I was raised on babysitters. It was the eighties and let me, if I may, paint a picture for you: Rhonda. A gum cracking, hair crimping, Walkman-wearing, boy-crazy teenager who spent three quarters of her time “babysitting for us,” on the couch necking with her boyfriend, or chatting with random cars that “just happened” to drive down our street jammed with her friends.
And so while she was hanging on the street corner with her friends, or sucking face with her boyfriend, our older sister would pour all apple juice — half of which would spill on the table, and make us the snacks we so clamored for. I’ll be honest — I don’t really remember Rhonda doing anything other than collecting her payment at the end of her babysitting tour of duty.
Suffice it to say my experience with babysitters was heavily colored by Rhonda’s lackadaisical attitude, and when it came to finding sitters for my own kids for the past ten years I was blessed to have my dad care for my kids. My dad was there as soon as my daughter was born, changing diapers, doing midnight feedings and lavishing her with this pure unadulterated love. I begged him to be my nanny full time and he agreed. It was pure bliss, for the first four months of my daughter’s life he tended to her every whim — while I struggled — unbeknownst to me then, with major postpartum depression.
Fast forward ten years and another kid, my son, who was also doted on by my dad during his infancy. So anytime thereafter that my husband and I found ourselves in need of a Saturday date night sitter, we gravitated to our old standby — my dad.
Sadly my dad passed away a little over six months ago and so we are now in the precarious position of having to figure out this whole babysitter thing. Of course my ten year old has assured us that she can take care of her six year old brother and our 12 year old dog Mellie — but of course we realize that she needs a sitter, whether she wants to admit it or not.
But I’ll be honest — I’m terrified of putting our kids in the care of another person who is not blood related. And in the same breath I know my fears are unfounded. And yet I am still so nervous — but I know that I can’t relegate myself to staying home and never going out on a date night with the husband until my kids turn 18. So why am I so afraid to take the babysitter plunge? How did you get over your fears of hiring a stranger to care for your kids?