If so, do you have any horror stories? I did a lot of babysitting, mostly for one neighbour whose kids were a joy to spend time with. There were other jobs though, not so great ones. Some I got through applying to want ads in the paper, and a few others I got connected with after taking a babysitting course that allowed you to register your name with the Information booth at the mall so people looking for sitters could make contact. It was the late seventies for me, and I would NEVER let my daughter get into a strangers car after a quick call as I did then!
I think the jobs that shocked me the most were those where I was never introduced to the kids. One I got through the Info booth was for a lady who picked me up at my home in a beat-up car, and drove me to her townhouse about 10 minutes away. Once inside I knew I was not going to be comfortable. There was very little in the room, just an old couch and table, and tons of magazines. Either she did not have a TV, or it did not work-I forget which. She said I could read. I don't even think her phone worked, and I remember the door did not lock. It was a creepy one. I took my name off the list after this experience. There were neighbours to each side and there were lots of unfamiliar noises during the 6-hours I was there. I was pretty fearless back then, but I was actually a bit scared.
Another job I had where I wasn't introduced to the kids first was with a neighbour I did not know well. I arrived, the kids were sleeping, she left. I was kind of wondering how things would go if one of her sons woke to a stranger, and as luck would have it, it happened. The worst part was that I knew their mother spoke Spanish to them, and I didn't know if he even understood English. I felt so sorry for the little guy in his crib! I did what I could to say "it's ok" and "go back to sleep, mama's coming". (Can't imagine leaving my kids to someone strange to them like that!)
The job that took the cake was for a couple who wanted a full-time sitter for one son over summer, a job I found in the newspaper. On my first day, the father was home with the son when I arrived-the mother had already left for work. When it was time for him to go, he said goodbye to his son........and then said goodbye to me.....and then he KISSED ME ON THE LIPS. Man, was I shocked. After he'd left I called my mother and told her what happened, and she confirmed with me that I was not overreacting by being upset about it. The mother arrived home first, and I explained I would not be back. The woman actually said, "Oh that's just how he is, he kisses everyone". (not me, sorry!) My mother was right, I didn't need money THAT bad. BLEECCCH!
My daughter expresses no desire to do any babysitting. I'm actually kind of relieved by this, especially when I think of some of my worst babysitting experiences!