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Friday, April 01, 2011

This Week I'm Grateful For...Our Babysitter

One of the negatives to living in a separate State to pretty much our entire family, is that we're always short of someone to help us out with the kids. (And I'm not saying this is the worst thing about living apart from family - not by any stretch of the imagination - just one downside.)

The first time Hubby and I got a night out to ourselves after our eldest son was born, was when  he was around 14 months old. Yup. Fourteen months had passed without a single date.

That particular time, friends babysat for us and our son was fine, but he didn't sleep overly well, and we had to take him to their place for the night and pick him up to take him home back to bed, rather than they come to our place. Besides, they had two kids of their own, so we never really felt comfortable asking them to watch our boys (even thought they did do so a number of times after that).

In fact, I'm never comfortable asking friends to watch my kids (it's not their problem we don't have anyone to help us), and tend to only ask when I feel I have no other option. I'm very grateful that my friend, Jen, has taken the kids numerous times here and there when I've needed to do stuff (and I'm not talking shoe shopping or working on my tan - I mean, stuff I need to do).

After the 7yr old was born, Hubby and I figured we needed a babysitter. Up until then, I'd been hesitant to get one. The idea of a complete stranger looking after my children was terribly nerve-wracking for me. However, Hubby had a friend at work who spoke highly of his babysitter, and suggested we contact her. He had five kids himself, so we figured if she could babysit that many kids at one time, surely she could cope with our two?

She was great from the word go. Very comfortable and relaxed with the kids, but firm, and able to distract them and entertain them. And now, I can't imagine what it would be like if we were to suddenly lose her (and her husband, who also comes along for company and is equally great with the kids).

The kids love it when she comes. She always has some activity planned for them, or brings something along to do with the boys. For example, on my 40th birthday, I came home from my party to find a long banner made for me, decorated by the kids. Another time, we found pictures of ghosts and spiders on our pillows (to scare us)!

The boys love to give her their news, and a highlight for them is that she always gives them a made up story from her imagination at bedtime. (I tell you - that's a gift. I'm completely ordinary at doing the same thing. Give me a book to read from any day.)

So this week I'm grateful for our babysitter (and her hubby). I love that we can depend on them and that our kids love having them here. It makes our going out on occasion that much more enjoyable knowing our boys are in safe hands.

Thanks to Maxabella for hosting the weekly grateful post. Check out her blog for her own grateful post and more posts by other bloggers.

Do you have a babysitter? What's he/she like? Did you have a babysitter as a kid that you were fond of? What are you grateful for this week?


Maxabella said...

We have been incredibly lucky that family and friends have always fulfilled our "babysitting" needs (we don't get out much!) Coo and I swap out a day a month and LOML's Ialian family can't do enough for us. Lucky! I cant imagine how hard it is to not have family to be there, Jodie. But we do have the lovely JJ who is our Mon and Tues after school nanny and she is wonderful! x

Posie Patchwork said...

Ha, i hear you!! Have to say when we were living in the same state as our parents, it was clear VERY clear they weren't interested in any babysitting duties, especially at night, even if we promised to be home by 8p.m.. Didn't matter if my soldier was coming home from war or we had a wedding, we found it easier to hire & pay our nieces to babysit - when you pay, you can outline rules, it's great!!
I don't have a particularly exciting life of night events & now my husband lives interstate (um, living interstate from family including your husband anyone??) we're at the stage when our eldest can babysit for short periods, so i go to the gym & we'll eventually build up to a dinner out locally next time my husband is in town. Wait long enough, your off spring can do the job, they expect payment too!! Love Posie

Shelley said...

Miss A will be 18 months next week and still not one night out on our own for us. My parents live interstate, and even though friends offer, I just don't feel right leaving Miss A with them. Mother's guilt and all that. The irony is that working in childcare and nannying I've spent countless nights caring for little and big ones so that other couples can enjoy date nights! xx

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Good babysitters are gold - I'm so glad you've found one to treasure. We have teenage girls living right next door, so at the end of the night I just have to stand on the front veranda and watch them walk to their front door - bliss.

Zoey @ Good Goog said...

With most of my family living far away our babysitting options are a little on the sparse side too. Husband is under the impression that once I have the baby we'll be able to start going out to dinner a whole lot more (probably because my enthusiasm for going out has dwindled significantly in absence of wine options). I'm wondering if he remembers how breastfeeding works?

Cate said...

I know exactly waht you're talking about!! We live interstate from everybody too. But we have been lucky to find a couple of great sitters through meerkat's creche. So I'm happy, and the kiddos are too - win-win!!
have a great weekend Jodie

bigwords is... said...

My mum os always on hand to give us a rest when we need it, but we are thinking that building a relationship with a babysitter will allow us to have a few more nights out for fun! It's the frivolous, fun nights out which tend to disappear once you have children. Love that your baby sitter sounds so cool x

Naturally Carol said...

I was in exactly the same position when my kids were young..my parents were in NZ and my husbands parents..interstate! It takes time to establish good friendships and especially ones where you can even trust people to look after the kids. Thank God you have found this couple and the kids like them too!

Muddled Up Mumma said...

You have helped remind me how fortunate Iam to have my mum near me to lend a hand now and then. Good to hear you have found a way to spend time as a couple that works for everyone.

Kymmie said...

Your babysitter sure does sound fabulous. I believe that good babysitters are hard to find. So glad you found a winner. We have my in-laws who are so helpful and wonderful (not everyone can say that, huh?), but I do share babysitting favours with friends. I babysit for them, they babysit for me. I admit that I used to be scared of asking, but now I offer and now don't mind asking too! Tomorrow I'm off to a friend's 40th girls lunch at St Kilda while my boys are minded by a friend who also has twin boys the same age as my eldest. I know I can return the favour when she needs a child free night!

What a fabulous thing to be grateful for! xx

Ali @ Mummahh said...

Oh how lovely! I've just been given a number for a babysitter who is highly recommended, I just haven't found the time to call her yet.. :)

River said...

Good babysitters are like hen's teeth.
I used to be a babysitter, then after my own kids were born I progressed to minding kids for working mums. Did such a great job a couple of the mums started voluntarily paying me more than I asked for. There's no way I could do that anymore though.

nellbe said...

We have my MIL who is happy to babysit when she is free (which sometimes she is not) at this point we don't feel comfortable asking her to do any night time babysitting so its only during the day is when she does it.

So that means hubby and I haven't had a date in ah about... 5 years? Crazy. Everyone else is super busy and my side of the family is interstate also.

Thea said...

Oh wow! She sounds fantastic. I need a babysitter!!!

Miss Pink said...

I don't have a baby sitter for my kids (much of the reason you stated, i feel weird about leaving them with a stranger), and i never had one as a kid. Anyone who watched us was a family member or a family friend. Someone we knew and saw otherwise.
I am like you about people watching my kids. Greenie was 22 months old before i had a night off, actually i can say before i had a break for longer than 2 hours from him (like i had an appointment to go to and i'd come straight back).
I do admit when i think of "babysitter" a picture of an irresponsible teenager klepto'ing our stuff and having boys over once we're out the door does come to mind. But at the same time we only have my parents who could watch our kids which means going out, let alone out together sans kids just doesn't really happen much.

Tania said...

Um. Melbourne wouldn't be too far to commute a babysitter would it? Lucky, lucky things...!

E. said...

We don't have a babysitter and no family here either. Now Boy Child is 12 I figure it is probably to late to get a baby sitter.

The time away from your kids thing is very interesting. I know some families where the grandparents ofen have the grandchildren (often and for slepovers during the holidays). Then there are a separate lot of people who rarely have / get any time away from the children.

Me? I'm more than a little jealous of the first lot. Sad, really.