We don’t get out much. Sure, we do our fair share of family outings, but my wife and I don’t do a lot of date nights. In fact, the closest we ever come to quality time for us is dropping the kids in the ball crawl at IKEA while we shop for furniture we can’t pronounce. And they said romance was dead.
While I would love to tell you that our tendency to take family adventures is based on some perfect painting of parenting, it is actually rooted more in our glaring lack of childcare options. We don’t have a sitter and we can’t seem to find one.
In a pinch we would be able to call upon our friends in the area, but they have kids, too, and adding two more until midnight on a Tuesday isn’t really the best way to keep said friendships intact. Also, on the rare occasion that we are doing something fun (we’re going to a concert in a few weeks for my birthday, more to follow) then it is likely that our friends will be with us, which means we all need a sitter.
It used to be, back in my day when every walk was uphill and pants went over one’s boxer shorts, that neighborhood teens were always looking to make a few bucks. They would leap at the opportunity to make five dollars an hour while locking braces with some other pimply faced kid on my parents’ couch after putting us to bed full of fish sticks, threats, and ice cream sandwiches.
These days we are surrounded by teenagers, but they don’t care about extra cash—they have ATMs for parents and dates on the Internet. Watching our kids while my wife and I do whatever the hell it is that grownups do when they leave the house cannot compete.
Babysitting, something that was once a real community connection, has now gone viral, and it appears that we are forced to go corporate and utilize one of the online services established to assist parents like us. Instead of getting references over a fence we are reading bios and Facebook pages. Instead of knowing a babysitter for years we might know them for minutes. I know, they are vetted, but so was Sarah Palin, and we all know how that ended. I’m just not sure how comfortable I am with the process, and I would love to hear feedback from those of you that have used an online sitting services.
Also, can anyone watch my dogs this weekend?
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).