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The Pros and Cons of Having a Babysitter in the House while You Work


If you are a WAHM, you may wonder about the feasibility of having a babysitter in the house while you work. There are both pros and cons to the situation, which are outlined below:

Pros of Having a Sitter in the House

  • You will be able to observe pretty much everything at any given moment. This is especially useful if you are breaking in a new sitter and are not sure if she will work out.
  • You don't have to pack up and move everything. Your child gets to play in her own environment with her own toys. You get to work in your own home office, without having to find a work space outside the home. This saves considerable time that would be spent packing diaper bags and lunches, or your own briefcase.
  • It may be easier to make the transition to leaving your child alone with a sitter, or even start preschool, if you begin by being home with the babysitter. Your child will learn that having someone else take care of her is OK, and it's a more comfortable transition because she knows Mommy is there, too.
  • It may be the only way you can get work done. If you usually have your child enrolled in preschool or day care but find you need extra help, having a babysitter take up the slack while you are home may help you make that extra push to get the job done.
  • It helps you enforce boundaries. It's never too early for your child to learn that Mommy works too, and may not be available to drop everything and play. She will learn to ask the sitter, not you, for the things she needs.


    Cons of Having a Sitter in the House

    • You don't have any real privacy. In fact, you will need to enforce your boundaries to the sitter and to your child. You'll have to learn to shut the door, both physically and mentally, to concentrate on your job.
    • Along the same lines, you'll be able to hear everything that's going on. That's not conducive to maintaining a professional environment. Investigate ways to make your workspace quieter: you may want to check into soundproofing your home office. Or you may just have to wear earbuds and listen to your favorite music.
    • Knowing you're home may make it easier for the babysitter to bail. If she knows you are going to be home anyway, she may assume it's OK to skip out on her responsibilities. Or, she may just keep coming to you with questions and problems. Make sure you give her a chance to ask questions before you go into your office, but then firmly establish a policy of "emergency-only" interruptions.
    • It may not ease any separation anxiety your child experiences. Some kids just don't understand why Mommy is home, but unavailable. Sometimes having her go to a day care or preschool establishes these boundaries more firmly.

    The basic dividing line is privacy vs. availability. If you feel more comfortable having a sitter in the house as you work, by all means, go for it. If you feel you can establish firm boundaries and keep your focus, this may be the perfect option for you.

    Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.

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