BLOG: Does it matter whether your babysitter is a man or a woman?

Bern Morley






Throughout the years, we’ve used babysitters on and off. I was lucky enough to have my Mum and mother in-law on hand for many years.

There did come a time however, where we started to want to go out and just you know, relax in the in the knowledge that we could pay our babysitting debt with currency rather than passive aggressive guilt trips.

That’s when we decided to look around for a decent babysitter. And we’ve had a few over the years. Some fantastic ones, Jess, Charise, Belinda, take a bow.

There were also some ‘not so great ones’. Like Emily, who brought her boyfriend over and was caught shagging him on the climbing frame in the backyard. Or Samantha, who was still feeding our 2 year old Cheese and Bacon Balls on the couch when we returned at midnight. One thing we did keep consistent however was the gender of the babysitter. And this was TOTALLY unintentional.

It only really came to my attention the other day when one of my neighbours asked me if I’d like for her son to watch our kids from time to time at might I add, a very reasonable price.  Her son is 16, smart, sporty and popular.

My first instinct was to say no but I hesitated and asked her why such a strapping young lad would want to get paid $7.50 an hour to look after  children when he could work somewhere social and get paid much more. Her answer was simple.


‘He loves hanging out with your kids and when they go to bed, he can do his homework or watch TV’. That’s when I realised I had immediately discriminated against him because of his sex. If she’d offered the same with a daughter I would have immediately taken her up on the offer. So then, what was my deal?

Bern and the kids.

Considering throughout the twentieth century, boys were not only accepted as babysitters, they were often preferred over girls. How the tides change.

The reasons cited way back then as to why boys were chosen over teenage girls, is that girls were considered flighty and self-absorbed (little has changed in a 100 years let me give you the hot tip) and boys needed male role models as their fathers were unemployed during the Great Depression. And this allowed them to gain access to affluent, nuclear families.

So that said, should it even be an issue? Surely it’s the same as long as you children are being cared for adequately? For me it’s more an issue of trust.

Every single person that has ever been left to look after our children has been known to us. And we have trusted them implicitly to keep our children safe. Okay, okay, even if one did decide to have some outdoor fun after they were asleep, the kids remained unharmed.

The same cannot be said of my swing set.

So firstly I guess I want to know, where do you source your babysitters from and secondly, have you ever used a male babysitter. If you wouldn’t, why not?