The Life of Bon: Babysitting Wages: What is fair?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Babysitting Wages: What is fair?

I'd like to know what to pay the babysitter.  Will you please help me?  See, the babysitter won't tell me.  You know how twelve year olds are.  They think it's rude to ask for money when they've clearly worked for you and so they'll never give me a straight up answer.  "Listen chica!  Just tell me how much you charge!" I say.  And then usually their moms chime in, "No, seriously, you don't need to pay her."  Uh... yes I do.  Your daughter's time is worth something, and she just played with my child for two hours and kept her safe and happy and healthy so I'm going to pay her.

I just don't know how much.  Can you tell me what is a fair, reasonable amount? Utah is a notoriously cheap state so I feel like my standards for payment are totally skewed.  I remember when I was 13 I babysat three kids from 8 am to 5 pm.  I was paid $17 for my day's labor and when I told my mom that night, her eyes lit up, "That's great Bon!"  I wasn't real sure about money and how the world worked, but I was pretty sure even then that I had been royally screwed.

June is at a perfect babysitting age.  She sleeps for hours straight and when she's not sleeping she varies her activity from crawling after Maverick to slowly taking the books away from the bottom shelf.  A babysitter's duties entail, at most, putting the books back.  Maybe giving her an applesauce pouch if June gets real demanding.  June's easy to leave and kids love her and she smiles when we get back like, "Oh, you guys again?  I didn't notice you were gone." 

Lately we have been leaving June with neighborhood girls who are in the 12-14 range and we have been paying these girls a whopping $5 an hour.  Tell me, does that make us the cheapest people on the planet?  Because I actually feel like $5 an hour is a pretty decent rate for our gig.   The girls always seem fine, happy even, with the money, but there's always this nagging feeling in the back of my head, "Am I the world's cheapest person?"

Here's my rationale for paying $5/ hour:
Minimum wage in Utah is $7.25.  I pay less than min wage because:

My babysitter doesn't have to pay tax
My babysitter does not have to drive to "work"
My babysitter gets to eat my goodies in the pantry.
My babysitter is only 12 and therefore doesn't have many other opportunities for work or making money. (AKA Can't get a real job yet.)
My babysitter only babysits one child.
My babysitter's work is very easy- literally to watch tv while the baby sleeps or to watch an easy going and happy baby play on the floor. (I haven't yet had babysitters do the nighttime routine- if they were to bathe June, give June a bottle, put June down, etc. I would definitely feel like I should pay them more, but usually my babysitters are coming over while I run to do an errand or while Greg and I sneak off to a matinee.)

 Now... there have been a couple of times where Greg and I have gotten older babysitters- girls in the neighborhood who are 16 or 17.  In those cases we pay the sitter closer to $10 an hour although it kind of kills my cheapo brain to pay that much.

(Also don't feed me that bull about how I should pay a babysitter a very high wage because she is taking care of the thing more precious and important to me in the world.  If I were to pay the babysitter proportionate to the value of the "thing" she were watching, I'd have to give the babysitter my house and my car and my job and my wedding ring and everything I've ever owned and every dollar I will make in my future just to babysit June for an hour.  So that argument doesn't hold!)

Tell me!  Where do you live and what do you pay for sitters?  What should be the norm?  Is paying less thnt minimum wage ok or am I basically the 2015 version of Ebenezeer Scrooge?

(Also, while we're on the same topic, how much should I pay the same 13 year old to come over and water my plants and grass when I'm out of town?)

(P.S.  BOOK CLUB IS TOMORROW!  We're discussing Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  Come join the conversation!  If you have read the book and are doing a post, questions are on the post under this one.)

No comments:

Post a Comment