Babysitter: Not!!

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
The owner of my company has two elementary school-aged daughters
that the babysitter drops off at the office after school every day
around 3:00. The problem is that their mother is usually in meetings
or on the phone, so they hang out at my desk. At first I thought they
were charming but now I’m getting sick of it, as well as the fact that
I’m behind in my work. I’m not sure how to talk to the owner about
this without offending her. Guidance, please.
Babysitter: Not!!

Dear Babysitter/Not!!:
Assumptions: You want to keep your job; Your boss trusts you with her kids;
You’re not the only one in the office; Your boss doesn’t want to pay a babysitter
or after-school service; You’re not afraid to speak to your boss, but aren’t sure
how to phrase your concerns and requests. To the last: Your Jewish Fairy
Godmother’s First Commandment is to Ask for what you want. The trick is that
you can’t ask until you know what you want. So if the advice below, or any other
future advice, doesn’t ring true with both your head and gut, tweak it for yourself
until it does, and the idea of speaking feels more right than scary.

Ask your boss for ten minutes to help you solve a delicate problem. When you’re
in her office, lay it out simply as you did for me: I like your daughters. They’re bright,
funny, and really neat kids. but I am worried you think I have more attention to
give them than I really do, or am watching them more carefully than I am able to
do, and still do my job. The time I am giving is pulling me away from my work,
which makes me worry about my own productivity. Is there an office that could be
designated as The Homework Room, and a schedule we could set, for me and
perhaps others to check on their progress, bring them snacks, and so on. Then
shut up and see what she says. My bet is that the right mix of sincerity, concern
for the daughter and your job, and general collegiality will win your more points
than you might expect.