For many teenagers and young people, babysitting is a rite of passage. While it can be a fun gig, babysitting is not without its challenges–chasing around naughty kids, awkwardly changing diapers, figuring out how to put kids to bed–these are all par for the course.
But sometimes babysitters encounter some truly bizarre things. We’re talking toilet paper restrictions, cheese-only diets, mandatory nightly Fleetwood Mac concerts, a no-games rule–the list goes on. Read on as babysitters share some of the weirdest things they’ve encountered while on the job.
50. Hug and Kiss, Not The Baby, But The Mom
When I was about 15, I was asked by a family in my church to babysit for them, although I didn’t know them all that well. I had also never babysat anyone before and had no idea why they asked me. I found out that the primary reason I was there wasn’t for the two daughters, but for the mom.
Apparently, she got nightmares, and if she woke up I was supposed to “hug and kiss” her. This was quite the shocker to me and I was really uncomfortable with it, but I stayed anyway. Luckily she didn’t wake up.
49. I Got Him “Wet”
I was to keep my skin entirely covered because they were concerned that the newborn drooling on me was too intimate. I had to drape a fresh baby blanket over my entire body every time I went to hold him. They bought me new clothes to care for their child and they had to be washed every day.
They also required me to bring my vaccination records. Oh, and one time, the kid was overdressed and he sweat a bit on his lower back; the parents were freaking out saying that newborns do not sweat and I got him wet.
48. Bathe With My Two Girls
I watched two girls once and the parents asked if I would give them a bath. Well, okay, no problem. Then they told me that I must get in the bath with the two girls for safety reasons.
When I said that I didn’t have my bathing suit and they both looked at me like I had three heads and asked why I would wear a suit. The girls got a bath without me in the tub and I searched the bathroom for a hidden camera. I didn’t find one, but still never went back.
47. Never Play With The Non-Believers
The parents told me, “Don’t let the children play with the nonbelievers.” They were a super Christian family that I babysat for a few times. One time, the children were looking out the window at the neighbors playing and I asked if they wanted to go outside and play.
I kid you not, this little 5-year-old looks me in the eyes and says, “We can’t. They are not of God.” So freaking creepy. I wasn’t asked back after I accidentally said “Oh my gosh” one time. Apparently “gosh” is too close to “god.”
46. The Little Girl’s Bedtime Routine
I babysat this family’s little girl from infancy to about eight years old. The family was weird. The little girl was always difficult to put to bed; she’d whine and cry and stall to prolong bedtime. One day while getting her ready for bed, she pointed up at the medicine cabinet over the sink and goes, “Tussin?” She was almost two years old. At first, I just nodded my head “Mhmm, yeah.” She gave me this look of frustration and thrust her finger into the air, again pointing at the medicine cabinet and shouting. “TUSSIN’ TUSSIN’ TUSSIN’!” I opened the cabinet and there it was, a bottle of liquid Robitussin. Not just the regular kind either, this was Robitussin-AC. It contains codeine. She was clapping as I stared at the bottle. I closed the cabinet and shook my head as she wailed over and over, “TUSSIN’ T-UUUHHHH-SSINNN!” That particular night, it took a piece of chocolate and five books to get her to fall asleep. I couldn’t let it go. I swear, nothing is more creepy or sickening than to hear a 20-month-old beg for Robitussin. My mother never gave us cough syrup or any of that rubbish (Tylenol, Motrin and prescribed antibiotics only). I would never in my life ingest that crap, let alone give it to a toddler. Especially medicine that contains narcotics!
I looked the mother dead in the face when she came home that night, told her what her daughter was saying, and that it was really strange. She just laughed and said, “Yeah! It helps her sleep.” What is wrong with that lady? How do some people make it into old age? If she makes those kinds of decisions, what else is she messing up? Inevitably, she and her husband were divorced and he, not shockingly, obtained full custody of the kid. They were both bizarre, but she more so than he. ROBITUSSIN. C’mon.
45. Wafers Over Kids
I used to babysit for this family when I was in high school. I went over there and the mom told me like nine times, BEGGED ME, not to eat the box of ‘Nilla Wafers that was in the cupboard because she needed them for a recipe the next day. Like she literally begged!
I was like, “Okay, got it. They’re totally safe because I don’t even like vanilla wafers!” She kept mentioning it, and it was the first thing she asked me about when they got home. She was like, “Who cares about the kids? Did you keep my Nilla wafers safe?! If it were just the kids, I wouldn’t have hired you; your primary duty was to guard my wafers!”
44. Change His Wife’s Tampon
I used to work housekeeping at a hospital and a doctor asked me if I could watch his kids on Saturdays. He had three toddlers, ages 2, 3, and 4. His wife didn’t work but wanted time to go shopping and get her hair and nails done. I get there early as the doctor is getting ready to leave. He says he’s cooking breakfast and while he gets the kids fed and dressed, he asked me if I could help change his wife’s tampon. She’d drunk a lot the night before and was completely passed out and was leaking and messing up their sheets. I told him I should work for someone more than a few minutes before I go rummaging in their private parts and that I’d tend to the kids if he tended to his wife.
What I really wanted to do was leave, but the kids would be home alone with their hungover mother, so I chose to finish cooking and stay. He went upstairs and sent the kids to the kitchen where I was putting food on the plates. After a little while, he popped his head in and said it was a short day, he was done upstairs, and he was leaving. I NEVER met the wife. He came home at noon, gave me $100, and I never spoke to him again.
43. Superstitious Bowl
It was one of my regular jobs to watch 2-year-old Bailey and her brother while her parents had date nights. One night, her father told me this as he and his wife left for a sports-watching party: “Okay, so I may call you later, depending on how the team is doing. If we’re doing badly, you need to put Bailey in front of the TV because she’s our good luck charm. She doesn’t have to watch the game or anything, but just keep her in the room for me.” I probably looked about as skeptical as I felt because he felt the need to add: “I’m not, like, superstitious or anything. It’s just that we always win when Bailey is in the room, and I don’t want to jinx it.”
I must have agreed because an hour later he called me and I did indeed bring the toddler to the TV room. I muted the game while the child and I played with blocks. The team lost. When he got home, the father questioned if I had done as instructed, and I said I had. I was never invited back to babysit. Maybe my mojo canceled our Bailey’s lucky mojo or something.
42. The No Pants Rule
The mother asked me to stop by the house to meet her 2-year-old son a week before I was supposed to babysit him for the first time. I pulled up to the house and saw that the young boy was standing at the glass front door with a t-shirt on and nothing else. I go in and I must have given the child a strange look because the mom started to explain that her son doesn’t like to wear pants, so they let him run around pants-less with no diaper on, although he wasn’t potty trained.
I told her that this made me uncomfortable and asked if I could put pants on him when I was watching him, and she got upset with me and said they don’t like to make their 2-year-old son do anything he doesn’t like to do so they let him run around without pants on — which unfortunately means he goes to the bathroom on the floor since he won’t wear a diaper and isn’t potty-trained.
41. “If She Dies, We Wouldn’t Blame You”
Not necessarily a rule but the first time I went to their house they told me about their daughter’s very serious peanut allergy, walked me through the epi-pen, prevention, phone numbers of their neighbors who were doctors — all fine so far. I took this very seriously. But then the mother put her hands on my shoulders and said, “If she dies, we wouldn’t blame you. It wouldn’t be your fault.” While I appreciate the thought this freaked me the hell out and I was 100 times less comfortable.
I was at that time 14 years old and was uncomfortable but still took the job. They were great kids and a great family to work for — just terrible wording day one.
40. “Never Touch Daddy’s Food”
The dad had a whole cupboard of brand name junk food just for him. It had an inventory list taped to the inside of one door so he could ensure no one stole from his stash. The kids and mom got no-name brand food. When I got there, the mom repeatedly told me, “Don’t touch daddy’s food!”
When they drove me home, the dad asked me if I’d touched his food and grilled me about boys. Did I like boys a lot? Did I have a boyfriend? How many boyfriends had I already had? I was 12 or 13. I only babysat there once; the whole experience gave me the creeps.
39. Only Use Two Squares of Toilet Paper
The parents told me NEVER to use more than two squares of toilet paper when their child or I used the restroom. They always bought single-ply toilet paper and their sewage never backed up and they were hooked up to the city line so I could never understand that.
I’m a two-ply girl and prefer to use four squares for personal cleaning after bowel movements, so to me, this was the equivalent of being told to wipe my butt with my hand! They would mark the roll and if it didn’t line up at the end of the night, they’d mention it the next time I babysat.
38. It Was An Animal-Sitting
In high school, I babysat for a woman who knew my mom. She had two kids. Both acted like feral animals who kicked and bit me very hard when I told them “No.” She had her TV behind a plexiglass window because they kept breaking TVs. She had locks on the outside of the bedroom door and a crib set up that essentially locked the younger 3 or 4-year-old child inside it. It had a top that you pulled down and padlocked to the sides. It was absolutely horrific. The kids screamed bloody murder when I tried to get them to listen. Their grandma, who lived next door, came over. Did she come over to help me out? No, she gave these kids cookies and crap-talked me for not being able to control them, as if it was my fault that her grandkids acted like animals.
Their mom promised to be back by 9 pm. She wasn’t back until 2 am. That was after I started calling all the bars to find her. I was planning to eat dinner afterward, so I was starving. I called my mom and she ordered delivery for me. The grandmother got peeved that she didn’t order enough for the kids too and guilted me into sharing it. The mom finally came home, paid me $10 for 10 hours of babysitting, even though we agreed on $20 for five hours. Then, she proceeded to crap-talk me the next time she went out, saying I was lazy and a bad babysitter. She said I should have beaten the kids and locked them in the bedroom when they started acting up. My mom and I contacted Child Protective Services afterward a few times. Unfortunately, nothing came of it, but I never babysat there again.
37. The “Evil” Television
I used to babysit during my teenage years. I did it for this religious family whose church did not believe in television or their members watching it. So, I would bring a portable TV with me to watch once the kids were asleep.
The parents came home and they were captivated by it. They would invite me over so that they could watch television. I ended up giving them the TV. They loved it because they could hide it when other church members came over.
36. No Restroom Needed
I was babysitting a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. The boy had to be carried in a buggy, which is all very well, but I was supposed to add some kind of mini stairs (two steps) on the back of it so the girl could stand on it “because her legs get tired.” The damn thing hit my legs every time I took a step.
That kid was also taught not to wait and look for restrooms when she needed to go and proceeded one time to poop in a public garden and wipe herself with a leaf with an ease that told me that it wasn’t her first time.
35. The Nudists
My little cousins are beautiful people, but they really don’t understand social norms yet. The younger of the two is 9-years-old, and we shall call her Bailey. The elder is 11 and I’ll call him Justin. Bailey and Justin’s parents are excellent people, but still, struggle to help their kids develop and become more mature. I can tell because they legitimately asked me to make sure I separated them while they got ready for bed because otherwise, they’d strip totally naked in front of each other and use the bathroom in front of each other.
Bailey started taking off her clothes — in the open living room while Justin and I were still in it — and Justin thought it was a good idea to start taking off his clothes too. You wouldn’t understand how gross it felt to me to have to physically force two half-naked children into separate rooms while they were not cooperating. And after they returned from their nightly routines, they were angry at me because I had interrupted their supposed normalcy.
34. Molly, You’re A Star
The parents told me that I had to “put the kids to sleep with the CD player going.” Well, that wasn’t the strangest thing, though.
The weird part? It was a recording of their parents basically going “Molly, you are wonderful. You are a star. You’re going to shine bright.” It was several hours long and apparently they listened to it every night.
33. “Don’t Go In the Basement”
I was 13 and babysitting my neighbors’ kids. The parents walked me through all the rules. Just as they were taking off for the night, the mom came back in and whispered to me, “Don’t go into the basement.” As a teenager, my mind went to all of the scariest movies that had basements. I avoided the door to the basement all night until I had put the kids to bed. Then I walked slowly to the door and put my ear against it. I heard what sounded like whimpering. And then it sounded like sad laughing. I ran to the couch and started watching TV to get my mind off of it, but then I heard something fall in the basement and knew someone was down there. I really don’t know how I got the courage/stupidity to do it, but I went over and opened the door. The whining instantly got louder.
I went down just three stairs so I could peek down and I saw a goat. Not a ghost. A goat. As soon as the goat saw me, he started bleating loudly. It scared the crap out of me. I went upstairs and the goat was still bleating loudly so much that it woke up the kids. The oldest girl came out and said, “Did you open the door to the basement?” I said, “Yeah, why?” She said, “When you do that, Carlos thinks you’re going to feed him and he starts yelling.” Thank god I knew it was a goat first, because if she had said that before I went down, I would’ve thought Carlos was some kidnapped person in the basement who would yell for food. It became very funny to me. The mom came home and I told her what happened and she almost died laughing. They were repairing the goat pen and had to keep him in the basement for a few days. I still remember every moment of that night vividly.
32. The Three Little Demons
I was babysitting a new family. There were two little boys and one girl. When the parents left, the boys turned into demons. They tormented the girl until she was literally clinging to my legs. Then one boy gets up, pulls his pants down, and starts pissing in the middle of the living room. I freak out and start to clean it up and send the boy to his room. The other brother followed him, as they shared a room, and just sat there with him. The girl sneaks downstairs throughout all this and unbeknownst to me starts making an F5-grade mess. After I clean the pee, I go to get them out of the boys’ room. Surprise, the door is closed. Oh, and apparently locked. The one boy is only like 3 and is crying because he can’t open it and his brother won’t let him out. The older boy is defiant and just screaming at me “No I’m not opening it! You’re not my mom! I want my mommy!” We had a standoff for a few minutes before I realized the girl was gone.
Well, I wasn’t getting the boys out, so I went to get the phone and call the parents while I tried to find the girl. She pulled out ALL the freaking toys and they were everywhere and I couldn’t find her because she was like in a pillow pile somewhere. I don’t really have an ending to the story, but needless to say, I was pretty much in tears by the time they came home. One of them drove me home and kept apologizing and hoped I’d still give them another chance. That did not happen.
31. Just Hose Him Down
When I was a kid, I got paid $75 a week to watch two boys over a summer. It was amazing money, but the dad was a big bow hunter, and he made loads of deer chili, and he insisted that his 10-year-old and 2-year-old eat tons of it.
Well, they loved it, but the 2-year-old would take these massive, awful, horrible chili poops constantly. The dad explained all this to me, and my instructions were to just put him in the shower and hose him down. I was offered plenty of chilies but never ate any.
30. So Cheesy!
The parents were bodybuilders and had one daughter. I don’t know what her name was because I heard them call her so many different things. Emma, Emmie, Emory, Every, Avery, and one time Emerson. It was bizarre. Anyway, this kid would lose her mind unless I played Bubble Guppies on TV and consistently feed her cheese. I would usually try and distract her with any other snack but she would only eat cheese.
The parents encouraged me to give her all the cheese she wanted. I was concerned about this kid’s health. For two years, I only saw her eat cheese. She was constipated almost every time I babysat. One time, I ended up feeding her an entire block of cheese for two hours and refused to babysit for them after that.
29. Test Passed!
It wasn’t a rule, but on my first day, they sent over an adult male friend of theirs who asked to come in. I said no. After he berated me for some time, he sat outside by his truck and stared towards the windows.
About 45 minutes later, the mom got home. It was then that she told me it was a test and I had passed. In hindsight, I should’ve gone full commitment and called the police.
28. “Just Avoid Getting Hit”
The mom told me that if her sons might want to throw softballs at me, just try to catch them to avoid getting hit. Also, if they don’t want to brush their teeth just hold them down and do it for them even if they’re screaming. The kids screamed, hit, fought, and made messes the whole time, and wanted me to chase them around the yard with sticks. I did not. I also stopped going there.
To make things worse — both times I babysat, she didn’t tell me when she’d be home and didn’t show up until the middle of the night, totally wasted. The first time she forgot to pay me, and I was too nervous to say anything so she had me pick cash up from her mailbox later in the week. She shorted me $5.
27. No Dessert Unless She Finishes Her Cheeseburgers
The kid couldn’t have dessert if she didn’t finish her dinner. The problem was she was about 4 or 5 years old and dinner was two cheeseburgers with sides. She ate half of one and was okay with not getting dessert.
It was like saying, “No dessert for you! Unless you commit to being a fat slob for life by gorging yourself with that second cheeseburger.”
26. “Would The Lord Like You Doing That?”
One parent said I had to read a Bible passage during dinner and for a bedtime story and use “Christian discipline” methods. To this day, I have no idea what she meant, but if the kids acted out, I would just say “Would the Lord like you doing that?”
I also had to make the kids pray every 15 minutes. I thought it was a bit much, but you know, I had to respect it. But the best part was when the mom told me that I had to do this really complicated skincare routine; maybe because the kid’s skin is sensitive? No, the kid was fine. The mother was just obsessed with that whole “glass skin” fad.
25. Don’t Use The Word “No”
Two parents asked that I should not use the word “no” with the kids. It was a situation where the mother was in the home while I watched the kids. One time, the 4-year-old was trying to spill his orange juice on the table. I said, “No, Wesley! Don’t do that!” and I was reprimanded by the mom. Instead of saying, “No Wesley, don’t do that,” she asked me to say, “Wesley, you’re not allowed to pour orange juice on the table. It makes a mess for me to clean up.” I understand when she explained a different way it could have been said, but I actually do not understand for the life of me why the word “no” could not be used.
Additionally, they would allow bad behavior if the child understood what the consequence of that behavior was. One time, Wesley wanted to pee off the balcony. Going with the policy, I said, “Wesley, if you pee off the balcony, you won’t get any books to read to you tonight.” He thought it out and decided he’d rather pee off the side of the balcony into the yard than have his books. And? That was it. I had to deal with going down and cleaning his pee and he felt he could go without the books. It was crap.
24. How To Waste Food 101
One mom had me feed her 1-year-old ONLY from a freshly opened baby food container. If she only ate two or three spoonfuls, I was to throw it away. When she wanted more in 15 minutes, I was to open a new one.
I thought it was so she would finish her meal and be full for a while, but she said it was OK to feed her every time she wanted it. I would probably throw away five or six jars in a two-hour sitting. They cost more than I usually made for sitting.
23. Watch Fleetwood Mac Before Bed
The 3-year-old daughter had to watch this VHS tape of a live Fleetwood Mac concert before bed. I was like, okay cute, that’s adorable; 3-year-olds love the weirdest things and she’s so quirky and this will be fun. But she didn’t love it. She always wanted to watch The Land Before Time instead. But it was always on the note left for me. As was the pager number, pediatrician’s number, chicken soup for dinner is in the fridge and WATCH FLEETWOOD MAC at 6:30 before bed.
Obviously, the family eventually found out I wasn’t making her watch it, and I had no freaking reason to believe it was a secret. They were clearly upset by this and I was never called back to babysit. It was so weird.
22. While She’s Giving Birth!
It was a hippie family. The 2-year-old had no bedtime and no rules. The parents told me that, “She can eat what she wants,” and “No bedtime; if she falls asleep, leave her wherever she crashed.” The parents came home at 2:30 am to a toddler eating chocolate cake on the couch with her preferred American Pickers on TV. That was fine, apparently.
A few months later, the mom was very pregnant and asked if I could wrangle her toddler while she gave birth in a bathtub at home. A 2-year-old was to be in the room, watching, while I explained what was happening. I left that evening when the parents came home, with fried chicken in the toddler’s hand and Keeping Up with the Kardashians on TV, and denied their next request to babysit. As a 20-year-old, I wasn’t prepared to see the mess of someone else’s home birth.
21. Babysitting Capable Teenagers
I was 17 (male) and “babysitting” a 16-year-old boy and 14-year old girl. It was really awkward as they were more than capable of staying home by themselves and I knew both of them from school. They were not allowed to watch TV and had to be in bed by 8 PM. I started at 5 PM and we played board games all night. There was no food in the house and they hadn’t had dinner so I ordered a pizza for us and I let them stay up until 10 or so (Friday night) when they volunteered to go to bed.
Once they were in bed, I turned on the TV and every channel was blocked. This was before cell phones, so I looked for a book or something to keep me occupied, but all they had were religious books and no magazines or newspapers. So I hung out with the dog on the couch which I later found out was not allowed; they found dog hairs on the couch and were upset. I was bored out of my mind except for chilling with their dog until they came home at 1 AM. They paid me $50 upfront of which half I had spent on pizza already. They must have ratted me out for letting them stay up late and they never hired me again.
20. Cameras Everywhere
The first time babysitting my neighbor and the mom is pretty normal. I met the dad and he was about 20 years older than her. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was the dad was overprotective of his wife and the daughter who I was babysitting.
The mom gets me alone for a moment and tells me that her husband likes to keep an eye on his daughter. Then she motioned towards the security cameras in every room of their house – except bathrooms of course. So they leave and the cameras turn on. I did continue to babysit the girl. It was always so creepy with the cameras on while I was changing her diaper and putting her to sleep.
19. She Just Forgot To “Pray”
I was a nanny to two of the most emotionally disturbed kids I’d ever seen. They were kids of divorce and lived with their Fundamental-Christian mom. They were 7 and 9. The dad was only interested in speaking to the 7-year-old (girl). She would hide in her bedroom and talk to her dad on the phone for hours, always whispering. The dad wouldn’t even bother talking to the boy. He was desperate for attention from his dad but this man would hang up the phone if the girl gave the phone to her brother. This resulted in a LOT of acting out violently from the boy. So obviously you know what I thought was going on. I shared my concerns with the mom, to no avail. She dismissed it time after time. I was informed to never let the dad in the house or let him take the kids (custody battle). The problem was, any time I said no to this little girl, she’d run to her room and call daddy on me. He’d show up threatening to hurt me for not indulging his little girl’s every whim.
One incident ended up with me trying to call the cops on him and the girl taking my phone and smashing it on a tile floor, then her grabbing the home phone and running to the room to call the cops on ME for not allowing her daddy to take her away because I was hurting her. I told her that her brother got to pick the movie because she picked one the day before. The cops showed up, and while they were interviewing the dad and daughter, the mom came home. She defended me and the cops ended up telling the dad not to violate the court-mandated custody agreement. The girl locked herself in the room and the mom looked at me, sighed, and said: “You know what it is? I forgot to pray today.” I quit.
18. Junk-Shaped Pasta, Anyone?
I can think of a few things that happened when I was babysitting daily for a rich family in my little hometown (in France). I stayed with them for a year. Long story short: The parents were very open-minded. In the kitchen, they had those nice glass containers on the counter where they stored all sorts of dry food.
One night, I was asking the parents what they wanted me to make for dinner, and the father pointed at a container filled with man’s private part-shaped pasta. He added, “…but don’t let them cook too long. They tend to get…too soft *wink.*”
17. Drive And Nap
A set of parents asked me to drive their three-year-old twins around in my personal vehicle for 2.5 hours because “that’s the only way they can nap.” Well, nope. I simply put the kids in their beds, closed the door, and they were asleep in 15 minutes.
Also, they didn’t allow their kids to watch any movies or read any books if it had a protagonist and an antagonist. That’s like every movie and book in the world. I always wondered why.
16. “If You Hear Him Crying Don’t Comfort Him”
I was told, “If you hear him crying, don’t comfort him; call us and we’ll come home and see to him.” They also got annoyed that I used the phone charger that was left plugged in next to the sofa.
Like they literally trusted me with their son and not their phone charger. But the best one was when they told me, “You can help yourself to any of the food, but you can’t use any plates/cutlery.” It just seemed odd.
15. Smart Homes and Dream Feeding
I once babysat for a couple who had a “smart house.” They wouldn’t teach me how to use the fireplace or the TV and said if I wanted to change the channel then I could send them a text and they’d do it for me. They also said I was not to go into the baby’s room unless they messaged me and said I needed to (I started after the baby had already fallen asleep).
So they went out to a party for the night and sat watching the baby and me on their phones. I sat upright on the couch the whole time and I couldn’t figure out where the cameras were either. Another time, this woman wanted me to keep “dream feeding” her baby at certain times throughout the night. This was the fattest baby I’d ever seen too, and I was terrified she’d choke.
14. Not Even A “Sorry”
I babysat all through junior high and high school to make my spending money. The worst was a referral for the friends of a family I babysat for all the time. There were two twin boys who were 8, and a little girl who was just starting her toilet training. The kids were very nice during the introductions. But it turned out they were hyper as hell as soon as their parents left. The boys whooped and hollered and chased each other through the house. I convinced them to play Legos or whatever in their room to quiet them down because I had to deal with the little girl who needed to potty. She kept trying to poop in her little training potty but it wasn’t happening. Then I heard the boys screaming at the top of their lungs, so I left the girl on her potty to find out why the boys were freaking out. The boys’ bedroom had two single beds. Each boy was standing on his bed pissing at the other one like they were having a pee-pee duel. They got urine everywhere, on the walls, the carpet, the sheets and all over each other. I’m ticked at these kids and tell them to change their clothes and strip the sheets. They just keep laughing at me and make me chase them around the house like it is a funny game to be soaked in pee.
Meanwhile, the little girl (who is not wearing any pants or undies) drags her potty into the kitchen singing at the top of her lungs about how she pooped and wants me to look. When one of the boys runs through the kitchen, he accidentally overturns the potty and stuff gets all over the linoleum. As much as I wanted to cry from utter frustration, I managed to hold my temper and calm them all down enough while I cleaned up as best I could tough when it isn’t your house and I had no idea where they kept all their cleaning supplies. When the parents finally came home, they didn’t offer any apologies for how their kids behaved or any extra tip or anything like that. Needless to say, that was the first and last time I ever babysat for that family!
13. A Big NO NO!
When I was 17 years old, I babysat for a couple who lived about 15 minutes from our house. I don’t remember how I got the job, but I enjoyed the kids, and the parents were usually on time. The dad was invariably the one who drove me home. One evening, he started stating what he considered facts: “You’re tired of all those 17-year-old boys. You’re ready for a real man.” I answered awkwardly, slowly understanding where he was going with this. The drive ended, and I hurried out of the car.
The next time they asked me to babysit, I thought about it and thought maybe I was just overreacting and went back. That night he and his wife were accompanied by his younger brother. The dad and the younger brother drove me home. I was in the passenger seat up front. They started smoking something and handed it to me. I partook while they began to dream up schemes to hang out with me outside of the babysitting gig. I never went back after that. In hindsight, I can understand why the mom was always so frustrated that their sitters would never stick around.
12. Make Him Poached Eggs
When I was about 14, some friends of my parents asked me to babysit their nine or ten-year-old son who wanted a boy babysitter. When I got to their house, the mom told me that her son loved poached eggs and asked me to make him a poached egg on toast for dinner. She quickly explained to me how to make it as if it were something really simple and easy.
Later that night, after wasting half their eggs in a hopeless effort to make a poached egg, I asked the kid if he liked scrambled eggs. He said he loved scrambled eggs and ate them without complaint. When the parents came home, I apologized for using up their eggs. They laughed and seemed to appreciate the effort, although the mom explained it again and insisted that it was really simple. I’m almost 40 now and I still bad at making poached eggs and it cracks me up that the mom thought a 14-year-old should be able to whip one up based on a few instructions.
11. Not More Than 50 Popcorns
I would say the most inappropriate thing I was asked to do was hit the children. It was never going to happen, but I knew in the first minute and a half of that job that I would never go back. I was either 12 or 13 years old at that time. The woman called me after another woman I babysat for every once in a while had recommended me. The first woman was no delight to sit for either. She once counted popcorn kernels in a paper bag with each child’s name on it. Each child could have no more than 50 kernels in their microwaved lunch bag of popcorn. It was a weird vibe just walking in. The mom was sort of wild-eyed hostile for no apparent reason, and it was chaotic from the get-go. She had two beautiful little girls, one of whom was a young preschooler who didn’t speak. The little girl saw me, toddled partway over, stooped to pick up a dead squirrel by the tail, and held it up so I could see it.
Without hesitation or a single word, the mom backhanded the child across the face and sent her flying. She kicked the squirrel aside, picked up the girl, smacked her on the bottom, and told me to follow her into the house. At least one time and probably more during her instructions to me, she told me to “just smack ’em” if they did anything wrong. Yeah, no, I’m not doing that. The fun part of all of this was that as I mentioned in some other weird-babysitting-anecdote answers after she gave me my instructions she placed a big stack of cash on the microwave. Then she turned around, pointed a finger at my face, and told me that if any was gone she’d know I’d stolen it. Her husband ended up getting home before she did, and he paid me from the microwave cash before driving me home. I was never asked back (I wouldn’t have gone), but I always wondered if she went back and saw money missing and yelled that she knew it.
10. No Fun and Games
I’m a professional nanny and one of the families I worked for had a strict “no games” rule. Not as in video games, but as in any game that could have a winner and a loser. No board games, no tag, nothing.
Well, their explanation was, “Winning and losing leads to hurt feelings.” I’d have to stop the girls any time they said something like “I bet I can get to the end of the driveway faster” and remind them “Mom and Dad say no competition, remember?” Everything had to be perfectly equal, or the parents would lose it completely. I fired them as clients shortly after.
9. Baby Bottle For A 10-year-old
The mom told me to give her son warm milk in a “baby bottle” right after every dinner. Mind you, he was a fully functional 10-year-old boy.
The kid was fine with it and his parents were otherwise normal (as far as I saw), the kid himself was great. And good thing that his teeth seemed fine from what I can remember (not that I really would have paid attention to that back then), but I just found him on Facebook and it looks like he did have braces around 14-15 years old.
8. Drive While Underage
I would babysit for a friend of my parents when I was between 12 and 15 years old. The parents were pretty big partiers. They would come home pretty drunk and eventually the father started asking me to drive myself home in his new BMW.
He would sit in the passenger seat while I drove and drive himself back to his place after dropping me off. I’m sure he thought this was a safer alternative to him driving me home while completely drunk, but not only was I underage, but also not a particularly good driver.
7. Change A Six-Year-Old’s Diaper
I had to change the kid’s cloth diaper every 2 hours on the dot; the kid was six. I assumed it was for some sort of disability or something, but no.
His parents just didn’t want to potty train him, and the kid was content with being babied. I remember just making the kid put his own diaper on and encouraged him to use the bathroom if he had to go. I never went back after that.
6. No Pay When Kids Are Sleeping
The mother told me, “My husband doesn’t think we should pay you when the girls are sleeping…” They were four months and two years old. I was a junior in high school and responded, “Okay, so should I duck out once I tuck them in?”
Well, I wouldn’t have done that, but I think at that point she realized how ridiculous her request was. And yeah, I was also told not to read a story to the little kids. Their reasoning was if I read it, they would not learn to read. OK fine.
5. No Smoking, Please?
When I was 13, I was asked to babysit for some friends of the family. The mother had a girl who was about 9, and the two parents together had a new baby.
When I had arrived and the parents were gathering up their things to go out, the father lit a joint (cigarette) and asked me if I’d like a hit. I said no thanks, but inside I was thinking “What kind of father asks a 13-year-old if she wants to smoke pot right before leaving her with his newborn baby?!”
4. Lock Them In Their Rooms
The family had two boys, about 2 and 8 or so. It was a pain getting them both to sleep. The parents told me to deal with this by locking them both into their respective rooms and to ignore them if they cried.
I had taken first aid training and a babysitting course, and I felt really uncomfortable locking them in, knowing that if there was a fire or any emergency I might not be able to reach them in time and they would be trapped. I also felt that it was cruel to ignore a crying toddler in my care. I never listened to the parents, and instead, I played with them until they were really tired, put them to sleep, and sometimes sat right outside their doors to make sure they stayed in bed.
3. Then Why Have A Microwave?
I was not allowed to serve her kid food that was heated in the microwave. Also, she NEVER told me this until after I babysat for her and she berated me for it. How was I supposed to know? I guess I ruined her child.
That same lady would give me a list of chores to complete too. How am I supposed to watch your kid AND vacuum your house?
2. Positive Reinforcement
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the family gave me instructions to let their kids drink chocolate milk, which they were otherwise not allowed to have.
I think they wanted their kids to associate baby sitter time with fun time, so the parents could go out more often. It seemed to work out well for them, the kids both grew up to be successful people.
1. No To Raw
They refused to let their kids eat raw veggies for absolutely no reason. They never told me this, so I gave the kids, ages 5 to 7, raw, washed and cut broccoli with some ranch for a snack. They were happily eating as the mom was getting ready for a party. She walked by, saw the kids eating the broccoli, took it from them, microwaved it and said they like it much better this way.
The kids did not like it better and even they thought it was weird. I was then instructed to never give them raw veggies. I could understand if they were toddlers still learning to chew, but these kids were plenty old enough to chew broccoli florets without choking.