babysitter instructions

As Laura Mazza points out, she doesn’t even have to tell you which set of instructions came from her and which came from her husband.

As the mom from Australia, who blogs at Mum on the Run, wrote on Facebook, she and her husband were on their way to a wedding. That meant leaving their children with a babysitter. And that meant leaving behind instructions.

“Oh the anxiety of leaving your children with someone is real, right?” Mazza wrote. “I’m almost tempted not to go out but it’s a wedding so we have rsvp’ed.”

Mazza shared her instructions side-by-side with her husband’s in an image that perfectly encapsulates the difference between moms and dads.

Her husband’s instructions are just a set of three emergency numbers.

Mum vs dad in information for the babysitter.I don’t even need to tell you which is which. Oh the anxiety of leaving…

Posted by Laura Mazza – Mum on the Run on Friday, March 8, 2019

Mazza, however, has emergency numbers, bedtimes, and notes about each child’s bedtime routine. There’s a warning to check James’ diaper if he’s restless at bedtime because “he’s a secret pooper.”

There’s a warning not to let the children move the cushions on the couch. (She later explains it’s because they pull off all the cushions, jump on them, and destroy them.) There are notes about each child’s bathroom habits, dinner plans, and acceptable snacks. And there are also instructions for finding toilet paper, diapers, wipes, cutlery, and adult snacks.

Mazza admits that there are still more babysitter instructions that aren’t in the photo:

I’d like to say that those notes are the only ones, but I’ve labelled everything around the house, including the bathroom. I’ve also made her come two hours earlier so I can run through everything.

Poor girl. I should label the wine as well, she’ll need it. (I’ll also write “not too much,” as I need her to be sober, of course.)

Mazza isn’t the only one who noticed the stark difference between her approach and her husband’s:

My husband thinks I’m crazy, but this is just preparedness. Tell me I’m not alone?

Several of the commenters sympathized with the mom’s anxiety, and a few babysitters agreed that detailed instructions can be helpful.


However, others gently pointed out that Mazza had gone a bit over-the-top.


The mom is aware that her detailed instructions are just a sign of how anxious she is to leave the kids behind. She ended her post with, “I’m chanting *its all going to be fine, all going to be fine, all going to be fine.*”

Leave a comment

4 Replies to “Mom’s Detailed, Color-Coded Instructions for Babysitter Show the Difference Between Moms and Dads”

  • Emily Jean 5 months ago

    I would have typed up a list on the computer so that I would be able to make changes quickly. The time spent on making the list should have been used being with your children. Also have a form that gives the emergency numbers that are needed, medication the children are on and any allergies. When I baby sat it would have been nice to have detailed instructions for the first time I baby sat for a family.

  • Anonymous 5 months ago

    I guess I was fortunate to have several family members near by that knew all these things. I will say that as a Grandmother I had a DIL leave me detailed instructions as if I had never been with a small child before (I raised 5 by myself). I was staying with them at the time and would have appreciated a face to face instead of lengthy notes. Never would I think it would take 2 hours to go over instructions and personally I would stay MILES away from such an OCD mom. I couldn’t read all the notes, but one evening of a couch cushion jumped on isn’t going to destroy it. Children need to learn to discipline themselves. Give them the rules, let them choose and accept either consequence. Keeping consequences for bad choices by helicoptering doesn’t produce effective adults.

    • Just another 5 months ago

      This is not helicopting. It’s preparedness. Also, what this person has done is nowhere near the story you’re pulling from memory. You’re talking about family, which might be a bit different and certainly more feelings involved. For all you know this is a new sitter the mother is working with and may be limited time to talk one on one. Also- these kids are HERS, not yours. She can handle it however she wants and again, alerting against secret pooping or only one bowl of ice cream is certainly NOT helicopting. And clearly it’s a rule (getting back to your philosophy) not to jump on the cushions- just because she explained WHY the rule exists, doesn’t mean she’s wrong. No need to think it’s extreme. Personally, even when I dog sit, I love notes. I want to keep things as close to normal for anything I take care of in the owners/parents absence.

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Mom’s Detailed, Color-Coded Instructions for Babysitter Show the Difference Between Moms and Dads

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