Monday, March 23, 2015

Probably Not Coming Back

So we had an interesting babysitting experience the other night. I just had to share.

We needed someone to watch our three kids while we went to the rodeo and our normal sitter (whom we love and adore and worship) was unavailable that night. I asked a few of our backups and couldn't find anyone, so I asked my sister's new sitter. I figured since she had babysat for her a handful of times and I trust my sister, it was an easy decision.

She was SUPER sweet over texts and I knew the kids would like her. My sister's kids are about the same age as mine, so I knew she could handle a baby and preschoolers.

She came over that night, and was unfortunately ten minutes late. It's usually no big deal, but my ride got there (we were meeting Anthony) and they had to wait. And again, I had to give her a QUICK rundown since she was late. Luckily I had written a bunch of stuff out earlier just in case- glad I did.

I left and told her to call me or text me with any questions- and then I said that I usually had really bad reception in the rodeo so to call my mom if she couldn't get a hold of me. Before we walked into the rodeo I texted her to check in and got no answer (not a big deal- I'm thankful when sitters actually play with my kids). But then I got a call about thirty minutes later that Molly hadn't stopped crying since I left- which is so odd because Molly is pretty good natured. Even if she cries for a few minutes, she will eventually stop- I've never had a sitter call me about Molly (I had sitters call me about both Jay and Charley Kate when they were babies- often with CK).

Anyway, I asked my mom if she would go over and just get Molly calmed and put down then she could leave. My mom said absolutely.

She went over and got Molly all settled and let me know. Then at 9:45 (!!!!) said she was going to head upstairs to get Jay and CK to sleep because the sitter still hadn't put them down! Yikes! Again, not usually a huge deal, though since the babysitter didn't have to do Molly duty I had hoped she would do big kid duty well.

The rodeo ended and we headed home. I called my mom on the way home and thanked her profusely for doing all the work. She said it was no biggie and that she had gone home about 30 minutes prior.

Anthony and I walked into our house to find the sitter sitting on the couch on her phone under a blanket (again, not a huge deal at all- I did that when I babysat)... EXCEPT.... the house was a WRECK. There were toys and food and crap EVERYWHERE. Again, not a huge deal- I get that kids require a lot of work, but since she literally did no babysitting I thought she might have the courtesy to PICK UP. Not one thing.

Slightly irritated, I gave her the money. Here's where it gets tricky. It really pained me to pay her since my mom had done the majority of the work. But I did ask for her time so I decided to generously pay her $12/hr for the five-ish hours she was there. We gave her $60, which usually is very low for us, but I'm not a cheapskate nor am I unfair. She never told me her "rate" ahead of time, so I thought this was perfectly fine.

I thanked her and she said, "Anytime!" and left.

And as Anthony and I were cleaning up our house at 11:15 pm, she called me. I answered and the convo went like this...

"Hi, Courtney? Did you mean to give me $60?"
(Thinking to myself it was sweet of her to tell me I paid too much, I answered) "Yes, is that ok?"
"Well, actually no. My rate is $15 an hour, and I was there for almost 5.5 hours, so that would put you at $82. You actually owe me $22 more."
I get out some answer like, "Oh, well, I guess I can give Kiki the extra money the next time you sit for her." because I was caught so off guard and couldn't think about this logically.
"Ok, that would be fine I guess."

I hang up and then it hits me. ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS?!?!

We pay our sitters well because we want them to come back and we appreciate the hard work that they do and the love that they show our children. BUT THEY ALSO EARN it.

So she wanted to be paid $15/hour for:
-Showing up late
-Not remembering my kids' names (oh I forgot that part- even though they were written down on a piece of paper she couldn't tell me Jay and Charley Kate's names when she called me!!!!!!)
-Not actually babysitting Molly
-Not playing with the kids at all- my mom sat on the floor and played with them the entire time
-Not putting any children to bed
-Not cleaning up at all- not even one toy or one piece of food

So I'm actually curious as to what she thinks she did for five hours. Certainly she didn't babysit.

Now I'm in a conundrum... I am temped to mail her $20 and call it a day and just leave it be. But I'm even more tempted to write her a letter with that $20 (a friendly, kind letter) explaining why I thought it was more than generous and some "pointers" for the future... Because she told my sister she actually wants to become a FULL TIME NANNY. And she's 28. Did I forget that part? She's not a high school girl that doesn't know. She's an adult that wants to make this her career!!!!!!!!!

Luckily, talking to my kids, they didn't seem traumatized or hurt or anything by her- they said she was nice and told them lots and lots and lots of bedtime stories. So at least that is good. Their safely and well being is first and foremost, of course. But I mean, these are my babies...

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts! What would YOU do?


The Joiners said...

Oh wow, that is tough. I would be tempted to send her a note (or text) now and just say that after giving it some thought, you think the amount you paid is fair. You can reiterate that you appreciated her time but that she never mentioned a specific rate in advance and you think that what was paid was fair given that she arrived late and had to have your mom come help for the majority of her stay.

If you would rather lessen the confrontation, then yes, you could go ahead and pay her, but I think it's fair to include a note.

And also, I think it all depends on whether or not you need to worry about preserving her relationship with your sis- if your sis probably won't be using her again, then you don't have to tiptoe around it so much!

kinsey said...

I would text and spell out exactly why you paid her what you did and don't pay her another dime! I can't believe your mom had to stay the whole time.
And on the cleaning up part...we have several sitters that are awesome with our kids but I've yet to find anyone in this generation that picks up. It's shocking. I babysat all the time and cleaned every single time. My girls will be taught better for sure!

kinsey said...

But if she's 28, that's not even as young as the college girls we use. She has No excuse on the mess.

the blogivers said...

I agree with my sis (shocking, right?) - I think it will drive you crazy if you never speak your peace, AND I think the girl might be better off hearing some honest feedback... I don't think I could pay her one more cent if I had that experience. This would make my blood boil!

Kate said...

I babysat ALL the time and I always took what the parents gave me and thanked them and never asked for more. I also cleaned up and was always early- especially if it was my first time There so they could show me around.

Don't pay her another dime!

ChelseaSalomone said...

Ohhhh my gosh! That is insane. I would have done the exact same thing as you did though, I mean she seemed perfectly legit- there is no way you could have possibly known. No, I think you have to pay her because you said you would (RIDICULOUS of her!) but I think it's only fair that you send her a very factual, non judgmental letter about why you were unhappy.

Maggie Coleman said...

Not sure I will ever get over this story! It makes me so mad every time. I adore CK, Jay and Molly so much, and it breaks my heart that she did not love on them!

My mom said to tell you to write a kind/stern letter with the money attached!

Thank goodness I will be back next time ;)!!


Brittany said...

I am SPEECHLESS!!! I agree with Amanda. :)

~Amanda~ said...

Whoa. Wait. She's 28 and your Mom had to come over?!?! She's an adult not a teenager, at that she should know if you don't do the job you don't get paid! My mind was spinning reading this, then hearing she is 28 really is leaving me speechless! No more money!!!! Definitely tell her why. Maybe no one is bold enough to. She's lucky I don't think I would have paid her. I would have been fuming!

Jason and Jenny said...

Whoa. I am in shock! I think what you paid her was fair considering what little she did actually do! Not to mention for a good chunk of the time she was there the kids were probably supposed to be asleep! So that would mean she was actually not doing anything but sit and hang out (because she clearly wasn't cleaning up toys!). Also I can not believe she called you to confront you about the pay piece! What?!
I agree with Alison and Amanda, if you think writing a note will cause issues for your sister who wants to use her again, then tread lightly (but maybe do not pay her more!) but if your sis is over using her then send a letter and still NO more money. So either scenario I feel she was paid what she deserved. (of course in practice this is hard, when it comes down to it I usually avoid confrontation at all costs.... )

Casey Charles said...

I used to babysit all the time and nannied in college. I would have been mortified if the grandmother had to come help me with a normal task. I know things happen and kids cry but dang she didn't do a thing! What will she do as a nanny?! That is unacceptable for a night of babysitting but I shudder to think what it would be like coming home to this after a hard day at the office! I can't believe she had the nerve to call you to ask for more money. Definitely need to write her a note.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe this story! My first clue that is wasn't going to be well was when the girl called you after 30 minutes because your daughter had been crying. Unless she was in utter hysterics and screaming for more than an hour, that's what babies do! They fuss and cry, often around unfamiliar people! Secondly, reading along I easily assumed this girl was in high school. To then read that she's 28...baffling! Finally, I feel like paying a babysitter $60 for an evening (even a good one!) is extremely generous!! For a 28 year old WOMAN to handle herself this way is flat out embarrassing!

Anonymous said...

Text her and tell her you paid a fair rate. Don't think twice about it. You are the customer! And then let it go! What a crazy girl.

Lindsay Wagner said...

Ok, I haven't read the above responses so sorry in advance if I'm saying the same thing. I absolutely would NOT pay her any more money. She never stated her rate with you upfront. So, in my opinion, that's kind of her bad. She needs to say what she expects up front. Now...I will say if she had done an amazing job then Yes, I would absolutely pay her the extra money. But considering she didn't follow your plans for the night, then no I would not pay extra. You're not planning to use her again, and I'm guessing your sister probably won't use her again either. I'm also shocked she didn't clean up given her age. I am very clear with my younger sitters that I would love for them to have the house picked up when I get home. Of course, that's only if my kids have been asleep for awhile, which in your case they were. When I babysat I never sat down until the house was cleaner than it had been when I arrived! So my thought is that you do not give her the extra money and explain why. She really does need to know what you didn't like if she's planning on trying to be a nanny. Goodness!!! Good luck!!! Post what you decide to do...ha! :)

Lindsay Wagner said...

Oh also...Dallas and Houston might be different. But we always pay $15/hour for adults. But again, like I said, she never told you that is what she expected. Now she knows to make that clear!

Courtney Bullen said...

I was mortified to read this! I worked as a nanny and babysitter for almost 5 years in Chicago, starting at the age of 23. I still babysit sometimes for the clients at my preschool, and I do charge $15 at a minimum (pricing is probably higher in the city), but I earn it! I never would have been sitting around until everything was put away and dinner had been cleaned up. That's appalling. And the baby would've had to be really hysterical for me to call the parents. I might send a quick text to ask if there was any special tricks they found helpful to calm her.
And even when your mom was there, I can't believe she didn't stay on schedule with the oldest two! Geez!
As far as the money goes, it's probably tricky if your sister still wants to use her. I wouldn't pay any more, especially since she didn't do anything. I've been underpaid before, but sometimes I forgot to clarify my rate beforehand. I NEVER would have called to tell them that it wasn't enough money.
If it was way under I just chalk it up to them being cheap (and I have had that happen before, parents grossly underpaying after I was with their kids for 3 days while they were in Jamaica and saying they thought $8.5 an hour was fair-day rate, not overnight btw). I just don't babysit for them again. Simple. She needs some serious constructive criticism if she thinks that this is what she wants to do with her life.