1. Personal Chef
Getting kids to agree on what to eat is a game of futility. Sure, you can attempt to blaze down the “you’ll eat it and you’ll like it” trail, but see how long it takes before you capitulate to the kind of stubbornness only a 5 year-old can exhibit at the dinner table. Next, factor in the kids who only eat like, five things on a rotating basis (though it is kind of economical if you think about it). Add to that the number of times you err on the conservative serving size, y’know, so there’s no waste on the behalf of little tummies, and then they ask for seconds and thirds because they’re going through a growth spurt, and eventually you’ve mastered the art of cooking on demand, at all times, always.
2. Creative Consultant for Animated Movies
You’ve seen a lot of Disney movies. Like, a lot of them. Often the same one over and over and over again. (I went through a must-watch-Beauty and the Beast-every-day phase for about… 4 years when I was a kid, so I mean, I get it.) As such, it’s prime training for being one of the continuity professionals on movie sets who make sure that things remain the same throughout endless scene reshoots, and watching time and time again allows you to pick up on what worked in certain movies, what didn’t, and why.
3. Crisis Negotiator at the UN
Do you know how fraught and tense situations get when you’re trying to talk a kid who doesn’t want to go to school into going? In the heat of the moment, it often feels like doing the impossible, because more often than not, you kind of have to reason with somebody and convince them that going to school was their idea all along. A parent of a child I babysat once told me not to negotiate with terrorists, and I laughed in that “hahaha haha hahahahah haha ha *sobs*” kind of way because that’s basically what you’re doing when a kid really, really doesn’t want to do something.
Fun fact: someone who knows how to French braid hair is legally allowed to charge 25% more per hour as a babysitter.
… okay, maybe not, but it’s an added bonus. If you can do that, manage a mini-manicure on someone whose attention span will more quickly get Goldfish residue on their accent finger before you can add the glitter, and play dress up with a kid who wants to achieve that Off-Duty Princess Picking Up Milk In Her Casual Ball Gown™ look, like, honestly, it’s just a step away from orchestrating the It Girl du jour’s lewks for all the parties during Oscar week.
Whether you’re babysitting your younger cousins or just your 8-year-old neighbor who’s already discovered the terrible world of crushes and cooties and backstabbing friends, chances are good you’re going to get your ear talked off. Kids are great because you can tell when something is bugging them. They’re pretty transparent that way, and if you ask, chances are good they’ll vent to you. And while a lot of what they deal with is stuff that they’re just going to have to wade through on their own — after all, you did when you were their age — there’s something to be said in letting them know that they’re not alone.
6. Fairy Godmother
Between surprising a kid with a cookie when you pick them up from Gymboree every now and again, bringing a Disney movie (again with the animated flicks!) they haven’t seen, or surprising them with a trip to the movies on a day when you just can, babysitting is all about bestowing that much more joy into a kid’s day. What kid didn’t want to bake brownies with the awesome quasi-grown up that came to watch them on Friday nights? There is magic in being able to make a kid happy just because you can. Well, and in all of the times when they forgot to put their homework in their backpack but you knew that they would, so you made sure to pack it away for them anyway. See? Magic. (Now if only you could actually apply to be a fairy godmother full time. Maybe that’s what an angel investor does.)
7. Personal Assistant
Think about how Pam Beesly constantly kept the ever-infantile Michael Scott in check, or Andie Sachs picked up up everything that Miranda Priestly flung across her desk without reason. Though we’d like to think that we’re going to remain level-headed and reasonable when we climb up that corporate ladder — “I’m not like a regular boss; I’m a cool boss” — sometimes power corrupts, and bosses are left ignorantly barking orders at the underlings who deserve better treatment. Kids are innocent rather than ignorant, but still, sometimes it feels like they are too unfettered to so much as hold their backpack or pick up their toys. Babysitting, therefore, is perfect training for that entry level job of yours.
8. CIA Operative
So you’re going to start your day by dropping Tommy off at pre-school before picking up Lucy from second grade, shuttling her to ballet class, picking Tommy up from pre-school, taking him to little league, picking up Lucy, picking up Tommy, taking them both home, orchestrating bath time while you simultaneously cook dinner, making sure they don’t get said dinner all over the floor or their faces or their hair or feed too much of it to the dog, play Hot Wheels with Tommy while you help Lucy with homework, read all the books all at once, and then get them to both go to sleep. It takes precision, timing, and an iron will. Really, you might as well be Michael Bay’s next movie star.