Why I’m Insanely Jealous of the Babysitter

The babysitter was bathing my kids when they started a splash war and drenched her. I didn’t want her to be uncomfortable, so I loaned her a basic tee-shirt and yoga pants to wear home. When she came out of the bathroom in my clothes, I realized she is the exact size I used to be, pre-kids — like a walking “before” photo. Plus she’s 24. My boring mom uniform looked weirdly amazing on her. So amazing that I never wanted to see it on my frumpy ass again. “Keep it,” I waved. Youth and effortless beauty are just two of the reasons I’m insanely jealous of the babysitter.

Because, of course, she also has tons of energy, being 24, well-rested, and able to drink her morning coffee while it’s still hot, as opposed to reheating it five times and then dumping it down the sink while clearing the dinner plates. No matter how many hours the babysitter works, she never gets that look — the one I get every night about an hour before the kids go to bed. You know, the half glazed, half crazed look that says, “Don’t make any sudden moves around Mommy because she might detonate.” Nope, she’s fine. She probably leaves my house and hits the club. If I were a vampire, I would for sure drink her blood to steal her youthful vitality.

Here’s something else: She is always calm. So calm. Even when my 5-year-old daughter brats out and hurls a plastic princess shoe in her general direction, the babysitter never raises her voice. She sets and hold limits without discomfort, something she apparently learned to do while helping to raise several younger siblings. It’s a bit embarrassing that she’s better at discipline than I am, but mostly I’m just jealous of her composure. I don’t think it’s in my wheelhouse. Or maybe it would be if I ever got a full night’s sleep, or time to read a novel, or morning sex.

When we have time to chat, the babysitter tells me about her college classes, fun dates with her boyfriend, and adventures exploring the city. Any one of those things sounds like both a glamorous holiday and a total pipe dream to me. Sure, 20 years ago I had a similar life, but I sure didn’t appreciate all that freedom to come and go as I pleased. Now that I’m on the other side, I not only appreciate what it means to live an unencumbered life, I sometimes miss it enough to feel jealous.

And just to state the obvious, this chick is getting paid to do all the crap I have to do for free. It’s not a huge salary, but I bet it goes a long way towards helping her smile through the tantrums, the poop, and the gunk wedged in the high chair. Me, I’m just a volunteer. Or sometimes I think of myself as an unpaid intern, because I’m clearly learning on the job. (My poor kids.)

Would I actually want to trade places with the babysitter? Of course not. I love my family and I’m so grateful I get to be a mom (insert more obvious sentiments here). But if I could life-switch with the babysitter for just one day, Freaky Friday-style (assuming that includes Saturday morning, when I’d sleep in sooooo late), let’s just say I’d be down.

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Photo: Getty