Parenthood is a 24/7, 365 day a year job. Parents do not accumulate sick leave or get paid time off, and there are no regular hours when you're raising children. To save your sanity, you have to carve out some time for yourself. Hiring a babysitter from time to time, can mean the difference between a nervous breakdown and parental bliss.
If you need more convincing, here are 10 reasons to get a babysitter.
- Re-establish date night. Dating is an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship. You need one-on-one time with your partner. And, you need to make an effort to talk about something other than the kids. Your kids will ultimately benefit from your strong relationship.
- Take some much-deserved you time. Great moms take care of their own spiritual and emotional needs. After all, mommy is a person first and a caregiver second. Plan a boys' or girls' night out or pick a solitary activity that's just for you.
- Maintain your body. Fitting in exercise becomes complicated after the kids come. When you feel your best, you're more likely to act your best as well. If it takes a sitter to get to the gym, then get the sitter.
- Help foster your kids' independence. Your children need exposure to other authority figures from time to time. You'll always be the most important person in their lives, but spending time with the occasional sitter teaches them independence.
- Release stress. When the responsibilities of running a household are getting you down, take a step back to realign your priorities. Get away from the mess and the schedule so that you can come back ready to tackle the house again.
- Go out without the guilt. Family and close friends are great resources for childcare, but using these people over and over can leave you feeling like there's a debt that needs paying. Hiring a sitter or establishing a childcare co-op will let you leave the kids and the guilt behind for a night.
- Try something new. It's easy to get stuck in rut when you're busy raising young children. Reignite an old passion or discover a new one and you'll find yourself more fulfilled and more full of energy.
- Give the kids a treat. Many kids love spending time with a different adult. A babysitter can introduce your kids to new games and activities, which they're sure to love.
- Decrease your own separation anxiety. It's hard to leave your kids at times, especially if you have a new baby. Regularly hiring a babysitter whom you trust and leaving her alone with your baby for short amounts of time will help decrease your anxiety. No one can do it as well as you, but that doesn't mean a sitter won't do a good job.
- You deserve the occasional break. Take some time to decompress before you explode all over the kids. Go out, laugh and have some fun, all while the kids are having fun running someone new ragged. You deserve it!
Having a babysitter should be fun for both the parents and the kids, especially if everyone knows the routine. Hiring help from time to time allows you those rare moments off so you can remember why you decided to have kids in the first place. You'll come home feeling like an all new you and ready to face the next day.
Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan, mom to two crazy boys, and wife to one amazing husband. You can learn more about her eco-conscious lifestyle at moderatelycrunchy.com.