I feel like to be a babysitter, you need to acquire a certain set of skills. I’m not saying we all have to be stealthily trained ninjas or anything, but you’ve got to have tough skin. This ain’t a job for the softies (especially if you got one of those late shifts, or just dealing with really difficult kids). This is not so much a post about survival, as it is a guide for “How Not To Die From A Self-Induced Heart Attack.” I say “self-induced” because sometimes it’s clearly a heart attack we can prevent ourself, from ourselves.
I’ll have you know that I’ve never died from a self-induced heart attack. Therefore, the fact that I’ve never died from one, clears up any doubt you (and myself) might’ve had about my credibility. I am here to share my very important information with my very important guest(s). So now, you should totally listen to me and take what I have to say to heart!
Once The Kids Are Asleep
For many babysitters, this is the part we’ve been waiting for! The part of our shift where we’ve been counting down the hours, since we came into contact with these said kids. This is the part of our shift where we can finally relax…WRONG! This is the part where we need to get ourselves together, so we don’t get eaten alive by our own fears. At this time, besides reaching for our wood daggers and our body armor, it becomes our responsibility as the [wo]man of the house to protect it (and our sanity) by following these simple steps.
1. Quit with the imagination.
The kids are upstairs asleep while you’re sitting on the family’s couch, reading a book. You hear a noise in the far distance. You glance up from the page you’re on, and check if anyone is there. You’re heart is pounding because you think you see someone, but no one is really there. You don’t yell out “Anyone there?” because obviously you’ll wake up the kids if you do so, and if you’ve watched any scary movie, that is about the dumbest thing you could do. Because any prospective killer won’t give away his/her hiding place by answering, “Yes, someone’s here!”
Once the kids are asleep, this is the time to shut off your imagination. You no longer need it. The kids you’re trying to impress so you can be considered the “cool” babysitter, don’t care for it because they’re asleep. I highly advise you to turn off your imagination! We are trying to maintain the oxygen flow going into your brain, and we don’t need you stopping your heart beat by making it think there are ghosts, vampires, zombies, or ax-murderers looming around the still and quiet house.
One time, I was babysitting a family that had a small terrier. Around 11:30 pm the dog was barking because he had to pee. Even though I didn’t want to take him outside, a barking dog in a quiet house is the title of my next horror film. I put the dog on a leash and exited into the backyard. As I was standing outside with the dog, I was imagining myself in a scene from a Scream movie as I quickly scanned for moving shadows. I then set my eye on the sliding door that connected the kitchen to the backyard. As the light from within shined through the windows into the darkness of the night, I quickly made a plan on how I would dart for safety. Even though nothing had happened, I made it back into the house with my pounding heart in my hand. Please, in order to prevent yourself from a self-induced heart attack, turn off your imagination.
2. Lock all the doors, be aware of your exits, close all the blinds, and turn on the lights.
This is in conjunction with the first point. Make sure you feel safe and comfortable. You don’t want the parents to come home and find a grown a** woman rocking in the corner, whispering jibberish to calm herself, while sweating profusely (not to say that this post is based of off personal experience or anything).
3. Have your cell phone and cell phone charger handy.
This one is just common sense. How else are you going to dial 911?
4. Check the baby monitor only when necessary.
This is also in conjunction with the first point. Let’s just get straight to it. I hate baby monitors! They scare the living organs out of me. Whenever I turn on a baby monitor and that little black and white screen appears, I always think that I will see the baby out of its crib, staring through the monitor back at me. Or I will hear the baby calling my name, and I will look over and the baby will still be sleeping. I advise you to only check the baby monitor when necessary. How do you know when it’s necessary? If the last time you checked was 30 minutes to 1 hour ago. Or if you really do hear a noise. I doubt a baby will know how to say your name, if they can’t even say “momma” or “dadda.” Lastly, check the baby monitor if you feel like something is wrong. Go by intuition.
5. Bring a book.
Bring any book that makes you feel happy! This will make you calm. You deserve to wind down. It’s been a long day, and it’s nice to have some you time. Fill your head with happiness and the good stuff, like unicorns and throw pillows.