For every sitter, there is a season

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Categories Childcare, Infants

This is my last week with my babysitter. *sob!* Alas, she’s a college senior, and graduation approaches. So, on Friday, we will say goodbye to her. And while I’ll miss having her, I think I’m ready.

As my kids approached about 4 months old, I decided I was ready to hire a babysitter. In fact, more than ready, I needed someone. Love my kids to pieces though I do, after four months of 24/7 SAHM, I needed a little break. Just the occasional hour or two in the afternoon to run an errand without the Double Snap N Go, without bottles, without meltdowns. Plus, they had gotten to the age where they were a little easier to take care of, a little happier, a little more predictable. I felt comfortable leaving them with a babysitter, without having to write a 500-page instruction manual. (“If the cry sounds kind of like a whine, then she’s probably tired. If she’s screaming so hard that her face is turning purple, then she’s hungry.”)

I found my sitter through one of my two Sources of All Good Things: my moms of twins club (the other SoAGT is Cook’s Illustrated, in case you were wondering). One of the members works at a college where she coaches an athletic team, a bunch of the women on the team love to babysit, and voilà! A match! We met, we agreed she’d come three afternoons per week for two hours per day. The first few days, she came over and I didn’t go anywhere, but instead introduced her to the kids, the house, and all of the “stuff” that goes along with infants. I gave her the list of emergency numbers. And on the third day, I left the house. By myself. It was delightful. I didn’t stay out for long, but still…

It has been a great break over the last few months, especially in the crappy winter weather where we spent so much time indoors. I knew that, three afternoons per week, I could take a little break. Run to the store without kids, go to the gym (OK, that only happened twice), or even just sit at a cafe and have a quiet lunch. As much as I am glad that I’m a SAHM, we all need a little break to recharge the batteries every now and then.

But as my kids got on a more predictable schedule, and as the weather improved, my regular babysitter time felt a little less critical. In fact, I found myself needing to come up with something to do during “her” time, and was sometimes even a little bummed on days she was coming, because I knew she would be there during prime baby outing time (i.e. 3-5pm). Don’t get me wrong, I would hardly send her away. I used the time, even if it just meant going to Whole Foods and picking up something for dinner. But I didn’t “need” it quite as much as I did a few months ago.

And so, on Friday, we say goodbye to our beloved babysitter, and wish her well. In a few months, as fall turns into winter again, I may try to find another sitter to come play with my then-toddlers. I know I’ll still need the time, especially when cabin fever sneaks back into town. But right now, when stroller-friendly weather is more frequent and there are promises of grandparent visits on the horizon, I think I’ll spend my time on long walks around the pond, playdates with our other twin friends, and maybe even using the swingset my aunt is soon giving to me. It’s amazing how a little sunshine and temperatures above freezing can make things seem a bit easier. Even life with two infants.

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5 thoughts on “For every sitter, there is a season”

  1. oh, i’m so glad you were able to enjoy a sitter for that time! we had a similar set up when the boys were 3-6 months, and then after that i was solo. now at 15 months, we’re looking for a sitter again to come in 2-3 days a week for 3 hours. i guess it comes in waves – i find it VERY IMPORTANT right now to get some time for myself. i think as SAHM’s, we hit developmental milestones and regressions, just like our kiddos. let’s just say i’m hitting a regression right not – and hopefully if i get a little time to nurture myself, it will turn into a milestone!

  2. I agree-it is so nice to have some me time every once in a while-especially me time for a nap! :) But I do find when I have that break I miss me kids SO much-I can’t be gone from them for very long!

  3. There is just not enough gold in the world to pay for a great babysitter. Although we didnt have the opportunity to use the one we have now any more often than just about once a month, if that much, still knowing she is there and that she is so good with our kids is a priceless security for me. Tracey~ your statement “i think as SAHM’s, we hit developmental milestones and regressions, just like our kiddos” should go down in the book of “Things no one told me about being a mom” (especially of multiples). WOW! So glad to know its not just me. I remember around the time the kids were 2 or so, feeling like I was ready to put them in daycare just for my sanity. We all have moments or days from time to time like that, but for a while there, it was almost everyday for me! Luckily, we all grew out of that slump and started enjoying every day again.

  4. Also wanted to add that when we do take time to use a good babysitter to watch our kids, dont we almost always come back so much happier and refreshed and ready to face the world again? Its like I can come home after some “me time” to screaming kids and messes and tons of dishes to do with so much more patience and love than if I had been with them constantly throughout that day.

  5. love this post. i find that getting a few breathing moments alone during the week changes my perspective. i juggle part time work with full time mamahood but am lucky to have live in grandparents (i would never have imagined writing that at 17). in the time when i am away i know the boys are getting the best love and care than can. here is to moments for ourselves and the way we feel when we arrive home to twice the love.

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