Just Pay For It
No, dad. You can’t put my kids in the front seat of your SUV…together. No, they can’t go to dinner at Chops Steak House at 9 pm on a school night. Um, yes, they should be accompanied by an adult (preferably you) if they need to go to the bathroom at the movie theater. Are you sure you can handle this?
The first time I left my kids home with my dad solo I came home to find that the American Girl Store had been relocated to my living room. We made a little trip to the mall that evening.
The second time I left my kids home with my dad solo I came home to find them, well, not home. No messages, no notes, no kids. When they finally showed up at 10 pm jacked up on sugar and subsequently spending a lot of time in the bathroom that night, I realized one thing.
There would not be a third time.
Dad just couldn’t handle it. Or maybe I should say I just couldn’t handle dad. And now when I need quality childcare I do what I should have done from the get-go. I outsource. If I pay there are no strings. And my kids are usually home and breathing when I get there, which is pretty much my only rule (I’m easy). I have found a great mix of babysitters from all kinds of places…referrals, nanny sites, and even good ol’ Craigslist. My kids have spent time in home daycares, in daycare centers, in community centers, in churches, in synagogues, in parks and in hotels. They’ve had sitters who were great, sitters who were horrific, sitters I’d invite to their weddings and sitters who’ve been deported (should have done a bit more of a background check on that one). Hey, at least I can say they’re well-rounded!
So while this is certainly no advice column, when it comes to expectations you may have for your relatives in relation to childcare, I suggest having none. Because even though they raised you and probably went though similar issues with their parents years ago, they’re in a totally different world right now and just don’t get it (minus the few exceptions).
If you wind up getting a freebie every now and then, enjoy. If not, just bite the bullet and pay for it. Don’t forget to round up and tip well for the ones you like best. And please, please, please, don’t ever break the cardinal rule of friendship by poaching a friend’s sitter. Totally uncool.
Oh, and while we’re on it, if anyone has the name of a few sitters I could use them. Mine are graduating and leaving me. And my dad just showed up with three boxes of Peeps and choking hazard toys. Maybe I should have the sitter watch him, too.
PS. You’ll need this.