I was reading a blog the other day (I wish I remember which one), and it made me absolutely drop my jaw in disbelief. Because, according to that blogger, she and her husband have NEVER left their 5 year old with a babysitter and had only left her with family for less than an hour (and that was for an emergency of some kind). In 5 years, they had never had a date night, never left their kid, never spent time alone together out of the house.
Look, I understand people who can’t afford a babysitter. It’s not like it’s cheap to hire someone to watch your kid–we lament all the time the fact that a babysitter means that you can make a $30 movie experience into a $60 one, just by going (which is why we don’t go to the movies that often anymore). I GET that.
But…never? I mean, not for an anniversary? Or birthday? Not even if it means saving up?
And if you can afford one and just…don’t?
I just don’t understand this. Maybe it’s because we left the Noodle with one of his grandmothers when he was a wee 5 day old (we went to a movie before she went back home. It was short, sweet, and awesome). We hired our first babysitter when the Noodle was around 2.5 months old. Since then, we’ve left him with babysitters, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, hell, anyone we trust who is willing to take our money or give us a date night when they visit (or when we visit them). I can’t imagine not taking the occasional time away from the kid.
We don’t have family nearby, so we have a handful of babysitters we trust–they all came with recommendations from other parents and we met them before leaving the kid alone with them. Most are daycare teachers during the day, or nannies. The Noodle loves them all, and we love them for that.
But mostly, we love them because they give us a break. They take the kid while we go do…whatever we do. A movie, a dinner, an art show, or even just wandering the town, a babysitter or family member gives us a few hours of being a couple, instead of a family of three.
I don’t understand people who aren’t willing to do that. ESPECIALLY if they have family nearby (that isn’t wacko, of course). I think it’s one of the most important ways we spend our money–something that allows us to talk like grownups, to not be on the kid’s schedule, to reconnect as a couple, not just as the Momma and the Daddy. And while I don’t think a babysitter will ever be as good with the Noodle as we are…I don’t need them to be. I need them to be competent, keep my kid safe and relatively happy, make sure the house doesn’t burn down after he goes to bed, and not go snooping through my drawers. Anything beyond that is really just a bonus.
Am I just crazy?