Half joking while the other half feeling desperate, Peter (my better half) leaned across the red checkered table cloth and asked, "is it too late to consider a childless life?" I replied in a whisper as our children ran around and under the table at our downtown pizza joint, "Yup, too late."
Against all dinner time rules I whipped out my phone and began texting. My fingers went to work to find a babysitter for that night. I didn't care if we walked around the block for three hours, we needed to escape our parenting duties and replenish our parenting reserves.
I slammed my phone down and said to Peter, "First one to text back gets the jig." A tired Peter turned into a kid on Christmas morning, "Maybe we could go to the movies." Just then the phone beeped and we secured a babysitter.
Often, I am too late to realize I need a break. The spiral down into arguing, screaming, and slamming doors happens like a flash flood, you get the warning signs, you think it won't happen to me and then you are pumping water out of your basement.
From here on out I am investing in my sanity and my relationship with Peter. At least twice a month we are going out for fun and adding to our parenting reserves. All to often I feel guilty because I have had evening meetings several times a week and miss bedtime, but having a babysitter is fun for all of us. The kids love it and Peter and I get some need time off together.
Tips to making going out a reality:
- Collect names of babysitters. I ask other parents, but often this is tricky because not all want to share their best babysitters. Often instead I ask parents I know (and admire their parenting style) if their teen babysits and if so I add them to my list.
- Get back up. You might like one babysitter but they might not be available all the time, so ask different teens with different ages (a class trip or a school dance can ruin your night out).
- Text, text, text! Teens and young adults prefer texting over talking on the phone, so if you want to reserve a babysitter text them.
- Talk to their parents. I always call the parents of my teen babysitters the first few times they are to babysit just to have clear communication. I chat with the parent about what time I will pick-up the babysitter and what time I plan on dropping them off, what I expect, and so on.
- Train your babysitter. If you want the dishes cleaned before you get home, tell them. If your kid needs to go to bed at 8:00 or you will have devil child in the morning, tell them. Better yet write it all down like kid instructions.
Turn on your cell phone and have a blast. If there is an emergency the babysitter will call. In the meantime kick-up your heels and replenish your parenting reserves. It is good for you and your kids.
Thanks for reading... looking for information about parenting a child on the autism spectrum, click here we can help. Peace here and around the world, Angela
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