Babysitting just sounds like a high school thing. Like something you do a few days after school or on occasional weekends when your parents are pressing you to get a job but nowhere seems to be hiring. So why not watch some kids for a few hours a week? It pays well (usually) and it's easy (sometimes).
Maybe not right now, but a lot of us will want a family of our own one day.
Did you ever think about what you are going to do when a baby is placed in your lap and you suddenly become permanently responsible for someone other than yourself? First-time parents are learning every day. It's like switching your major from journalism to biomedical science. Those who've experienced children through babysitting will always have the upper hand, a little bit of background skill.
What I've learned from babysitting is that no child is the same. Each child I've babysat comes from a different family with a different dynamic and a different set of rules. Therefore, how could every child act the same?
It's easy to get mad when they're stubborn or don't listen. But how can you blame them? You have no idea what happens in their home when you leave to make it to that party you thought you were going to miss.
The children I've babysat have taught me just as much, if not more than I feel I've taught them in the short time I've had them. Kids are kids, every age group is a different version of annoying, I know, I get it. But every now and then, if you just stop and listen to what they have to say, they will surprise you every time.
Not only are kids funny, but they've had me on the ground laughing out loud, thinking, "How did that sentence just come out of a three-year-old's mouth?" The pure mispronouncing of words and insertion of quotes they must've heard on television — it's all an expression of how their brains are understanding the world and it's really quite amazing.
But every once in a while, that three-year-old will tell you something that completely baffles you.
Something about life or about the world that makes so much sense and is explained so simply, it makes us adults look stupid. That is why I love kids. They have this unique ability to teach us a thing or two about how we should be acting and how we should be treating one another.
Over the past six years, I've been peed on, fallen asleep on and creamsicle dripped on. I've had shoes thrown at me while I'm driving, I've dealt with a little boy's bloody fist after it punched a hole through a glass window.
Temper tantrums and breakdowns aside, the hardest part about babysitting is leaving.
When the end of the summer rolls around and it's time to move back into your college apartment, the hardest thing you will do is say goodbye to those kids that called you "Miss Renee" 45 hours a week, for three months. Those kids looked up to you as a role model. They didn't see you as the broke college student who needed a way to fund her senior year and pay off her credit card debt. By the end of the summer, they become so much more than that.
Those were "your kids" no matter how many times you had to explain yourself to the moms on the playground when they told you your kids were adorable.
You'll never be able to get them out of your head, their little voices singing along to the "Lion King" soundtrack in the backseat on the way home from the pool. All the times they made you laugh, in ways your friends could never replicate. Babysitting is so important. It teaches you about yourself in ways you'll only understand when it's over. It gives you a glimpse into the future but also a look into the past — your past.