Our Stories / Thoughts / Opinions, recent

A Former Babysitter’s Letter of Gratitude to Parents Pursuing the Arts

I’ve worn hard hats, head to toe hazmat suits, cowgirl boots and one time for about fifty minutes, I wore nothing at all but quickly decided that wasn’t the job for me. I’ve served pizza, diner food, Italian food while singing show tunes, and scooped gelato. I’ve filed, transcribed, answered phones and worked at the front desk of a trendy hair salon. I’ve cleaned vending machines early in the morning, sold a dating service over the phone, worked in a bread factory and packaged dried fruit.

But of all the jobs I’ve taken over the years in order to supplement my income as a singer, actor and writer, my favorite, by far, was babysitting. I really only ever babysat for people I knew who were also pursuing the arts in one form or another and I’ve written a letter to thank them because now that I think about it, it must be really hard to make art and raise kids.

Dear parents pursuing careers in the arts,

One of the greatest gifts I received while pursuing my career in the arts was the precious time I got to spend with your children.

When you got a gig, or just wanted a break or needed a child-free date with your spouse, you called me and I’m so glad.

Off and on for twenty years or so I got to make dinners for your kids, give them baths, pick them up from school, go for walks with them, read stories to them, tuck them into bed, and play play play with them! It was fun.

Your kids are rad. They sing and have wild imaginations. They say crazy funny things that I’m certain they didn’t learn from Elmo or Dora. They are open minded, creative and compassionate. Well, they are a lot like you which makes them really fun to be with.

While I helped you out, you helped me out with enough income to buy groceries and headshots (life’s essentials). You were completely understanding and even congratulatory whenever I booked an acting gig even though it meant that you had to scramble to find a new babysitter. Heck, some of you GAVE me that acting gig knowing that you’d lose me as babysitter while we rehearsed and ran the show!

I missed my chance to have children when I wanted them and even though I could technically still have them, the desire to do so has disappeared. I still consider fostering or adopting down the road, but for now, I am childless by choice. I’ve also hung up my babysitter hat for good, which makes sense seeing as how the first kids I ever babysat are now both college graduates. I’m so proud of the kind, loving, intelligent, artistic and generous people they continue to be.

I write with deep admiration for your ability to raise truly amazing people while pursuing your art. Even if you had to put your artistic endeavors on hold while figuring out the balance of art and parenthood, you did it, you made it happen and that is a tremendous success.

Thank you for helping me pursue my dreams, for using your hard earned money to give me a fair wage for my time, and for making sure that there were always enough chicken nuggets and green beans for me to enjoy, too.

It’s challenging maintaining a career in the arts. I’ve almost always had to secure supplemental income and for years that income came from you. How did you do it?

To me, you are ultimate creators. You make art. You make kids. You make kids who make art. You make this world a better place to be and for that, I thank you.

Love,

Your Former Babysitter

This entry was posted in: Our Stories / Thoughts / Opinions, recent

by

Jamey Hood is a singer/actor/writer from LA who has performed all over the world and lives in NY. Jamey is a contributor to B-Side Productions' Community blog, Project Women, and her own blog, I'm Sorry About Your Mom. Favorite topics include self-love, meditation, minimalism, and working through grief. She believes all arts are healing and all healing is an art.