I’ve never had a babysitter. Back in Chapel Hill, I thought the girls were too young to be left alone at night with a total stranger. My friends definitely had their lists of trusted people to call, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to ask for it then. You’ve probably guessed — I have trust issues about leaving my kids with people I hardly know.
Also, my husband — he’s a
cheap practical date. Why spend on a babysitter to watch the kids when they’re asleep, and when we can access Netflix in the comfort of our own home, with food and drinks we’ve already paid for?! We also still use the baby monitor to see and hear them while they’re in bed.
Clearly, there was totally no incentive to get a babysitter.
So these “at home” dates — I have to tell ya. Sometimes, it’s such a knock out.
And even if we try to stay up by sitting at the dinner table, with wine…
The cold weather and the comfort of watching a movie (or a show) in our own home somehow still leaves me with this.
So I’ve begun re-thinking the babysitter bit. Now that the kids are older, they understand why Mom and Dad need time away. I also think they can handle themselves better with a trusted “stranger” that I’ve gotten to know. And knowing me, it’ll take time, so I wanted to get the gears in motion for finding one. My goal was for us to have our first date night next year. By then I’m sure we’d all be ready for it.
Then I get this email, and surprise surprise, I learn about something called Parents’ Night Out.
Parents’ Night Out is a service Sam and Jamie’s Kindermusik teacher offers every once in a while (I learned later on that it is a service schools, studios, gyms and other centers offer all around the US. Why did I only learn of it now?! Where have I been!?). Parents get to deposit their kids with the teacher and a group of older students for three hours. The rate for two kids is about the cost of a babysitter at home for a shorter period of time, so I was told this deal was of good value. The kids are treated to games and crafts, pizza, popcorn and a movie. No mess at home, the kids are fed and are tired by the time you pick them up. And the big plus for me — no trust issues (she’s their teacher, we’ve been seeing her every week for the last two months!)
The girls had no qualms about the whole idea either. Usually they get anxious at the thought of us both leaving them for the night, but they had no problems this time. They love their teacher, and like me they trust her. Plus, I’m sure they were quite excited for a fun night out with some new friends.
The bigger surprise was that my husband agreed! So my one-year timeline for a date got cut down to 360 days, and last Friday, we went on our first night out in LA.
He wanted to take me to a favorite of his, Boiling Crab but the wait time was an hour and a half long. We ended up in a nearby steak house instead. I can’t complain (except now I know I need to exercise more!), it was really good steak. And scallops. And mashed potatoes.
For good measure we ordered our usual favorite dessert too.
It’s been a while since I thoroughly enjoyed this molten chocolate with ice cream dessert. Usually when we eat this with the kids, Jamie gets the ice cream and Sam most of the cake, and I end up with the berries on the side.
It was nice to have three hours of uninterrupted conversation. I kept my phone out only for picture purposes, and just in case someone from the center called about the kids, but other than that, it was just us. What a refreshing welcome change. Isn’t it funny how something like this can re-charge us parents and fill up the emotional tank (and fill up too much of the stomach).
When we picked them up, the girls were quite tired as it was past their bedtime, but without a doubt they had fun.
“Can we do Parents’ Night Out Every Friday Mom?” Sam asked me in the car.
I thought my husband was going to have a heart attack. He says that the cost of the entire night should last us another 6 months before we think about going again.