Saturday, September 5, 2009

monetary cost of sanity

We took a babysitter with us to a 5-year-old's b-day party a couple weekends ago. The issue was that we had two parties that night... the 5-year-old's at 5:30 and then the second at 7, an adults only party on a boat so we couldn't be late (lest me miss the debarquement). Which meant we didn't have time to take the kids home in order to leave them with a sitter, so we had the sitter come to the first party and then she took them home from there while we went on to the 2nd party. Following?

Anyhoo, afterwards I swore that I'm never going anywhere without a sitter again. Oh my it was fabulous. I got to talk to people. And eat food. Seriously. There were crafts at the party and Frances requested that the sitter come do them with her instead of us, and later when Clark was crazy crazy crazy I was able to just ask the sitter to fetch him or make sure he wasn't flinging himself from the porch railing while I continued my conversation with a friend.

Then last weekend we went to a big picnic and I forgot about my previous assertion and I spent the entire time either entertaining one child or chasing the other. Every conversation I had was no more than 3 sentences long. I only ate half my piece of cake. I told Mitch we should have brought a sitter and he just shook his head at me.

The issue is -- what kind of people does it make us if we bring a sitter to a social gathering? Honestly, I think I would look a little sideways my friends if they did it. I would think of it as excessive, as luxurious, and maybe ridiculous. On the other hand, maybe I don't care. Maybe it's worth $20 to be able to enjoy myself socially.

It won't be like this forever. One day, probably sooner than I realize, the kids will be old enough to entertain themselves running around the field with the other kids while I chat with a friend about the chickens she's keeping in her urban backyard.

Does the fact that it won't be like this forever mean I should bring a sitter with me or that I shouldn't? Hm.


Paige said...

"I would think of it as excessive, as luxurious, and maybe ridiculous. On the other hand, maybe I don't care." - Umm, yes. That pretty much sums it up!

Except strike the "maybe". No, don't give a shit about what we think. In 10 years, what you'll ALL remember is how much fun you had at that party, not that you spent $20 extra dollars to bring along some help.

Also, would you feel bad if your mom was in town, and you brought her along to something like this, and she played with your kids the whole time and you got to enjoy yourself immensely? And if then, to thank your mom, you took her to a nice lunch and spent $50? No, you would not feel bad. This is the same thing, except you paid a sitter instead of your mom.

Life is too short to be unhappy.

Paige said...

Also, the great thing about friends is, they can think you're crazy yet still love you to pieces, AND think you're a great mom even if you can and do do things they can't/won't.

Coen Family said...

I never thought about bringing a sitter to events...what a novel idea! Who cares what other people think? If they aren't going to judge you on that, they'll find something else to judge you on. I think whatever helps keeps you sane is great! Everyone parents differently, it's not right or wrong, it's just different! Whatever fits you!

Amy said...

Two things:

1. I hire a babysitter to come to the house every Friday so I can grocery shop, run errands, go to doctor's appointments and occasionally have a coffee or lunch with friends who have kids in school at that time. $60 worth of sanity that is worth every penny. I never thought of hiring someone to come WITH me to make my life easier. Very smart! I think we should start hiring sitters at all of our gatherings. One sitter amongst how many families??? Super cheap moments of sanity and conversation.

2. I was wondering who that person was at the party...mystery solved. I did think it a bit odd that your kids were there and you were not, but figured it was an aunt or something.