The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin was a book series that helped me overcome childhood trauma and taught me how to be an entrepreneur. I hadn't realized the significance of the series until its Netflix debut in July of 2020. It was then; all the feelings came rushing back—the nostalgia, the fear, and the overwhelming sense of bravery, the stories instilled in me.
In 1993, both my mother and my grandmother died, less than four weeks apart. Three years prior, my biological father died. My childhood was destroyed by death and trauma. I was left to live with a stepfather who abused my siblings and me for years. I found comfort, alone, sitting in my dimly lit closet, hiding from the hurt. Reading The Baby-Sitters Club series made me feel safe and welcome; I needed that. I needed those girls.
She was the main character of Baby-Sitter's Club. She was a strong leader who had the original idea of creating an all encompassed babysitting service that was convenient and reliable. She came from a broken family. Her dad left her mother to raise her and her siblings alone. I immediately connected with her resourceful and creative mentality. She motivated me to become an aspiring business owner, creating services and products for those in need. She led, managed, and propelled a business that became the glue of many relationships.
The reserved girl. The loss of her mother, her insecurities, and people-pleasing mentality, left her dying inside. She was smart, reserved, and stuck inside her head. That was me. I could do anything, but the fear of being weird or a nerd kept me mentally bound.
The artsy girl. The fashionista whose parents wanted the best for her. Except for one thing, she wasn't allowed to celebrate her abilities. She was the Black sheep of her family. Claudia faced a family emergency that almost silenced her creative voice. Claudia was the me; I couldn't be. The me who was trapped in a world of fear. Afraid of telling my truths, for they may hurt others.
The new girl was a product of divorce. Her mother was a free-spirited woman, seeking to find herself after her separation. Dawn seemed to have the freedom to live life as she pleased. Of course, she had rules. However, her mom was like her best friend. She was usually the responsible one in their mother-daughter dynamic. As a child, I felt as if I had to be more mature than my age allowed. I was made to be responsible for things no child should deal with.
The elusive girl. Stacey seemingly ditched her friends to hang out with other kids or go on secret getaways. But, this was far from the truth. She was living with a secret. Stacey was sick. She had diabetes. Embarrassed about her condition, Stacey often disappeared when she was felt ill and needed medical treatment. Her friends, who she'd known for many years, had no idea. I didn't have an illness, but I had a secret. The abuse I suffered kept me in fear. Fear of exposing the truth, fear of being ostracized, and fear of further hurt.
Although the Baby-Sitters Club
television show is tailored more toward today's children, it still had the storyline and strategically placed nostalgic items from the past. Like the light-up phone the girls purchased from Etsy. Nonetheless, each characters’ story resonated with me. This group of girls faced adversity. They lived in single-parent homes, they had medical illnesses, struggled with family drama, and they dealt with quarrels amongst themselves. But, through all of those things, their support for one another remained unscathed. Thank you, Ann M. Martin, for creating an inclusive community for girls to thrive.