I would like to declare a new found sport. It is challenging to both the mind and the body, it is excruciating in its never-ending cycle, and it is an extremely tiring workout. Many people consider babysitting a mere job, but after three months of filling this occupation I have to say it is so much more. This type of “work” is both mentally and physically demanding. It requires constant energy and an overdose of patience.
If you aren’t ready to embrace all that babysitting entails, don’t worry, you will be forced to learn in a matter of time. You’ll jump into their scheduled needs in sync with the clock and, before you know it, you’re a genuine babysitter. It’ll all become so familiar that it’ll feel like instinct, when it’s time for which baby to eat, when it’s time to nap or when it’s time for a bottle. Though I believe that with practice comes experience, I also think not everyone is made to care for children. It’s a voluntary calling we either choose to deny or accept, but come hell or high water that child’s wellbeing is first place.
During my experience as a sitter, I learned that having my clothes stained was inevitable, that privacy was a fifty-fifty chance, that silence can be a beautiful thing, and that fifteen minutes to yourself is a blessing worth savoring. I also discovered, through my struggles to keep up with the children, that there is a combination of sports involved in babysitting. Such as:
Basketball: when it is time to feed the baby, you have to imagine the child’s mouth as a hoop while she/he does her/his best to guard you from making a point. Be warned that there will be unwarranted fouls and aggressive blocks. Consider yourself lucky if you manage to slam-dunk even once.
Fencing: you’ll have to be ready to duel to achieve your objective, and I’d advise to show little mercy because they will have none for you. Keep in mind these kids are ready to challenge you from breakfast till bedtime, so pace yourself.
Wrestling: you must outmaneuver your opponent, if they see an opening to get the upper hand, trust me, they will take it. You might be surprised at how strong a child can be and it won’t be pretty when you cry uncle first.
Track: you will have to run after them sooner or later, and when that time comes, you have to make sure you can at least keep up.
Chess: you have to outsmart your rival, for their safety and yours, and you have to keep a calm head on at all times or you risk loosing the game.
I do have to say, one of the most rewarding pleasures of babysitting is being able to return the children to their parents. Another satisfying recompense is bringing happiness to the kids, when you witness their uninhibited delight, their carefree laughter and the joy in their smiles, it all outweighs every shadow of discomfort you’ve ever been through. Even though babysitting is not a sport I’ll ever consider lightly again, I believe it’s a vocation worth doing right.