9 Ways Babysitting Prepares You For The Adult World Better Than Any Other Job Can
Ever since I was little, I've been obsessed with babies. I have a baby doll collection that I still haven't parted with, and I may or may not have owned Bitty Twins that I forced my friends to join in parading around in a stroller with me at the age of twelve. Thankfully, that's when people just stared giving me babysitting jobs so we could stop the nonsense. I guess one too many women got tired of cooing into my stroller of fake plastic children and decided enough was enough. Starting then, I babysat kids in the neighborhood, which led to other toddler-centric endeavors like working in a toy store, and eventually several daycares in college. At the end of my many years of childcare experience, I can tell you that all that time spent babysitting prepares you for adulthood the way nothing else can – And I don't mean just with regards to kids. There are so many situations that you learn to handle in babysitting that apply to the rest of your life as well (although hopefully none of them involve something as crazy as children spontaneously turning into demons.) Anyone who grew up babysitting a lot knows that they are well-equipped to handle anything adulthood can throw at them:
You're The Champion Of Multi-Tasking
Once you've burped one baby while jiggling another baby's bouncer with your toe while singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star so the kid who just woke up across the room an hour early from her nap so she won't burst into tears before you get to her, juggling a few e-mails during your workout is a total piece of cake.
You're Excellent In A Crisis
If you've ever seen a toddler have a meltdown, you have seen into the depths of hell. Especially if they decide to have one in public. Try having a 3-year-old scream "You're not my mommy!" in a crowded grocery store aisle and you too can enjoy the scrutiny of several bystanders actively deciding whether or not they should call the police on you. But once you've endured enough meltdowns and learned how to handle them, you keep a cool head during the inevitable crises of adult life, including and not limited to random car trouble, friends breaking up with each other, and the series finale of HIMYM (still not over it.)
You Are A Proud Member Of Vomit Patrol
You have never in your life shirked away from a sick friend at a party, or a sick friend in general. Nobody ever has to say, "Sorry, this is really gross, but ..." because they know that you're hardened enough from years of baby vomit and diaper explosions that discussing their toe fungus is about as casual as discussing the weather. These steel nerves also come in handy whenever you have to brave public port-a-potties.
Your Patience Is Legendary
You learn with kids pretty fast that nothing is ever going to get done on schedule. You can have "nap time," but it's more like "general nap suggestion" by the time you finish cleaning them up and feeding them and picking rocks out of their toes. You learn to appreciate the difference between things that actually need to get done, and things that aren't going to hurt anyone if they happen a bit later than you intended. There's no use getting stressed over little things.
Weird Stains Are Your Bitch
Kids are gross. Things come out of their orifices and wreck their clothes and stain carpets (I'm still roflcoptering at the parents who used to send their kid to daycare in Juicy outfits that would inevitably get blow-out poops up the back of them) and as a babysitter, you cope by becoming one with the weird stain universe. As an adult, if someone party fouls a glass of red wine or if Aunt Flow comes unexpectedly, I am more than equipped to scrub whatever I need to scrub.
You Never Shrink From Your Boss's Weird Demands
Nothing that they ask you to do will be nearly as specific or neurotic as parents who hand-make all their vegan baby food or use exclusively cloth diapers or need you to dispense liquid medicine into their infant while aforementioned infant is doing everything in all of their 16-pounds of power to avoid you. Color coding all your e-mails and picking up weirdly specific non-fat soy decaf no foam skinny vanilla lattes with a pinch of cinnamon? Easy-peasy.
You Have The Endurance Of An Iron Man Athlete
Anyone who has ever babysat a toddler knows that they are surprisingly fast. And right before they do something they know they're not supposed to, they'll make this bizarre side-eye contact with you, and then without any further warning they will bolt. You learn from day one to stay on your toes, and this comes in handy later in life, when you're the only one of your friends who can dance "The Wobble" all the way to its end or during that day once a month or so you force yourself to actually go to the gym.
Nobody Can Ever Get Away With Lying To You
Things that are exaggerated in little kid lies are a lot more subtle in adult lies, but because you're so used to spotting little kid's "tells," it's easier to recognize them in the grown-up world, too. So yes, I know who took my last poppyseed muffin from Trader Joe's, and while I'm not making any formal accusations I will surely be watching out for them in the future. "Friend."
You Get First Dibs At Meeting Friends' New Babies
Pulling the "I used to be a babysitter" card is like an exclusive VIP pass to skip the line and meet new babies, and anyone who knows me knows I do this liberally and often. Check it.
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