People saw me babysitting and would tell me that I would be a great mom one day. I always smiled at that comment, which lead to day-dreaming of strolling down 5th Avenue pushing the hippest stroller with a baby of my own.
I’ve babysat a lot in my day… newborns to teens, one at a time, groups, you name it I did it. Obviously I’m an extreme case, which as you can see led me to starting a babysitting company. But it’s not just me who got the real-life childcare experience, it’s my hundreds of babysitters, too.
When I interview each bright-eyed new prospective sitter, I now emphasize how much this trade has better prepared me for motherhood. I always figured it would help, but now living through it I see how beneficial it really is.
One of my former sitters turned working moms, Monica, put it quite perfectly. “In many ways babysitting has made me more responsible and also a little more easy going about how to react to babies. I have a sense of calm when my son is crying or fussy because I’ve seen it before and I know that everything is okay and that it will pass.”
What a relief for her to have already experienced many crying babies; holding him, soothing, bottle prepping, and swaddling him. Monica has cared for many infants while babysitting, making it easy to see how motherhood came with much ease. Sure she said there are challenges each day, but it’s just easier after being a former sitter.
Brittany S. from Ohio is one of six children and has been caring for infants of multiple families for years. She is now a first-time mom to a five-week old boy. She says, “After seeing how different families react to a crying baby, I developed my own method; basically taking the things that worked when I babysat and using them on my own child.”
She is convinced babysitting has helped her to be a better mom. She goes on, “From the minute he was born I felt totally comfortable with taking care of him. There has never been an awkwardness when handling him and I almost feel like I have been doing this all my life.”
She basically has, Brittany started babysitting when she was 10-years old.
I went to see a lactation consultant to make sure my son and I were doing everything correctly, as this was not something babysitting could prepare me for. She shared that many moms come in awkward and nervous with their new bundle, as if they have never held a newborn before. It’s expected to be uncomfortable with something so new and tiny. She noted how she can differentiate new moms who have babysat or have worked in childcare and one’s who have not.
Both Monica and Brittany said how babysitting gave them the opportunity to see all babies are not alike; what works for one probably won’t work for another, and how nice it is to have a collection of nursery rhymes to sing, along with soothing moves that have worked.
I think the general state of calm and alarm is sensed by the baby. One of my past sitters observed a family that kept their baby on a very rigid feeding schedule, regardless if he was full. The baby of course reacted with spitting up and fussiness. The sitter asked if it was okay if she weighed in on the matter (as she has been babysitting for over 10 years and has witnessed this before). The mom said sure, the sitter then suggested feeding less at a time (take breaks) till the baby was full. That caused less spit ups and less fussiness by the end of the day.
How resourceful this sitter is, and how nice it will be when she becomes a mom herself and has all this knowledge in her back pocket.
Another longtime sitter Lindsey S. raves about how babysitting helped her prepare to be a mom. She said babysitting taught her three major things:
1) Babysitting taught me patience. Patience is truly a virtue and as my son becomes older (now almost 20 months); I have learned the importance of being patient and understanding.
2) Babysitting taught me how to be flexible. Boy does your life change when you have a baby of your own! It’s no longer your schedule, it’s their schedule! The ability to adapt to changes in daily routines and situations is so important.
3) Babysitting taught me to be tenacious. To never give up, no matter the situation.
There you have it, the benefits of being a babysitter beyond the special time you get to spend with lil’ ones and making some extra money. Babysitters are moms-in-the-making, and what wonderful moms they will be one day.
Written by our CEO & Founder, Lindsay Bell