I remember like it was yesterday when I was getting close to the age of being able to babysit, and I was so excited. At that time the age of 12 was the beginning of babysitting age, and I was ready. I had even taken babysitting classes from the American Red Cross, made fliers to hand out in my neighborhood, and was ready to add what I had earned into my savings account.
My babysitting years not only started when I was 12, but also continued until I was 17. I was usually booked on Friday as well as Saturday night, and had summer sitting positions for 3 out of the 6 summers I was available.
I totally enjoyed playing with the kids, seeing the parents have a fun night out, and earning some money to add to my savings (which later helped pay for my first car). I also enjoyed being the responsible one and taking care of the kids. I did my best to stick to the parents rules, and to the bedtime requirement. Once the kids were in bed I enjoyed watching TV until the parents got home, and rarely did they come home and find me asleep.
Now that I’m a parent I realize the level of trust a parent needs in order to leave their children with someone else. Since I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom situations where I have to rely on someone else to watch my kids didn’t happen very often. When the need arose where we did need a sitter, family was usually available. I don’t know if I could leave my boys with a tween or teenager unless I knew them, but then again, we started our family in a new area so I didn’t know anyone anyway.
Trusting others arose when my oldest started having friends and wanting to spend time at their house to play or for overnights. That’s when my sense of trust really started, and boy was it a challenge. Thankfully by that time we had lived in the community for 5 years and got to know other parents with the same age kids, so my learning to trust others was growing. As my younger sons begin their friendships and want to spend time with them the trusting challenge continues.
It was then that I realized that trust is one of the many challenges we parents face, and now that I look back at my babysitting years I feel proud of myself that parents had that ultimate trust in me to watch their kids and keep them safe while they were gone. By having that trust they were able to enjoy a night out with an occasional call to check in. Yes no matter how much they trusted me the worry of a parent is what prompts the phone calls.
Wow, what a compliment that was to be trusted, especially knowing how hard it is for a parent to do especially with a tween/teenager.