I am a Jewish single mother of two who is trying to get back in the dating scene. My problem is that my babysitter is a very religious Christian woman and I suspect that she is trying to “save” my children by talking to them about Jesus when I’m not there. My older son told me last night that “Jesus is always watching” and that his little brother is going to hell for his sins. She’s been with our family since the boys were small and was very reliable through my divorce. They adore her and so do I, but all this Jesus talk is making me very uncomfortable. Should I let her go?
– Worried Jewish Mother, Atlanta, GA
Yo, Worried Jewish Mother!: Oy, motherhood is hard enough without someone trying to sabotage you at every turn. I can understand that this woman is a vital part of your support system who makes it possible for you to find another Jewish mate. But no matter how much a part of the family she may feel, the fact is, she’s not. You pay her to take care of your children and that is a business relationship, first and foremost.
As her boss, you must sit down with her, perhaps with a cup of tea and a nosh at the kitchen table, and explain to her that yours is a Jewish family and her efforts to save your children from the pits of hell is not in the job description. Tell her you respect her religious beliefs but you will not tolerate its agenda in your home. Give her a month or so to change her ways; if your sons start drawing stigmata on their hands with Magic Markers, she’s fired.
Your sons may be close to her, but it will not be the end of the world to choose a new caregiver to develop a relationship with your children who won’t undermine your efforts to raise menschs.
Of course, your sons may be curious about the ginormous cross around her neck and ask questions about the bubbeminza that she’s been shtupping them. You can tell them (privately) that Babysitter believes different things than we do, but be prepared to answer questions about what we do believe. Helping your children develop a Jewish belief system is your job, single or not. You can do much to create a Jewish home on your own; light the candles with your sons on Friday night instead of going out. Take them to Sunday school. Who knows? You might meet a single Jewish father on carpool duty.