Dear Lola,

There is a teenager on my street who watches children for multiple families, mine included. I use her services three to four times each month and my children adore her. When I called her for another night with the children, she advised me that she had to raise her rates. She told me the new price and I happily accepted since it was still lower than I was willing to pay. After a month at the new rates, I was talking with another mom and found out her rates hadn’t gone up. I then asked a few other moms on the street and got the same answer – only my rates had been raised.

Lola, I am angry! I don’t think it is right that I am being charged more than my neighbors for the same service. I want to confront her over this, but the other moms cautioned me against this. What should I do?

Miffed Mama

Advice for humans. They need all the help they can get.

Dear Miffed Mama,

I just want to clarify what you said, in case you haven’t completely thought about what you wrote. I’m also hoping that hearing it from a canine will help to clarify the absurdity of your position.

You want to angrily confront a minor and demand she reduce her babysitting fees.

Now read that statement again. There comes a moment in every Hominid Wrangler’s life where they have to come to grips with the fact that the Miniature Humans they birthed are not perfect. What you do in this moment will have a lasting impact on your family life and your Mini Human’s lives forever. That may be a slight exaggeration, but the next statement is not.

This is your Darth Vader moment.

I recommend that you take it as a sign that in spite of your Mini Humans requiring more effort from this teenager, they still adore her. This indicates that she isn’t mean to them, doesn’t lose her temper and demand complete silence from them at all times, and refrains from sending them to bed while it’s still light out.

Mini Humans complain about babysitters who do any of those things.

Instead, this teenager reacted in a surprisingly mature fashion – a rarity in her age group. She raised her rates to compensate for the extra work that your Miniature Humans obviously require. Instead of abandoning your family, she came up with a solution that allowed her to continue to provide you with services, while not leaving herself feeling completely frustrated.

Frustrated babysitters result in your returning home at midnight to Mini Humans who are hyped up on sugar and hanging from the ceiling like monkeys.

As I see it, you only have two options for this scenario. Pay her the new rate and never speak of it again – to her or to any other Hominid Wrangler on the street. Find a new babysitter and never speak of it again – to her or to any other Hominid Wrangler on the street. Please note that both of the options require you to not speak of this matter. Your babysitter made a mature choice, but she is still a minor child. You are an adult – it’s time to prove that.

To my other readers who may find themselves in a similar situation – Normally I would advise a Hominid Wrangler to notify the babysitter that a different person will be used in the future. This can be gently explained by saying that what you originally thought you could afford is not actually going to work for the long-term. This should be handled with care so as not to appear to put pressure on the babysitter to lower her rates – refer back to the hanging from the ceiling scenario. In this specific case, where talking amongst neighbors has already occurred, I thought it wisest to avoid creating more drama in the neighborhood. By simply using a new babysitter, the previous one will deduce it was the new rates that caused the change – a scenario she likely discussed with her parents before enacting this plan.


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42 replies on “Dear Lola – Miffed mama wants answers…

  1. This was a tough one, Lola. If the rates are what Miffed was willing to pay, I may have just advised her to suck it up. There could be lots of reasons the babysitter raised her rates. When my kids were young, I would gladly have paid an arm and a leg (or maybe just a pinkie finger) for a reliable, kind, available babysitter who lived on my street!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, she was willing to pay until she found out the other moms did not get the increase. I was an avid babysitter in my teen years and I was so well liked by parents that my own parents were forced to buy me a pager – the number of phone calls leaving messages on our family answering machine was too much to handle. I would routinely raise my rates for families that had more difficult children to take care of, not because I liked those children any less, but because I knew I would ignore their family in favor of another job that paid the same money but required less effort. That’s the human condition! This letter writer would be wise to remember that the teenager could just have chosen to not watch her children.


  2. This is something I don’t have enough experience with myself to really say what I would do. As a teenager I babysat here and there but I wasn’t the neighborhood babysitter so I didn’t have “rates”. I took what the single moms in the neighborhood could afford to give me. As a mom I’ve only had family as babysitters because I don’t trust strangers with my kids. That’s just who I am. Now the kids don’t need a babysitter and in my town actually, teenagers aren’t allowed to babysit. Parents here expect to have three references, none from your family, a background check that most teenagers don’t even have at that point in their lives, and a DNA sample (haha I’m kidding about the DNA sample) but it’s pretty strict here so teenagers don’t really have an opportunity to babysit. They do, however, have opportunities to volunteer at the local preschools through their high school internship program. It’s very different these days so I was actually surprised to hear that teenagers are still babysitting.
    So given the changing times then I would agree that maybe this young girl needed to change her rates for that family. Great food for thought though Lola! #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Babysitting is alive and well in our area – I had no idea it was so changed in other places. The military still does free weekly training during spring break and summer where they certify teens between 13-18 in CPR and general babysitting skills. They even teach them about fair rates and money practices – it teaches teens so much for the real world. I’m sad to hear that so many are not getting the opportunity to learn that.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I like that certain areas and the military are willing to give classes to teens who want to babysit. Though now that I think about it, the high school here does offer child care courses for kids to sign up for but I first thought that it was for their interest in future preschool work. But now I wonder if it offers both their future work and the present. Maybe it is still active in my town. I just never used this option lol. Coming back again from #GlobalBlogging

          Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely not a simple reason, which is why the mom needs to think through her options. Losing her cool and confronting someone else’s child, even if it is a teenager, will only result in a neighborhood that’s no longer friendly.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ah difficult to see the right answer here. My kids babysit here for our guests and let the people staying dictate the rate. Usually they get around £10 per hour and are very happy with that. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that depends how you view fair. If her kids require three times the amount of work, then is it fair to the teenager to do more work for the same pay? There are many jobs where you are not paid on a salary basis, but are instead paid by contract for the job needing to be done. I contract different writing jobs for different levels of pay depending on how complex the topics are. This mother is completely valid in deciding to take her money elsewhere, what she is not allowed to do is angrily confront somebody because of her definition of fair. That teenager is somebody else’s minor child, and the neighborhood will be a very unfriendly place if she goes on the attack.


  4. Hello, Detective Enda here. A couple of further questions, Mam. First, you do not say WHY the babysitter raised her rates. Did she tell Miffed Momma why? Secondly, do we know what her rates are for her other clients, or, if they are less for them, why? Maybe they were at the new rate already! No further questions … #DreamTream

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the original long version of the letter, the parent did not know why her rates were raised. She does know they are higher than the neighbors she talked to.

      Some of my commenters have shared they thought the babysitter was being unfair. I like to look at it as not terms of ‘fair’ to the mom, but what we actually consider the word fair to mean. Is it fair that a teenager does three times the work for this family because the children are difficult, and receives the same wage? I think that babysitting is a contract job where each side agrees to a payment rate based on the amount of work that individual job requires. For all we know, this mother requires the teenager to make homemade meals for her children and everyone else gives her money to order pizza. So I think that Lola was prudent to remove the word fair and focus on whether or not the mother was prepared to lose her babysitter or pay the rate.


    1. I agree! Twitter feedback and a few commenters have thought that raising the rates for one family is not fair. But that depends on how one views the word fair. Is it fair to the babysitter to do three times as much work for the same amount of money? The word fair is never evenly applied because every side of the viewpoint sees things differently.

      Lola does know that angrily confronting a teenager in your neighborhood will never go over well with the neighbors. Especially considering that the other mothers probably cherish that babysitter for giving them time off!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We had something similar with my cleaner when she put her rates up, but she was still cheaper than other cleaners so we just went with it. If she’s good with the kids then leave it but I can totally see why you are miffed. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think she has the right to feel upset, but not everything in the world requires a confrontation. I think people have gotten the impression that if they don’t like something, they have a right to expect it to change in their favor.


  6. If you found somebody that you like and the kids like, thats something thats hard to put a price on. There could be many reasons for the price increase, dozens really, but I think this is one of those times you suck it up and shut it #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, she plainly stated that it was less than she was willing to pay her! Frankly, I would pay her the max she’s willing to pay and guarantee that she always chooses to babysit your kids over another family if there’s ever a schedule conflict.


  7. As a mother to four remarkably crackers littles I would expect to pay danger money to my sitters so am not really able to comment. Except to say that I a gave our sitter an unrequested raise the other week as I felt she deserved it and she said that she loved coming to see the kids so it didn’t even feel like work and she would do it for free! She must be mad, but still it was nice to hear. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is lovely to hear! I suspect this mother was actually more upset to realize her children are not that easy, than she was over the cost. She needs to focus on the big picture though, it’s nice to have someone to watch your children when you need a break!


    1. I honestly think that is what is probably upsetting the mom more than the higher rates. It’s never easy to realize your kids are harder than the neighbors, but that could really mean anything. It could be that her children are younger than the neighbor kids and require more work, which increases the rate. It could be that her children have a later bedtime and require longer hours of actual babysitting. It could also mean that they are hellions who get into situations that require extrication. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not great kids, but it is difficult for a parent to think about that.


  8. I think that if I had a babysitter I trusted and that my children loved, I’d be willing to pay the extra and keep quiet about it, even if I was a bit secretly miffed at being the only one paying an increased rate. #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lola, I have to commend you on the advice given. I totally agree with you on this one. Trustworthy babysitters are hard to find these days and if that person can handle my kids with all the drama that comes with them – then I’ll gladly pay the price #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are assuming that is the reason for the price increase for only this family. The other option is that the parent is difficult and so the teenager is charging more. Either way you look at it, I think this mom needs to decide what she’s asking of a teenager and whether or not she’s willing to pay the new fee.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Lola, you are so wise. I totally agree with you on this one. I really would rather pay more and stick with someone I know who is trustworthy and reliable than a new sitter who could be from hell.


    Liked by 1 person

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