Why is it so hard to find a good babysitter? Am I too picky? All I need is someone who can keep my kids alive for a couple hours so I can do adult things. Okay, maybe my standards are a little higher than survival. When hiring a babysitter I look for: someone who is reliable- that way I can be reliable to whomever I’m meeting. I need someone who is affordable so that my date can consist of something other than McDonald’s. I look for someone who genuinely likes kids so that they will treat my kids kindly. I also need someone who knows child age appropriate behaviors like: not feeding the toothless baby carrots, and not letting the kids sled down the stairs in their rocking chairs, but to realize that they totally would if you let them. I also appreciate it when the babysitter follows my rules.
There is one babysitter in particular I’ve fired several times, but for whatever reason she keeps coming back. She meets all of the babysitter requirements except for one. When she’s in charge my “guidelines” go right out the window. For example, instead of feeding the kids the leftover Mommy Surprise Casserole for dinner she gives them yogurt and pudding. She lets them color with washable (not-so-washable!) markers. They watch as much TV as they want, drink as much as they want and she even helps herself to an adult beverage from the fridge! In the morning when I go to get the kids up their beds are soaked, because the babysitter did not follow my “No fluids after dinner” rule. After I scrub off the pudding remnants, the marker tattoos and the too-much-fluid-after-bedtime off of their little bodies I ask them, “Did you guys have fun with Grandma last night?” to which they always enthusiastically respond, “YES!”
I keep having my mom babysit not only because she’s my mom and she doesn’t charge, but because her love for her grandkids is OBVIOUS. The retired teacher part of her can’t help but to read them books and help them make crafts. But the real reason I love having my mom in my kids’ lives is because she teaches them about Jesus. She tells them frequently how much Jesus loves them and talks about him on a regular basis. On a sunny day last Summer my husband was pushing our daughter on the swing. We heard the birds chirping when Amelia announced, “The birds are singing to Jesus.” “Who told you that I asked?” but I already knew it was Grandma. My husband and I too have learned to talk to our children about Jesus on a daily basis. Just last night our kids were curled up in bed with us because they were scared of the noisy thunder (thunderstorms and deathly illness are the only times we allow them to in bed with us). My husband snuggled up with us and said, “You don’t have to be scared of the thunder. God made the thunder and it is just a tiny example of His power.”
I am fairly confident that my kids are safe in my mom’s care. I mean, they haven’t overdosed on pudding or been intoxicated by markers yet. I hope they will meet Jesus someday and under her care I trust that that won’t happen too soon. I certainly can’t say that about everybody. I have found it’s easy to worry about your kids when they’re in someone else’s care. One day not long ago I was being bombarded by all the “what ifs”: What if Amelia convinces Ben to do shots of dish soap? What if Ben gets hungry and takes a bite out of Curtis’s arm. What if Curtis decides to bungee jump out of crib? Or the real scary stuff, forget the bubble wrap, I’m thinking chastity belts! What if I’ve entrusted my kids with the wrong person and they harm them? With these anxious thoughts overwhelming my mind I felt the need to pray. I asked God to keep my kids from any harm. I asked Him to help me know who and who not to leave in their care. I was thinking what to pray next when in my heart I heard, “You are the babysitter.” . . . “Say what!? God, I am NOT the babysitter. I’m the Mom. I know. I birthed them. It hurt. A lot.” . . . “I have entrusted them in your care.” . . . “Oh. I gotchya!” (Yes this is how I talk to God). When God blesses us with a child He is entrusting us with their spirits. Like a babysitter, but with an eternal perspective, we only have them for a short time. He loves them even more than we do and He wants them back some day. As Christian parents we are babysitters hired by God. Our number one job is to teach our kids about their Heavenly Father.
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise…You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36