Honey, can we give the kids away?
Half joking while the other half feeling desperate, Peter (my better half) leaned across the red checkered table cloth and asked, "is it too late to consider a childless life?" I replied in a whisper as our children ran around and under the table at our downtown pizza joint, "Yup, too late."
Against all dinner time rules I whipped out my phone and began texting. My fingers went to work to find a babysitter for that night. I didn't care if we walked around the block for three hours, we needed to escape our parenting duties and replenish our parenting reserves.
I slammed my phone down and said to Peter, "First one to text back gets the jig." A tired Peter turned into a kid on Christmas morning, "Maybe we could go to the movies." Just then the phone beeped and we secured a babysitter.
Often, I am too late to realize I need a break. The spiral down into arguing, screaming, and slamming doors happens like a flash flood, you get the warning signs, you think it won't happen to me and then you are pumping water out of your basement.
From here on out I am investing in my sanity and my relationship with Peter. At least twice a month we are going out for fun and adding to our parenting reserves. All to often I feel guilty because I have had evening meetings several times a week and miss bedtime, but having a babysitter is fun for all of us. The kids love it and Peter and I get some need time off together.
Tips to making going out a reality:
- Collect names of babysitters. I ask other parents, but often this is tricky because not all want to share their best babysitters. Often instead I ask parents I know (and admire their parenting style) if their teen babysits and if so I add them to my list.
- Get back up. You might like one babysitter but they might not be available all the time, so ask different teens with different ages (a class trip or a school dance can ruin your night out).
- Text, text, text! Teens and young adults prefer texting over talking on the phone, so if you want to reserve a babysitter text them.
- Talk to their parents. I always call the parents of my teen babysitters the first few times they are to babysit just to have clear communication. I chat with the parent about what time I will pick-up the babysitter and what time I plan on dropping them off, what I expect, and so on.
- Train your babysitter. If you want the dishes cleaned before you get home, tell them. If your kid needs to go to bed at 8:00 or you will have devil child in the morning, tell them. Better yet write it all down like kid instructions.
Turn on your cell phone and have a blast. If there is an emergency the babysitter will call. In the meantime kick-up your heels and replenish your parenting reserves. It is good for you and your kids.
Thanks for reading... looking for information about parenting a child on the autism spectrum, click here we can help. Peace here and around the world, Angela