Life in your 20’s According to “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”

“I don’t believe this! I have to get up at 5:30 every morning so I can beat rush hour traffic into the city and go sit behind a desk for eight hours a day and miss Oprah Winfrey everyday on my summer vacation. And then, I get to drive home in gridlock IN A VOLVO with no air conditioning just so I can take care of you guys and put food on the damn table! It’s a rat race and it sucks, Kenny. So what do you want, a medal?”

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead
Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

If you were part of the ’90s youth, you’ll likely remember the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, the story of unintentionally abandoned siblings for one summer starring a young Christina Applegate as Sue Ellen “Swell” Crandell. The best summer for Sue Ellen revolves around her mother going abroad to Australia, and Sue Ellen assumes responsibility to watch her siblings for the summer months.

Summer freedom is quickly jolted when Mrs. Sturak arrives, a decrepit, whistle-blowing babysitter hired at their mothers request and Sue Ellen’s dismay. Within no time flat, the hellish Mrs. Sturak croaks, and the kids decide to discretely drop her off at the morgue in a trunk with a kindly-worded note attached. The problem? All the cash needed for the summer was left on Mrs. Sturak. Would you call mom? Absolutely not, because it’s the early ‘90s, and we’re going to rock on and get through this on our own.

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Despite it’s ’90s retro palette, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead offers a lot of déjà vu into my post-college life. Here’s what I gathered:

Coping with Coworkers

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

The art of mastering the expressionless poker face doesn’t come naturally for some in the workforce jungle. Whether it irritants above or below you in the office, the key is the keep your cool, and learn the art of psychology of how each individual ticks; you can then handle them accordingly depending on their personality type.

 Learning the Language

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

“I’m right on top of that Rose!” is still a phrase I use to this day because of this movie. Office jargon is easy to pick up on if you have a keen ear to detail. Emphasizing the positive when asked a question is always more assertive and smiled upon than uncertainty.

Quarter Life Crisis

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

It’s real. There’s no guarantee to meeting the age cutoff of 100, but as Carrie Bradshaw explained, “I would never relive my 20s.” It’s a decade of incessant trial and error. The completion of college and fulfillment of accomplishment doesn’t equate to a home-run job straight out of school. The unfamiliar emotions of personal failure, inadequacy and uncertainty become the norm. Screw the 5-year-plan; it’s archaic and unpractical in our era.


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Budgeting never existed in my world prior to graduation, but it’s the ghoulish nightmare your parents always warned you about. When you’re cut off that lucrative parental income, your priorities restructure. Cereal for multiple meals sometimes becomes more of a practicality than a desired option

Work World Uniform

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The corporate jungle has a very structured uniform on how to dress. Fortunately, our generation is a little looser on colors and creativity, and we’re not all slumped in black suits with stockings. But in some offices, being trendy isn’t the formality and blending is preferred.

Relaxation is Necessary

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

The amount of stress in my 20s has resulted to more naps, more massages and more anxiety.

Deadlines Are Real

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

All of a sudden it’s not college group projects that suffocate you, but it’s the post-college you’re-on-your-own deadline stress that matters. You may not be getting a numerical grade, but those QED reports are reliant on you. It’s not just your GPA relying on you to do well, but now it’s a company breathing down your neck to surpass their expectations.

Dating is Weird

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

As if the monotonous question of “what’s your major” didn’t get tiresome enough for four years, now you have to explain what your day job is and the complexities of that stratosphere. The supply of dates have dropped, and the dating apps have become plentiful in current day technology. Dating is weird. Enough said.

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Although this movie is heavily dated with a late 80s, early 90s appeal (I almost forgot that fake nails were hugely popular in the 90s!), the lesson’s remain relevant. It’s a great teen flick if you haven’t seen it yet, and it’ll definitely remind you of the greatness of  your past youthful existence.

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14 thoughts on “Life in your 20’s According to “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead””

  1. Haha this is awesome. I barely remember this movie from watching it as a kid, but now I want to see it again. There is too much on this list to relate to.

    1. It’s dated for sure, but all the themes still reign true in our day! Plus, Christina Applegate’s early 90s fashion is on point! Thanks, Jess! Go watch it…it’s always on HBO!

  2. LOVE this post. I used to watch this movie on repeat when I was a kid, and I love how you incorporated so much of it into your current life.

    “Screw the 5-year-plan; it’s archaic and unpractical in our era.”

    That is so damn true. Everytime a job interviewer asks me “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I’m always tempted to say, “I dunno… alive.”

  3. First, this is awesome. Love this movie and your breakdown is perfection.

    But…I’m confused by your twitter thing here. I linked your post this morning and then went to alert you via twitter and it brought me to some guy named Greg’s twitter and I got confused and now I don’t know what’s going on!

  4. This is the best! I totally watched this not long ago, and it holds up way better than I would’ve thought. All of your points are so spot on, too. I’ve recently ventured a few years into my 30s, and most of these still apply to some degree. In other words, I’m still learning how to adult in some ways. Lol. Anyway, a wise young man once said, I believe he was speaking of adult independence, when he said, “Park it yourself, Metallica breath.”

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