I thought this was too good to be true. In Western society, finding child care help is a priceless blessing. But, my discovery stunned me. Imagine, a free babysitter. This young savvy babysitter had a way about her. The way she always knew, she could read your mind, she seamlessly took over parenting when you needed a break. She was even better than the child’s father in stamina and entertainment. She never asked for a break or a raise. Dutifully, she kept going.
The best thing was she was right in front of you. I never had to worry about my child’s whereabouts because she kept him right with her at home. She was willing to be dragged from one place to another. She knew what my son wanted before he would have to ask. Hours could go by and he would forget he was hungry or needed a diaper change.
I admired how she kept kids so engaged. She had endless fun and educational games up her sleeve. There was something she had that I lacked. Though she kept me sane by helping with the child, I started envying her. She clearly had something that held my son’s attention better than I could. If she was not around, my son seemed to miss her. It was like he was searching for her frantically.
My child’s relationship with her started to make me feel uncomfortable. She seemed too good to be true. I felt she was taking over my parenting. I realized the more time he spent with her, the less time he wanted to spend with me. He didn’t care what I said or where I was when he was with her. She very strategically undermined my authority and presence. Under the pretext of being helpful and acting very innocent, she was raising my child to be indifferent, insensitive, socially rude and mindless.
I had to make a choice. I could either cut down her hours which meant I would have to spend more time with my son or let this comfortable free babysitting continue where I was getting more time and space to myself. Tough choice. I decided to go with the first option. This was my child and I couldn’t outsource my parenting to this babysitter when my all my senses including my sixth felt uneasy about her.
I couldn’t fire her because she was quite useful to me in other things. My husband had a fascination for her as well. I was in a complicated relationship with this entity. What I did stand my ground on and establish was that she could not interact with my child for more than 10 minutes at a time and that too, no more than 3 times a day. She was forbidden from being with him in public places and social settings. It was hard because everyone around me was enjoying the free babysitting and I had made this tough choice that made socializing less hands free.
My conviction keeps me going because I know she was not right for my child. My short term convenience would cost me in the long run if I let her continue. It’s amazing how much more learning and how many more memories are created without her. My child is happier, more engaged, emotionally more intelligent and mentally smarter without her.
Please be wary of her. She is young, vivacious, strategic and quite multi faceted. Don’t let her get too close to your child. When her services are not needed, please put her away ,away from your child’s vision and reach. She is often referred to as Smartphone. Her family name is Apple or Samsung.
Now that I have her out of my toddler’s life, I need to limit her interaction
with my husband. That most probably won’t happen in this lifetime. But, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.
By: Hiba Tanvir