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Sunday, January 17, 2010

DNL #1 - How Much Do You Pay a Babysitter?

(This is part of my five part Date Night Lessons series dedicated to our first date night in like, a really freaking long time).

So, we got an invitation in the mail for the 70th birthday party of a man that my friends and I hold very dear to our hearts. Gary Crocker, my good friend Liz's dad, was going to be honored for the big 7-0 and of course, we wouldn't miss it for the world. The party was going to be in Arlington, VA at a Knights of Columbus.

We spoke to two of our friends, Heather and Mark, about trying out a restaurant they kept raving about in Arlington called Ray's the Steaks before heading over to the party. Heather said she would handle reservations and also took on the responsibility of finding a baby-sitter for our four kids (two of ours, two of theirs) who would take care of the children at Heather and Mark's house.

I said, "Sure, handle it!" because I am lazy about that stuff and I am always looking for an easy way out of doing work.

So Heather and I spoke about what to pay the baby-sitter. Now, just for the record, we are both notorious "overtippers." Heather was a waitress during college, so that's where her desire to take care of those in the service industry comes from. I am not sure where my need to overtip comes from, but I definitely feel the need to take care of anybody who drives me in a taxi, serves me food, cuts my hair or carries my luggage for me. I feel terribly guilty that they had to deal with me for even a brief period of time and so I tip them to say, "Hey sorry about that!" because that's how I roll.

So, when it comes to someone spending a Saturday night taking care of our children, we put a high premium on their time.

Add to that, if you're going to spend your Saturday night taking care of my hellion, I mean, Shaila, then I think you should be given a teeny bit extra.

So Heather called me once she secured the babysitter, who was a teacher from her children's daycare. She told me the rate. It sounded good to me. I am bad with math, as well as money, so I was like "Cool!" because that is usually what I just say.

So when I came home, I mentioned to John that we would be paying the baby-sitter $X an hour to watch all four children.

"Are you f%$%ing kidding me!??" he asked.

"No. She is very, very good." I explained. I could see him doing the math. But I realized some might consider it to be an exorbitant rate at this point.

"Do you realize how much we will be paying her by the time the night is over?" he asked.

"I haven't done the math yet." If you haven't guessed I really, really hate math.

At this point I got mad and started yelling at him, saying didn't he think I was worth it and how could he put a dollar value on the care of his children and whatnot and he just let it go. But not before saying,

"I hope she at least juggles or has some cool talent. I want to feel like I am getting my money's worth."

Suffice to say, the baby-sitter did not juggle. But she was nice. Maybe not $X/hour nice. But she was sweet. So I felt ok about it.

Lessons learned?
John will be the one responsible for hiring a baby-sitter going forward because I don't want to hear him complain about how I spend too much money before the date even starts. That is not a good sign and means he will be paying extra attention to how expensive the bottle of wine is.

Stay Tuned for DNL #2 - How to Roll When Someone "Comps" You

25 comments:

Anna See said...

maybe i should babysit for you next time. that's certainly more than i make at my job. :)

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Can you really put a price tag on an adult night out? I say it has a value above rubies. Hope you had fun.

Anonymous said...
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Ruby said...

I feel the same way you can't put a price on the safety or care of your child my husband thinks otherwise lets just say that he hardly ever tips his expectations sometimes of service is far to high irritating to say the least lol

Ams said...

Hmmmmm... see I am with you Kiran - I am an over-tipper, over-payer, over-everything kinda gal and I end up NOT going out because of it!! I get worse when I have a few drinks in me ;)
I agree, you can't put a price on the care of our children... just don't ask me how much to the babysitter because I would do the same thing as you.
Break the bank!

Sarah said...

Ha! This is funny and sounds like something my husband would do. He bitched about me joining a gym with child care until he came to the gym with me and realized that dropping your baby off in a supervised room is the best thing ever...hope you guys had fun and looking forward to more DNL's!

Anonymous said...

We did break the bank a bit last night, but I had more fun last night than I'd had in years. Thanks to you and John for making it awesome! Can't wait for the next night out!

Love you KKF! xo, Heath

Karls said...

I'm with you! It's so hard to put a price on services... I usually end up saying 'what do you want' then giving them that... and possibly more (fuck negotiating).

Allyson said...

I am so notorious for over-tipping. And that comes from my years of massaging hairy, defensive-line football players who don't believe in tipping. I feel like I HAVE to make up for those people. I have no idea how much a babysitter makes these days, but when I think about fulfilling my dream of moving to South Carolina, I am reminded that we would be moving away from our free babysitters (AKA parents). You have to do whatever you can to keep your husband focused on your cleavage and not on the cost of wine or the babysitter.

Mrs Montoya said...

I'm a big time over-tipper, too and am so grateful that my hubby's family is here. We got out A LOT and we've only paid for a sitter a couple of times. It does hurt worse though when you're not used to it. Whatever you spent was worth it. A night out with grown ups is always worth it. Always!!

Kimberly said...

Nice to have some time for you!

Nikita said...

which is why in india, ppl take the easy option of leaving kids with grandparents. the joint family system is a HUGE boon for such situations :D

Amy said...

I love this post!

Me and my husband have the EXACT same conflict each time we go out. I understand his point of view, that between dinner, drinks, and the excessive amount we pay the sitter an evening out gets pretty pricey.

But here's my deal...
My kid is a handful. He's hyper and fussy and he's not as easy the little girl counter parts his age.

We found a sitter who is AMAZING and took the time to "figure" him out. Anyone with that much patience and care deserves to be compensated!

Salt said...

I wish I ever babysat for overtippers when I was younger. Looking back on it and the kinds of kids that I had to deal with, I was getting seriously ripped off.

I hope you guys had fun at your party!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Your decision to let him be responsible for the babysitting is a wise one!

Melinda said...

I always err on the side of overpaying the babysitter. I don't want the gal looking after my children ticked off because she feels like she got ripped off the last time. Good babysitters are hard to find, so when I find one, I tend to pay generously. I feel like of all the things I could spend money on, making sure my children's caretaker is happy, is probably a good one! ;0)

I may have told you this before, but your blog design is so cute!! ;0)

Monique-aka-Surferwife23 said...

Well, of course now you have me curious on the per hour charge. I have no clue what the going rate is these days...

MiMi said...

So I'm just nosy and wondering how the heck much she wanted...cuz one of my friends in DC was saying that the average for their babysitters was 10 to 12 and hour?! Which I thought was a lot.

Candi said...

At Care4hire.com; we are seeing families pay $10-$15/hour depending on the experience of the babysitters. Children are priceless. You negotiate fees directly with the babysitter.

Shandal said...

I have no idea how much baby sitters charge. Fortunately our kids have a lot of grandparents due to the fact that both of our parents are divorced and remarried. So we have 4 sets of parents always willing to babysit for us. Maybe if you lived closer I could share them. LOL

Erin said...

I am always so grateful to any responsible person who puts up with my kids---and am so glad to escape them for a little while---that I pay a premium as well. I also believe you get what you pay for...(speaking with lots of babysitting experience behind me!)

Mommy Taylor said...

Haha I'm wondering what the going rate is too! So far only family has babysat for us... and they've never charged us.

Nathanael Rey said...

first thing. as long as its not boxed wine you're good!!! haha. well, I actually don't really like kids that much (although that is changing because my older sister is about to welcome a baby into the world), but I have been told that I am extra great with them. Go figure.

Serenityville said...

Was I supposed to tip the guy who handwashed my car? Anybody can answer, thanks. :D
I like to tip at least 20%, and feel that's nice, but now wonder if that's not even good nowadays?
My sister pulls out the calculator and makes sure to tip only on the bill, sans tax, and tips a perfect 15%. My mom tips whatever comes out to a nice even number (e.g. $24.17 bill gets $5.83 so it's $30.00). Maybe I was adopted.

kys said...

I throw mad cash at babysitters out of guilt. Not guilt because I'm leaving my children. I feel bad that the babysitter has to be stuck with them. Really.

 

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