There's managing an employee at the office, and then there's managing an employee in your household — two very different things. Whether you're a new mom hiring a weekend babysitter for the first time or a seasoned veteran with a slew of great sitters on speed dial, the balance between setting expectations and treating them with respect is a delicate one. Like with so many things in life (and especially in motherhood), hiring and managing a supersitter is a task best handled with a sense of humor. Here are five things not to ask of her to ensure that your family stays off the "do not call" list among the sitter circuit.
1. To Also Act as Your Maid
If you're dealing with a full-time nanny, it's fair to ask her to take on a few basic household chores and tasks. And if you're dealing with a Saturday night sitter, it's reasonable to expect her to pick up after the kids and rinse off dirty dishes. Unless you have a unique situation or a contract stating otherwise, it's just not cool to ask your occasional sitter to do full-on housework. She's there to watch your kids, not scrub your floor.
2. To Take on Extra or Last-Minute Favors — on the Spot
If babysitting's a part-time gig for your sitter, don't treat her like she's indebted to you. If you have an unusual request, are going to be later than expected, or are asking her to help you out at the last minute, make sure that she has the opportunity to say, "no," if she's not comfortable with it.
3. To Do the Job of a Parent or Homeowner
OK, so chances are you weren't planning on sending your sitter out to the liquor store. But when it comes to serving as a temporary caretaker for kids, the lines sometimes do get a bit blurry. If your child is on a new medication that could have iffy side effects, then it may be best to skip date night and be the one to monitor him yourself. Never arrange for a service provider to come by the house or for a delivery to be made while a sitter's in charge. Better safe than sorry!
4. To Play Survivor
You don't have to leave your sitter for the evening with a three-course meal. And it's totally OK to ask her to do some light dinner prep for your little ones. But to leave her high and dry with an empty fridge while you're out on the town for six hours just isn't nice. Whether it's a frozen pizza, a list of takeout options and some cash, or a hearty, healthy, home-cooked meal, leave her (and, of course, your kids) with something to nosh on if she's going to be at your house for a few hours or more — it's only fair!
5. To Gossip
Maybe some of her friends babysit for you too. Maybe you've met her boyfriend. You can take interest in her life without trying to be BFF with your babysitter — because it just isn't your place. Be friendly, be thoughtful, but know your limits.
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