I was certain before I gave birth that having a baby wouldn’t slow my marriage down. We’d be as romantic and wildly spontaneous as we ever were as a result of combining our DNA. Boy, I was so wrong.
In the near decade we’ve been parents, we’ve never once hired a babysitter. Sure, we’ve had family watch the kids here and there so we could attend obligatory company Christmas parties or go out for a periodic non-romantic meal at our local Chili’s. But the mere thought of asking my parents to babysit so I can get all sexed up and eat sexy food with a sexy dude feels awkward, even if he is my husband.
So what happens when parents don’t have a babysitter? I’ll tell ya; romance hits the kid skids at record speed. It was high time we did something about it, after all, finding a babysitter of the non-familial variety is an important investment in any marriage. Now, where do I find the perfect babysitter? Do I approach that 16 year old neighbor girl with the sketchy boyfriend? Put up flyers on a local street light or should I go online? After little thought and even littler consideration, I signed up for a babysitting referral service online. After all, the Internets are as safe a place as any; right? RIGHT? Why am I all sweaty?
Hubs and I carefully comb over the babysitter referral website and he reluctantly agrees to date night but only after we spend hours hashing out probable worse-case scenarios. Things like: What if the sitter kidnaps the kids and heads off to Mexico? What if the babysitter fills our kids’ heads with religious propaganda? What if the babysitter is a thief and we’re hereby known as the idiots who hired the “Babysitter Bandit”? Or the worse one of all, What if the babysitter judges us? GASP!
I select a sitter, make contact, verify references and set a date. So far this romance thing is a lot of work.
It’s finally date night. Looking like a respectable high-priced escort in low lighting, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about the prospect of getting my grownup on.
Our sitter arrives five minutes early. She asks about bed times, emergency numbers, our comfort level with things like wiping after “bowel movements” (her words). She asks about food allergies, special needs and TV viewing. These are more questions than I’ve asked myself relating to parenting and I’m a damn mom blogger!
I’ll admit Miss Poppins seems too good to be true. I spy my rather handsome husband in the corner giving her the side-eye. I know that look. He whispers, “I don’t like her. Something’s up.” I zap him with my mom stare, “Dude, nothing’s up. Let’s get outta here!” I bribe my eldest with a 5 spot to behave and help the babysitter with our youngest. I say a silent prayer and we leave.
Before we even turn off the block, my husband begins rattling off like an obsessive compulsive fear monger. He’s single handedly squashing the sexy right out of this evening before it’s even begun. He decides we need to ambush the babysitter with a surprise visit; telling her we forgot something critical. Like what, my favorite lip-gloss?
Surprise! Oh sorry, we forgot something we totally couldn’t live without for the next three hours so here we are! My youngest begins crying and clinging, leaving trademark snot all over my dress. I peel him off and we head back out the door; again.
We arrive at the restaurant and immediately order a drink; I need one but not half as much as he does. I crack a joke about the sitter needing a drink, only for him to mention that he should have locked up the booze. Sigh.
As dinner progresses, the convo steers away from the children. By our second drink we’re holding hands, talking and laughing the way we used to. He compliments me and I toss it aside as I offer a coy smile in return. He gives me the eyebrows. Wow, the eyebrows. If memory serves, the eyebrows are the signal that he wants to make out in the back of the car. As happy and warm as I’m feeling right down to my supported belly, I’m feeling conversational intimacy, not the fiery desire make out amidst booster seats and smashed goldfish crackers. While my husband may be able to flip the sexy switch just like that, I guess I’m slower to unravel. This dinner is really nice but I’m missing the kids almost as much as I’m missing my yoga pants; damn slim silhouette body shaper can’t handle a large meal.
We arrive home to find no obvious sign of foul play.
I can tell Miss Poppins thinks we’re weird. We say goodbye and I pay her way more than the agreed upon rate as an unspoken apology for our freakish behavior. If Miss Poppins is left with nothing more than the memory that the Garcia’s offer damn good pay and Twinkies in the pantry, I think we have half a shot at using her again.
Here’s the thing I learned about romance: It doesn’t happen just because you schedule a date. It doesn’t even happen to both people at the same time sometimes, especially when you’re parents. But making the effort for each other matters. Trying to connect, even when that connection isn’t immediate also matters. It’s not the uninterrupted talk or the body shaper that’s hot, it’s the knowing that the person you’ve chosen to share this unbelievable parenting journey with is the one who not only gets you, but is willing to sit through the awkwardness of the “first date” post kids.
Would you ever hire an online babysitter?
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