The Craziest Babysitting Job Ever Chauffeured by a Mitsubishi Outlander

Blogging is one of the loves of my life and, luckily, there happen to be some pretty cool perks as well.  In addition to having the coolest email conversations with readers and making friends on Twitter, once in a while you get to do really fun stuff with brands.

Last month I did two really fun things. I went on a free trip to Nashville with our columnist Katie on behalf of Hampton Hotels’ #Hamptonality campaign. I also got to drive a Mitsubishi Outlander for a week for free. The timing of my week-long test drive was extremely convenient considering we are a “one car family” and I had plans to babysit my three adorable cousins overnight in the suburbs.

I’ll introduce you to my cousins, introduce you to the car that drove us everywhere, then provide some funny highlights of my day as a babysitter.

Meet my Cousins

Simon: age 12.  Loves challenging the Pythagorus theorem, his advanced math class and teaching me about grammar.

Status on Day of my Visit: On day two of being home sick with the flu when I came to visit.

Toni: age 8.  The sweetest and smartest little girl I’ve ever met.  How precious is this pic of her with hubby at our wedding?!

Status on Day of my Visit: Prepping her outfit for the Candyland Daddy Daughter Dance.

Eli: age 4.

Nickname: The Negotiator

Loves: being “naked with his underwear on,” singing Green Day songs, strategically delaying bedtime and challenging everything.

Meet the Mitsubishi Outlander

My cute car got dropped off to me right in front of my office the day of my trip out to the burbs. The Outlander was the perfect size for a city girl who needed to park in tight spaces, but it also did the job when I was toting three kids around town.

The car came equipped with XM Radio (a must for any car I would buy) and a touch screen GPS that rivaled our BMW’s. The GPS was touch screen which is SO much easier to use than doing everything with a dial.  I used the GPS way more than I would have liked.  Getting around Naperville confuses me every time because, at a first glance, everything looks the same.

I remember thinking something didn’t seem right when I first drove the car.  If I shifted, it sounded better (rocket science, I know). After a few more blonde moments, I realized this car let you switch in and out of manual mode.  I’ll admit that manual mode was kind of fun to drive in once in a while since you shift from levers on the steering wheel.

The sound system was also an unexpectedly impressive.  I loved singing to cheesy pop songs (thinking I would be a “cool” cousin) while I drove the kids around.  Eli didn’t think my efforts were cool at all. He responded by saying (in a completely serious voice): “I hate this song.” or “Could you please stop singing?”


A new 2013 Outlander Sport is priced from about $19,000-25,000 – not bad.  The drawbacks for me were the plasticy interior and that leather seats aren’t an option – an awful thing for the Giada hair that invades my life on a daily basis.

Our dog Giada destroying the couch cushion and shedding absolutely EVERY WHERE.  

PS- Why do dogs love sitting like this?  Giada is acting like a 75 pound cat…

Overall, the car was cute and fun to drive.  Gas mileage seemed great for all the driving I did. I like that this car fits the price point and the needs of most girls my age.

Now for the Adventures in Babysitting.

1pm: Have my first experience of what it might feel like to be a working Mom.  Get called into an “emergency” meeting at work with the CEO of my company and a few directors. Have a hard stop at 1:30pm so I can make it to pre-school in time.

3pm: Pick up Eli from school pre-school.  I cannot believe how tiny those little chairs are and how funny a room full of four year olds is.  When I asked which of his cute little classmates were his friends, he said:  “they are all my friends.” If only we could all still say that!

3:15: Head home and make sure Simon isn’t puking.  I arrive to see Simon wearing a very grown up full-length robe.  He seems better but, in other news, the heater is broken.

3:45: the puppy throws up all over the floor.

3:50: Toni’s principal calls the house.  She has Toni waiting at school.  Toni was told her cousin Nicole would be picking her up today…mad dash to school ensues.  Guilt and apologies follow.

4:30: Get everyone ready to leave the house for Eli’s swim lessons, get coats on and start heading to the car.  Heater repair man shows up.  I guess we’re skipping swimming today…

There is a safety risk of keeping the heater on so it will need to be shut off for the night.  Forecast: 3-5 inches of snow overnight with unusually high winds.

6:00: Talk to Simon about whether or not he’s up for baseball practice.  He’s not.

6:15: Simon is convinced that if he went out to dinner, he’d feel better.  Since I’m still (attempting) to work from my lap top, this sounds great to me.  Negotiations on where to go begin.

7:00: After a few tears and some sibling bargaining, we settle on Noodles & Company.  We cause a minor scene in the restaurant over where to sit and if we can drink pop. Eli sings to the restaurant while standing up in his chair.  Our food arrives and we get a call from my aunt: Heater Man is back with a part and is waiting in the driveway to be let in.

7:30: I receive a very passionate and long-winded education from Heater Man on every furnace available. This guy loves his career. He educated me on brands, warranties, prices, efficiency and his personal favorites.  I am suddenly scared to be a homeowner. Then it dawns on me that I have no idea why he is telling me all of this and not my aunt…

8:00: Piano lessons begin for Simon & Toni at the house.  Eli is wearing only his underwear and LOUDLY sword fighting with himself while making weird normal little boy noises. He breaks up his pretend war by throwing balls at Simon’s head during the lesson then running away.  I swear he knows how cute I think he is and does this on purpose to push the limits when I visit.

It’s already past Eli’s bed time and I realize the shower has been running for 15 minutes in preparation for his arrival.  I tell him he is killing a fish for every extra minute the water is on.  He asks which kinds of fish he is killing and how many minutes it would take for him to kill a whale.

8:15: Interrupt my aunt at her company’s very cool spring launch event with Tie The Knot in NYC so she can decide which (very expensive) furnace she’d like to purchase.

9:00: Heater Man gives us some bad news. Lots of the furniture and shelving will need to be moved in order to to fit the furnace into the basement. They’ll also need the cleaning lady to let them in around 10am the next morning.  The problem is that she doesn’t speak any English so I can’t exactly call her to tell her this.

9:30: Simon and I attempt to move furniture.  We quickly realize we do not have a future in the moving business.  We move a dresser and a TV (the least of our problems) but can’t even get the shelving unit to budge.  We have a good laugh and agree we should consider getting in better shape.

10:00: At this point I’m just a horrible babysitter.  Eli should have been sleeping hours ago.  The kids all beg for a “sleepover” and start negotiating who can sleep where.  Toni, Eli, puppy and a bright glow-in-the-dark pillow end up in the bed with me.

4:00am: I wake up on the very edge of the king-sized bed with something cold on my face.  It’s Eli’s butt.  He’s decided to un-dress in the night and sleep sideways on the pillows.

Morning: Simon throws up his breakfast which means day three of no school but I still have to go to work. Eli hears that Simon’s staying home, so he wants to stay home too.  Eli fakes sick and puts on a great show complete with a few tears and him holding his stomach for effect.  We call my aunt (and Simon’s doctor) then decide to leave the kids with Aunt Rita for the day.  Drive to another burb ensues on my way back to the city.

Conclusion:  I couldn’t love these little people more.  This was by far the most dramatic babysitting experience of my life and also the one that I laughed the most.  Shortly after this I agreed to take the kids up to their lake house for a weekend in July.  Next time I’ll be sure to document the experience with several videos and pictures!

A big thank you to Mitsubishi for letting me drive your car for a week!  It was the perfect car to compliment our adventures!

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.