December 23, 2019

Merry merry, here's NOTHING

Did you catch in my beautifully crafted song from my last post that one of the families I sit for DID NOT GET ME ANYTHING for Christmas?  At the risk of sounding selfish or greedy, I just have to say . . . I am appalled. 

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.  

thank you
The family that gave me nothing this year was NEVER a family I anticipated getting a generous gift from.  Based on how they dress their kids and the activities they do when they aren't with me, etc., I gather that they are not as financially secure as some of my other families.  Trust me, I did not pull a Grizwald.  There are no plans to put in a pool based on the bonuses I might receive.  While I don't feel like I missed out on much from a monetary standpoint, because I didn't think they would give me much anyway - I STILL cannot wrap my brain around NOTHING!  Not even a baked good and an appreciative card.  

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?  


ccr in MA said...

It certainly was a bit much to ask you to check his bag, so you could see they were gifting to everyone else but you!

Anonymous said...

Yikes that is rough. Maybe (going out on a limb here) they are planning on swooping in for New Years or maybe the husband thought the wife handled and the wife thought the husband handled. I’m sorry that happened. The holidays are so busy but I made sure my kids wrote out letters to their favorite teachers and tucked small gift cards into them - if nothing else I hope when they are grown they impart my thank you card 4 sentence dictate onto their offspring “1 sentence about the occasion. 2 sentences about what you appreciate about the recipient. 1 sentence about what you have learned” I keep hoping someone will go for the glory and do 5 sentences - hasn’t happened.

Hope your family has a lovely Christmas and your knee feels better. I love your blog ❤️Marisa

Anonymous said...

It's possible that they may be following guidance that says that you don't tip/give gifts to the owner of a company, but you do give them to employees? And they're thinking of you as an owner.

Or that there's something else going on that you don't know about. Last year, my daughter was out of school for most of December and on oxygen for the week before Christmas, so-- quite honestly, gifts to everyone went out the window, including family. I know for sure that I didn't give her daycare providers anything. I'd say just give them a spirit of grace if you can.

Ernie said...

CCR- exactly. 'Hey, can you please be sure that he remembers to hand his bus driver (WHO I REMEMBERED) the card. Ugh.

Marisa- So glad your comment showed up. You made my day! I like your thank you note guidance. I would be really surprised if they think to tip me in the new year. A Christmas card is pretty standard, even if you don't put anything monetary in it. Perhaps she will be more thoughtful at the end of the school year. I won't hold my breath. One year a mom made me a photo book for Mother's Day.

Anonymous- They just bought a huge TV. They could have written a note expressing their gratitude for my care. Of course I don't completely know what they have going on - but since I know a card was given to 5 of his teachers and a bus driver, I believe a card could have been within their reach. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

Busy Bee Suz said...

While I think it's kind of crazy, it's not unheard of. I honestly didn't know you were supposed to tip people extra or give gifts during the holidays until about 12 years ago. For real. My lawn guys, my pool person, my hairdresser, housekeepers, mailman, UPS,etc....
I'm not even sure when it was brought to my attention, but I felt terrible. Also, we didn't have much extra money at that time, so it was a big deal for me, but I finally started doing it, but smaller than I do now. (thank you good economy!)
I'd like to think that maybe you don't fall in the tipping category and not that they don't think that much of you. :(
I hope this didn't put a big damper on your holiday or make you feel like you aren't the rock star that you are. XOXO

Busy Bee Suz said...

* I meant, that you didn't fall into the tipping category in their mind.

Bibliomama said...

Completely agree that it's weird and horrible enough that they gave you nothing, but then to ask you to make sure the BUS DRIVER got his thing? Either the meanest or most oblivious move ever.

Ernie said...

Suz- I am not a big tipper either, but there are few places I use regularly other than the mailman and the newspaper delivery man. I truly did not think they would give me a gift- but a card seemed the very least. I take good care of their kids. The fact that they thought to give a card to every preschool teacher at their son's school was a bit of a slap in the face. Totally did NOT ruin my holiday. Just reminded me how 'it takes all kinds'.

Bibkiomama- definitely not mean people, just clueless. Another example: the dad picks the kids up every day. He NEVER knocks on my door. Just walks in. It is unnerving and super weird. I don't keep the door locked because my kids enter that way after school at about the same time. School year halfway over - hooray!

Suzanne said...

Oh Ernie - how disappointing. I can totally understand how it would hurt your feelings.

Nicole MacPherson said...


Honestly, that is so ignorant, especially since you had to check all the other cards. It's not about the money. It's not about a big gift. A nice card and a homemade treat would have been something at least. I am a person who tips all my "people" really well in December - hair salon, esthetician, mail carrier, the girl who grooms my dog. I feel like it is a way to thank a person for a year of service. I also give homemade treats to every one of my students. I am shocked that you would get nothing!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Right? I bake cookies for all my kids' teachers and coaches. I slip something to the mail carrier and send money to the paper delivery man. I give something to the woman who teaches most of my workout classes. Back when my kids went to the little daycare at the workout facility, I gave the women there gift cards. People bring us gifts for teaching religious education classes to their kids.

These are not horrible people, but the person who cares for your kids is jn a pretty significant role. They showed up the first week here with one bottle and figured I would just dump out the old formula and then add more. Um, gross! This is not the same as my kids drinking a glass of milk. It is a BOTTLE, WITH A NIPPLE - each feeding required a different bottle. Plus they have a 5 year old, so you would think they would know this by now. I had to tell her that if she wanted me to give her baby 2 bottles a day, then she needed to bring 2 bottles a day.

She is a teacher, so I guess to her thanking the teachers was a focus for her. I am with her kids 3 days a week, teaching them manners and sharing with the other kiddies and sing-a-long songs, etc. Like I have said, I did not count on a big gift. (I am seriously astounded by some of the incredibly generous gifts I have gotten, and I always tell the people no need to go over the top!) I just could NOT believe that they forgot to hand me a card that showed appreciation. People!