This is likely to be a bit of a rant, so you've been forewarned...
I've joked to several friends about the situation I find myself in when trying to hire a babysitter (neither Jason nor I have any family in town), although now I no longer find it amusing in any way: it usually entails no fewer than thirteen phone calls to various girls either I know or have been suggested to me as girls to call by my "mom friends."
Why am I hearing so many "no's"? Various responses I've received:
"I have dance from 6-9" (Wow, that's quite a long time...)
"I have plans all weekend." (for Friday and Saturday night? I just want to go out one of those...)
"I'm already babysitting for someone." (Darn, someone got to you quicker than me...)
"I have work." (Okay, noble reason...)
"My parents won't let me babysit on school nights." (This from my former straighter-than-straight-A student...Darn parents...I just needed her until 8:45 pm...that's not that late on a school night. Seriously, what teenager goes to bed at 9pm?!?)
"It's my birthday weekend, so I have social stuff going on all weekend." (Wow, guess you obviously don't need to work to actually earn your own money for which you'd be spending on all this "social stuff."
This is just further proof that the generation of parents one ahead of us is totally setting up their kids for failure once the real world hits- broad generalization, no one get your feelings hurt...unless you pass out twenties to your kids without ever making them learn the value of a dollar, and in that case, well, every parent has the right to deal with their children however they see fit...just don't be surprised when they're in credit card debt until they're forty...)
And a large majority of the girls I call never even return my message. Which leads me to my next point, which has had me slightly fuming this afternoon...
A sitter I have used four or five times, who was hired to be a "regular sitter" for a regularly scheduled event we have several times a month, has ended up being more "irregular" than "regular." Valid reasons for why she couldn't come, true, but the notice was usually late and left me scrambling.
Well, I've been trying to reach her because I have no idea if she's planning to be here the next time I need her, so I called her today. Still haven't heard back.
But, here's the interesting thing...on her voice mail she says, "Leave your name and blah, blah, blah, and I'll try to get back with you."
"You'll try to get back with me"?
Right, so in your oh-so-busy-too-busy-to-call-an-adult-back schedule, I'm not worthy of the effort it would require to make sure you call me back in a timely manner????
My oh my...
And it's not just her...my own brother says the same thing on his voice mail, "I'll try to call you back."
Speaks a bit of a certain mentaility I've come to think this younger generation has ...as a teacher I can tell you I've had a 5th grader call me a "mother f*cker" (which is extreme of course; I don't mean for a second to compare teenagers who can't or won't babysit for me), but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a teacher over the age of 40 who has had a similar experience.
But, I could be wrong, who knows?
What I'm trying to point out is that I think it's safe to argue that as a whole, there's less respect being shown to some of the core values that used to be instilled in young adults.
I'm not sure about you, but if I wanted to go to the movies, buy non-necessity clothing (from whatever store you just had to wear clothes from - it was preppy "Gap" clothes for me in middle school), or doing "social stuff," I had to earn the money to pay for that stuff. I remember I had a regular, "every Saturday" evening job for a family named the Kelleher's from my freshman year through my junior year. And what I earned on Saturday nights covered what fun I wanted to have on Friday nights.
While many of the girls on my "babysitter" call list are already working and earning money (good for them!), I think the reason others never babysit is because they don't have to earn any money. And unless a mom or dad is planning on funding their child's life forever, I'm not sure how well that parent is teaching their child that in the real world, you have to work to earn money; it isn't just given to you (and even that's arguable if we wanted to get into a political discussion, which I don't ;-)
And let me say, I have considered maybe the reason I get so many "no's" is because my children are holy terrors and no one wants to babysit for them. Trust me, I'm not one of those parents who thinks my children can do no wrong - they can - but, I've been told by several sitters that Jack and Lucy are very easy to take care of and when I ask the sitter, as I do each time we come home, if the kids gave them any difficulty, I've never been told yes once.
So, either the sitters are witholding information (which is possible) or Jack and Lucy are generally pretty well-behaved and don't give the sitters much, if any, trouble. And I think it's the latter.
So, I feel somewhat justified in my broad generalizations I've made on this post ;-)
What I'd really like to find is a lovely widow who adores children, whose own grandchildren live far far away, who lives no more than five minutes away and would be happy to watch my kids for a few hours on a moment's notice.
Yes, that, or someone who hates being social and has no friends...but I'd prefer the former!
I'd really like my spouse to be able to join me for our next Cgroup, so I'm remaining hopeful! We'll see how many phone calls it takes tomorrow...