General Question

stemnyjones's avatar

Do I need to disclose personal information about my life to parents I will be babysitting for?

Asked by stemnyjones (3969points) February 15th, 2010

I’m looking for a few babysitting jobs since I am a stay at home mom. However, I do live with my domestic partner. Am I obligated to tell the parents I will be babysitting for that I am a lesbian and that my partner lives with me, even if she will not be around the majority of the time that their kids will be there?

BTW: I do tell them I have a roommate, I just don’t disclose that she is my partner.

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56 Answers

asmonet's avatar

I don’t think it matters, you’re not gonna babysit the gay into them.

If they ask, be honest. If not, it’s your private business.

Grisaille's avatar

Tough call.

I would, as there isn’t anything to be ashamed of. But I can most certainly see why you wouldn’t want to open that can of worms.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

No, but they don’t “need” to hire you either.

stemnyjones's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna I don’t understand why exactly you answered the way you did. I’m not asking if they will be required to hire me. I’m asking if I should disclose the information. No need to be a smart ass.

asmonet's avatar

If the children will be in your home it might be best to reduce the personal contact between yourself and your partner while another couple’s children are present. Kids are notorious loudmouths and they’ll almost always tell their parents about how they saw two moms kissing. I’d just err on the side of caution, it is your income after all.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@stemnyjones I wasn’t attempting to be a smart ass. I’m sorry if I came off that way. I’m just saying that since they are hiring you to watch their children, trusting their lives to you, they can ask whatever they wish.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I think you could just go over to the kid’s house. I’ve never babysat at my house. I think the kids have more fun if they’re at their own house with all their toys and everything. But it would probably be better if you’re just open about it and don’t act like you’re trying to hide it. The only reason that the parents would care is if they think the kids could be affected by something “gay” you say.

I’m not sure that I would want somebody gay to babysit my kids, but that’s just me. There are tons of people with different opinions. I think your best bet is to be open about it.

stemnyjones's avatar

@asmonet Thanks for the heads up. We only make any kind of ‘contact’ (hugs, talking about our relationship, or whatever) in front of kids under 2, who don’t really know what’s going on. I do respect parent’s wishes if they don’t want their kids to be around gay people, even if it’s ignorant and hateful – I wouldn’t want someone going against my wishes for my own daughter.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@stemnyjones Plus I’m probably a bit prejudiced for reading your other question first. Sorry

tinyfaery's avatar

I think the parents have the right to know who might be present when their children are at your house, but all you have to say is she’s a roommate. I don’t know why you would hide it, though. Unless, of course, you think you absolutely have to.

Shae's avatar

Yes you should tell them. Parents may not be ready to explain to their child about same sex relationships.They should have the option of knowing and deciding if this something they are comfortable with.

And really do you want to take the chance of having the child of some wacked out bigots in your home and have them find out afterwards? They could cause you all kinds of problems.

asmonet's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna: No, they can’t. They can’t ask what you do with your naughty bits. That’s rude, and should be an immediate reason to dismiss them before they even have a chance to finish their sentence. Professional lives should not interfere with personal ones, and as long as you are capable and they find you suitable after reasonable questions there should not be an issue of who you decide to sleep with.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ChocolateReigns why the hell not? Are gay people somehow incapable of caring for children now?

stemnyjones's avatar

@Shae I agree with the second part to your statement, but for the first part, I’d like to point out that around kids who are old enough to understand, I don’t ‘act’ like she’s my partner. We just go about our business as ‘roommates’ until the kids leave.

@tinyfaery The only reason I’d want to hide it is because we are in the south and people are still very hateful here. If I told everyone I was gay, I probably wouldn’t get ANY jobs.

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, then do what you must to live your life.

stemnyjones's avatar

@uberbatman I think she explained it all when she said that I might say something “gay” around the kids.

Whatever that means.

I guess I might just walk around my house talking about gay sex all day long. After all, that’s what us gay people do.

judochop's avatar

You do not have to provide anything however if I had questions for a person who was babysitting for me then I would ask and if they did not provide what I ask for then I would not hire them, just what Dan said above.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@asmonet, Yes they can. Although you have the equal right to not answer. Asking is not illegal. Like I said, they don’t have to hire you any more than you have to answer them. They are allowed to take as many precautions they deem necessary.

stemnyjones's avatar

@judochop If a parent was to ask me if I lived with my husband, or something similar, I would tell them that I live with my partner, because they are obviously concerned about who will be in the house with me. But otherwise, I just say that I do have a roommate who might be around the kid as well.

asmonet's avatar

@ChocolateReigns: For your benefit I will restate my previous point, the homos are not contagious. You can’t catch the love for peen on peen or whatever floats your boat. Countless studies show there is nothing to fear from contact with gay people.

Oh, my bad. I’ve heard it can broaden your horizons and enable you to become more tolerant. But who the fuck needs that? Certainly not young children just learning how to interact with others, heavens no!

asmonet's avatar

@Dan_DeColumna: Kinda what I said, they can’t because you should be walking away before they finish. It’s a personal boundary. I didn’t say anything about it was illegal. I just think it’s incredibly rude.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

Granted, it’s rude. People make a living on being rude. Look at South Park.

asmonet's avatar

Removed by me.

judochop's avatar

@stemnyjones
Really it does not matter, I am sorry but you are the one being interviewed not the other way around. You do not have to answer anything but as a parent I would ask a hell of a lot of questions and because there are several people out there looking for work I would move on if someone was not going to answer my question(s).

stemnyjones's avatar

@judochop Sorry I didn’t make my question more clear: If someone were to ask, “Hey, are you a homo?” or “Does your husband live at home with you?” or “Why are you living with another girl?” or “Tell me more about your roommate”, I would probably oblige and answer their question.

I’m asking about volunteering the information. When someone calls me or emails me about my babysitting services, do I throw in at the end of the conversation “btw, I’m gay”?

Darwin's avatar

As has been said, the person doing the hiring in this informal way can ask whatever they want, but you don’t have to answer their questions or volunteer information they haven’t asked for. I would suspect that they are simply worried about how to be certain they are hiring someone who will keep their child safe.

However, if you refuse to answer their questions, then they definitely have no requirement to hire you. There are rules that apply to businesses, but they don’t apply to independent contractors like a private babysitter working for parents.

DominicX's avatar

@stemnyjones

You wouldn’t say “btw, I’m straight”, so why would you say “btw, I’m gay”? Neither one is needed. Asking about it is different, but there is no obligation to share that information if it is not asked for.

asmonet's avatar

I would not volunteer the information.

Answers to your questions:
Yes.
No, I do not have a husband.
We are in a long term relationship / she is my partner / whatever you want.
I’ve known her for X years, she is a very important person in my life, etc.

You can answer honestly and avoid saying YAY, I’M GAY if it makes you uncomfortable.

Dan_DeColumna's avatar

@stemnyjones Thank you for clarifying. You wouldn’t state you were heterosexual, so the same would be true about homosexuality. You are only expected to share what is asked and pertinent to the child’s care. You are not obligated to share anything. Notice the difference between expected and obligated.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I dont think being a lesbian interferes with being a good babysitter, but they may not share that sentiment.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

If they don’t already know you well enough to know that about you, then I certainly wouldn’t volunteer it. Not that it’s a bad thing, either. I don’t tell people how much money I have (or owe) or about my love life, either, as a rule. Unless she’s going to be the next one, I suppose. I don’t volunteer my feelings on religion or politics, either, unless it comes up in conversation.

“Hi, I’m @stemnyjones, I’m a lesbian and I want to sit for your kids.” Sounds as awkward as: “Hi, I’m @stemnyjones. I’ve been married to this unemployed alcoholic jerk for fifteen years and I really need the money. Can I sit for your kids?”

robmandu's avatar

A roommate is a roommate. A lover/partner/spouse is something else.

I don’t think that the gay aspect of this makes a difference. If your lover lives under the same roof as you, then that’s likely what parents leaving their kids in your care will want to know.

Every adult has (or seeks) a romantic life outside of work. However, when that romantic life co-exists in the same space as child care work, even if only for a brief time, parents will want to know.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think the only information you need to volunteer is that which would affect the kids. For example, if there is a convicted child molester living on your street, that would be something to inform the parents. However, unless they ask point blank, your relationship status is none of their business unless it affected the kids.

If you wanted to avoid mentioning that you are a lesbian, you might be able to be a little vague by referring to your girlfriend as your “sweetheart” or “better half.” If they continue to press it, then it is just immoral to lie to them. Hopefully, though, you won’t have to deal with any prejudice in that area. :)

@asmonet: Lurve for “babysit the gay into them.”

Shae's avatar

@stemnyjones You will be surprised on the things that children will pick up.

For instance

Kid: Is this your room?
You: yes
Kid: where is Kim’s room
You: Ummmm

Of course I couldn’t imagine dropping my kid off at someone’s house of which I had not seen every room, just as I would inspect every room of a daycare.

Steve_A's avatar

@stemnyjones I am going to look at this as a finical and job decision ultimately as that is what it’s coming down to, you want the job so you can make some money(or so I assume).

More straight forward business approach.
1) If you believe the parents are prejudice or would dislike lesbians or “lesbian behavior”(nothing personal just trying to describe) then you may need to decide to keep anything that would otherwise show the kids/parents you are a lesbian while you are babysitting or they are around out. Remember this a job so really that type of behavior should not be happening around them anyways.Unless they asked and try to get personal in such case tell them otherwise its your business.If you lie at any point it will come back to you possibly losing a client/job.

More open-friendly approach.
2) Lets say you have a good feeling they would be understanding folks. You might get some vibes I’m sure. I would just tell them upfront and be honest. “Am I obligated to tell the parents I will be babysitting for that I am a lesbian and that my partner lives with me” I would tell them the partner part, surely they would catch on if anything.Who knows? They might prefer 2 women as oppose to a male in the house. Just say’in.I personally feel the lesbian part is personal choice though,as such not obligated to tell them.

In the end, read between the lines a bit and read there expressions if they seem to be concerned/curious about something address it to them. Once they figure out you are good person and you let them know that, you’ll get the job and so you can make some money.

Just my 2 cents,Good luck.

judochop's avatar

@stemnyjones I would hope that your sexual orientation would have nothing to do with your qualifications. I would not mention it. Some people live with men and women some with men and men and women with women.

stemnyjones's avatar

@Shae has a point.

Say I don’t mention it to the parent, then the kid goes home and tells her mommy and daddy that there’s one grown up bedroom and one baby bedroom but two grown up women?

I would of course be up front and honest if the parent then asked me about it, but if they were upset that their child had been under my care, would I be at fault for not telling them I was gay in the first place, even though there’s no personal contact between me and my partner while the child is there?

Jeruba's avatar

I think a parent has a right to know what in your environment might have a potentially harmful effect on his or her children. The parent’s definition of “harmful” is what counts. In my case it would include things like use of foul language and having the TV on all the time. In someone else’s, who knows, it could be the presence of a lesbian partner. I don’t honestly see any more reason for concern about a partner of one sex than a partner of the other. It’s not as though you’d be engaging in sexual behavior in the presence of the children in either case. But there’s no way of predicting how a particular parent will feel, and others are right to point out that if there’s something to see, children will see it.

I think @robmandu‘s point about the difference it makes when you combine workplace and living space is worth noting.

If they asked you directly whether you’re a lesbian, you’d be making a mistake to lie about it.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@asmonet – I’ll try not to get too worked up about your comments. My opinions are my opinions, and until the kid is old enough to think for themselves (which would be about 12, from my experiences) the kid would be influenced by my opinions. I do what I think is right, and I’m going try to share with my kids my opinions. When they turn 12 or 13 or so I’ll let them form their own opinions. As to actually acting on their own opinions (like dating a person of the same sex), that will have to wait until they’re an adult – 18 years old.

stemnyjones's avatar

@ChocolateReigns I pity your children, for being raised in a prejudiced household. Hopefully yours will not be one of the thousands of gay teenagers who commit suicide because they have been taught that it is wrong, dirty, and a sin to feel the way they do.

DominicX's avatar

@ChocolateReigns

Just as a heads up, they’re going to form their own opinions regardless of whether you “let” them or not…

asmonet's avatar

@ChocolateReigns: So, you started thinking for yourself a year ago? That’s a shame. You’re a late bloomer. Hopefully, your kids won’t be. You’re young, and just from a quick glance at your profile I can with some certainty say that your family and your limited access to the community around you have shaped your opinions.

You’re in for a mindfuck if you make it to college. You’ll learn that absolutes don’t exist in the world, and forcing your will on others accomplishes nothing.

stemnyjones's avatar

Omg, haha, she’s 13.

I retract my statement. Hopefully by the time you are old enough to have kids, you will also be old enough to realize that people who are different from you aren’t evil or wrong.

asmonet's avatar

@stemnyjones: Heh, yeah. She’s very young. And has a lot to experience and I think in this day and age by the time she has kids there’s bound to be much more acceptance around her. Hopefully, she’ll feel compelled to participate in it.

stemnyjones's avatar

So, there’s a particular father whose contacted me through email about babysitting for his 4 year old daughter on evenings/nights after the daycare he uses is closed.

I went ahead and informed him that my roommate is my domestic partner, since his daughter is old enough to be aware of her surroundings and ask questions.

I noted that my partner works 10 hours a day, usually evenings and nights, so she shouldn’t be around usually, but when she is, just as an straight couple, there would be no PDA.

Hopefully he doesn’t stop contacting me – but, if he does I won’t really be offended. I’d rather not deal with him finding out later on and blaming me for not telling him.

davidbetterman's avatar

If they don’t ask, don’t tell…

stemnyjones's avatar

@asmonet Yes.. it’s a shame that “I love god” and “I hate gay people” usually come hand-in-hand these days…

asmonet's avatar

I don’t know about usually, but certainly more frequently than is necessary. Acceptance, tolerance and love are the main points, but people keep getting caught up in judgments and throwing stones. Ah, well. Hopefully we’ll all live, and eventually we’ll learn.

stemnyjones's avatar

@asmonet I agree. I suppose it depends on where you live – here, there are sermons about the sins of homosexuals in church on Sundays. And the kind elderly lady in the apartment across from us prays to God to forgive our souls on a regular basis.

galileogirl's avatar

When my daughter needed childcare the important issue was are you licensed?

@stemnyjones The kind elderly lady may be visited by her merh-addicted grandson looking for something to pawn in Grandma’s jewelry box.

MissAusten's avatar

@stemnyjones I’d also suggest you look into licensing. Part of the process of getting a childcare license (at least here in CT) is having a background check on all of the adults in the house. When you have a license, parents start out more willing trust you and less likely to be suspicious. Not that you should hide anything, because then you are setting yourself up for future confrontations. You’ll need to stay on good terms with the families you work with so they will provide a good referral for you. Even if they have no problem with your lifestyle, they may have a problem with feeling like they were lied to or misled.

As an alternative, you could openly advertise your sexual orientation when promoting your childcare services. With all of the paranoia over sex offenders and child molestation, parents should be more comfortable having a gay or lesbian caregiver. Just use the data from this article to demonstrate to parents how safe their children would be in your care. :)

J3's avatar

It might actually be a good thing to mention for your own benefit. Instead of having to deal with any drama later you just weed out the potential clients for whom this might be a problem right from the start. Then you never have to worry about the issue distracting you from your job with your current clients.

Silhouette's avatar

Me being me, I’d go ahead and throw it out there.

stemnyjones's avatar

@galileogirl & @MissAusten Thanks, I didn’t think of that, but I will definitely look into getting licensed.

BTW, the guy said he has no problem with me being gay, so yaay for tolerance.

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