Babysitting Offers

I am sure that in my past pre-parenting life I did this too. I’m sure I casually offered to every friend with children that I would be happy to watch their baby if they and their spouse wanted to get out for a date. It’s a sincere and thoughtful offer. I appreciate the positive sentiment. I honestly have two internal reactions that I won’t share anywhere but here. Inside I think, “Thank you for your offer, but…”

  1. my sensitive daughter would be TRAUMATIZED if I left her with someone other than her other mom, her nanny, or her grandma (or maybe my best friend). While your offer is kind, she would scream the entire time I was away and wonder who in the hell you are. Lately, I’ve had a surplus of casual “dog park friends” offering to babysit. I’ve never been to their homes, they have never held our baby, and I have no idea what their infant experience is. Being on the parenting side of things, it strikes me as absurd that anyone would consider this scenario.
  2. I do not want more time away from my daughter. I am away from her for about 40 hours each week while I work. That is plenty. I cherish and relish every moment we have together, and I co-sleep in part because I want more time and contact with her when I’m home.

I am pretty sick and tired of people asking if my wife and I have gone on a date alone together. (BTW, we did once, and I basically spent the whole time wondering why we hadn’t just brought the baby). I am REALLY tired of people acting like I need to get out! go to a movie! have fun! Blech. I get out to work, go to coffee shops, take long walks and hikes with baby and dogs, have at least two social engagements each weekend, and go out to dinner with my wife (and baby) at least once or twice a week. I don’t need to go out without the baby, so quit implying there is something wrong with taking her (nearly) everywhere I go.* Truly, if I felt like I needed some time away from her, I would happily make arrangements and take it. I don’t know why people seem to think I secretly want or need to take that time and am somehow denying myself the pleasure. It makes me wonder whether they needed more time away from their kid(s) (which is totally fine!) and so they assume I do too or whether I have some sort of separation anxiety and in a healthy world I should WANT more time for myself.

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Who would want more time away from this little peach? (Also, smoothie, not murder)

*I am not referring to events or activities NOT suitable for a baby, like formal weddings, loud concerts, etc.

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2 responses

  1. I hear this. I remember when I was about 5 weeks post-partum and our midwife asked me if I had gotten out and left the baby with my wife yet. I about cried (I don’t think I did for another month+).
    On the other hand, I was also the friend who always offered to care for a baby. Honestly, I think the best response now (with two) is “Why don’t you come over and play with her/them while I cook/clean/do something while not wearing/carrying a child?” The offer for people to come play means the kids can get used to other people and I could get things done around the house. I also didn’t do it just casually. I have been the first non-family person to get three babies to sleep in their cribs and have earned the title “baby whisperer”. Except for Darwin. She didn’t get the memo 😀

  2. YES YES YES! I feel like we are the same person sometimes. I’m feeling this sentiment exactly. Lots of judgment is passed for not wanting to pawn your baby off and escape to do adult things. Why people care so much about my social life with people who aren’t even them (cuz they’d be home with my kid, babysitting), is beyond me.

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