After my recent rant on how important date nights are I got a great email from a reader. She loved the post, but was curious as to how I got babysitters, especially when we first brought our kids home from Haiti. That is such a valid valid question, and so here goes ….
First you must know that I give this advice to EVERY SINGLE PERSON that brings home a child via adoption. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE. BE A HERMIT. DON'T LET ANYONE CLOSE TO YOUR CHILD. All those capital letters make that sound very drastic, but I do think it's very serious to stay close as a family those first few weeks and months. We had some great meals brought home to us after we brought our kids home from Haiti, but we asked everyone to not stay with us. For us it was two fold. #1 We needed to bond with Amos. When Amos first came home if you brought us a meal, your first instinct would be to love all over this cute little Haitian boy that you had been praying for months to come home. You truly loved him. The thing is that this cute little Haitian boy might have thought to himself, “Oh this lady is super nice and she is loving all over me, I think I'll go home with her and call her ‘Mama' for a while”. He needed to bond with us. We needed to become a family. We needed to be mama and papa to him. #2 I was a freaking mess. I don't think we said that reason then, but looking back I was a hot mess*. Think about how tired and worn out you are after coming home with your newborn. Now imagine that newborn is 4, and they can talk, hit, scream, pee on you and give you looks from hell. I was a mess. A hot mess* at that.
So in the midst of all that, how did we ever go on dates? Well you see we worked around these things. First of all we didn't date for a few weeks. Aaron would go get take out and we'd eat alone at night after the kids were in bed. That was a date, and it was fabulous! Then when we were about to lose our ever loving minds we scheduled dates after bed time with someone that we knew very well and was well trained on how not to love all over my son if he happens to wake up! For real. We would have dates that started at 9pm. I know that's bed time to some of you, but a couple has to do what a couple has to do. I was a hot mess* and if I didn't get out with Aaron I was going to check myself into a psych ward.
Now fast forward 21 months that Amos has come home and we have lots of sitters and we don't have to leave at 9pm anymore, although we still do LOTS of dates after bedtime so that we're still the ones putting our kids to bed. For two reasons, #1 so that we're present. We're tucking them in and they don't even know we're leaving sometimes. #2 we have four kids. Sometimes we just feel like we owe it to the babysitter to make their life easier!
If you have several families that you are close with this next thing is a great idea for you. A few years ago we were in a babysitting co-op and we loved it. There were four families involved and you were guaranteed 3 date nights a month with FREE babysitting. Yes, I just said FREE! The other night of the month you were responsible for all the kids. When we did this, within our four families there were 13 kids. It was great and we loved it. For us it got hard when school started because it put our kids up too late and we were in different neighborhoods so it became harder. I will tell you that this is a great idea and even if you did this with just one other couple you could get two free babysitting nights a month.
My last bit of babysitting advice is for you parents and for any single ladies out there that read my blog. Parents don't be afraid to ask people to watch your kids for FREE. Every blue moon* I'll ask if someone can watch my kids for free. Yeah that takes a little bit of losing your pride, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do to get out with your man. Single ladies this is for you. Call up a couple this week and tell them that you want to babysit for them sometime in the next month for FREE. No strings attached. For free. If you know a stay at home mom that gets no break from her kids, then tell her you want to babysit twice this month for FREE. Once during the day so she can get out of the house alone, and once at night so she can get her groove on with her husband! Do it now. You will bless them (and especially her) more than you ever know. I have had single girls do this for me and it means more to me than they will ever know!
So, there you go. That's my tiny bit of advice on how to get out on date nights with babysitters. It takes work guys. You have to be willing to leave your kids (you can do it) and you have to cut some things in your budget to make it work, but I'll tell you it is so worth it! Go for it. Right now schedule a date and if you are single lady or college student you make that text/email/call now to a couple and tell them they have you for free this next month!!
*On a side note … what the heck does a “hot mess” actually mean? I have no idea, but I just used it two times in one paragraph! Also “blue moon” what the heck is that? Where do these things come from, why do I use them and can someone tell me what they mean?!?!?!