talking to when things go off the wall, which can be hard to do. I don't like being the bad guy, but I've had to learn how to stick to my guns when telling them what they can and cannot do.
Looking after three boys definitely complicates this. They're brothers, and I think anyone who has a sibling can recall their childhood and the fights that would ensue between older and younger siblings. The amount of times I've had to say, "I'm sorry but you can't RKO your brother just because he's annoying you" is a phrase I never once thought I would have to say in my life.
Tell me, at your job at the Olive Garden have you ever had to break up a fight that could only be compared to something straight out of a WWE match? And then later explain why we don't wrestle like that and then for them to say "Oh we won't do it again" and then have it happen again exactly 30 seconds later?
Babysitting is tough work, and I recognize that now. Whenever I come home and tell my mom the stories about what happened that day with my cousins, she laughs and tells me that I'm just getting a taste of motherhood.
If that's the case I think it's definitely safe to say that, if this summer has taught me anything, it's that I am not ready to be a mom any time soon.
For all the babysitters out there: Don't let anyone who was like me tell you to get a "real job" for the summer. Believe me, you already have one.