My husband and I RARELY go on date nights. We should probably have them more often, but we are totally fine having our ‘date night’ at home. Even when we were in college, we always would end up staying home instead of going out.
Usually, if we have an event, like a friends birthday party or wedding, my mother-in-law watches our kids. So we have only used an actual babysitter… I think 3 or 4 times. We have a sitter who watches the baby during the week and picks Hudson up from school, so they are used to having caretakers. But for some reason, when they see mom & dad dressed to go out WITHOUT them (and not going to work) they have a massive breakdown.
Hudson usually starts crying… tells us he wants to go… he will miss us… he loves us… says he won’t be able to fall asleep without us there. He really lays it on thick. Now Mila has joined in on the fun… running after us crying & begging to be picked up.
My husband’s sweet parents wanted to take us out to dinner on Saturday night, so I had to bite the bullet and find a sitter.
This time I was determined to get out of the house without anyone having a breakdown (me included)… so here’s how I avoided the babysitter blues!
Meet & Greet: My in-laws gave us a few weeks heads up about dinner, so we would be able to find someone. Luckily, after a quick facebook post, I found a friend I grew up with (who is currently a nanny) was happy to help me out and watch the kids. I had her come by last weekend for a bit, while my husband and I were there so she could meet the kids. That’s when I told Hudson that we we’re going out next weekend and that my friend would be babysitting them. They got to hang out with her, so when she come over again the following weekend, she was familiar.
No Surprises: So now that he knew he was having a sitter, the whole thing wouldn’t come as a surprise. He had all week to think about it, and ask me any questions. (“Where are you guys going?” “Will I be allowed to play iPad while she’s here?”)
Departure Distractions: Leaving is the worst part, at least for my oldest. Mila can be distracted by just getting to push the garage door button. So this time around, I decided to make a little ‘bye-bye bag’ for Hudson. I went to the dollar store and picked up a few little things, then put it in a bag and hid it. When I was getting ready to go, and I saw him starting to get upset… I told him I had a secret. I whispered that I hid a special gift for him near the dog cage, but that he couldn’t open it until we were gone and the garage was closed. Well, that turned his mood around real quick. He was actually excited for me to leave so he could find his surprise and I felt much better knowing he wasn’t crying as I drove away. It was worth the 4 bucks for that alone, and then I could start my night with less anxiety.
Bend the Rules: While we were away, he was allowed to play electronics, iPad, video games, TV.. whatever he wanted. My friend also brought a huge bag full of craft stuff, so he was really excited to dive into that. Having a sitter is a rare thing for us, so I’m okay with making it a ‘special’ night for them. As long as it was okay with my friend, he was allowed to stay up a little later, have dessert, and break a few of my normal restrictions. That way, its kind of a party night not only for me and my husband, but for my kids too.
Check-in, but don’t be a stalker: I told my friend that if Hudson said he wanted to call me (to say goodnight or anything) that she should let him. But I didn’t call them. Even though I wanted to tell him good night, it’s not worth risking getting the kids upset. I did text to make sure everything was ok. It was.
I am happy to say the whole thing went smoothly! My kids had a fun night with a fantastic sitter, and me and my hubby got to have a grown-up evening with our awesome family!