Thursday, January 31, 2008

dang. bear with it.

i am beginning -- or continuing -- to get frustrated with the whole babysitting thing. once i am in the house, with the kids, i'm so grateful for the opportunity to make money doing what i do, but the mothers are killin me up to that point!

i have one mother who has continuously underpaid me. for 6 months i left work early one day a week to pick her kids up from school, take them to my house, feed them, and then bring them BACK to their school to meet the mom. this was generally a 2-3 hour job. if she was 5 minutes early, she would only pay me for about half of that hour. if i was 5 minutes late picking them up from after school care (still arriving well before the program's pickup deadline) because i was in TRAFFIC, same thing with the pay. i really should start charging for the commute time, and god forbid anyone think to offer me gas money!

so all of this is nothing compared to what this same mom did almost every week: she insisted i take the kids to FAST FOOD instead of allowing me to make them something simple at my house. she refused to give them money in advance, but rather i would pay out of MY pocket and she would pay me back. firstly, i rarely have cash so i would have to put it on my debit card. secondly, she would never truly pay me back in full for it. example: she owes me $20 for babysitting and $7 for dinner, she gives me $25. one time, she didn't have change for a 10 so instead of going INTO the gas station where we had met up to get change, she says "i'll get you next week". i of course knew she wasn't going to remember the next week. so i emailed her the day before, and taking my opportunity to not get stiffed, i gave the amount: "please don't forget that extra $7". she had the NERVE to email me back and ask me how much she gave me last week and how i came up with $7!! i couldn't believe it.

so i of course am not doing that job this year because of school. well, she asks me to watch them on my one night off for a special meeting, last week. i agree to it. she cancels on me the day before and says she has to do it this week instead. this week, however, i was unavailable because of the orientation last night. i offer to do it tuesday night since my class was cancelled. she starts texting with me monday: things have changed and she will be with the kids instead of me picking them up at school. can i meet her by the STADIUM at 5:30?? mind you, i can't leave work earlier than 5 and the stadium is FAR from the kids' school. i tell her the best i could do is get there as quickly as possible, probably around 6. remember, i am driving way farther, not asking for gas money, and trying to bow to her whims. she responds with "that won't work. alright. i understand." (this implies i'm the one cancelling on her, doesn't it?) She concludes with "the kids will be disappointed, but maybe you'll babysit for them another time". maybe? MAYBE? is she freakin FIRING me?? unfortunately i will not be babysitting for them another time. never again.

the sad thing about this is that i really like the kids. you probably wonder where my backbone was during all of this wrongdoing. i get scared to speak up because the worst the parent can do is not use me as a sitter anymore. while it wouldn't be a problem financially since the majority of my issues are when they screw me on pay anyway, i just really miss the kids, especially when it ends a little negatively, making it inappropriate for me to check in on them from time to time. i love the fact that i still have relationships with some kids i babysat for when i was 14.

wow, the rant that originally made me write this post has been lost in that one! this one is not so bad: i commit to babysit for a particularly lovely family every other saturday. i arrange all babysitting around these dates. everyone wants me on saturday night, and it's my favorite night to babysit. people ask me ALL THE TIME to babysit on these people's night, and i have to turn them down. normally, it's not an issue because i am working a job for people i like, but lately, these regulars have been cancelling on me. for example, she just cancelled on me today for THIS saturday and the 16th. someone asked me about the 16th and i declined but i just emailed her to see if she still needs me -- she probably already has someone else. and how on earth am i going to find a job for this saturday?? i was counting on that money.

again i don't want to say anything because i don't want to lose the job. talk about a rock and a hard place. i try to view it as a blessing in disguise, as someone saying "take a night off, jamie". if anyone wants to take me out that night, please let me know :)

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