US mum divides internet by paying babysitter to do list of household chores

Screengrab composite from @kivankc's TikTok videos of the list and clutter
A working mum has shared a controversial method for maintaining a clean home when your schedule is already stretched. Photo credit: @kivankc / TikTok

A working mum has shared a controversial method for maintaining a clean home when your schedule is already stretched: paying your babysitter to do chores.  

Katrina Ivan, who goes by the username @kivankc on TiKTok, is a mother, teacher and small business owner who says household chores often get "let go for too long" due to her full to-do list.   

A good solution, she claims, is to provide your babysitter with a list of optional tasks they can complete around the house for extra cash.

Ivan shared an example of the list she leaves her babysitter in a series of photos on her TikTok, which have since been viewed over 1.5 million times and attracted almost 2000 comments. 

"I am a teacher and I have a small business that is in the busy season. Little things have been let go for too [long]. If my sitter decides to do this, I'll be forever grateful. If not, I'll get to it later like I [already] had planned," she captioned the carousel, along with the hashtags "#workingmom", "#toddlermom" and "#timeflies".

"The clutter is making all of us feel stressed. I was going to stay home to clean, but I could use a date night. Seems like a good compromise." 

The list in question outlined various chores around the home with a monetary value for each, ranging from US$3 (NZ$4.90) to US$15 (NZ$24.50).

"You are more than welcome to hang out and watch TV all night but if you want to make some extra $, these jobs are up for grabs," the mum wrote on the list.  

"Just let me know if you decided to do any of these and the grand total I owe you on top of the babysitting money. Thanks for being here." 

The optional tasks included organising the kitchen island for US$10; organising her son's toys for $10; vacuuming the couch for $3; scrubbing and reorganising the silverware drawer for $10; cleaning the fridge and reorganising the food for $15; sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor for $10; and cleaning the windows and mirrors for $10.

Ivan said the babysitter, a 17-year-old student of hers, typically watches her two-year-old son between 7:30pm and 11:30pm.

"He was already asleep when [my babysitter] got here," she explained in a follow-up video. "So she did [the chores] while he was sleeping, and it was a choice - she didn't decide to do all of it and that's fine.

"She did have to watch the monitor to ensure he was safe, but he never woke."

Katrina Ivan's list for her babysitter
The list of optional chores and the compensation Ivan left out for her babysitter. Photo credit: @kivankc / TikTok

Ivan claimed her babysitter was thrilled to earn some extra money and tackled several of the tasks offered to her, including cleaning the glass, organising his toys, vacuuming the couch, and reorganising the silverware drawer. She added that she had bumped up the payment for vacuuming the sofa to $10, meaning she paid the sitter an additional $40 on top of the $75 she earned for babysitting - $115 (NZ$188) in total. 

"She's a teenager who appreciates the extra money," the mum said. "She would make $12.50 at a part time job and makes between $20-$30 an hour working for me... [That's] $28.75 (NZ$47) per hour for babysitting a sleeping toddler and choosing what to clean." 

But many weren't convinced, with Ivan's strategy sparking a divided response among viewers - several of whom condemned the list as "offensive". 

"With how messy your house is you'd better double those amounts," one declared, while a second added: "Those are 1990 prices."  

"As a teen who babysat nearly every weekend, I would have been incredibly offended by this... horrible idea," another said, while others argued babysitters and nannies aren't maids or professional cleaners.  

"I think communicating in person [would be better], like, 'Hey, seriously no obligation to do any of it, but I will compensate you if you do'," a third suggested, to which Ivan responded: "Oh, I absolutely will. I always leave her a little note with where we will be and what time, the health insurance card, and the number for poison control. That's in a separate sheet." 

"I think $10 is too cheap for some of these tasks considering the amount of work/size of the mess," a fourth weighed in, with Ivan replying: "I'll definitely be restructuring the prices to make this more fair in the future. Thanks for the advice."  

Others applauded the idea, with many current or former babysitters praising Ivan for offering additional compensation and alternative ways to earn money.  

"As a babysitter that usually just cleans anyways [because] I can't sit still, I'd appreciate the thought and compensation!" one said, with another commenting: "This is a great idea! Sometimes it's boring to just sit and watch TV, this makes time go by quicker and sometimes it's things I would do to help."  

"I think this is a great opportunity for your babysitter. You're giving a choice, and I love that," a third said.

"I think this is great, especially your saying pick and choose if you want to do some or all or none. I would have loved the list to know how to help," another added, with Ivan responding: "I hope she likes the extra money and it gives me some more time to relax with my family tomorrow in a clean house."