Would you hire a boy babysitter?

As a corollary question to the previous boyfriend tagging along to babysit: Would you hire a boy to babysit? Does it matter the gender of your kids?

I am in a desperate fix to find some new sitters as my old sitters all seem to be busy. One sitter offered up her brother as a possible replacement. He’s worked in childcare before at a reputable place where I know they background check people but with a young daughter in puberty and two other young kids it just makes me less comfortable than hiring a girl. Maybe if I spent some time around the guy and my kids – I’ve never met him before – I would change my mind.

I feel awful for ruling him out just because he’s a boy. I know my brother faced similar unfair issues as a male teacher.

I think boy sitters could bring a lot to the table. I think they would be very willing to play with the kids – running, swimming, playground-type play. I also think they would be more relaxed and fun. (I know my brother loved the male nurses when he was in the ICU because they just had a different vibe. He always thought they were more relaxed.)

I remember we had one boy sitter when we were little – I was probably 6 or younger. He took us to the creek to play. I ended up with bees in my pants. I’m not sure how that happened. We did have to take off my pants to get the bees out but I don’t remember anything “funny” happening. (The bee memory is pretty vivid.)

Through writing this blog I think I am changing my vote. I think I would be open to a boy sitter if I spent time with him in the house with the kids getting to know him.

What do you think: Would you hire a boy sitter? Would the age and gender of your kids make a difference? Would you have to get to know him more than you would a girl?

67 comments Add your comment

Professor

November 17th, 2011
12:34 pm

RJ

November 17th, 2011
12:36 pm

The question is why are you so uncomfortable with having a boy as a baby sitter. I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all.

As asked,...

November 17th, 2011
12:36 pm

…you, TWG, wculd be accused of being sexist – if this were another question, even in AZ, you would be considered a racist – youi might want to delete this blog effort before it deteriorates further…

Professor

November 17th, 2011
12:38 pm

Sexist? I’m still laughing at the word “hirer” used multiple times in this blog.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 17th, 2011
12:43 pm

more bad spelling — so sorry == really bad week! I will fix.

I kept looking at it and knew it looked wrong but then didn’t fix it — so sorry!

Larry Gorlock

November 17th, 2011
12:44 pm

I believe Theresa is the most uptight person on this planet. Is your husband this uptight too? What about in laws and your parents? Do they know what sort of harm you are possibly putting your children in?

Really, I am concerned for the future of your children.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 17th, 2011
12:48 pm

Larry — don’t be — they are great!

The point of this blog is to throw out questions that parents may be considering. I am asking a question. I think actually a point that others made in the first babysitting blog applies — you wouldn’t be inclined to hire anyone you didn’t know — I’ve never met her brother so there you go.

Penguinmom

November 17th, 2011
1:07 pm

My husband used to babysit but it was always for families with all boys. It is strange how there is just a different set of concerns when you are hiring a boy babysitter. I would be less comfortable with a boy I didn’t know well than with a girl I didn’t know well. Perhaps some of it is that girls tend to mature faster than boys so I would trust them at a younger age.

Way back machine...AKA Larry Gorlock

November 17th, 2011
1:13 pm

Enter your comments here

Techmom

November 17th, 2011
1:15 pm

Meet the young man, maybe ask him to come over one evening to spend a couple of hours with you and the kids before hiring him. I did that plenty of times before getting babysitting jobs as a teenager. It’s like an onsite interview and the mom could show me where things were, tell me about the kids and their schedule, etc. It’s definitely a judgement call on the specific babysitter. Boys tend to be great risk takers however they’re probably more likely to be the kind of babysitter who actually plays with the kids versus just ‘watching’ them from the sofa while texting.

I did hire the boy who lived a few doors down to watch our son when he was 6 or 7. The boy had 3 younger brothers and his mom was 2 houses down if anything did happen (big plus for me regardless of whether it’s a boy or girl babysitting). I might feel a bit different if I had a young daughter and the boy babysitter didn’t have any younger sisters or if it was a boy babysitter watching only 1 girl. I don’t see anything wrong with having a boy babysitter for your kids especially since I’m guessing that Rose could help out Lilliana out in the bathroom if necessary and certainly this boy wouldn’t do anything with Rose considering there are two other siblings aware of what is going on.

Anj

November 17th, 2011
1:16 pm

Our last sitter was a teenager who has (gasp!) bipolar disorder. (So does his father, who is my friend.)

He was fine. I am more concerned with the sitter not freaking out over what my kids might do than if the kids are in danger. After all, one of the first things I taught them was: “Hey! Stop that, I don’t like it!”. Plus the older one is pretty good at telling me things.

(This was to be used instead of immediately resorting to either yelling “Mooooooom!” or physical language including pushing, shoving or hitting. It is also a good generic verbal response to any situation where they feel uncomfortable but have no idea how to respond. AutisticKid occasionally uses it in public as a verbal stim, which is [sigh] unfortunate.)

catlady

November 17th, 2011
1:28 pm

A boy experienced with sitting, with excellent references? Sure.

A girl experienced with sitting, with excellent references? Sure.

Aren’t you worried about some girl coming after Walsh?

Jeff

November 17th, 2011
1:33 pm

I think it would depend on the boy, just as it would depend on the girl. There are some girls that I’d would be OK with taking care of my yard (a task in previous generationos that was a neighborhood boy thing). And there are a few boys I would be OK with watching my daughter. But, it depends on the individual.

jbm

November 17th, 2011
1:48 pm

I remember when I had a 17 yr old girl sitting for my then 3 & 5 old and came home early one day to find her in bed with my son that was only 14 at the time. They weren’t quite at it yet but well on the way. Teenagers and hormones are disasterous IMO.

Techmom

November 17th, 2011
1:51 pm

@jbm why wasn’t your 14 year old watching his siblings?

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 17th, 2011
1:59 pm

I think if I need to meet him and let him hang out.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 17th, 2011
2:01 pm

Now I am totally paranoid about my spelling. I a writing a rec for a student and I keep questioning if I am spelling things right and for some reason the spell check is lighting everything up so it is no help at all!!

Figment

November 17th, 2011
2:05 pm

When I was younger my brother and I had a male babysitter. He is the only sitter I remember really. He was fun, took us to see the horses down the street and would play games with us. Nothing funny ever happened.

motherjanegoose

November 17th, 2011
2:18 pm

WE had a WONDERFUL boy babysitter over 20 years ago. His Mom worked with me and my son adored him! I love men Kinder teachers and they are few and far between. I once met a man teacher. with his Doctorate, who taught Kinder. He was amazing. He told me that his friends ribbed him all the time for his career choice. I was in awe that he was comfortable enough in his own skin to do what he wanted to do. Lucky, for every child in his class ( es).

Funny story, sort of related, that I was told in Montana:

A mom picked her son ( 10 ) up from an overnight at a friend’s house. They had met the parents but did not know them well. The boys were in class together at school. The son gets into the truck and is riding home with his Mom. He says to her, ” Mom Mr._____ has a big crack.” She glances over and tries to remain aloof but is wondering what her boy is talking about. Then he says, ” I mean it is really big Mom…bigger than yours even.” She is wondering why her son knows so much about another man’s crack. ” How do you know this?” She asks? ” The son points and replies, ” Well, his goes all the way across his windshield and yours is only in the corner here…see?”

Gotta love the stories kids tell!

jbm

November 17th, 2011
2:20 pm

Techmom-like most 14 yr old boys, just not responsible enough and my then 2 year old was and still is a terror at 17 now.

Denise

November 17th, 2011
2:30 pm

You never know with either gender until you get to know them. On Maury yesterday, there was a girl who was 20 trying to find out if a 14 year old was the father of her baby. She wasn’t babysitting per se but she was a family friend that he call count on for help if his parent was not home. Well, that is what his mama thought anyway. She never thought her friend would sleep with her 13 year old son.

I don’t remember ever having a babysitter that wasn’t a family member. I did babysit but it was for family or friends of my father’s. I don’t even think I got paid.

catlady

November 17th, 2011
2:48 pm

Denise, family members are the PRIME molesters!

GoldieLocks

November 17th, 2011
2:54 pm

@Professor: Sometimes, when some people go off about language and grammar usage, it is a personal inferiority complex that is showing itself.

Fred

November 17th, 2011
3:04 pm

You ARE a sexist TWG lol. But I’m with you, I would have to know the CHILD 9male or female). When we lived in Lawrenceville the kid across the street, Hunter, took care of his little brother all the time. He was a “gentle giant” amongst the neighborhood kids with a protective streak a mile long. I had him look after my daughter over the little girl next door because he had more experience doing it. Just recently Honey asked about another kid we know (boy). No way.

I don’t think the sex is an issue though I WOULD rather have a girl do it because she would be more likely to play barbies with my daughter than a guy babysitter.

Fred

November 17th, 2011
3:06 pm

Oh and BTW I baby sat quite often when i was a kid and teenager. For boys and girls alike.

jbm

November 17th, 2011
4:16 pm

Denise – my niece is married to guy that is 26. His oldest child is 13 and youngest is 11 with her. She was 19 when she molested (IMO) him the first time.

Denise

November 17th, 2011
4:22 pm

@jbm – that is terrible. That disturbs me so greatly and makes me so sad.

motherjanegoose

November 17th, 2011
4:47 pm

@ Fred…I am in L’ville and would love to sneak out all of my daughter’s Barbie stuff ( to you) while she is at UGA. I know better though. It is all packed away in the basement and has not been touched in years but I CAN’T GET RID OF IT….haha! One day, I am going to get rid of all of the Barbie stuff and the thousands of baseball cards too. Until then, I will remind myself that I do love my kids but could probably go on a cruise for all the money tied up in that stuff!

Guess no one liked the crack story? I have told it to other teachers who thought it was funny. My husband thought it was dumb but he thinks about half of my kid stories are dumb too!

Fred

November 17th, 2011
5:06 pm

mjg: I missed your crack story but scrolled back up. You owe me 25 seconds of my life back lol. I agree with your hubby. Ok, it was CUTE but not funny. Now if you want a FUNNY “crack story let me tell you this one………. This guy goes into a bar and……….. well maybe I shouldn’t relate it here…….

On the barbie thing…………. keep them a few more years. Those stupid things go up in price the older they get. Same with the baseball cards. Look at it as an extra retirement fund. :D

catlady

November 17th, 2011
5:44 pm

MJG, I loved the crack story. Just a reminder that when we think we understand what our kids are talking about….we find out we don’t. Like the old where did I come from question where the dad panics and the kid clarifies,”John says he is from New York but I think I am from FLorida.”

Mine, sort of reversed: My daughter, age 8, threw this one at me while I was driving across an overpass: Mom, what is French kissing? The temptation was to just drive off the side of the overpass so I wouldn’t have to answer the question. But, instead, I said, cooly, “It’s when two people from France kiss each other.” To which she replied, in a shocked voice, “THAT”S not what Melissa told me!” And I made a note to get the teacher to change my daughter’s seat AWAY from Melissa!

motherjanegoose

November 17th, 2011
5:53 pm

@ Fred…I had the original SKIPPER in the red swimsuit with the stripes on it. My daughter asked if she could play with it about 15 years ago. I told her to take extra care of her. Her hair got cut…there went the retirement fund …at least $250 of it…haha!

Poor college graduate

November 17th, 2011
5:54 pm

Yes, I don’t mind them coming over and watching my kid. Why would I?

fk

November 17th, 2011
6:22 pm

My nephew, then about 13, babysat for family on my husband’s side. The kids loved him. He played outside with them…in the daylight. He was constant motion inside or out. The parents loved him. The kids were always sound asleep when they got home.

Jerry Sandusky

November 17th, 2011
6:23 pm

Would I Hire a Boy Babysitter?

YOU BETCHA!!!!

jsmom

November 17th, 2011
6:27 pm

My friends all have girls of babysitting age, but, my oldest daughter has asked for one sitter repeatedly… the one with 4 brothers. She plays “differently” with the girls. A lot more running around, a lot more physical activity. My daughters are wiped out after she leaves. The only problem I’ve found is that if she watches them at night, they tend to have a hard time getting to sleep. Another sitter has all sisters and she is a pro at getting my daughters down for the night. So Sitter1 is a daytime sitter, and Sitter 2 is a night time sitter.

Both of my brothers babysat for our neighbors. If any of my friends had boys of babysitting age, I’d use them in a heartbeat.

Single Mom

November 17th, 2011
6:30 pm

I had a “manny” for several years. I’m perplexed at why anyone would not want one? Most moms I talked to were jealous and wanted to use him whenever I wasn’t. He’s not a teenager, he’s a teacher and does this on the side after school. He cooks and does boy stuff with my son. I think its great!

B

November 17th, 2011
6:37 pm

Jerry… that’s wrong…

Jake

November 17th, 2011
6:38 pm

Would any moms on here ever hook up with their sitter? I can think of nothing hotter than getting it on in a Honda Pilot. Any interest?

Truth

November 17th, 2011
6:57 pm

If a boy wants to “babysit”, then he is probably a homosexual anyways, thus the concern related to any unsupervised boy/girl interaction should be alleviated.

Football mom

November 17th, 2011
7:26 pm

OMG! We had a MANNY one summer when our son was a young teenager and it was AWSOME. If you have boys and you can find a guy sitter/friend/manny…..I would jump on it in an instant.

missnadine

November 17th, 2011
7:31 pm

TWG – you really show your intellect sometimes, bad spelling aside. You are in effect setting roles for boys and girls, something you have argued against many times.

JoDee

November 17th, 2011
7:33 pm

When my son was young, he preferred male sitters because they played with him and didn’t spend all their time on the phone. When he was a teen, our neighbor wanted him to babysit their son, but he didn’t want to. He said he didn’t want the responsibility….even though it was easy money and right across the street. He understood how important it was to be responsible for another person, and he didn’t want it. I kinda admire him for that. I can’t believe that people use to leave their infants in my charge when I was 14. Really? What did I know about babies when I was 14?

Jeff Turkleson

November 17th, 2011
7:53 pm

Theresa, would you hire an openly gay person to baby sit? I bet not. Your narrow minded perspective is so obvious. Your inane discourse is an embarrassment to the human race.

You ma’am are a waste of carbon and water.

Elmer Gantry

November 17th, 2011
8:37 pm

that is a great question. i almost really like it. You mention a boy, now how old are we all talking about? a boy would be up to 12 which is a sloooosh young. Now 13 possibly, however 15 would be optimum. No matter what the age if the person takes responsiblity seriously, that is the issue.
Now do you know what sitters get for pay $20.00. Fort hat kind of money i would want a seasoned veteran.

Sk8ing Momma

November 17th, 2011
8:55 pm

Sorry…I’d NEVER hire a boy babysitter (regardless of the gender of my children). I have a son and wouldn’t allow him to babysit, either.

IMO, it is so atypical for a male to *want* to babysit that it would raise an immediate red flag for me. I know that there are probably wonderful male babysitters out there just as there are horrible female sitters; but, I’d rather err on the side of caution and stay clear of any potential male offender/predator. (On a side note, my hubby is one of 5 boys and he said he would have NEVER wanted to be a babysitter, just as his brothers didn’t. He thinks that its strange for a guy to want to babysit. Btw, he turned out to be a wonderful and engaged father and hubby.)

Sk8ing Momma

November 17th, 2011
8:58 pm

Oops! It should read: “He thinks that it’s strange…” The improper use of its and it’s is a pet peeve of mine ~ Grrr!

CynthiaM

November 17th, 2011
9:15 pm

My husband is the oldest of nine – seven of them boys. All seven brothers were are great with babies and toddlers – more natural than most women:) I would have been thrilled to have one of them as a sitter. It is the individual that counts, not the sex. In this day and age, however, it does give you a slight pause – sign of the times I guess.

CynthiaM

November 17th, 2011
9:20 pm

By the way, “Professor” – look up the word hirer in a dictionary. You will find it listed as a noun meaning, one who hires. Next time, read before you scoff!

James2

November 18th, 2011
8:17 am

I am a male and I babysit often. It started when I would go with my wife to some of the houses where she babysits because she didn’t know how to play with boys. I’ve really enjoyed it! I get to play Wii, build with legos, make forts, and figure out what toys are cool for my 2 nephews and 3 nieces. I do understand it is a very strange arrangement but I think it depends on the family and what kind of a relationship you have with them. I’ve had to babysit toddlers and girls and I don’t have a problem with it but prefer kids that can talk and use the bathroom on their own. I can understand parents having concerns and I don’t blame them. I don’t think I would be comfortable with a teenage boy babysitting my kids. I’m married in my late 20s and my wife and I want kids down the road, this has been good training for me.

Wink

November 18th, 2011
8:28 am

I’m a guy and when I was 13 I babysat for a family who had 3 boys (6, 9, 10). The parents said their female babysitters couldn’t handle the kids. They were pretty rambunctious. Like the boys in the Goldie Hawn movie Overboard. The parents were on all the local town boards so they were out at night all the time. It was a nice little income for me at the time.