I’ve had my fair share of different jobs. Notable ones: Chinese restaurant. Grocery store. P.F. Chang’s. Coffeeshops. Publishing houses. Boutiques. Corporate and Tech America making a baby and spitting me out happily into an open-floor layout.
Career direction hasn’t gone into places I planned.. Like that one time I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and dropped out of school after a semester or when I bombed a nonprofit interview for literally memorizing my responses to every single question and sounding like a freak robot.
Living in New Orleans has taught me a lot about the in-between of jobs, because in some ways that is the work that counts. We are find ourselves in-between things sometimes but true character and perseverance come out of what you do when you don’t know what to do.
What is one thing I didn’t know how to do and learned how to do it?
BABIES. Caring for babies. Because if we’re going to talk about the side-gig that has helped pay my rent and feed me in times of despair, it is kids.
Care.com is the best. If you haven’t checked it out, it connects parents to babysitters and nannies. Come to find, nannying is a full-time career for lots of people and rightfully so. Some working parents can afford to pay, feed, house and provide a nanny with sick days and a car because they need the help desperately. That was never my cup of tea, but I’ve gotten plenty of work via Care.com.
Reasons why I don’t think I’ll stop side-gig nannying any time soon:
A. The world becomes magically simplified.
Paint the picture: you’re a baby and you see four walls of a room in your home 95% of the time. Your world consists of toys, laughing, sleeping, eating and television. The only thing that changes is who plays with you and if the person makes you laugh or cry. Picture your role as a sitter: the world is the baby’s world, and the concerns of a parent are serious to them but minimal in practice and stride–keep the baby fed, keep them happy, avoid television, talk to them, put them down for naps, keep them away from the dog, etc.
B. Kids really do shine bright lights into our dim world.
Some nights I stay up late tossing and turning thinking about the future of things so out of my control in the moment–politics, the country, the planet, my student loans, where I’m going, where I want to be, etc. Every day I wake up and turn on the news and it’s like a damage report and nothing anyone says can soothe my worries of what is to come. However, the single antidote is the little two year old girl I babysit. When I’m taking care of her, I don’t have time to worry about anything else. It sounds funny because even if they’re not my kid, when I’m watching her my motherly instincts kick in and I think, all that matters is protecting this little baby. A few weeks ago some jets were flying overhead in the backyard as I was watching the little girl and, though she is not particularly snuggly, she jumped straight into my arms and wouldn’t let me go. How can I be fearful when there is something bigger than yourself to protect?
C. Money is great if you know what to charge for your services.
Unfortunately this factor of what makes nannying so great for me is dreadful for others. I’ve charged between $12-$17 per hour for babysitting services, which tends to be under the table and an excellent supplement to strugglin’ times. However I’ve heard that grown women that are connected to my boyfriend’s family who are nannies are paid flat weekly in an amount that comes out to less than five dollars an hour. Maybe a bit of not being shy about my value comes with typically addressing the mother of a household, but people will do to you what you allow them, so do not cut yourself short.
In short, check out Care.com, especially if you’re trying to stay positive in this shiza-tastic world!