As parents, we all have things that bring us outside of our comfort zone. The comfort zone is that thing in your gut that makes you feel safe and secure with your parental choices. And it’s completely subjective. What feels right for you, can be very different from the feel-good parenting of someone else. These differences can be extreme or they can be at the simplest levels. While I’ve never tightrope walked across a circus tent, with a toddler strapped to my back, I don’t even have to get that daring to lose sight of what’s comfortable for me. This is parenting at your own pace.
There are many logistical and financial elements that go along with the finding and scheduling of a babysitter.
- Who do we know that babysits?
- Do we have any parenting friends who can provide a referral?
- Can they drive to our house?
- How long are we going to be gone?
- Should we get something for dinner?
- What’s is considered acceptable compensation?
- How long does it take to do a full FBI background check? (kidding – but is this an option?)
And after all of these items are worked out, you’re still trying to plan the date night, which was the reason for said babysitter in the first place. This project management of sorts, leads the way to many emotions too. Some emotions can even have us taking a rain check, putting on our sweatpants and ordering the pizza which was previously scheduled as the babysitter’s meal.
Before I had kids, I told myself that I was going to make it a point to find a balance of mommy time and date nights. That if I got invited to an adult gathering, it would definitely be okay to go, because we all need some breathing room and some time to remember who we were before cleaning up poop and spit-up became everyday occurrences.
When our oldest son arrived, I was pretty proud of myself for sticking to this vision. We found room for adult time and even managed a few overnight trips, leaving our son with relatives. But things changed with the passing of our oldest son and the subsequent births of our second and third child. Yes, we’ve had some financial changes since then, so the babysitter fund is largely on the back-burner, but the emotions surrounding the idea of getting a babysitter have also become more complicated than we ever imagined.
My husband and I remain very respectful of each other’s feelings on this babysitter stuff. I can try to argue that I’m the one who’s ready to try out this whole babysitter thing, and he’s not, but neither one of us is taking the initiative to comb through a list of potential candidates and ask their availability.
When we’re ready, we’ll know. Forcing myself to go on a date, doesn’t exactly spark romantic flames. And yes, I know marriage is work and a little push is sometimes needed, but this one falls into the category of needing-more-than-a-little-push for us. Plus, wine just tastes better when you’re on your own couch.
My husband and I know exactly why we haven’t asked the neighbor girl to watch the kids for a date night (damn you child loss), but sometimes there’s no real answer. Sometimes, as parents, we just don’t feel ready. No need to push it either. There will be plenty of opportunities for pushing and decision-making. Braving new friends at school, first sleepovers, dating (easy, not doing it), electronic devices and tightrope walking (definitely not doing it).
Parenting in and of itself is fast paced. Maybe that’s why we try to hold onto a little bit of comfort when we can.