My husband and I made a commitment to eachother when we were pregnant with our oldest daughter that we would make time for one another. It was one of our biggest fears of becoming parents that we would not spend the amount of time together that we used to. When Millie was a month old, I pumped a bunch of breast milk , packed up her bassinet and took her over to my mothers house so that we could go out to dinner. With all 5 of our kids we have gone out to dinner at week 4 or 1 month old, so regularly you could set your watch by it. When Deano came along I was in a show where I was surrounded by a ton of College girls. One of which was a Penn State Gymnast, Genevieve. She was one of the first non family members that watched my kiddos. She watched them for 2 years and then past us on to another gymnast when she graduated, and she past on to another who is still with us today. Gena , Lindsay and Brandi have been wonderful role models and have had lasting impressions on my kids.
In the meantime when Millie started dancing 4 years ago, we met our main core babysitters at the dance studio. These girls, who are sisters, started with us when the oldest sister, Brittney was 16 and then her sister Madison started with us 2 years later and now we are waiting for Leah to start with us, I am guessing in the fall. Now, I can see some of you out there reading this with raised eyebrows thinking, I cannot believe that she would leave all of her children with a 16 year old. All of these girls are incredibly responsible, they ADORE children, they are very thoughtful and I am sure that you have heard the term “it takes a village”? Well, when you have one girl baby-sit 9 times out of 10 they bring a friend. How awesome is that? OR in my very fortunate case they take my kids to their house and their family is a very warm and involved family so there is always someone around. My kids LOVE it. Often Patrick and I joke that they have this entire separate family, its crazy. Most importantly we usually don’t go any where that we can’t get home within 15 minutes. Unless we go out of town, but that is another blog!
Last year Madison & her friend Megan (who also sits for us) came to the beach with us. This year Brittney and a friend of hers are coming with us. If you are able to take a babysitter with you on vacation, do it! You will never know the stress it takes off of you. Beach time for us is truly family time. I don’t want you to get the impression that we are off flitting around every night while the kids are stuck in the house with the babysitter. That is the furthest from the truth. Last year it took Maddie and Megan to say to us “Get Out!”.
We went out once, maybe twice but it was late night and the kids had gone to or were getting ready for bed. What makes taking a sitter with us great is the extra help it gives us in the morning when we are getting ready to go to the beach. Or when its bath time, one can wash while the other dries, giving the other parent some down time. It makes it a real vacation. It is also so nice to get to know these girls who you entrust your children with on a personal level. I would strongly suggest always offer them to bring a friend along. Meet the friend first, maybe even have the friend baby-sit along with your normal sitter. The friend is a vital part of the vacation. This way your babysitter doesn’t feel like the odd man out during family time. This is definitely taking the whole babysitting thing to the next level, but it is really truly worth it.
PS-The Pictures are all from our trip to Cape May last year. Madison is the brunette, Megan is the blonde. We ended up referring to them as our twins, this has stuck for us and for them. Personally, I LOVE it!