Why Facebook and Babysitters Don’t Mix

Thursdays are my special days – I hired a mother’s helper last summer to hang with my kids while I had a full day of work uninterrupted. This worked well for me – allowed me a good block of time to be productive, but it proved to be a good thing for the girls as well, getting a dose of someone other than me one day a week.

The girls adored our MH, so I rehired her this summer. Somewhere along the way, she friended me on Facebook. This has been mostly a convenient thing – I can send her messages or wall posts to schedule when she’d come over or if something needed to change time-wise. It’s easier than trying to catch her on the phone, and I put forth a great deal of effort to ignore her lack of spelling skills.

Today, I’m not sure what happened. All was fine in the morning, and when I came home from guitar lesson, Pumpkin was sitting downstairs by herself changing out of her wet bathing suit and so I hung out with her awhile – eventually I ventured to my office, and popped in to see if I could find The Princess and the MH. They were in The Princess’s room having a talk – and I could sense that something had happened – The Princess had her head buried under her pillow (Standard Operating Procedure if she’s being scolded, actually). MH had said that The Princess had disobeyed her and wasn’t following directions and was upset to have been reprimanded. This was all fine to me – I know this about my child. Her fear of getting reprimanded is why she’s never needed to be spanked – if you look at her cross-eyed, she gets horribly upset.

But, then later after MH left I logged on to Facebook and noticed MH’s status was: “– is TIRED of babysitting!” Her friend commented on her status, and then in her response to her friend, she said a few snotty things about my daughter. And the Mama Bear claws came out.

I understand the frustration with whatever happened today – I get upset too if my daughter doesn’t follow directions. To vent in a forum where I, the mother of said child, would be able to read it? Not cool with me. Granted, her talk wasn’t vicious – there were no “hate” words used. Had she called my child a brat or a monster or some such, the decision of how to proceed would be clear cut.

She didn’t.

She just happened to vent in a place she knew I could read it (though I highly doubt she gave that much thought), and I saw it. And I didn’t like what I saw.

And though I was torn, I’m pretty confident that she’ll be getting fired. And if she wonders why, I’ll explain why – and it’s probably a good lesson for her to learn in life. It’s a tough call – but ultimately, I want my kids to feel comfortable with her. And obviously, she was annoyed enough with my daughter to vent about it in a semi-public venue. Kids are kids – and some days, kids are less than obedient. Some days are more trying than others. As a mother, I know this from experience – you can’t be a mom and not soak in SOME knowledge about these little people you are raising. But as a mother I also know this – even teenagers are capable of knowing this, and I know that we didn’t have these problems last year. And perhaps we’ve just all kind of undergone some personality shift/mindmeld/funky thing that has made us all not a good fit anymore. And I owe it to my kids to find them the best possible fit.

I’ve debating riding it out – only a month and a half left of summer at this point. But, I just don’t know that I can do that.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. you’re doing the right thing. obviously, she doesn’t feel like she can handle the work that is expected in babysitting. and to vent like that shows a lack of respect and privacy.
    i hope you can find another mh!!

  2. I think it’s the right thing to let her go. If she’s harboring any ill feelings towards your children, it would be too easy for that to potentially get out of hand when she’s with them.

  3. If you’re confident she’s good to the girls, the MH could stay. But it also depends on how important it is to you to teach the lesson of censoring and good communication. Maybe instead of firing, you could call her on it and talk it over…she’d probably be an even better sitter for it if she gets your firm yet compassionate viewpoint, you know? Most important: your own kids, of course.

  4. Facebook is the one forum I have found that turns ordinarily responsible and respectful teens into blithering idiots. I know this through my experience with friending my former students and two boys I nannied and have known since they were babes. Most of these kids are amazingly responsible and “good” kids, but on Facebook they seem to be trying to be someone they are not. I don’t know if it’s an attempt to be cool, if they really are bigger idiots than my actual face time with them shows, or what. But I know that every single teen (and some adults I know) I know has disappointed me with the way they have acted on Facebook. Personally, I wish we could get back to the day when FB was just a place for long lost friends to reconnect. The constant updates and flare, stupid games and surveys pretty much turns normal intelligent people into laughable sitcom characters. I just wish folks would figure that out and start looking like responsible humans on that site again, instead of loose-lipped time wasters.

  5. have not has….ugh

  6. That’s a tough decision.

    Overall, if the MH is doing a good job, and the kids like her and feel comfortable with her, I’d probably chalk it up to her & your daughter just having a rough day of it.

  7. So I am curious whether the problem is her having an attitude towards the kids and letting people know it, or whether it was the lack of privacy afforded to the naughty Princess?

    In the second case, like if she told the world that Princess was sassy and then wiped boogers on the wall and did not put her cereal bowl in the dishwasher as requested, it seems that a simple chat about “invasion of privacy” or whatever you’d call it should be sufficient. Just like you should be able to talk to your babysitter about other “privacy” policies (eg if they’re allowed to answer the phone in your absence, not giving out details about your schedule to callers), she should be willing to follow your instructions about internet privacy. (Especially when you’re able to give the example that you don’t even post your OWN kids’ names on your blog.)

    However, if it’s the “wearing your bad attitude on your sleeve” that bothers you, I guess the question is, is the problem more about “letting it all hang out” or about having the attitude in the first place? Granted, you acknowledged that she does have a right to get annoyed with your kids.

    But upon re-reading your post, it really sounds like the “posted it on Facebook” problem is more of a “got annoyed enough to say something about it” problem.

    So, am I correct in understanding that ultimately, the issue is that rather than taking a deep breath and going “well, some days just suck and i’ll just suck it up”, she allowed the frustration to build? That you’re mainly concerned that if she’s frustrated enough to vent, her frustration might affect how she acts towards your kids? (ie, she doesn’t really have a high enough level of patience/ shove-it-and-deal-with-it-ive-ness)

    To me, that line of reasoning would be the only reason I’d be itching to fire someone.

    So, I guess I have one cautionary question to help make sure you don’t act rashly, losing someone you’ve really liked in the past.

    Is it possible that she mistakenly felt she was venting privately, like someone who goes into the bathroom and throws a silent hissy fit where the kids can’t see it, so they can let out the steam and then come back and be calm afterward? (More concisely, did she feel it was a way to get it off her chest to PREVENT it coming out on the kids?) If so, maybe she was actually being responsible and protective of your kids, except for the whole “oops that was in public” thing. (did you see Get Smart? remember the part where he exults in his promotion because he thinks he’s in the cone of silence, but he’s not?)

    Honestly, I think mom-instinct is important to listen to, and the fact that you’ve practically made up your mind tells me that you’re really concerned about her apparent lack of maturity/inability to deal with the kind of stress she should be expecting from this job.

    BUT, it struck me that SO much of your post dealt with the Facebook comments that there was the tiny possibility that you weren’t conscious of what was actually bothering you of the situation. So, you get a novel from me. Oh la la.

    Interested to know the outcome. *hugs*

  8. Oooh, you guys! I love all your feedback so far.

    I’m still firmly on the fence with this one.

    My issue is not that she had a problem with my daughter misbehaving (*I* had a problem with my misbehaving), my issue seems to me that I am bothered by her venting (And I’m not even covering how she was Facebooking WHILE she was here, because obvs, I’m home with my kids now and am blogging — she’s not CONSTANTLY on her phone doing stuff, so I don’t mind that too much) – but yes, I feel that there’s not only a maturity problem but a problem with patience too.

    Kids have their bad days, and so do adults…but, yes, I’m concerned that maybe her patience is wearing thin and it’s going to impact the care she provides for my kids.

    Not sure if I should attempt to dialogue with her first before firing her…

  9. Wow – that’s tough! I wonder how I would have handled FB and babysitting when I was a teen…I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have friended my employer. After all, I don’t friend my employer or co-workers now…

    Good luck.

  10. Can you sit down with MH and have a talk about expectations, and let her know that you’re dissapointed with her use of a public forum to vent about your children? Seems that she likely has no understanding of that at this point and that she may correct behavior and exceed expectations going forward if you gave her a shot and the guidance?

  11. Sarah I think you should post on FB yourself “Having an issue with the babysitter. Deciding whether to talk about it or just straight out can her.” 🙂 Ok, all kidding aside…

    My Isaiah is a lot like the Princess, personality-wise. They are goody two shoes who aren’t often in trouble. I want him to be called on the carpet when he misbehaves, but I don’t want it broadcast to the world by someone other than me. The very few babysitters we’ve had have been fantastic. But if I knew they were at all annoyed or short on patience with my children… if my children were so bad that the babysitter had to go home and vent about it… I wouldn’t want her back. I KNOW kids can be challenging. But to know she’s coming back, acting all happy to see my kids again, when just last week she didn’t have a good word to say about them, I couldn’t handle that. If you have a talk with her first and give her a chance to keep the job, well you’re a better woman than I am! 😉

  12. Hmmm….aren’t you doing the same thing talking about it here?

    OK it’s not exactly the same. But it’s alot to ask of a teen. If before today you had no reason to let her go, I’d sit her down and talk to her about privacy.


  13. oh, wow. this is a tough one. i’d have a hard time not wanting to kick her trash if she fb’d about one of my kids, but she is a teenager. they don’t classically show great judgment about some stuff. kwim? but then if she’s that impatient with the task of babysitting, maybe she’s just not cut out for it. ugh. was jealous that you had a mh. now…not so much. 😉

  14. Take it from a guy who works with teens every day and knows a bit about ’em. They do stupid stuff. Constantly. They become frustrated and react based on a gut reaction and for the most part, they realize that it was wrong after the fact. But then again, that’s not just teens … it’s most people. There have been a couple times when I’ve been frustrated after teaching and I’ve punched it out on the keyboard, published it and then thought twice about it after especially since my name is so easily Google-able. I say let it slide. People are people. Shit happens.

  15. Wow. I think you are soooo over reacting. Kids are totally difficult some times. People need a chance to vent.

  16. Bobby – as you may have noticed from subsequent posts, the situation was resolved and the babysitter wasn’t fired.

    I don’t disagree with her having the need to vent – I’m a blogger, I vent here sometimes. I do disagree with her chosen venue – a place where I (the mother of the children about which she was talking) would be able to see it. That wasn’t fair to me to put that out there in that manner, nor was it appropriate, IMO.

    We’ve talked since and agreed that if there are days that are difficult, she’ll come to me first and we’ll work through it. I realize kids are difficult. I realize that MY CHILDREN, specifically, are not exempt from that. But, I was hurt by her words, and I totally own that.

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