Dear Babysitter Who Canceled Last Minute

babysitter who cancelled last minute

Dear Babysitter Who Cancelled Last Minute,

I can’t begin to explain how giddily I opened your text. It came just 18 minutes before I was due to head out with my husband for a holiday party (for his work, not mine) a handful of blocks from my Brooklyn abode.

Sure, it was just a casual gathering at a dive bar, but with a group of people I’ve come to really like. After successfully nursing my ten-month-old into a bedtime-accelerating milk coma, applying red lipstick and putting on heels, my head was like a clichéd broken record: This mama is going out.

Still, I didn’t open your text message.

Anything sent within a 30-minute window of arrival is just a confirmation, right? Or worst case, a “remind me your address?” request.

Instead, I kept one eye on the baby monitor while haranguing my husband: Where, dear God, did you leave the Apple TV remote? (Just so we’re clear, this scavenger hunt was for you, not me.)

From there, we riffed on date night alternatives (i.e., what we’d do if we cut our holiday party appearance short).

“We could check out that new cocktail bar on Atlantic?” my husband offered.

“Or, if we leave after an hour, we could try to score a table at that adorable wine and cheese spot on Smith,” I countered.

Alas, none of this—not the heels, nor the cocktails—would come to fruition, something I realized when I finally opened your text, approximately three minutes after receipt. Clear as day on the iMessage screen was your note: “I’m stuck at work. Would you totally hate me if I cancel tonight?”

Reminder: This was sent 18 minutes before we were supposed to explain the remote, order you dinner on Seamless, call ourselves a cab. At a rate of $20 an hour over the holidays, a time when extra cash is desirable, we really thought your arrival was in the bag.

“Yes. Yes. 1,000 times YES. I would hate you if you canceled,” I typed, then deleted. But instead—noting the geographical impossibility of an on-time trek from Manhattan (her office) to Brooklyn (my apartment)—I took the high road: “Oh no! It’s OK, I understand.” [Insert passive aggressive dagger emoji. JK.]

So, I informed my husband. I kicked off my heels. I searched the fridge for any sign of leftovers that would now become my Friday night meal.

Then, just when I was coming to terms with my new solo gameplan of sweatpants and Mrs. Maisel, my phone vibrated again with a text from you.

“I hope I didn’t ruin your night!”

But that’s the problem, see? That’s it right there. You did ruin my night, my husband’s night, his colleagues/my friends’ night, too. If you had given us the courtesy of even an hour or two as a heads-up, we could have called for backup or piggybacked on a friend’s sitter. Hell, at least I wouldn’t be out of options and wiping off my makeup while mourning the night that could have been.

So, dear sitter, I get it. You’re young. You’re kid-free. You’re on a Tinder date you didn’t expect to swipe right on stuck at the office. It happens.

Just do me a favor, OK? The next time you’re on the fence about canceling, especially 18 minutes before arrival, do a reasonable mom paying a competitive rate a favor and…don’t.



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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...