Having a baby is magical but it’s healthy to go out without them too (date night anyone?). The sitter situation is not always an easy one though. Here are six common issues parents disagree on when it comes to babysitting and what to do about it.
1. Baby isn’t old enough
It’s natural for new parents to be concerned about leaving their precious bundle of joy alone with someone else, even if it’s a family member and only for a few hours. But often one parent is ready for some time out on the town while the other feels bub just isn’t old enough yet. Unless they’re unwell or still breastfeeding and require a feed over the time you’d be out, then there really isn’t a hard and fast rule that dictates how old bub needs to be for their parents to take some time out with the help of a babysitter. It’s completely up to the parents to decide. Try to negotiate this one hour at a time so the reluctant parent can dip their toes into the baby-free water. They may even decide they like it – once they remember what it is like to have full use of both arms.
2. When only family will do
Stranger danger! Some mums or dads will only trust family members to babysit their children (not even friends). In this modern age of rising crime it’s a rational concern of course, but not a very practical one. What happens when family aren’t available to help out? Or when they start getting annoyed at being called upon too often? Or when there’s a big family function on that they’re also attending? Sometimes you’ll need to call in your friends, or find a babysitter through a trusted online provider. Of course you should never leave your baby with someone unless you are completely comfortable and the appropriate safety checks have been carried out if you’re enlisting the help of a babysitting service.
3. In-laws aren’t an option
One parent might think their mother or brother is the right person for the job but it doesn’t always mean their partner feels the same way! This can be super awkward all round because trust levels are brought into question which can lead to feelings being hurt. You and your partner really need to agree on what the real issues are and the problems addressed so you can both feel comfortable about the decision. You may also need to ask yourself some tough questions and get real about what is at the heart of your issue with your in-laws or parents babysitting. Is it a safety issue or just a control issue? If the latter you may need to cut them some slack – they are doing you a favour.
4. It’s too expensive
If you are calling on external help then a night out can set you back by at least $100 for the sitter, which is a lot to consider when you add on top the cost of an Uber, dinner and drinks. If one of you is particularly frugal then it could be hard to agree on parting with the cash. Strike a deal with your partner that balances the cost of a night out with the benefits that come with some quality time alone together. As long as you’re not doing it most nights of the week, it is well worth the cash investment in your relationship.
5. It’s for too long
How long is too long for your children to be left with someone else? Some parents feel nervous if it’s more than an hour or two (or are worried about the money or imposing too much on family and friends), while others are happy for the day or night to carry on a lot longer – especially if the child isn’t a a breastfed baby. Agree on a timeframe before you set out and make sure the sitter is okay with the allotted time.
6. They don’t have enough experience
Your partner might trust the 14-year-old girl next door (she’s cheap after all), but you may not. Age and experience are important things to consider when choosing a babysitter (along with trust of course), however thanks to the invention of mobiles parents are never far away when it comes to an emergency. And if you have trust issues you can always set up a sitter cam – probably best to tell them about it first though.
Is there a solution?
Like all disagreements between partners the key is communication. If you have an issue with a babysitting option then make sure you voice your concerns properly so you can both try and work around the problem and find an alternative solution. If you’re particularly nervous, make the first outing a short one. Then as you become more comfortable with leaving your baby with someone else you can increase the time you’re out. Or if there are disagreements over family members, then why not pay a sitter instead? You can always ask friends for good referrals so there is a bit more trust. And if money is a problem why not ask someone you know (such as from mother’s group), so then you can return the favour for them another time with no money exchanged.
Do you disagree with your partner about babysitting?