The thing about becoming parents is that the romance fades with each broken boundary. You’ve smelled poo in the other person’s hair. You’ve announced (with a bit of pride) how it’s been two months since you’ve shaved your legs. You’ve entered the trenches of parenting warfare, and you wear each battle like a badge of honor. At first, there’s pride in how far you’ve come and how close you’ve become. Then you start calculating how one parent is doing more than the other — and spiteful score cards are created.
Getting back to just the two of you, at least one night a month, can help with this. There’s no better time to start than on Valentine’s Day. God help the person who shrugs off his over-worked, puke-encrusted, exhausted spouse on this day of romance. Bring romance back.
It doesn’t have to be on Valentine's Day. You can go out Saturday or for Sunday brunch. Just as long as there’s a plan in place. Post the job online and send an email to friends who might refer someone.
Then meet in a public space. Or, consolidate the two using Skype or FaceTime. Ask about experience and situational dilemmas. If she’s never been in a tricky spot, ask what she would do with certain jams that might happen at your house (baby won’t take bottle, toddler refuses to sleep, child has a tantrum). Just be sure to interview her references as well, asking how she handled certain situations, what their kids were like and if they would use her again.
It’s always good to make sure her record clears. We have a range of background checks on Care.com, one of which is free for members.
If you use a friend’s sitter, ask how much she pays. You don’t want to go over this amount or your friend might lose her sitter (to you) and never speak to you again. If you don’t know, plug your zip code into our Babysitter Rate Calculator to determine the going rate in your neighborhood. She might charge more for giving up her Valentine’s Day, but hopefully you can find a rate that makes you both comfortable.
As the Senior Managing Editor and Global Parenting Expert at Care.com, Katie Herrick Bugbee focuses on global content for parents, caregivers and pet-owners, as well as for families in need of senior care. Katie holds a B.A. from Boston College and lives in Newton, Massachusetts with her family.
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