The Hard Truth: Why I Will Never be Just Your “Sitter”

I am more than just your sitter

A sitter is the teenager who comes to watch movies and eat pizza with your kids so you can have a rare night off. She does less work, and most likely gets paid more an hour. I am not a sitter.

I am your Childcare provider.

The Hard Truth- Why I will never be just your "sitter"Which still sounds so static, so cold. Cold is anything BUT what I am. Sitting is anything but what I do.
I rarely sit- unless it’s with a baby, snuggled in the safety of my arms, while I feed him a freshly warmed bottle. I may sit, but it is because your child asked me to read “Guess how much I love you,” for the 12th time today. And let’s face it- lap sitting is the best way to listen to your favorite book. Most of the time, when you arrive during pick up, I’m standing. I’m standing in the kitchen, washing a dish.  A baby is slung on my back with my ever-essential Lillebaby, and I’m guzzling the last dregs of my cold coffee. I may be found repeating (patiently but with a muzzled exasperation) “keep your hands to yourself” for the thousandth time.

But the chances are, you won’t find me sitting.

The Hard Truth: Why I will never by just your “sitter”

I do provider for them, though. I provide comfort for boo-boo’s. Providing discipline, I teach your child right from wrong.  I show them how to respect their friends. When the time comes, I potty train them. As babies, I help them learn to feed themselves.

Every day, your kids are provided wholesome meals and a happy, clean(ish) home to spend their days in. When your children are in my care, they are stimulated, they play in sensory bins and paint- they learn independence. But most of all, I provide your child love. All these things are provided to your child, when they are with a childcare provider. None of them are provided while sitting.

The Hard Truth: Why I Will Never be Just Your "sitter"
You see, being a childcare provider is about so much more than passing the time with your child until you come to pick them up. It’s not about finding a way to be at home with my own kids and still make money. I  am a provider because I love kids. Because in my eyes, there is no job more vital than raising the next generation to be thoughtful, kind, brave, and confident. You see, I am so much more than a sitter. A Sitter is an insult to the care I feel for your children. Don’t get me wrong- I am not a replacement for you. No one will ever, ever replace mom. But we are a team, your family and mine. Our goal it is to raise healthy, happy children, together.

Last year, one of my daycare Little’s was baptized, and the family asked me to come to the baptism

Honored, I felt so happy to go and sit with the family (who really feel like an extension of my own). But during the baptism, when they ushered me to the front, I stood with his Nana and sisters and cousins and aunts, because “You’re family too.” I grinned awkwardly and inwardly danced with pride while I watched little man be baptized. After the service, their pastor introduced himself. “So, how are you related to the family?” he inquired, his firm wrinkled hands shook mine. My daycare mom stepped in and said,

Oh, well she’s our sitter- but she’s not. She’s so much more than that- sitter doesn’t really cover it, does it? She’s the one who raises our kids when I’m not there.”

She knew, and I knew, how valuable we were to each other. How much I loved her children and how much she respected me for it. But that poor pastor’s face- how do you explain the importance of the woman who helps raise your child?

How do you explain the trust and bond between parent and provider? It’s not an easy choice- the decision to leave your child for much of his day, in the care of someone else, particularly in the care of a stranger.

It is, however, a decision which is made easier by the knowledge that you are leaving your child with a childcare provider. And not just a sitter.

The hard truth: why your daycare provider will never be just your "sitter"

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Lauren Lewis is no stranger to childcare development, having spent over 10 years as a nanny or family childcare provider. She’s the wife of a travel geek, mother of two vivacious children, and has an amazing talent for trailing lost things behind her a la Hansel and Gretyl. Her varied background in writing, child development, marketing, and enthusiasm for mess-making provided the perfect foundation for The Playground Chronicles. Her life is full of busy, crazy and LOUD. It is full of love and hope, ups and downs. And coffee, always lots of coffee- but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

More information and her work can be found at

21 thoughts on “The Hard Truth: Why I Will Never be Just Your “Sitter”

  1. You have a gift, Lauren! You touch so many families’ lives in a special way and I know that your kids will remember you fondly throughout their lives. I don’t even know you personally but I can tell that the care that you provide is unique and extremely important in raising compassionate people. I’m speaking as a mom and an educator. Awesome blog, can’t wait to read more!!

  2. Yes! I love this! As a single working mom I can assure you that the relationship my daughter builds with her caretaker is uber important to me. They are part of the single working mom army I so often talk about! Or Angels as I like to call them. Thank you for your dedication and all you do!

  3. Such an eye opening post. It takes a special woman to do these things for children other than her own. I admire your strength. A child care provider definitely is so much more than a sitter!

  4. ‘”She’s the one who raises our kids when I’m not there.”’ That is such a great reminder that it takes a village to take care of our children. You are an amazing person for taking these kids under your wings. Also for being a great help to your kids parents.

  5. OMG, I totally get what you are saying. I used to be a childcare provider and my job never EVER involved sitting while the kid did something and I’ve never watched any TV while I was working. My mind was a 100% on the little girl I was taking care of and now I’m really good friends with that family and even though I don’t work for them anymore I still go and visit from time to time. It’s an amazing job but it takes a lot more than people think it does.

  6. what a precious post, yes you may care for their children but you are their leader, teacher and so much more. I am on the other end being a caregiver for the elderly . I take care of their loved one. There are many spouses, children and even siblings that come and visit
    nice to meet you and I am a bit envy but not coveting I love children as well and you have some special clients it sounds like
    come see us at

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