First, let me provide some context. When I grew up in Maine, my going rate for babysitting was $10 an hour, for one kid. More kids? More money. Keep in mind, this was 10+ years ago. Here in Utah, I'm pretty sure the going rate is about $3 an hour... current day... 2014. Umm...WHAT?! Now that I have kids of my own and need babysitters, I pay $7/hr. I paid $7 when I just had one child, but I got a lot of flack about this from friends, neighbors, and even the babysitters themselves. So when I had a second child, I kept paying babysitters $7. And to be honest, every single time I feel like I'm short changing them. Even if they're just watching my tv for a couple hours while my kids sleep upstairs.
The question I've been asked multiple times is "Why do you pay babysitters so much?!" And usually my short answer is "my children's lives are in their hands".
Here's the long answer: My children's lives are in their hands.
I mean, I'm not even paying minimum wage!! My babysitters could literally flip burgers or work in a call center and make more money. I value my children's lives as far more important than burger flipping or getting yelled at on the phone. So why is it so ludicrous to even consider paying the same or more than a minimum wage job??
I know people say things like If I'm going to pay more money, I expect them to clean up my house and do all the dishes and make my kids dinner from scratch, etc etc etc. Not to be defiant, but really all I expect from my babysitters is that everyone is safe while I'm gone. And it's just common courtesy for them to pick up any toys that had been taken out, although I expect my kids to help in that act as well. But they don't need to be magical elves! Don't do my dishes, don't take out my trash, and don't cook my kids a gourmet meal (they obviously wouldn't appreciate it, anyway).
Look after my children, keep them safe, and react to any emergencies accordingly. That is what I pay my babysitters for. And that's worth a lot to me.
Note: Dear friends, please don't be offended by this post. It's not meant to "come after" anyone. It's just me explaining why I do the things I do. Chalk it up to being a yankee, if you must ;)