A Little Help, Please?Click here for the rest of A Little Help Please?
by Deesha Philyaw
Recently, while setting the table for a dinner of Chinese takeout, eight-year-old Taylor suggested we put our soy sauce in the little white ceramic bowls we reserve for special occasions. "Which babysitter gave us these?" she asked.
"Casey," I answered.
"We've had a lot of babysitters," Taylor said.
And she's right. Over the three years-plus since Peyton was born, I've hired seven women to provide childcare in my home during the day. They came from one to five days a week as money allowed and as my schedule demanded, with freelancing, starting and running a custom writing business, and handling my mother's affairs after her death.
I'm happy to report that my high turnover rate is not due to poor work conditions, low pay, or unruly children. As I explained to Taylor, I've always been lucky to find sitters who have many talents and all sorts of work they want to do, but this means they can't be our babysitters for very long.
"That's right! We have had talented babysitters," Taylor replied. "Which one was it that made Sponge Bob out of Floam?"
Well, there was that. But also among the seven former sitters, there is an aspiring writer, an English Literature PhD candidate, two teachers, a future environmental scientist, and an architect.
And they've all been white.
Good Help is Sooo Hard to Find...(Unless You're this Sister)
Not too long ago, I went on a little rant about my experience trying to find a black nanny after the birth of ZenBaby and Big L and my negative experience with the caregiver I ended up hiring. My friend Deesha, however, has only good things to say about the babysitters she's used...all of whom happen to be white. I've cross-posted this recent essay from her terrific column, The Girl is Mine, at Literary Mama to provide hope for those of us who don't have the luxury of live-in help or any loving aunties/godmommies/madeahs nearby...and are holding out for Mary Poppins – whatever color she's available in.