Parenting: Is it Unrealistic to Expect to come home to a Tidy House After a Babysitter?

This weekend we went on the first date that we’ve been on in ages, that didn’t include calendars, business talk and notes scribbled on napkins of our favourite Tuesday Night burger joint. It was a five+ hour date that included two hours of driving time, an hour of lunch and three hours of tubing down the river, tied together, and saying over and over again that we should make more time for this – and we should.

It was so relaxing. I napped in the car on the way home, as Jamie drove, full with lunch and content from a day spent together on the river.

We knew that we weren’t going to be back in time for the sitter to leave, so we left the cold hard cash with my mother, who picked up the kids when the babysitter had to leave.

Walking in the door to get the kids, she laughed and mentioned that she didn’t envy me when we got home. She said the house was destroyed, and I brushed it off – it wasn’t going to ruin date day.

Until I walked in the door.

Dishes from breakfast on the counter, dishes from lunch on the stove, pasta in the living room area, snacks on the floor everywhere, all over the couch, drinks left out, art supplies all over the table, marker on the window sill and mess as far as the eye could see. Noodles on the TV stand, and all over the floor and rooms both destroyed. Minimum three changes of clothing in front of the laundry room.

You’ve got to be kidding me. Did she even watch the kids at all? How hard can it be to manage two kids, who know better than to eat in the living room, in front of the television. 

Don’t get me wrong – the house wasn’t perfect when we left, but it was tidied. It was passable, and because we hadn’t been home three days prior, I even went in the morning to grab groceries for breakfast and lunch, with a couple of fun snacks thrown in. It may have been a bit more chaotic than usual, but it wasn’t destroyed. 

Coming home to this made me irate. As much as I feel like the babysitter was at fault, so were the kids. They know that food stays at the table, they know that they’re not allowed to eat in front of the television and sit six-inches in front at the television stand with chairs – they know better than to not clean up after themselves when they’ve gotten snacks and meals through the day.

Pissed off, after having such a great day end like that, I sent the kids to their bedrooms to clean them and we cleaned for forty minutes, vacuuming and washing the floor, tidying, putting away three-hundred popsicle sticks that were being crafted with. I took away iPad privileges for four days, and told the kids that their favourite babysitter was never ever coming back.

A little harsh, maybe – but seriously? Is it too much to expect to come home to a tidy house?



Lori is the mother of three young girls, passionate about exploring, experiencing and adventure. In between adventures, you’ll find her hanging out with her family, in the suburbs of Edmonton. Trying hard to be a winter-person, you’ll find her trying hard to get outside during the winter months, and barefoot, with the sand and grass between her toes during the summer months.

1 thought on “Parenting: Is it Unrealistic to Expect to come home to a Tidy House After a Babysitter?

  1. I remember babysitting as a teenager. I always tried to clean up everything as we went. I remember thinking that mom’s jobs were so difficult. I made sure the dishes were done and what we brought out was put away. I never did laundry or mowed the lawn, but tried to keep the house in better shape than when the parents left. Now, as a parent I expect the same from my babysitters. However, my standards are flexible depending on the age, experience and rate of pay of my babysitters. If I came home to a destroyed house, I would be irate as well. Good for you for not just blaming the babysitter. kids need to know they are accountable for their behaviour as well. Cheers!

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