Babysitting vs Parenting

heartWhat’s the difference between parenting and babysitting? Of course, there are the obvious: parents are completely responsible for the well being of their children in all ways; financially, education, discipline, activities, clothe, food, shelter, and emotional well being until the child is grown but the worry never stops.

Babysitters aren’t with children 24/7 they have limited time with families and children, they actually have time off from the family. They aren’t responsible for financial, clothing, shelter, and providing food BUT when they are with children they are responsible, or should be, for; discipline, activities, emotional well being, and teaching (education), making meals, and dressing children appropriately.

Parenting is difficult because the job never ends, and I mean NEVER! Babysitters jobs do end, and that is good and bad. I know, for me, babysitting is a wonderful experience, and when the family no longer needs my services I don’t get to have these wonderful children in my life on a regular basis. I always get new families but no family can or does replace the ones that have outgrown babysitting.

I’ve always been that person that never had the privilege of having children of my own; I have been the aunt. The aunt that you could count on, the aunt that loves her nieces and nephews like a mom but gets left out once the kids start their own lives. It is a hard role. Watching my nieces and nephews have their own children, form their grown relationships is so fulfilling but difficult because I do it from a distance. Babysitting almost feels the same.

I’m envious of parents who get to watch and be included in the lives of their children forever. Good or bad, parent/child relationships are an important part of how the child learns to communicate and relate to the outside world through out their lives. Of course, children don’t normally blame their babysitters for their problems once they reach adulthood so that’s lucky (unless a babysitter does something so horrific, God forbid, that the child has emotional scars that have severe impact) but letting go of children that aren’t your own is really hard.

It’s easy to love children, watch them grow, and become independent but, as a babysitter, you know your time is limited so to keep your heart open to love these children is difficult but oh so necessary.

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