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Babysitters Sleeping on the Job?!

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While testing out a babysitter for my daughter, I was shocked to get home and find her sleeping in our bed while the baby was napping. That is NOT what I pay her to do!

nanny sleeping beside baby

Notes from a New Mom: I had a total panic attack finding someone to watch my newborn. I just didn't know what I was looking for: someone to cook, clean and take care of the baby? Or someone who would be more like an extension of me (taking my daughter to the beach; loving her as her own)? In my quest to find the perfect fit, I found something I definitely did NOT want: someone who sleeps on the job.

I was in total shock when I came home from the gym to find the woman I was trying out sleeping in my bed next to my daughter (who was sleeping in her basinette). What's worse, she didn't even apologize when I walked in to find her there! She thought it was totally OK!  I purposely began washing my baby's bottles and sweeping the floor, to which the sitter said, "Oh, I can do that!" Oh, really? You're not hired.

Talking to other moms, I discovered that some are OK with their sitters sleeping on the job. They say they want them to rest and be fresh for their kids! I think that's absolutely crazy -- unless the person has a special excuse and has cleared it beforehand.

Now, I've made a schedule for the sitter I picked (a very responsible, motivated and trustworthy mom of two), listing some things for her to do every day. "Sleep" isn't on it. No offense, but imagine if I put my face down on my keyboard and took a little siesta right now .... Uh, NO.

What do you think? What if your babysitter slept on the job?

next: Lack of Morning Light Keeping Teenagers Up at Night
13 comments so far | Post a comment now
tennmom February 17, 2010, 1:33 PM

As long as they were able to hear if my baby woke I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
I never napped in a home-care situation but when I worked for a parents-day-out program, I would put my sleep mat in front of the classroom door and lie down, read, doze when I had the 2,3,4 year old class. No one could get in, no one could get out. Our director had no problem with it. We were on the move for 4 straight hours before lunch & nap time. We all needed a break.

Pamala February 17, 2010, 1:35 PM

I don’t know. Was this baby sitters job to watch the baby or clean your house? Frankly why is it we tell Mom’s to nap when the baby naps but don’t allow the same for the sitter. It’s not like she was in a totally different room or on the couch, she was sleeping next to your baby. This one is hard, what would you like her to do? Clean, leave your baby alone in the room?

lisa February 17, 2010, 2:05 PM

What? She was sleeping? Ever heard of a monitor? I’m sure there are bottels to wash, laundry to do. I’m a mom of 3 and i NEVER napped when my baby napped 00 there is too much to do!!!!!

Elizabet E.  February 17, 2010, 2:11 PM

I’m a little confused over whether you hired a “babysitter” or a “Housekeeper”? I would never expect my babysitter to “grab a broom”. I do have a housekeeper who come twice a week. Now, If my babysitter WANTED to wash bottles, then that’s her perogative. I always had about a dozen bottles to last through the day and we’d load them in the dishwasher after use. The only thing I’ve ever expected from my in-home babysitter was to make sure my children were fed, played with, kept on a schedule and kept safe! I’ve had a live-in now for 4 years and I’ve offered to let her stay even after my daughter starts pre-school. She’s not just hired help, she’s family!

Beka February 17, 2010, 2:14 PM

I’m fine with sitters sleeping when my child is asleep, as long as the baby monitor is within hearing range. I pay her to watch my kid, not clean my house, so if my kid is asleep she is free to nap, watch TV, surf the web, etc.

Kristin February 17, 2010, 6:55 PM

Ummm she’s the babysitter, not a maid!

b February 17, 2010, 7:06 PM

to new mom: 1-babysitter does not equal housekeeper. if she trashed your house, then you’d be justified in being put out, but why is it her job to sweep your floors? 2-if she’s being paid to watch your kid, shouldn’t you be glad that she’s actually near your kid and not off watching tv or sexting or doing some other distracted thing? 3-as a new mom, i’m sure that should you decide to take a small nap at work you would be notably excused for such behavior, since you are “a new mom” and really, don’t you get a lunch break where you could, hypothetically, snooze instead of eat? And lastly, if you think you can do it better than the hired help, then why don’t you?

mercaties February 18, 2010, 1:38 AM

Holy crap this mom needs a serious chill pill. Babysitter does not equal maid unless you specifically requested she also do housekeeping duties. She probably didn’t think she was doing anything wrong. She was sleeping next to the baby, while the baby was sleeping sounds responsible too me. Now had the baby been awake and she was sleeping that would be unacceptable. To the previous writer who said there is too mutch to get done while the baby is sleeping that’s called being a mother not a babysitter. Lighten up.

PlumbLucky February 18, 2010, 6:00 AM

Did you lay out your expectations for her to include housekeeping and no naps?

Granted, my experience here is from a teenaged babysitters POV, and it wasn’t a newborn, but I’d say that roughly half the parents I sat for had no problem finding me asleep when they arrived home if it was after ten pm. (There was one couple that didn’t want me snoozing, period, and they weren’t supposed to be out too late anyways. Well, they also came home four hours late - 2 am, and they found me asleep and took issue with it. I refused further jobs with them.)

Black Iris February 18, 2010, 9:41 AM

This is a difficult question. As a mom, I definitely napped on the job. In fact, “sleep when the baby sleeps,” is advice everyone gives a new mom.

As a mom, I know I did a much better job because I was not trying to run around cleaning the house every time my baby slept. I napped if I needed sleep and when they were older I did things that were fun for me.

Moms don’t get things like coffee breaks or lunch hours. The only time we can take a break is when the baby is asleep.

I don’t think babysitters should be treated worse than we want to be treated as moms, although they often are.

So I think a sitter should never be required to run around cleaning while your child sleeps. Not unless you’re planning to come home for coffee breaks and a lunch hour.

Babysitters should be free to take a break when the baby naps. The question is should they be allowed to sleep? Most workplaces would allow you to nap during your breaktime, so long as you don’t do it in the lobby.

A babysitter has to make sure the baby is safe. If the baby is in a basinette in the same room, the baby is as safe as she is for 8 hours every night with you. Maybe even safer than if the babysitter was off in the basement folding laundry.

I think the sitter should definitely be allowed to nap if she’s getting up at night to care for your child. Also if she has to work two jobs to earn a living or if she has small children of her own at home.

I think it would be fair to tell the sitter you don’t want her to nap, just take a break where she can hear the baby. But I think you do have to discuss this with her.

Stephanie February 18, 2010, 11:16 AM

It sounds like you’re looking for a housekeeper and a babysitter rolled in to one, which is fine, but I’m guessing she didn’t realize that. I babysat for years and was never expected to clean house. I always cleaned up after the kids if we made a mess but it’s not the job of the babysitter to clean the house unless you’ve made special arrangements for that (including paying her more). When parents stayed out really late I definitely slept. If they’d been home they would have been sleeping too so I see nothing wrong with that (and got no complaints from parents). If this woman wasn’t working long hours I may have found it odd that she was napping (someone who worked with a newborn around the clock would absolutely be justified in napping) but I wouldn’t have been offended by it. If she was napping while the baby was awake and therefore wasn’t supervising the baby then I would have been offended. It sounds like she had no idea you expected her to do anything other than watch the baby (which is a reasonable expectation to have when you’ve been hired to be a babysitter).

Abbey February 18, 2010, 1:34 PM

I was a babysitter and nanny for nearly 15 years and I admit I occasionally slept when the baby slept. When I was a babysitter & full-time nanny, my job was specifically to watch & be with the children. If I needed a nap, i took one. Now, when I was a part-time nanny the mum asked me to do light housework, and I never slept then. So, it’s really you’re job to communicate your needs to the childcare taker. If you want her to watch kids & keep house, tell her. If you want her there specifically for the baby, what is the difference if she is taking a light nap or watching TV while the baby naps?

susan bain April 20, 2011, 2:30 PM

i realise that some of u people complain alot, meanwhile alot of you people dont even know who to wash your own panty cruches, imagine the baby sitters have to do that too, and change sheets that your husbands discharge on, so many time we a damn tierd with housekeeping and seeing after the kids which you all cant do, if i was that girl i dear not sleep on that bed she trust u more than u trust her so what all the alarm about!

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