Mister and I don't go out that much. We talk about having a weekly datenight, or at least biweekly. Even monthly would be grand. A few of our friends know what babysitting in New York is like. It's been $20 an hour. Our first couple of sitters charged $20, plus dinner, plus car service home. Then we found two amazing sitters, both at $20 an hour but without the other stuff and with excellent care for our children. Bama and Rabbit run to the door when Shannon arrives. If I tell them she's coming, they chant her name. I never wonder what is happening when I walk out the door because I know what's happening. They play, they eat, they take baths, they read books, they sing songs, they sleep the sleep of the happy and safe.
In part we feel like you get what you pay for. We tried student sitters and recent grad sitters (at $13-15/hour) and were left uncomfortable. Nothing big. No one was injured. But we didn't love them. One told Bama she had to rotate her bath toys. We don't have a lot of bath toys. It was weirdly controlling. Another put Rabbit's diaper on backwards.
Here's what works for us when we have sitters. We like it when they come in and interact with my children immediately. Take over on the fun front and the leader of the pack front. You're in charge, go ahead. Even when I'm here, they should deal with you, otherwise you never run the ship. I'm not always good at delegating, but I'm getting better.
I like it when I talk to Rabbit and Bama in the morning and they tell me what they did and they are excited and happy recounting the evening.
I like it when I come home to a tidy house. I am not paying for a housekeeper, but I'm paying a lot of money and the least that could happen is you take initiative (thank you to Shannon and L who ALWAYS tidy beyond the call of duty, thank you). It irks me to find dishes in the sink or stuff on table. We're cluttery people, I know that, but don't leave the remains of dinner or play or the day tossed around. From 7:30 until we get back there are at least three hours to watch TV and put the shoes in the shoe bin. Please.
Other families have more specific rules, some have fewer. Let's recap:
– come in and address my children and play with them
– don't create your own rules that are not in line with ours
– please be active with our children. play with them. do art projects with them. laugh with them.
– please tidy the dishes and the living room after they are asleep.
– please, relax and we'll see you when we get home