The Short of It
A North Carolina mom calls out babysitters for not setting a rate and sticking to it.
Andrea Owen's passionate Facebook plea to babysitters to determine their own worth via the rate they charge has clearly resonated with parents everywhere. The post has more than 1,600 reactions and inspired dozens of comments, and Owen has been featured on Babble, Scary Mommy, Pop Sugar, Yahoo News, and ABC News. It reads:
"Had a conversation with the hubs yesterday about finding a babysitter over the summer. I met a teenage girl yesterday whom I thought might work, I got her number and will call her this week. Jay and I started talking about how much babysitters charge, and I told him I like to ask them first what their hourly rate is. My experience in this is usually the girls say, 'Whatever you want to pay me is fine.'"
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Owen goes on to declare, "NO. THIS IS NOT OKAY."
She continues, "This starts at home. Parents, teach your children, ESPECIALLY your daughters, to name her price and stand confidently in it. 'I would love to babysit your children and I charge X per hour.' It's just one sentence. Practice it with her. It may sound crazy, but as girls, we are not encouraged to ask for what we're worth. Babysitting is commonly a first job for girls, we need to help set them up for success in future jobs and to not be afraid to ask for what she deserves."
Commenters were quick to applaud Owen for her words.
"Yes...so much yes. Good babysitters are hard to find, parents will pay top dollar for the right one, they are worth it! ETA: They need to understand they are worth it when they do a job well," one wrote.
"I agree! I need to sit down with my daughter and go over this with her!" another mom commented.
"Yes, yes, yes! It's a cultural norm for girls to be conditioned to allow others to decide their worth," someone else declared.
Owen wants everyone to know her post isn't about the rate itself that a babysitter charges. It's about teaching sitters, especially girls, to stand up for themselves when it comes to determining their worth. And, it's also about learning the art of negotiation. The mom told ABC News, "I was never taught how to negotiate, but you can bet I'll teach it my kids. This isn't something you learn at school. It has to be taught at home. If we want to close the pay gap [between women and men], the younger they learn, the better."
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Like Owen, my experience is that sitters don't tell you what they want to be paid. I've heard, "Whatever you want is fine," many times. I never really thought about what was behind those words, but I will now, especially since I have three daughters who will very likely babysit themselves one day.
What is your reaction to this mom's post?