Friday, April 25, 2008

Money Changes Everything

When I was in college, I used to baby-sit for a Mom's club once a month. It was a pretty sweet gig for two hours of my time. I'd arrive at the house of the moment, set up a boom box full of Disney tunes and some art supplies wherever the Mamas wanted me, and play with the children while the Mamas sipped wine and gossiped in another room. I was paid six bucks per child and sometimes I'd leave with eighty dollars in my pocket. Eighty dollars bought a lot of pitchers way back when.

That was fifteen years ago.

I now happen to go to a mom's club most every Friday. I used to really enjoy it, but lately, well, lately not so much. You see, some of the moms belong to an ultra-exclusive, invitation-only bible study that tends to overlap with most of the club activities. I have been a member for three years now and still don't understand the bible club requirements or what clique you need to belong to be included. I am not, apparently, one of the chosen ones. It all reminds me of high school where we had a club called YLU (Young Ladies Union, I think it was only OUR school that had it and I am sure some prissy girl came up with it) and at the beginning of each year you signed your name to a list and if the members thought you were cool enough you got in, if not, sorry Charlie, have you heard of the drama club? But, of course, YLU was much nicer because I was involved and I still have the shiny blue jacket to prove it.

Anyway, so three years have passed, and I am thinking I will never understand the inner workings of the bible study, when I get an email from one of the chosen ones about the bible study. Really, they want me to come to the bible study? Well, yeah, sort of. Their regular baby sitter was unavailable so could I come babysit for them for two hours?


And you think I told them where to shove it right?

Hell no! The little tidbit about earning between forty and eighty dollars for two hours work had me replying yes in less than thirty seconds. Forty bucks buys a lot of Tuesday morning donuts people!

But it was a tad uncomfortable in that nerdy-girl-serving-punch-to-the-popular-kids-at-the-homecoming-dance sort of way.

I am almost forty years old. I live a pretty good life. My kids are healthy, we always have food on the table (and usually the floor too, but that's another story), and I am able to stay home with my kids. I feel pretty lucky about that. When I was twenty, though, I imagined I'd be living like the wine-sipping mamas for whom I babysat every month: in a huge house, wearing fancy clothes, taking frequent vacations, and paying some poor college student a small fortune to watch my kids for an hour or two while I gossiped with my friends. Uh, where's my six bedroom house? I forgot my beemer somewhere. Babysitter? What the heck is that? Vacation? BWAHAHAHAHA! I am still the poor girl getting dollar bills stuffed into her palm like a cheap tip. Where have I been? I went from working for rich women older than me to working for rich women younger than me. How did that happen?

Man, that really depressed me. Kinda made me want to go nickel beer night at The Dungeon until I remembered I was no longer in college and it wouldn't be right to go drinking with my children. You know, the law and all.

Until I got out to the car and dug out all the dough I'd stuffed embarrassingly into my pockets. Apparently the hourly rate for babysitters has gone up significantly in fifteen years.

So I lost a little dignity. Who cares! I like this gig. Where do I sign up?


Lynsey said...

and that my dear, is why I was a nanny for several pays! Pays big time! Sure it was a little degrading at times, but I put myself through college with my earnings. Not too shabby for a poor girl from Idaho!

Amie said...

Lucky! I wish I had an opportunity to make some money like that.

Aunt Becky said...

I'm laughing with you right now. I'm also horrified about an ultra-exclusive club.

Maybe this is why I don't have many mom friends, eh?

Shane said...

Good for you! Maybe you can be a POSITIVE influence on their kids and teach them to like everybody no matter what. Plus, I agree, the money thing is way cool.

Sadie said...

*lol* I think we can all relate to the emotional part of it (well, those of us that were the geeks left out). I had the dream sof the big hosue, too. I still do. I drive around my little town and see these beautiful victorians and colonials dotting the streets and still dream...

But I come home to my tiny, cramped 1100sq.ft.-for-5-people home...and look at the clutter...and think of my wonderful, friendly, happy neighborhood...and the cold feeling of the 'perfect' homes doesn't pull me as much.

I'd still like the big house for my family (we need the room) - but I'll take my low income SAHM job any day...

But I'll take that $80 for babysitting any day, too :D

Lynn said...

Great post Andria. I wish we lived in the same town and could start our own mom's group.

BethGo said...

$$$!!! Yea! Spend it on yourself.

Andria sweetie, you can come to my Bible study any time.
p.s. I don't have a Bible study but if I did, you could come to it.


Ramie Babcock said...

YOU ARE SO RIGHT!! Good LORD! ***I secretly know what you mean*** There are about 5 women in the group, and though I love them dearly, it irritates me that they have their own little get togethers and can't bother to come to ours. Lovely. What the hell am I planning on this stuff for?...slight rant, sorry. We need to have lunch and vent!!