Tag Archives: date night

Paying A Stranger To Look After Your Babe

Babysitters. It sounds like a nice-enough word, but really it can and has thrust many a mom into a tailspin.

It seems babysitters are now just a part of parenting. Since several families are raising kids in places where Grandma or Aunt Peaches doesn’t live just across town, we have to seek out help in filling the gaps. There’s mommy doctor appointments, difficult errands and oh yeah, Date Night.

And so the search begins. You can rely on your other mommyfriends to either step in or give recommendations or you can use an online service that finds sitters. I used one and it’s been a godsend. It does background checks, you can sort by age , price or language. Nifty. All but one of our babysitters has come from the service.

When Logan was 4 months old, hubby worked in an evil fiefdom. The CEO of the company had a holiday party for employees and their families and the RSVP was essentially Attend or Offend. Well my little guy had a cold and I wasn’t going to bring him out into the November night, it was bad enough that I had to be there. So I hopped on my computer to find a sitter.

I remember leaving the house and feeling like an unfit mom extraordinaire. But I made it through, and she was a wonderful sitter.

The first few sitters though can be really rough. Here’s this stranger, in your home. Doing your job. Taking care of your child.

And it’s odd meeting a new one. You want to say “Hi, nice to meet you! If you harm a hair on my child’s head, I’ll kill you. Thanks for helping us out, the numbers are on the fridge!”

But keep doing it, it gets easier. 

  • Find someone with a level of experience that you’re comfortable with. I prefer my sitters to be in college who have worked at a daycare, though most of my gal pals use high schoolers and they’ve been great too.
  • Check their references. The best part of finding a sitter is talking with other moms who have entrusted this person to care for their child. Ask the usual questions to suss out the sitter but feel free to be honest and say “Hey, I’m nervous to have her take care of my baby.” The other mom will be supportive and end up giving you more information that can help you make your decision.
  • Create a “profile page” on your child. Ours includes pertinent medical information, his schedule and preferences. It also comes in handy when the grandparents are making an appearance. We keep a file on our laptop so that it’s easy to update.
  • Have the sitter come over to meet you and your child, to help ease the adjustment for your little one. I’ve often been in binds where this isn’t always possible, so my workaround has been to have them start an hour early. That way they get the tour of the house, get a good read of the profile page and can ask questions without the time pressure of the parents rushing out of the house. It also allows you, the sitter and your child to just play together so that everyone can get comfortable with each other.

Getting a sitter can seen like a chore, but one that’s worth it.

Hi, Have We Met? I’m Your Wife…

You work all day, come home, get dinner together, put your kid to bed, eat dinner yourself, often in front of the TV, all the while exchanging a few words here and there with your spouse. It’s not until you’ve both decompressed, which is usually about bedtime, that you can turn to each other and mean it when you say: “How are you?” But before your partner can finish the answer, you’ve drifted off to sleep.

And repeat.

Couples with kids and demanding jobs have it hard. You get so caught up in the day-to-day that it becomes a chore to try to stay connected. You know you need to have Date Nights but then there’s getting the babysitter, finding time in your schedule, staying awake, spending the money… All of that. I get it, believe me. It’s tough, we just have to be tougher.

BC (Before Child) hubby and I used go and to all kinds of interesting things, now… not so much. Though simply because we’re parents doesn’t mean our life as a couple is over, we just have to work harder to attain it. We used to have Kid Free time by going out with other couples or to parties, then slowly realized even though we had Kid Free time it wasn’t Our Time. We weren’t reconnecting because we were always surrounded by other people.

What we started doing is having our Date Night sometime during the week. Twice a month on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and it’s just a few hours. Not the usual dinner and a movie, I fall asleep before the opening credits are over. But just a quiet dinner where we talk about our day. And each time, it sounds hokey, but I fall in love with him just a little bit more. When we’re just chit-chatting over pasta I see that charming boy who wooed me in college instead of the man who forgot to take out the trash. It’s good stuff.

I know it’s hard to carve out time for each other, but I encourage you to do so because you owe it to yourselves. Also when mommy and daddy are on the same page and happy, it makes a happy home. I never want to be one of those couples who wake up after their kids leave the nest and wonder who is this stranger they’re living with.

Connecting with your spouse, we all need to do it. Here’s a few ideas to help make the magic happen:

  • After the kids are down sit out on the porch with a glass of wine, a beer, light a candle and just talk. Not about anything on a To Do list, just shoot the breeze.
  • Find a mommy friend who can come over and look after your kids while you have Date Night, then do the same for her. 
  • Make it a priority. Schedule a date one month from now and treat it as a doctor appointment that cannot be rescheduled.
  • Change it up. There’s a lot you can do in two hours, dinner, bowling, a long walk, shoot, even a high-school syle smooch fest.
  • Just do it.