Should I babysit...or should I leave things as they are??

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. I have been advertising that I will babysit off hours, but never expected to get hired. But somebody would like to hire me. It wouldn't be much money, but I don't HAVE much money. Anything helps. Here's my dilemma.

    After Head Start, I was so devastated that I decided to never work again, since I'm almost sixty and on social security disability and have spent my life (since age 18) trying hard to do jobs well and more often than not getting fired because of my inability to multi-task and do manual things or the cash register. The few jobs I did well don't exist anymore...answering service jobs were my go-to choice. My last job, as you all know, I did really well and got fired because some wacky bus driver lied about me. The lawsuit is still pending. I am both terrified of going back to work at my age again and needing extra money. We are going to have one hard year where we remain in our rather large home while Jumper finishes school in this district. After that, she goes to college and we can move to a small mobile home or rental house if we want, but we can't do that yet. So what is the problem?

    I love what I'm doing right now. Mon., Tues. and Wed. I volunteer at a place for indigent families and I love it. I have never enjoyed "work" this much in my life, although I don't get paid. I like the people. They are all a bit "offbeat" like Then I love Community Theatre, which is every other Thursday afternoon and some shows that are usually in the afternoons. I also have group therapy every other Wednesday and I enjoy the group there too. Sometimes I have been going to Thursday morning Al-Anon and Friday afternoons I've been volunteering at the Humane Society. I have never been so busy and have never known so many nice people and I'm the sort that gets depressed if I'm not busy.

    My unemployment runs out in December. It's only $67.00 a week, but it's something.

    I really don't want to give up my daily routine which is crazy busy and very gratifying, moreso than any time in my life. Yet I should probably bring in a few bucks. The childcare would be in the afternoon and cut into much of what I love to do. I am not sure what to ask for payment. I am thinking $3/hr. and that would be cash. It's still not going to be a ton of money. In a year, after we move into a smaller three bedroom place, hub and I can do foster care and both help a child and make some money at the same time, however it makes no sense to get THIS house licensed only to move in less than a year. So that will not happen this soon.

    I guess I need you to pretend you are in my situation and to be yourself and tell me what YOU would do. You guys always make some excellent points and I value your input. And if anyone believes I should not take the childcare job, how can I kindly tell the mother that I changed my mind? She is excited about hiring me. It is hard for me to make people feel bad or to have to explain why I changed my mind. Just one of my social blips.

    Thanks for reading this. May sound trite, but it's a very important decision to me.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Afternoons does not equal "off hours". Or even "odd hours", in case that was a mis-spelling.
    My take?
    There will be others who want you to babysit. Especially somebody who works shiftwork and can't get caregivers to cover the evening.
    Can't advise about what to charge... in our part of the world, not even the paper carrier gets $3/hr!
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't know how many kids you will be caring for, however, teenagers here make up to $10 an hour for babysitting one child, so $3 may be way too little money.

    However, what I am most responding to is your level of satisfaction and joy at what you are doing now. At our age, this is not always easy to find and you found that in your life. I would not want to give that up. Is there a possibility you could negotiate your time babysitting around your schedule, be willing to watch the kid(s) when you have the time so you can continue to do what you love? I would try that, make it a win/win, so you win too. I would be honest, I would say "at my age I have found real happiness filling my time with things I've always wanted to do....... and I would also enjoy helping you, can we work out a way we can both benefit and I don't have to give up these things that are important to me?" As my SO always says, "You can't win if you don't swing the bat." I would try negotiating. Life is a negotiation and if we don't ask, we'll never know. In the absence of being able to work out a compromise that worked for me, I would say don't do it. Being in a happy place (to me) is worth giving up a few extra bucks (if you can swing that financially of course).

    Good luck!
  4. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    I too think 3$ is too low. My easy child pays 165.$ a week for daycare. From 8:15 till 5:30
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would be babysitting for cash only and under the table. It's not a company. It's just me. Maybe I should ask for $5/hr. But I am learning toward not doing it. It's not enough money to give up everything I love to do. And, yes, maybe I can find a shift worker. I think that's what I'll do.
    I have no idea what babysitters charge.
  6. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Im up way too early so I might not make sense. I would rewrite your ad and say something like:

    Veteran Mom is looking to help you out with occasional baby sitting. I am not looking to do full time care but would be available for evening care so you can go out. I am also willing to take on a spur of the moment sick child so a parent can work. I remember how that goes! Price is negotiable.

    That way it takes out you having to care for a child every day...say after school care daily. It would most likely get you jobs on Fri and Sat nights.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all and Janet. I do need to change my ad. I really wonder what people charge to babysit in Wisconsin (kind of rural). $10/hr....I could never get that. Wages are lower here, cost of living is lower, everything is lower. But $3/hr. makes me not even want to do it because, for the sacrifice, it would maybe give me $60.00 a week? This isn't a full time job.
    Janet, I can work weekends too. That's off hours. I wouldn't want to work every weekend, all weekend, but Tom and I have very quiet weekends and sports for Jumper are during the week. I could pull hours on the weekends and Tom knows I feel I need some money and would be fine with it.
  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    $3 an hour would be no incentive whatsoever for me.....
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think maybe charging $5 an hour would be fair for evenings out. Also you might want to consider doing it overnights for parents who work grave yard shift. The kid would just be sleeping at your house and you get him up for school and out the door. Parent would drop him off half asleep at 10 or so. Thats a time limit that is hard to find sitters. Then you could charge more...say 150 or so a week.
  11. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I asked my students today what they charge for babysitting and got answers anywhere from $8.00 (one child) up to $20.00 an hour for multiple children. The standard rate seems to be $10.00 an hour for one child and more if they watch more than one.

    It sure has gone up since I used to hire babysitters. MWM . . . I think your time is worth at least $10.00 an hour.

  12. compassion

    compassion Member

    When I was in high school, I earned fifty cents an hour to babysit!
  13. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    As someone who has hired a babysitter recently. I had a lady charge me 15.00 for two hours for two children. 25.00 for four hours for two children. This was when hubs was in the hospital earlier in the year and was my potty trained toddler and tk who is 8, not mr Lewis. Personally I would charge 20.00-30.00 for a date night. Something like 80.00 a week over night care for a shift worker. Though you certainly would be justified for 100.00 or more.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Ok, so I"m going to try it. I talked to the lady and changed my mind partly because her hours are very good for me, partly because I miss my grandson and partly because I need pocket money. I do not want to do the incredibly great job I'd feel I'd have to do (meals, cleaning etc.) to force anyone to pay me $10-$20/hr. I mean, I'm no Mary

    Also, I have to emphasize very strongly that I don't live in or even near a big city. The cost of living is low, job pay is low, huge houses can go for $120-$150,000 and the residents do not have much money. This young lady has Addison's Disease and I don't know where she got her money because she does own her own house and go to classes and have her hair down well, but she clearly is disabled now and on her own as she has no contact with her family. She does have a boyfriend who probably helps her pay the sitter. All she is asking of me is to be nice to her two kids and to play with them.

    I will accept $4 hr. for one child when all I have is her three year old and $6/hr. for both. That was what we agreed upon. If I start to feel it's not worth it, I can either tell her how I feel or stop babysitting. If I have to pull an overnight, it's $100 flat for sleeping and I can do that.

    Janet, there used to be tons of shift work here because the economy was fueled by three enormous and well paying paper mills. As you can imagine, the town is no longer thriving and the papermills no longer are even in the hands of people who live in the United States, let alone in our little town. People are laid off in spades. There are few who need a babysitter for shift work. I did stress I would do that. I was bummed that nobody needed it.

    Also figure that being paid cash will make the money a little more for the bang. No taxes to report. I was clear that I did not want anything except cash and would not sign anything regarding payment and she didn't seem to care at all. She claims her children, especially her girl who is six, are easy to watch and if so that may be very enjoyable for me. We shall see.

    I have to find ways to hang in there until next year when hubby and I can get out of this house and move to a smaller place where hopefully the bills will be less. The rent can't be much less as we are only paying $550 a month for a three bedroom (another example of our low cost of living).

    On a totally different subject, when I hear about what people pay in New York City and California just for a studio apartment, I wonder how anyone can afford to live there unless they are Even the Chicago area is over our heads, which is why we moved in the first place. You can survive on a little here and it's still very crime-free. And the schools are rated above average too. All in all, when I hear about prices in many areas, my head reels.
  15. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Just remember at tax time she can report you to claim childcare on her taxes even if she says she won't, even if she pays you in cash. Even if you do not give her your ss#. I don't know if that matters to you or not, or if Unemployment would care, I'm just throwing this out there. Also, what would happen if one of the kids got hurt in your home, do they have an insurance card they can give you? Would you be responsible for the bill, how about if someone became ill and needed emergency care? Just think about your rights for a minute if something unexpected were to happen. I hope that everything works out well for you.
    Someone I knew was collecting welfare and babysat for cash, at tax time a parent claimed her to get cash back on her taxes. The woman got in a lot of trouble with welfare, they came to visit her and found her babysitting. I'm just throwing this out there as something to think about.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'll be through with unemployment and unless she can produce proof, even if she uses it, and says it's me, there's no way she can really make it stick. That's why people work "under the table." Didn't sound to me like she cared about that. It won't be enough money to impact either of us.

    And that's if I continue to do it. I'm giving it a try, knowing it's not a lot of money. If I don't like doing it, I can quit. It's still very "iffy" if I will want to keep it up and the young lady knows it so it's out on the table. I'm not really worried.

    As for accidents, I have babysat A LOT. She will have to give me permission in writing to take them to ER for any accidents and I am sitting at HER house, not mine. This isn't new territory for me. It's just been a while. I've had to babysit because of my disabilities which often left me jobless. Nobody ever reported it.

    I'm not on welfare. I won't be making enough that it would impact my social security. It's not even regular hours.