Babysitters I’ve Known

It’s Wednesday… Guest Post Day! Today I’m excited to host the one and only Literal Mom, and guess what? Her name is Missy. She’s most definitely my second favorite Missy, after myself and before Missy Gold (remember her? Benson? Sister of Tracey?).

As I was saying, Missy of Literal Mom fame writes about being thinking parents, and she’s here today with a funny post about some of the babysitters she’s met over the years. Enjoy!


I’m so thrilled to be here at the fabulous Wonder, Friend today. Missy is such a thoughtful and beautiful blogger and I love how she wonders about various topics.

Here’s something I’ve wondered about for some time. And until Missy invited me to appear at her lovely location, I didn’t really think about putting it into words.

How do Babysitters get to be the way they are?

I know some of you don’t do babysitters. And more power to YOU for being able to parent around the clock without them. My husband works long hours, so having babysitters has been part of my and my children’s lives since my oldest turned one.

And I’ve found that babysitters run a full spectrum from “AWESOME! SHAZAM! BOOM!” to “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST LEFT MY CHILD WITH THAT PERSON.”

So today I thought it would be fun to talk about them a little and maybe see if you have any Babysitting types I missed.

Babysitter Type A – The “I don’t listen to your suggestions babysitter”

This babysitter nods sagely to your to do lists, bedtime routines, snack allowances and TV watching limits. You feel pretty good that they “get” your needs for the kids. Then when you come home, you learn the kids have been watching TV for hours, chewing gum, eating snacks and creating TENTLAND in the living room. And they’re still awake at 10pm.

This babysitter type can be anyone, but most often, this type is known as . . . GRANDPARENTS.

Babysitter Type B – The “Messy Sitter”

This babysitter leaves your house significantly dirtier than when you left. She leaves the dinner dishes on the dinner table with the food congealing, she doesn’t pick up (or encourage the kids to pick up) the toys. You may find toothpaste globs on the bathroom sink and dirty clothes on the floor.

I once had a sitter not clean up a potty accident one of my children had. She just breezily stated as she walked out the door, “Oh, she had an accident. It’s on that chair over there.”

These sitters are only in it for the money or because their parents are making them do it. Or they’re lazy. They clearly did not take the Red Cross babysitting class.

Babysitter Type C – The “Crafter”

This babysitter will do crafts with your kids THE ENTIRE TIME YOU ARE GONE. Even though this sitter is prone to also have Babysitter Type B qualities (likely due to her artistic leanings), you don’t care because she has mentally engaged your children. That and she’s done something every single one of us maybe a few of us dislike. Crafts. Shudder.

I wonder where their energy comes from, but don’t really care because of what they’ve done with my children.

Babysitter Type D – The “Side Chooser” Sitter

Rare is the sitter who can identify with all children in the house. But, the side chooser clearly favors one of your children over the other and the “unfavored one” notices. Becuase that’s what kids do.

These sitters usually don’t last long in our house. Too sad for the unfavored one. And really – how hard can it be to love a child who loves jumping on the furniture?

Babysitter Type E – The “Personal Space? What’s That?” Sitter

This sitter will let your kids jump on YOUR bed, do fashion shows with YOUR clothes in YOUR room, and then take pictures of it on her cell phone and proudly show them to you when you get home. And when you go up to your room, the fashion show remnants are still lying all over your bed and floor.

Think I’m kidding? Don’t I wish. I STILL wonder what this particular sitter was thinking.

Babysitter Type F – The “Disengaged” Sitter

This sitter comes and talks on her phone, texts and emails her friends and listens to her ipod while watching your kids. The kids don’t quite know what to do with her level of disengagement, so they tend to be very well behaved out of fear.

Babysitter Type G – The “Mary Poppins” Sitter

This sitter listens to your instructions, follows them, reads to your kids, reads your kid’s individual personalities and can address their individual needs, and then, THEN! After the kids are in bed, she empties your dishwasher, tidies up your house, straightens your counters, and folds the kid’s laundry if you “accidentally” leave it where she’ll see it.

Rare is this sitter. Keep her if you get her. We have one like that right now and I’m hanging onto her so tight she might not be able to breathe sometimes.

I hope you have enjoyed this Babysitter Type Tour.

I wonder…

:: Did I miss any?

:: Have you ever wondered how they get to be the way they are? I have, only because I’ve had so many interesting ones.

:: What do you think?


About the Writer

Missy Bedell blogs at Literal Mom, where she encourages all parents to be thinking parents. She uses wit, humor and sometimes even tears to communicate with her audience (and her kids!). You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.  Oh, and that yummy newish love of hers, Pinterest.



Literal Mom




  1. Thanks so much for having me, my fellow Missy! It’s an honor!

  2. Missy, this is one fantastic post. I’d like to add one here. The “vanishing babysitter” The babysitter who’ll turn up the first day and then disappear, never to be heard of again.

    Hugs to you! I was brave enough not to look for a baby sitter – I actually quit my job when I got married to take a few months off, and soon, became pregnant. With other priorities like moving from one city to another, mom’s failing health and frequent visits to the hospital, I did not look for another job, thinking I’d wait until my son was a couple of years old. However – what with one thing and another, and moving cities again, I decided to work from home. I think I was very, very lucky :-)

    • Vidya – totally forgot that one – the vanishing sitter! Yes, that’s happened to us a few times too. Strange!

  3. Oh, the babysitter who eats ALL of your favorite snacks like she has been let out of the starve yourself house! Really? You’re going to leave me with no chips, no ice cream and no chocolate when I have PMS???

    • Oh, that’s SO not ok! Especially if you (me, cough cough) come home late after a few drinks and have the munchies! 😉

  4. Spot on! Our babysitter is also my housekeeper. She has been with me since my twins were infants. Like 5lb infants. She loves them like a grandmother and spoils them like a grandmother. And when she has on her “babysitter” hat she does absolutely no “housekeeping”. Like putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Ugh. Don’t get me going. But did I mention she loves my kids like a grandmother. Yes, I could never, ever replace her.

    • Isn’t it awesome when you have someone you love so much like that? We’ve had a few that we were so attached to, and then when they left, we would go through the weird sitter times to get to another good one.

  5. Not sure how to describe this one, but it’s “the sitter who is cool with everything my autistic kids come up with”. My daughter is licking her knees at storytime? It’s all cool. Tara goes all Montessori and asks “Those taste good?” without an ounce of sarcasm in her voice. Sam has a meltdown because it’s the wrong day of the week? She declares that it actually IS the day he wants now and points to the calendar to prove it. (Believe me – this is the right answer.)

    There’s a little of the ‘grandparent’ in her, in that they never eat quite what I’d envisioned when I left. And our house is always a wreck, so I don’t expect her to cope with that. But what she really is is an assistant at a Montessori school during the day who is basto enough to still like children by evening. Scary stuff. I hope she never gets promoted or moves on.

    • One of both of my kids have been in a Montessori school for 8 years. They make AWESOME babysitters.

  6. See, I’m “the messy sitter,” and I’m home, but you described me pretty-near perfectly.

    We all know that the Mary Poppins sitter doesn’t exist.

    And, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to go my entire life without ever actually paying for a babysitter . . . family members actually volunteer to babysit for us (at least, they do, until they actually deal with my hellions angels).

    • I could fund one of my children’s first years in college in what I’ve paid for sitters in the last 9 years. Seriously – I should add that up.

  7. Love this, Missy {And Missy!}! And it’s true, good sitters are so very hard to find! And once you do, they up and go to college. Sob, sniffle.

    {I can’t believe that clothes one!!}

    • I’ve shed tears over some of our sitters moving on in life – through college, moving away, getting a “real” job, getting married. I am right there with you, Galit!

  8. How about my top two favorites:
    1. The Oooops! Your Daughter Smuggled Scissors Upstairs & Cut Off All Her Hair When I Was Texting My Bestie Babysitter

    and the

    2. You Don’t Mind If I Do My Own Laundry At Your House Because I Ran Out Of Quarters Babysitter

    • Laundry? NO WAY! Those are both some great “types.” And I use the term “great” very loosely there. 😉

  9. This was a fun one, Missy. Your descriptions are clever and accurate. I’ve paid my babysitters extra to clean the house in addition to watching the kids.

    Thank you Missy for having Literal Mom as a guest!

    • Are your girls sitting yet? I’ve heard they take care of dogs. 😉

  10. Ah! I have to say that at 9 months my daughter has been babysat maybe a total of 5 times (usually only for a couple hours at a time) by the grandparents. Fortunately, they don’t fall into the ““I don’t listen to your suggestions babysitter”; I think they know they’d suffer my wrath, lol! I don’t like to toot my own horn, but in my younger babysitting days I was the “Mary Poppins” sitter and I’m wondering where in the hell are those ones today??? Good for you, Missy, for finding and hanging on to her! I’m dreading the day I need to find an actual (non-grandparent) sitter.

    • It’s good when you get the (in my opinion, rare) grandparent who follows your rules. I have one of each, actually. But neither live in town, so they can only sit occasionally.

  11. LOVE this post!

    How about the “bait ‘n switch” babysitter?! You know, the one who shows up at 15-1/2 all sweet, clothed, and Pollyanna-like and gets you hooked on her sense of responsibility and loving demeanor toward your preschooler, only to spend a summer away and re-emerge in an outfit fit for a Lady Gaga video, more makeup than the guys in Kiss, and, like you said, an inability to stay with your child for more than 15 minutes before she’s texting her BFF?! No, I’m not bitter.

    Of course, now that I write that, I realize I probably did the same thing, though my distractions were Hoodsies and Debbie Gibson and Pseudo-Echo videos, not a cell phone. But at least I wore clothes with actual substance…not the napkins they throw on themselves these days!

    • The sitter I talked about who did the fashion show in our room? THAT’S exactly what happened to her. Sweetest thing ever, then went abroad and came back . . . different.

      Love the “bait and switch” title!

  12. I love this. It is so difficult to find a sitter and when I do, I do NOT share her number, ever.
    We have 2 sitters right now that are wonderful. They play with the girls and love them just as much as I do. And when I get home, the toys are picked up!
    I hope they go to the college in town….

    • I hope they go to the college in town too! I’m always sad when I get a great one and they only last 6 months because of changes in their lives.

  13. Oh my gosh, the Personal Space Sitter! Scary!

  14. Confession: We’ve never hired a babysitter.
    My parents are more than willing to watch my son all the time. My dad is retired.
    We do get my neice to watch him but she’s cool. She does eat our snacks but meh…she’s cheap AND she cleans up messes so she can eat all she wants.

    • THAT’S what I need – a niece! My brother has some awesome daughters, but they live too far away to babysit and my oldest is the second oldest child on my husband’s side.

  15. Oh my goodness Missy (Literal Mom) I think you nailed it. The babysitter experience I have the most is Babysitter A. And then they are bouncing off the walls all weekend because tall that the grandparents fed them were fruit snacks. Ahhh!

  16. Ok, now I’m REALLY afraid of leaving Q with a sitter! We’ve only used Grandma so far (my MIL) and she falls squarely in Type A. All my parenting values fly out the window. I might have better luck on one of those websites. Unless you’d be willing to fly your wonderful sitter out to Cali on occasion. :)

  17. A baby sitter you have forgotten is the “Mean sitter” The type of sitter that punishes you for almost anything you do (i.e. playing loudly, watching TV or not doing chores/homework fast enough) despite the fact you are normally allowed to do the most of stuff (if not all) when your parents are home, but God forbid if you try to do any if of the stuff if the sitter is around.

    Worst of all, the sitter would tell your parents what horrible brat you have been when they arrive home (as your parents silently laugh and all the sitter’s complaints)


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