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August 5, 2016

'how much do you make?'

I've only been asked twice, but to me it's twice too many . . .

I began babysitting three days a week during the school year in August.  My choice to sit for other people's little ones while my kids are at school received mixed reviews from friends and acquaintances.

It doesn't matter to me whether or not other people think I'm crazy for opening my house and my arms to a few youngsters as a way to earn some extra cash.  This job has allowed me to stay home and see the kids off to school.  No more coming home from a part time job and finding the milk out and the garage door left open all day.

This situation has worked out great, and my kids are thrilled to play with and help care for the little guys before and after school.  While I'm not cut out to push papers, crunch numbers, or draw blood, I would never dream of asking people who perform these job related tasks what kind of income they earn.

For some reason, a few people believe that they can inquire what I make as a babysitter.

One mom, who doesn't know me well, groaned when I described my upcoming commitment.  She admitted that the thought of babysitting made her cringe.  Not me.  I appreciate that a large number of adults approach the tasks of changing diapers, wiping messy faces, and reading stacks of board books as loathsome.

When I am babysitting, I am in my element.  I fare well when I am in charge.  I may not be dictating when the company's next board meeting is going to be held, but it suits me that I get to decide whether or not we visit the zoo, play at the park, or simply stay home to build with blocks.

Let's not forget NAPTIME!

Between activities I race upstairs and start a load of laundry.  Preparing meals while my charges are napping frees up time during the busy after school hours.  I'm fortunate that the people I sit for don't mind when I bring their kids to the childcare room where I work out.  To me sitting is the ideal job for a busy mom with six school age kids. 

I can field comments about how crazy I may or may not be for babysitting, but the couple of people who ask me how much money I make leave me scratching my head.  The rude, 'How much do you make an hour?' question has only been posed twice this year.

Because I tend to operate as an open book, I struggle to respond appropriately to this line of question.  Perhaps if I was asked more frequently I would be more seasoned and better able to offer a vague response.  I am relieved, however, that most people have enough sense not to ask.

I wonder if the fact that my part time child care position fails to measure up as a valid career misleads people into thinking they can quiz me about the financial benefits of babysitting.

The first person who grilled me about my pay was a family member.  We aren't close.  Despite the fact that we are family, I felt like the question was totally out of line.  This particular relation is financially comfortable - to say the least.

I couldn't grasp how she felt this was her business.  Because I'm not wired to be rude, I stumbled around trying to choose words that would tip her off that my rate was none of her business.  I failed.

Her exact interrogation included, 'So do you get like $10 an hour?'  After I stuttered a bit, I finally shared, 'No, I make more than that.'  I hadn't bothered to calculate my hourly wage because I get paid by the day, but I felt like that was all the information she needed.

This nosy chick has corrected my kid's behavior with a harsh statement like:  'Your problem is that you don't respect people.'  She's commented on how farfetched it was that her brother (my husband) ever suffered from ADD.  She prefers to consider ADD as an ailment reserved for kids with serious issues - like maybe my offspring, but certainly not her flesh and blood.  Her self righteous, holier than though attitude causes me to bristle.

Why I didn't take advantage of this opportunity to inform her that my income was none of her business, irks me.  Can you imagine her response if I had asked her how much her spouse was pulling in these days?

A few days ago the next social misfit asked me how much I get paid for my sitting services.  I should have seen it coming from her.  She's the same woman who sat behind me at a sectional water polo game and called out, 'Now that's going to be costly,' when Laddie inadvertently turned the ball over.

She asked me after that same game what score Lad got on the ACT test.  Nuts!  Again, I struggled to play the 'oh, that's none of your business,' card, but I managed to withhold Lad's score.

Coach later suggested that I tell people my income is fair for the amount of work I do.  Now that I've fielded the question a few times, I feel better prepared.  I wish my initial responses were more canned and quick, but I never expected to be asked about my income.   

I suppose the fact that I am fast on my feet when I need to be, but slow on sharing beyond my comfort level, is all that matters.  For instance, I waste no time nipping bad 2 year old behavior in the bud, snatching something questionable away from a crawling baby, whipping up lunch in a jiffy to keep the all-important nap time on schedule, and  keeping meltdowns at bay by anticipating upsetting issues.

Perhaps I should point out to these Nosy-Nellies that as an added bonus my job affords me time to write about my quirky observations, humorous situations, and in this case - rude people.

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