Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This is the best I can do right now.

Man, Sarah--I was doing so well at rewarding your patronage there for a while; but as of late, I just have not had a thought in my head. This is the best I can scrape out:

So my ward is having a Valentine's dance. It was originally going to be just for couples, but at the last minute, they decided to make it for the whole family. And I have to admit that I was a bit dissappointed. (In fact, I think I will likely STILL try to find a babysitter for my kids.) I mean, I think it's totally reasonable to have a few activities every now and then that are just for adults, and Valentine's Day seems like the perfect occasion for one. But anyway, this situation has me wondering about something I have wondered about many a time before: Why are some people hesitant to get a babysitter? It seems like I know more than a few couples who rarely leave their kids with a babysitter in order to have a date together, and I just cannot understand it. Over the past year or so I have seen so many instances where there has been this awkwardness surrounding the question of whether or not kids should be invited to certain parties/get togethers. To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving your kids behind in order to enjoy a night out with your spouse. In fact, I think it is a necessity that couples do so. And yet, so often I hear couples asking, "Can we bring the kids?" I think part of me is jealous because being away from my kids at times is something I NEED in order to stay mentally healthy, preserve the 'magic' in my relationship with Brian, and be the best mother I can be. Seriously. When I come back from a date, I come back a better mother--one that is again ready to adore and take care of my kids; one whose patience lasts a bit longer and whose compassion goes a bit further. So I wonder, do mothers who never get babysitters just not need the break that I need? Are they just naturally more patient and kind and long suffering? Are their kids just better behaved? Are they just able to maintain the spark in their marriages without ever getting away? I don't know. And you know what? I am totally willing to respect and appreciate couples who prefer to always have their kids with them, but I do not think it is fair or appropriate for any of us to complain when the kids are not invited, or to ask if we can bring our kids when it is clear that the purpose of the occasion is for adults. Now don't misunderstand me. I think it is TOTALLY important for families to spend a lot of quality, fun time together. In fact, I think that "wholesome recreational activities" really do make up a good part of the glue that holds a strong family together. However, I also feel like it is crucial that couples spend time together away from their kids. And yes, I know there are times when it would be better to insist on taking our kid(s) with us--namely, we live in a town of only child molesters, we JUST moved to town and therefore do not know anyone well enough to ask them to babysit, we can barely afford to put food on the table--let alone pay a babysitter...and the list goes on. And I totally get that. I have been there before. And as you know, Brian and I do not have parents, siblings, etc., living here whom we can ask to babysit. However, I think it is our responsibility as parents to do what we can to create a situation where it will be feasible for us to get a babysitter every now and then. This might mean cutting out some fast food in order to afford a babysitter, or making a bunch of phone calls in order to find out which youth enjoy babysittng and come recommended, or GETTING to know other couples and then setting up babysitting swaps. It might mean that we have to put forth a significant effort, but I think it's important. I also know that it is hard to leave our kids a first time..and a second...and a third. But soon we realize (and so do our kids) that it is not the end of the world for us to be separated. And since I no longer seem to be having any trouble thinking of things to say, let me add this: that it is totally wrong (in my opinion) to ask someone to babysit for free if you will not be giving them the same (or another equally valuable) service in return. So there.
Oh yeah. I need to say that young nursing babies are fair game when it comes to bringing them along to otherwise adultish activites. Does everyone agree?
Also, please do not worry about the welfare of my kids' upcoming Valentine holiday. I have treats prepared for them and we will be making treats to give away, so they WILL get to share in the festivities, and they will also likely receive the valuable reassurance that mom and dad love each other so much that they make it a point to spend time together--alone.

17 comments:

Stephanie said...

Amen, sister! Josh is almost 12 and I'm starting to let him babysit for our date nights, for cheaper than I'd have to pay someone else. Woohoo! My dad always said, "Why did you think we had kids? So you guys could do the work." Someday it will pay off for you too. :)

Audge said...

Yeah I don't have kids but I am 100% sure that when I do I am going to get babysitters. In fact, it really bothers me when some kind of party or get-together of some sort is planned for ADULTS...and some of those adults complain because they have little kids, and all of a sudden that party or get-together is for anyone of ANY age. Booo. Some couples need breaks from there kids. Geeez.

Laura Hendricks said...

I'll drink to that.

Heather said...

I am with you 100% and agree that us mothers who need a break are awful, cruel mean people who try to get away from their kids to protect our sanity and their safety. Bad mom!=)

Glinda the good witch said...

Yeah! Can I climb up on the Soap Box with you? Thanks! Oh sorry, I didn't mean to take up so much room and push you off...But while I'm up here... I THINK that it is everyone's right to throw a party or invite friends and family over and specify "no children please." Personally I crave adult interaction without children interupting. I like my kids but am aware that others may not be as keen on Riggs' habit of stripping to his undies to run around as "fighter-boy." I guess they might think it's a bit distracting. And I feel the same about other people's children. There are times when I want my friends and family all to myself and not have to share them with all the kids. And of course there are times to invite kids, blah, blah, blah. Wow, It's fun up here. Let go of my leg, Ann. You always get your turn.
Sarah

Jen said...

I've offered a million different couples to swap babysitting and only one has ever taken me up on it!! Do they all think I'm horrible and wouldn't want to leave their kids with me?? I don't think so... the moms ask me during the day to watch their kids, but any time i offer to watch them for an evening so they can go out on a date, they get awkward. Why is that?? BTW Ann, you've never taken me up on any of my babysitting offers either!! I am all about babysitters and swapping kids, especially for overnight trips! Dating married couples of the world unite!!

Rachel McEwen said...

ditto to everything that you have said, and to all of the comments too! I am all for leaving my kids:) it is healthy and necessary for both, they need a break from me just as much as i need a break from them.

Kat and Charley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

You need to teach marriage and parenting classes. Can I make an appointment?

Jordan and Jodi said...

Ally just woke up but I'd like to comment....We've tried to find other couples, we've asked the bishopric about the only 3 YW in the ward (they don't babysit), we don't have ANY extra money, and we don't have a lot of willing family around either. We'd love to get away once a week and that is something we decided when we were dating and first married BUT....it isn't happening. I don't necessarily NEED that time away from her (only 1 child so far!) but it would be nice to hang out with my husband outside of the apt. We went to the temple last week TOGETHER (we usually take turns) and the baby was asleep before my niece/nephew came over to watch her. We got them a movie and paid them (they just got laid off). It was nice to be out but how much does one pay these days? Maybe a post about that would be great! Ally has a hard time staying with ANYONE lately...even dad--I know it's a stage but I feel bad for the person that has to watch her other than myself. And yes, I think there should be events where children are NOT allowed, there is nothing wrong with it---just don't go if you HAVE to bring your kids. Ok...Ally's been singing in her room long enough....

Rob and Marseille said...

I have the hardest time just asking someone to babysit. Rob says it's something I have to get over.

Heidi :) :) ;) said...

I agree that it is healthy to get away from your kids every now and then. We are in a ward with very little YW/YM, but a huge Primary especially Jr. Primary. There are only a few babysitters available. Some of the parents pay these babysitters an ongoing monthly rate to guarantee that they will always have a babysitter for Friday or Saturday, so it doesn't leave babysitters available for the rest of us. It is also hard to find babysitters that we trust.

If I can't get a family member to babysit, I am really at a loss of who to ask. And about the money thing, right now there have been so many people losing their homes (at least here) that cutting out fast food still isn't enough to make ends meet. I do agree that if you can get a babysitter it is worth some sacrifices.

Maybe you could suggest a children's class at church, so that you can have an adults dance, but there are babysitters there for those who need them.

Ryan & Brooke said...

Ann,
Thanks for the support on my executive decision. Sorry it didn't work out for a date night.

Jordan and Jodi said...

Hey I was going to tell you...and Brian...Coach Spencer's funeral is this Sunday. I saw it on Vaughan Stewart's Facebook.

The White Clan said...

I am a great fan of babysitters! I have a young woman in our ward that I do her hair for free, and she therefore babysitts for free whenever needed. That way I can justify going out and spending the money on dinner and a movie.
I don't think kids should be invited to Valentines things, it is a holiday for LOVE, and I can love my kids at home as a family, but I need to be alone so I can focus on just my husband and my love for him. And that is because I know that when I am around the kids I am focused on them, and Chris needs my un-devided attention every once in a while.
And the nursing baby thing...I totally agree. That child can't go run around and disrupt everyone else who is out trying to enjoy themselves.

Heather and Billy said...

A-Freakin-MEN!!!! This is one of my soap boxes so I'm just gonna leave it at....There's a reason the Prophets have told us to go on WEEKLY date nights and that we talk about it in church. You're a spouse first before you are a parent. It makes me so mad when people try to argue otherwise or make excuses for themselves.
okay. that was a little more than intended.

Her Royal Highness said...

So far my luck with babysitters in my area has not been good. And when it comes to paying said babysitter to watch my tv (I've already put the kids to bed - all 4 of them) I have a hard time dishing out $10+ an hour for the babysitter to do that.
This is my reason why we don't get a sitter. hardly ever.
Date nights for us are generally reserved for when we go to CO to visit Popeye's parents. Sad, I know.
Don't think that I don't agree with you on your post, though. I just was answering your initial question as to why people don't get sitters. (And as for ward activities/RS activities, Popeye is almost always working - he's on the night shift - and finding a responsible sitter is near impossible in my ward.)