Thursday, April 10, 2014

The 7 Worst Babysitters

This might sound weird, but sometimes my wife Lola wants to leave the house. It’s like she forgets she goes out more than 40 hours a week for her job. Lola, however, insists we venture into public when we aren’t being paid an hourly wage to be miserable. She prefers we experience misery while we lose money instead in an archaic ritual known as date night. Besides the inflated cost of eating food other people cook in a place that isn’t our home, these romantic outings require us to pay someone to keep our children alive in our absence. No one loves kids more than their own parents, so it’s a major red flag when even we don’t want to watch them. It takes serious cash to lure a babysitter into that trap. Here are the candidates who possess the right mix of greed and naivety to be tricked into caring for our daughters. Clearly the best option is none of them.

Random Teenagers
These are the mercenaries of the babysitting world. If we hired some girl from the local high school, she’d only be interested in the survival of our children if the price were right, and even then she could easily be swayed by a higher bidder. Many are the parents who came home to discover the sophomore watching their kids sold the entire brood to a makeup company. The laws that ban testing skincare products on monkeys are conspicuously silent about kids. Even if the babysitter didn’t sell our children - and that’s a big “if” – it’d be too much work to take out a second mortgage to cover the cost of child care. Most babysitters earn more in a few hours than I do in a day, which makes me question every decision I’ve ever made. I should’ve skipped college and sold kids to cosmetic companies instead.

Any makeup container that says it’s “cruelty free” means that cruelty was inflicted on children for no additional charge.

Friend without Kids
On the surface, a buddy with no offspring of his own seems like the ideal babysitting candidate. Because he’s a friend, he wouldn’t charge me, and because he doesn’t have kids, he couldn’t ask me to babysit in return. The arrangement would be perfect if humans weren’t so reluctant to be exploited. If a childless friend were free when my wife and I needed a babysitter, he’d schedule something last-minute to make himself unavailable, like an erotic pottery class or an elaborate suicide. If he were really skilled, he’d do both and choke to death on a suggestively shaped vase. Anything would be better than watching my offspring for free. Maybe it’s for the best. I don’t have any single guy friends who can actually sustain a life form more complex than shower mold. My kids require more than dark, damp conditions to stay alive, at least according to my wife.

Friends with Kids
Lola and I could trade babysitting services with another married couple with children, but we wouldn’t gain any ground. If spending a night without children required me to waste an equal amount of time with my own progeny plus someone else’s, I’d rather just skip the whole thing and take a nap. Besides, the other parents would be just as much work as their kids. Lola and I would have to endure countless cookouts, movie nights, and other social events to build up the false sense of camaraderie needed to mooch off our married friends. It’d be way easier just to let some high schooler sell our kids to L’Oreal.

Acquaintances with Kids
Yet another alternative would be to swap babysitting days with people who don’t consider themselves to be my friends. Given my lack of people skills, that pool of potential candidates is enormous. But even with all those options, it’d still be hard to keep someone close enough for favors without accidentally converting them into a full-blown friend. To offset my wife’s charm, I’d need to be as abrasive as possible. Basically, I’d have to be myself. Unfortunately, making people hate me is my superpower. Even a small dose of my personality would turn civil acquaintances into outright enemies. I already have enough of those, and they won’t babysit, no matter how much money I offer. It says so right here in this restraining order.

Grandparents
Asking my parents or my in-laws to babysit would be a logical choice, but they selfishly live too far away. Leaving the kids with either set of grandparents would add two hours of driving to the evening, which would be tough since my bedtime is 9 p.m. Getting old is hell. In order to stay awake through the whole outing, Lola and I would have to drop off the kids, swing by McDonald’s for a quick bite, and then immediately pick up the kids for the drive home. Now that I think about it, that date would actually fall within my budget. I could even afford to buy Lola a Happy Meal. And she thinks I’m not romantic.

My wife could only have a Happy Meal if I got to keep the toy. Chivalry has its limits.

The drive time wouldn’t be the only problem. For some reason, when I demand free services from my parents, they expect me to interact with them in return. What was supposed to be a brief meal at an unremarkable chain restaurant would quickly turn into a daylong quagmire at my mom and dad’s house. I don’t know why they insist on learning about my life. It’s like they’re addicted to disappointment. The situation would be even more uncomfortable with Lola’s parents. My father-in-law is still convinced my children were conceived immaculately. Something tells me he wouldn’t watch my kids overnight while my wife and I did the stuff in a hotel room that would’ve ruined our furniture at home.

My Wife
I could let Lola watch the kids while I went out and had fun by myself. That would be a great idea if I wanted to be murdered in my sleep. I’ll put it in the “maybe” list.

The Kids
My daughters could always watch themselves. After all, they’re 1 and 3. If they lived in Poland, they’d be trained to kill woodland predators by now. That’s why Eastern Europe no longer has wolves. It’s too bad overbearing U.S. safety laws won’t let me buy my toddler an AK-47.

I don’t actually want to give my 1-year-old an assault rifle. A sturdy pair of nunchucks would do.

Maybe it’s for the best that I can’t find a babysitter. It saves me the trouble of spending money or leaving the house. Now I have a built-in excuse to be the unromantic slob I’ve always wanted to be. I’ve finally achieved my full potential.