I started babysitting when I was about 12 years old, just here and there really. I just wanted to have my own money. I didn’t really like it at that point, probably because I was so young. When I was about 16, I got my first job at a preschool of all places.
My first summer there was hell, to say the least. I knew nothing about kids, and I was worn out every day. I was 100% sure that I did not want children when I was older. But then, one of the few families that I enjoyed asked me to babysit one day. Then that turned into a few nights, which eventually turned into a nanny job for a while. And though I was only with them for about eight months, it opened my eyes to a whole new perspective on children. I was with those children practically 24/7. It made me reevaluate my outlook on working with children.
Maybe kids weren’t as annoying and emotionally draining as I had previously thought.
The experience and knowledge I gained from them made my job at the preschool so much more enjoyable. I’ve been at my first and only job for about five years now. And because of this job, I’ve fallen into the lap of some amazing people with some amazing kids! I’ve been with them for a little over a year now, and I love those kids as if they were my own. So, here’s what it feels like to fall in love with the children you babysit.
First, you just think they’re super adorable. Then you start to laugh at their jokes. Then you become the best of friends, and finally, you fall in love with each individual, unique personality that they have. All their quirks and witty aspects make you smile. And that’s when it hits you, your like wouldn’t be the same without them. There’s just something about the hugs, kisses, “I love you’s," laughs, and the pure innocence of childhood that captivates you. If you’re ever having a bad day, hug a kid. You won’t regret it.
I’m currently with a family of three kids, two of which have come up through my class at the day school. I fell into this gig really, but it’s been the most awesome year of my life. They each have very different ways of expressing themselves and it's been so interesting being able to watch them grow. The kids are currently 6, 5, and 2 years old.
The youngest of the three has the most attitude, and she has the biggest personality of them all. One minute she’s super sweet and lovey-dovey, and the next she’s super sassy with the cutest attitude you’ve seen from a 2-year-old. The most lovable of the three is the 5-year-old. He LOVES cuddles and hugs. He always lets me know that he loves me. My favorite line from him is, “Miss Shelby, you’re dope.” Which, coming from this cool cat is really something. And last but not least, my favorite 6-year-old boy in the world. He’s sweet and genuinely funny and the smartest first grader I know. He’s handsome and the life of the party.
These kids hold a huge place in my heart. And even though they can be a lot to handle sometimes, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Not to mention their amazing parents who have made me feel so welcome in their home and as if I’m part of the family. Even the extended family treats me as one of their own, and I’ve never been more blessed to know such a wonderful family.
Falling in love with a child, or children, allows you to experience love in its purest form. Children love without reason and limitations. A child’s love is unconditional. And I believe that learning to love from a child helps you learn to love yourself better. Children can teach you so many things. They have such a powerful voice that deserves to be heard.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13