Since we no longer live near the kids' grandparents, we've started looking for babysitters. Scary for us, since we've never actually needed to hire one before. I'm a little nervous about leaving the kids with someone they don't know very well, but lets face it, Mom and Dad really need some US time away from the kids! We try to sneak out sometimes, I'll join him while he's fishing on the dock, or we'll try to have a glass of wine on the deck after we've put the kids to bed, but more often than not the kids end up joining us. The past week or so we've ended up staying up until almost 2 every night, just trying to catch up on our shows and with each other, since the kids have been fighting bedtime (it gets darker later here than in TX and it has royally messed up our kids' bedtime routines!) and not going to sleep until 9:30 or 10 every night. Last night we ended up staying up until like 2:30 just talking and catching up with each other. While I do cherish the fact that after almost 10 years of marriage, we still have that much to say to each other, I DO have 3 kids to take care of as well as laundry and houswork etc, and I DO need some sleep! LOL. The great news is that we live in an AWESOME community with tons of available sitters. I put an ad out on our neighborhood email list and within 2 days had like 15 possible sitters. Some I think might be a bit too young (a few 13 and 14 year olds) to take care of all 3, but they might work if I just need someone to watch Erin while we take the other 2 to a movie or something. I know I started babysitting when I was 12 and didn't have any problems, but then again I grew up with my mom running a home day care so I had taken care of kids for years. There were also several high school and even college kids that responded, and almost all of them have taken a red cross babysitting course that seems to be a big thing now. We met with one gal who was really nice, got along great with the kids, (even Erin, who tends to be very shy, warmed up to her after only about 30 minutes) and is a trained lifeguard so I know during the summer if the kids want to swim while she's here, they will be in good hands. Our shorefront is pretty shallow though too, so I don't need to worry too much. We're going to give her a chance on Saturday night, it is my Grandma's birthday so we're going to take her out for dinner.
I know my mom thinks I'm a little rediculous when it comes to sitters for my kids, and the fact that I've never hired one. But then again there never was a need to, whenever we mentioned possibly hiring a teenager, my MIL offered to watch them, and we didn't really know many teenagers anyway. We did hire my brother a few times but that's it.
In August though, I'm going to be in a wedding (we think Scott is too, according to the bride, but as the groom hasn't manned up yet and actually asked him, Scott is not making definite plans yet LOL). Between the rehersal dinner on Friday night, then the wedding and reception and aftermath on Saturday we're going to need a sitter for quite a bit of time. Since we may stay overnight on Saturday rather than drive home late at night (and quite possibly a bit drunk) we decided to beg my mom to fly up instead of leaving the kids with a teenager or even a college kid. We offered to pay for the ticket even, and thankfully she said yes as long as she can get the time off.
Yes, true, part of it is that I worry that a teenager won't take as good of care of them as a grandparent would. That's a big concern, but an even bigger concern is that my children will go crazy and the babysitter will run from our house screaming in terrror. At least I don't have to worry (much) about that happening with my mom. I'm honestly very glad I have a long list of sitters because I'm terrified that my children will be the Dennis the Menace of the neighborhood, and when the sitters see our number on the caller ID they will ignore our calls! I love my kids dearly, but they are a total handful! I plan to meet with a few others on our list and introduce them to the kids and give them a try. I remember sitting for some terrors because their parents paid well, hopefully if we pay well we'll get some good sitters to agree to watch our monsters LOL.
For all you parents out there who have hired sitters, any advice? I'm only going from my perspective as a former sitter, and if truth be told, a damn good one at that. I'd hire me in a second. I never talked on the phone or had people over, I followed the parents rules, I played with the kids, I cleaned up any messes, I was awesome. I hope I can find a sitter who is that good. :-)