Your years of babysitting are most likely looked back upon with fond recollections and a few scars. They were the years you sacrificed Saturday nights and summer Fridays playing “mom” and making tax-free, above minimum wage, hourly rates.
The years of your adolescence and maybe even the ones through college spent making bank and still living at home.
Now, you’re older and have most likely moved beyond your nanny years, progressing to something more “suitable” and “professional,” or at least something that includes a cubicle.
But as you stare at the dismal walls of your new life, I bet you sometimes can’t help but wonder, maybe babysitting was the best job you'll ever have...
Because, in between the tantrums and one too many episodes of “The Backyardigans,” that job wasn’t half bad. Actually, that job was pretty damn good.
As you work your way, climbing the corporate ladder and scraping by to make ends meet, you might recall those glorious moments of all-you-can-eat chicken nuggets and nap time. You start to remember the days of open air at the playground and complete control.
You were the CEO, the boss; you made the decisions and called the shots. You got paid to watch TV once the kids went to bed and had free reign of someone else’s fridge. You were in control, you were powerful, you were… alive.
Watching someone else’s kids may not have been what you envisioned for your life, but as you look at your life now, staring at a paycheck cut in half by taxes you don’t understand, maybe you should look back at those years of cleaning vomit and dressing squirming toddlers as the good years, at least... for now.
You were CEO.
You called the shots, made the demands and were the only one you had to answer to. The kids looked up to you, asked your permission and followed your orders.
You were at the top of the ladder and it will probably be a long time, if ever, that you ever have that much control again.
A hard day's work meant a day at the playground.
Those rough days, the days when you’d come home and collapse into a ball of exhaustion were the days you spent running around in the fresh air.
Your roughest ones were ones spent chasing kids around a park and pushing bodies on swing sets.
You got paid to watch TV.
At what other job will you get paid to watch trashy TV while stuffing your face with free ice cream and chicken nuggets? At what other office can you put your feet up, lie back and just bask in the warmth of someone else's flatscreen?
Your company dinners included macaroni and Happy Meals.
The company credit card was used for things like bounce houses and unlimited pizza. Your conference room food included Happy Meals with extra ketchup and maybe one or two extra McFlurrys.
Your due diligence included knowledge of the Disney franchise.
You got bonus points for your extensive knowledge of "The Little Mermaid" and "Sleeping Beauty." Your reports included DVDs of your favorite Disney movies where you'd get to spend the entire meeting re-watching movies you used to love.
Your clients had complete faith in you.
Unlike "the real world," where everyone is scrutinizing your every decision, your clients were pretty damn easygoing. All you had to do was make sure there was a new episode of "Dora The Explorer" and something good for dessert.
There were no numbers to show or orders to follow up on. You were always the number one employee.
The most complicated part of your day was figuring out how to get to gymnastics class.
Those days that really tested you, that made you stronger and more savvy, were the days you had to run errands.
That's right, running through the grocery store while carrying two kids, figuring out which soccer field was the right one and making sure to get them from music lessons back to home in time for "The Backyardigans."
Nap time was built into your schedule.
You know that period of time around 2 and 3 pm when you start to get really tired? It's around the time you buy your third cup of coffee or maybe that Red Bull.
Well, at your old job, you had nap time built into your schedule. For two glorious hours, you got to take that siesta you're always complaining to your coworkers as something that should be built into the American work schedule.
A shared interest in SpongeBob counted as "bonding."
Company bonding may not have been happy hour drinks while discussing office politics, but rather, juice boxes while discussing the complexities of "SpongeBob SquarePants."
Or maybe it was hours at the library reading them their favorite books and singing their favorite nursery rhymes. Either way, there was some serious bonding going on.
Your job stress came most from making sure you got to the playdate on time.
Time management didn't include spreadsheets and due dates, but car pool schedules and school bus times. The hardest and most taxing parts of your day included getting them on the bus or to their already arranged playdate.
Potty training was considered a true skill.
You were a master of your field. You had the résumé and the skills to prove it. You could potty train, count to 50 and knew your Times Tables. You were revered for your limited knowledge of French and your subpar vocabulary skills.
You were employee of the month every day and always earned that Christmas bonus.
Research included the newest PG movies.
If you really wanted to impress your clients, all you had to do was pay attention to the latest trends. You weren't analyzing numbers or stats, but anything with bright colors and catchy theme songs.
You got extra points for taking your clients to the movies where you had access to unlimited popcorn and those kid boxes your mom would never buy you.
There was no tax.
Let me repeat: There was no tax.
Your boyfriend or girlfriend could go to work with you.
Nowadays, it wouldn’t exactly be kosher to have your significant other sitting next to you during work. It would seem to a little strange to invite your crush to come help you at your job, making out whenever your clients turned around.
In the babysitting world, however, it was completely normal to play house and introduce the kids to your newest assistant.
The only work you brought home was a stain or two.
You didn't go home and harp on the day. You never had to do work on the train or think about what you needed to finish tomorrow morning. You didn't think about meetings and deadlines.
You wiped your hands clean (literally) and went home to bask in your easy money and newfound love for "Chowder."
Your clients were really cute sometimes.
While the people you work with today don't scream or throw tantrums, they also don't delight you with that childlike innocence that's so refreshing and invigorating to be around.
Working with children gives you a respite from the stressful and sometimes sad plight of the adult world and helps you remember your own childlike self. While it may not have been your dream job, it did make you dream again.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It