I Regret Never Hiring a Babysitter

I Regret Never Hiring a Babysitter

One mom realizes a household needs a third set of caring hands, but is it too late?

By Kelly Bryant

My husband and I don’t have a regular babysitter. This serious misstep just sort of creeped up on us. When our oldest son, now 5, was born, hiring a sitter simply felt like a luxury we couldn’t afford. Paying someone $15 an hour so we could go out and spend more money on dinner and a movie? Pfffffshaw – thanks, but no thanks. That kind of thing is for high-falutin’ folks. Besides, in our “free” time all we really wanted to do was catch up on sleep.

Occasionally a friend would kindly offer (or be begged) to sit, so we could have that elusive date night or attend an evening work function, but without family close by to swindle into watching our kid, we pretty much accepted our lives as homebodies.

Because even after getting over the idea that, yes, as parents we need to cough up some dough to a child care provider to get a night out, it seemed weird to leave our baby with someone we didn’t know at all, aside from their profile on a caregiver website and a brief interview. The whole thing just stressed me out.

“Everyone in the world leaves their kids with sitters except for us,” my husband complained, trying to convince me to get over my anxiety.

“Well, if everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you?” I quipped, channeling my own mother.

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Then our youngest son, Ethan, came along, and it got worse. We were supposed to leave two children with a stranger? Not to mention that Ethan refused a bottle and only wanted his milk straight from the tap, making it tough for me to go anywhere for lengthy amounts of time without worrying my kid was staging a hunger strike and/or screaming his tiny head off out of anger and starvation.

But now, here we are – the kids are 5 and 3 and have never known what it’s like to have a babysitter arrive at the door so that Mom and Dad can have a night out. I wouldn’t know who to call, what kinds of questions to ask, or what kind of information to offer. And how would the kids react? “All right, guys, we’re leaving you with this friendly-looking person you’ve never met before. She’s going to put you to bed, and we’ll see you in the morning!”


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I mean, what if they don’t behave? What if she thinks our house is a mess? What if we royally screw this up, because we’re a completely babysitter-challenged family?

I wouldn’t have this kind of irrational anxiety if we had started leaving the boys with sitters at an earlier age. We would have built up a stable of lovely, caring people willing to watch our kids for a fee. And it would be good for all of us to get used to the idea that sometimes someone else is in charge, aside from Mommy and Daddy.

Now, when social events come up, we flip an imaginary coin to decide who gets to go and who stays home with the kids. Our friends probably think we’re on the brink of divorce, because we are hardly ever seen in public together. Nope, still happily married -- just babysitter-less!

We’ve reached the point where a joke’s a joke, and we need to finally find that babysitter of our dreams. The one who totally gets us and our kooky kids and who isn’t already permanently booked on Saturday evenings by those aforementioned high-falutin’ folks who were smart enough to get on the babysitter train early. It will happen. It may not be easy, but we’ll get there.

What are your tips for finding a great babysitter?

Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/kate_sept2004

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My husband and I are in the same boat! We have a toddler and plan to start trying for our next and still have not figured out the best way to find a trustworthy and loving sitter. I need all the tips I can get!

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