When the mom dropped the kids off in the morning Thursday, I handed them a bag of my top-notch chocolate chip cookies along with two homemade ornaments covered with photos of our adventures. When she didn't have a gift for me, I assumed she would scramble and call her husband and instruct him to bring something over when he picked the kids up later. Nope.
I have never experienced this kind of oversight in all my years as a babysitting. I have been doing this in-my-house gig for 5 years. Prior to that, families I sat for over the years have always recognized my willingness to care for their children in some way. There are articles written about guidelines for what to give people who nanny for you, etc. A typical bonus according to that linked article is the equivalent of one week's pay. I am not a nanny, so I understand that the guidelines might need to be adjusted a tad to consider that I watch kids in my home.
During the most recent 5 years of my babysitting-in-my-home days, I have gotten gifts that have run the gamut from extremely generous to not-so generous. Last year, a family who I sat for full time gave me a few gluten free cupcakes. The cupcakes were accompanied by a very nice note, but the parents both work full time at very good jobs. I know they were THRILLED with my services. While I was touched by the note, I admit to being a bit surprised that they felt a dessert cut it for the year-end bonus typically found in childcare.
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I have never, ever run into a family that didn't bother to recognize that I CARE for their TWO children three days a week. I know they think I am doing a great job. A few weeks ago she forgot to put the baby's formula in the diaper bag. Her mom came and dropped some off. It was NO BIG DEAL. She was extremely apologetic - like she feared I might kick them to the curb despite me saying, 'No biggie' like a dozen times.
To top off my feeling of shock, just before the preschooler left on his bus for afternoon school, the mom texted me. I was reading her kids books when I got the text. Spending time with them. Making sure they were safe, fed, ready for the bus, put down for naps, etc.
Anyway the text: 'Please make sure (insert kid) remembers to hand the bus driver the envelope I put in his backpack.' I would guess that there was no gift inside the bus driver's card, but it was in fact a card. With words written in it, presumably. Which is more than I got! In his backpack were cards for all of his preschool teachers. So it isn't as if she blanked on what was happening in the world around her. She is a teacher, so she knew this was the last day before break.
The preschooler told me in his whiney I-should-have-had-speech-therapy-years-ago-but-my-folks-are-clueless voice a few days ago that they just bought the biggest TV he had ever seen. I was like 'Sweet! Did the old TV break?' Nope.
So, they are not destitute. They both work full time. They could have either gifted me something small (like the $25 gift card I got from a family last year) or baked me something or bought me a greatest babysitter coffee mug even though I don't drink coffee. Nothing. Wow.
Coach was speechless. He compared it to how incredibly generous the families are when he teaches religious education for 1 hour one day a week. How. On. Earth. Do. You. Forget. Your. Childcare. Provider???
Another family gifted me with a very generous cash bonus. And the 3rd family went all out - with the same amount spent on a Visa gift card, fuzzy slippers from Pottery Barn, an AMAZING candle (I do not buy myself candles because there are too many good scents to choose from and I end up being indecisive), and an ornament of a mama bear reading a book to a baby bear.
I do hope that posting this does not cause me to lose my delightful readers. I do not think all families 'owe' me something, but it is nice to be recognized once a year for caring for their children - their most precious little people. Thoughts?