Being a Babysitter of Color
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
For those who don’t know, I worked at a daycare for about five years. It was through my time there that I got introduced to the babysitting world. I was able to develop a lot of professional relationships with parents and their children.
After babysitting for a few families here and there, I decided to look for a consistent babysitting gig through Care.com. Care is where I met the lovely family that I work for today. When I applied for the babysitting job, I didn’t know much about the family. I knew that they only had two kids, which was great because I knew that I could work comfortably with that small number. I believe that their daughter had just turned three, and their son was only three months old. The profile was very brief, casually explaining what they were looking for in a babysitter. I didn’t know where they were from, their interest, or occupations. I knew that those details would come during the interviewing process.
If I remember correctly, the mother saw my profile and reached out to me and scheduled an interview. The day had finally come where I was going to meet the family for the very first time. I had no idea what to expect. I was extremely nervous because I was so afraid of the unknown, and I had been to previous interviews within that same week with families that I just didn’t connect with. Those families simply didn’t feel like “The one.” The time was finally here, and I pulled up to the house. I knocked on the door, and there they were, Frances and her husband, Greg. The first thing I noticed was that they were white. Did that bother me? Not one bit, but did it make me think of the possible situations we would encounter because of MY skin color? Absolutely.
I have been working for this family for almost four years now, and I am proud to say that they have never disrespected me or made me feel uncomfortable because of my skin color. When I got hired, I honestly did not expect to have the relationship that I have with them today. They treat me as their equal, and for that, I am eternally grateful for them both. Although they do nothing but embrace and support me in whatever I am doing, sometimes I am quickly reminded that I am still black, and they are still white, and that is what people will always choose to see. For example, when I take the kids out for a wagon ride around their predominantly white neighborhood during hot summer days, I get many stares. Many stares that I sadly sometimes cut the wagon ride short because of how uncomfortable I feel.
Another example is when the baby no longer was a baby and was now a two-year-old talking toddler. One day he randomly pointed out that he is white and I am black. That was the day I chose to have a conversation with both kids about my skin color because it was necessary. It was important to me that I took that step in our relationship as their caretaker. Even though I knew that their parents had their talk with them, I felt that I needed to teach them that my skin color does not change who I am. I did not make it a grand lesson because they’re just kids at the end of the day, but I made sure that the conversation encompassed the importance of respect and equality. Through my relationship with the kids and their parents, I want them to know that black is beautiful, strong, loving, respectful, kind, and more.
When they hear that black lives matter, I want them to think of my life and how much it matters to them just as much as their lives matter to me. I know that this family loves and appreciates me because they never fail to remind me of it. Before I met them, I prayed and told God that if this is the family that I am meant to be a part of, let this be a relationship that people can learn from, and I believe that God did just that. The next blog that I will post will be from Frances (my “boss” lol.), talking about finding the right babysitter while avoiding all of the red flags. She will also talk about our relationship and what that has looked like throughout the years. I truly can’t wait for you guys to read what she has to say because she is incredible. If you have gotten to the end of this blog entry, God bless you and thank you for not giving up. Until next time, love you guys!