For all my talk about getting out with (and without) the kids, this weekend provided a way-overdue first in my house: leaving the kids with a real babysitter for a real date.
I briefly had a regular babysitter when my kids were about six months old, a college student who came a few afternoons a week. And on the rare occasion that my parents or in-laws are in town, they might stay at home after we put the kids to bed and let us go out for dinner.
But, somehow, this was different. A person quite unrelated to us. A person we paid (a silly quantity of money) to come stay at our house on a Saturday night. As we have no family in the area and are relatively new in our town, we don’t have a long list of high school students at our beck and call. But M’s coworker’s fiancée is looking for sitting hours? Well, that’s all the motivation we needed.
I will admit to some anxiety on the timing. We had tickets to an 8:00 movie, and figured we should get there at 7:30 to get seats. That’s when we’re usually walking out of the kids’ room after stories. We hemmed and hawed and my husband thought we should put them to bed early so we’d be done before we needed to leave. I was the one who made the executive decision that the sitter (whom they had never met before) would put the kids to bed.
Gasp! Is such a thing even possible?
Well, duh, of course it is. They’re nearly two. They have a very well-established bedtime routine. They are, really, quite easy. But we were stuck in that infant mindset of “oh, we couldn’t possibly ask someone else to put them to bed, it’s just too hard!” Pshaw. The sitter came at 7 and played with them for a little bit. We all went upstairs and I got the kids into the tub. Pulled out some pajamas, told the sitter where the books were and whose bed was whose, and we left. Some minor whining as we said goodbye, but by the time we got downstairs, all was quiet.
I will admit that we both sat in that movie theater with our phones in our hands, just in case we didn’t hear it ring or feel it vibrate. We briefly considered calling to ask how bedtime went. (We did not, in fact, call.)
Being out at the movie was a delight, and we came home to a perfectly quiet house. If the kids were perhaps a touch clingy in the morning, it was nothing outside the normal range of toddler clinginess.
Was it a lot of money to have someone basically watch TV? You bet. But the feeling of not being chained to our house after the kids go to bed? Priceless.