Babysitters: Curse or Cure?

It’s dangerous to keep a lazy, ‘don’t-care’ babysitter around

Monique showed up at my house last Wednesday, visibly upset. She had gone to pick up her son from a babysitter who also happens to be a good friend of hers. To her surprise, her 12-month-old was drowning in his own urine. The child had been dropped off earlier that morning, along with a handbag stuffed with change of clothes, extra diapers, and wipes. But Monique came back to see her son’s clothes drenched.

“This is the fourth time. I’ve talked to her but she still does it. How can an infant spend the entire day without being changed? I make sure to stuff his diaper bag whenever I’m dropping him off,” she explained, with bloodshot eyes.

Monique’s son is dropped off at the babysitter’s at early as 9:00AM and is picked up as late as 8:00PM, Monday through Friday. She works as a senior beauty consultant/makeup artist at a leading beauty brand in Bethesda, MD.

Unfortunately, her child’s nanny is the ideal ‘I-don’t-care’ type who’s only interested in being paid for doing practically nothing. For 11 hours, this one-year-old is left to roam the babysitter’s living room, falling asleep whenever and wherever he can, waking up in wet diapers and waiting around for mommy’s return.

Interestingly, however, Monique’s experience with this nanny is not an isolated case.

Affordable Care

Most African babysitters provide affordable services

A Mousso d’Afrika investigation has found that this babysitter’s strategic location in the neighborhood makes her the go-to for nearly every African mother looking for alternative childcare. Being an immigrant from West Africa further polishes her competitive advantage —making her the perfect babysitter in the area. Majority  of her customers are themselves immigrant mothers looking for affordable childcare, even though her services are awful. 

“She keeps our babies dirty, and that hurts. What a woman, and a mother, does that? This woman is a mother of three children. So, she knows and understands what it means to properly care for a child,” a not-so-happy customer noted.

But soaring daycare rates compel most immigrant mothers, especially African moms, to solicit alternative childcare, such as low-cost babysitters, though the service may be appalling.

For instance, in Gaithersburg, MD, regular daycare fees start at $300 per week for preschoolers. That’s a total of $1,200 per month, compare to $300 or $400 spent on babysitters monthly.  Besides, the $1,200 average monthly daycare fee is way beyond the operating budgets of most immigrant moms making anywhere between $9 to $14 an hour.

On average, babysitters of the African immigrant community of Gaithersburg charge $15 per child, per day. Monique’s babysitter charges $15 per child (ages 5 to 10) and $20 per toddler. And with nearly 20 children making the rounds at her house on a daily basis, one can safely say that this nanny nets nearly $2000 in babysitting fees daily.

“Yet, she refuses to properly care for our kids. Granted, toddlers will get messy when they play. But if our kids consistently need changing when we pick them up, or are always soaking in their own urine, that’s a problem,” Hady, another frustrated mother, told Mousso d’Afrika in an exclusive interview.

Well, if your babysitter can’t take care of the basics, that’s a sign that she’s just too lazy to meet your child’s needs. 

Here’s a question to mothers: what would you do if you were Monique? Fire the old and hire a new babysitter? Let us know your thoughts by dropping a comment below..

……stay tuned for more

2 Replies to “Babysitters: Curse or Cure?”

  1. I will immediately fire her and find a new one. There is a need for African communities to train the wannabe and current babysitters about the basics standard of baby sitting in the neighborhood and discourage this from of child abuse.
    My wife is a child development expert and we struggle with our child care. However we would rather struggle with the expensive child than take our innocent child to someone we know isn’t treating her right

    1. I agree. I would rather spend and have a happy child than be cheap for a miserable experience. Why settle for cheap or less? Besides, cheap can be expensive.

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