I will be the first person to admit that I do not willingly hand my children over to a babysitter. It isn’t because I have anything against babysitters. Not at all. It is my children that are the problem. Teen angst, tween temper tantrums and a seven-year-old who behaves like a seventeen-year-old. It might be the perfect recipe for a parenting blog but I often worry that any poor babysitter that we employee might be traumatised for life.
But I can see the benefits. I can’t remember the last time my husband and I had an evening out together and I think one is very much overdue. So I have been making a list of reasons why I should enlist the help of a babysitter as a reminder to me that it will be fine and I need to do it. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I have discovered how to find a babysitter quickly, so there really is no excuse.
Everyone needs a day off
Whatever job you do, you get days off for good behaviour. However dedicated you are to your children and however much you love being with them, it is good to have a night off. It gives you a chance to talk without any interruptions, enjoy some down time and it will be lovely to see the children again when you get home.
Your children will appreciate you more
We all take our parents for granted. I think that I am still guilty of that even now. You love them, of course, that goes without saying but when you see them every day, it is easy to forget to appreciate them. Taking some time away from the kids is a good thing, they get to see that you have a life too and hopefully, they will appreciate you, even more, when you return.
It helps your children be more independent
We set an example for our children and we don’t always realise it. It is good for them to see us go out, whether it is a date night, going to the gym or going out with friends. In reality, you should allow them time away from you too, let them do things for themselves for a change, rather than always relying on you.
Date nights are good for relationships
Date nights seem to be all the rage these days and I can understand why. Time to talk, time to enjoy each other’s company again and taking the time to remember why you got together in the first place. Just a couple of hours together can be good therapy and it shows a willingness to invest some time in your relationship.
It gives you the chance to do something for you
If date nights aren’t your thing, take a few hours to do something for you. Maybe it is a chance to go to the gym or take an evening class? Go to a book club or take in a play or a film? A meal out or in with friends? What would you do with an evening off? The opportunities are limitless.
Your children are often better behaved for other people
I have always worried that my children will be really naughty or badly behaved, but in reality, children usually save that sort of behaviour for their parents. They will enjoy a fresh face and you will probably have nothing to worry about.
Finding a babysitter is easier than ever
There are websites like Sitters.co.uk where you can find reference checked childcare professionals. That way, you can go out knowing that you children are in safe hands and you can really relax for a change. There is even lots of great advice on their website too such as this recent post about bedtime stories for kids.
Babysitters will do what you want them to do
A good friend of mine is a huge fan of babysitters. She says that her kids all love having a babysitter and she simply leaves a list of the bedtime routines and leaves contact numbers and goes off to relax. Her kids enjoy having someone different to spend time with as they will always take the time to play games and read with them rather than focussing on the other chores that we parents always have on the go.
Older siblings don’t always make the best babysitters
As I have quite big gaps between the ages of my children, I always had this idyllic picture in my mind of the older ones stepping in and looking after the younger ones. This isn’t always the reality. Firstly, it isn’t really fair to ask them all of the time. Secondly, if they are big users of technology and social media, they can easily get sucked in and have absolutely no idea what their younger siblings might be up to. Finally, they aren’t always reliable and their last minute change of plans might leave you in the lurch, so in my experience, someone outside the family might be a better choice.
So that is my list and I am going to print it out and stick it somewhere where I will see it every day to remind me that this is something I need to do. The only problem now is that I have such a long list of things that I want to do, that I really could do with a babysitter for three or four nights a week!
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