Elana Sztokman's JewFem blog

Elana Maryles Sztokman, PhD, writer, researcher, educator and activist, writing on issues pertaining to gender and Jewish life in Israel and around the world.

My Son, the Babysitter? Featured

There are moments when I feel bad for boys. Like every time my son tries to get a babysitting job.

The scene is almost always the same. A parent — almost always a mother — calls up to ask my oldest daughter to babysit. My daughter, in age-appropriate behavior for a 17-year old, will often say that she is busy, but that she has a younger brother who may be available.

“But does he know how to babysit?” usually comes the reply. Other times there is an awkward silence, when the offending mother realizes she is about to be obnoxious — sexist really — and tries to make other excuses. Lately, questions about the availability of my son’s younger sister have increased in frequency. She is 12½ , by the way, and is now in high demand, with at least one weekly job.

My son, by contrast, has had about two babysitting jobs in the past six months. (Not to worry, he is in high demand as a dog-walker, so he still has money to go to the movies with his friends.)

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