Word to the Wise: Never Tell Someone Their Job is Easy

On Monday afternoon, I took the girl and the boy I watch to the girl’s piano lesson.  While there, the boy usually enjoys playing with the piano teacher’s little boy, giving me a blessed break from otherwise needing to entertain my boy for a half hour.  While I was observing the two boys playing with cars, the grandmother caretaker of the little boy came over to talk to me.  I believe the piano teacher’s family is from somewhere in Asia (excuse my ignorance), so communication between the grandmother and myself was a little rough.  Eventually she started asking about what I do, so I listed some of my work duties.  However, upon completing my explanation, the kindly old lady said something that made my face flush.  She stated matter-of-factly, “Your job is easy.  Baby-sitting is much easier than job in business.  Not as much thinking.”

I laughed off the comment and the conversation ceased after that.  Of course, I had a several snide comments to make about why she thought it was easy–that she never really did anything with the other little boy, how the week before he was running around the house like a maniac and no one was able to stop him.  Yes, a little judgmental but she started it!  The hardest part of this interaction is the fact that many people view my job this way.  No, I don’t sit in an office all day crunching numbers and writing proposals.  No, I don’t bring my work home with me at night.  No, I don’t go to long meetings and make fancy Power Point presentations to make convincing arguments.  No, you don’t have to be a genius, or even gifted, to do my job.  If that’s what makes a job hard, it’s true, I don’t have a hard job.

Instead, I spend my days trying to strike a balance between helping the kids and letting them figure things out on their own (and believe me, it is often harder to teach children how to do something on their own than it is to just do it yourself, especially when they look at you during the entire process like you’ve chained them to a dungeon wall for a month).  I run them around to different activities and places and I try to teach them to the best of my abilities.  The kids are good for the most part, but there is still the enforcement of daily discipline and my constant self-doubt about if I’m doing the right thing or if I’m just creating future adults who will need lots of therapy.  Sure, not every moment is go, go, go but even when I sit for a moment I’m still listening for the sounds of potential disaster from the children or the dogs (that is, if the dogs aren’t already sitting at my feet, begging for my remaining attention).  Throw in the cooking, laundry, and shopping and you have the basics of my job.  Take in the account that all this is for someone else’s household and I still have to think about the cooking, cleaning, and shopping for my own home (which my husband does help out with, God bless him!) and someone might begin to understand why I’m staring off into space while I have a moment to myself.


2 Comments on “Word to the Wise: Never Tell Someone Their Job is Easy”

  1. Jacobsen says:

    I think child care is one of the toughest jobs out there! Someone also told me, "Ohhh, your job is easy!" I wanted to say, "Is it? I'm shaping a future president, doctor, mother, father."

  2. Katrina says:

    No kidding! If no one took the time to raise children decently, we would have a bunch of self-centered and mean people running amuck. And I'm not even demanding that people say that child care is the toughest job–almost any job (if you are putting forth your best effort) has its difficulties. Even the low-skill jobs I've worked in the past had their hard days, such as spending nine hours cleaning hotel rooms or getting chewed out by smart mouthed college students because I wouldn't bend the dining hall rules for them!

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