Babysitters Who Used Tot as Crime Decoy Don't Justify Helicopter Parents

grocery cartFrom the day we started trying to have a child, I promised that I would not be one of "those" parents. You know, the "OMG, I can't trust another living soul with my little snookums because I have to be in control of EVERYTHING" parents. They're the parents who are still crouched in the back of the nursery school classroom in December because Snookums can't let go. They look miserable at all times.

And yet ... there are times it is an awfully tempting outlook. Like the time when a set of 20-something babysitters are caught taking a 2-year-old to the grocery store and then trying to use him as a decoy so they can steal booze. True story out of Indiana, folks. Absolutely terrifying.


Buuuuuuuuut, I'm not going to let this take me off into crazy land. Uh uh. No way. No how. Because every time something like this happens, we get freaked for a second. And then anyone with a lick of sense says, "Sure, this was really awful, but how OFTEN does it happen?"

Really? How often?

Do you remember one time in your town when a babysitter went off the rails? OK, say you do. Do you remember more than one time? The good news is that most babysitters are normal, law-abiding folks who care deeply about our kids and are more apt to plan an afternoon of fingerpainting and Play-Doh than beer-stealing with your toddler. Ask for references. Check into their background. You'll find most skeletons that way.

This I remind myself so I don't become one of those noodleheads in the back of a classroom.

See, all these stories really do for me is serve as a reminder that 1) my teen babysitter is hereby banned from ever graduating from high school and therefore leaving me high and dry, and 2) I'm fully within my rights to cry huge tears when I get a sudden notice that school has been cancelled/my husband found out he has to work a day he thought he had off/the kid gets a raging case of the creeping crud and no one in their right mind would be around her other than her mother/etc.

Finding a fill-in sitter ranks right up there on the "worst part of being a parent." But I'm still going to do it ... because I don't have time to spend the rest of my life pulling my kid's clenched fists off of my jeans.

How about you? Do these stories scare you, or just make you sad for that one kid involved?


Image via Solo, with others/Flickr

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