I’m a giver.
I share better than any three year old. Really.
Ask my friends. I give advice (almost never unsolicited), I give fabulous presents and I give of my time like nobody’s business (two words: PTA President). If you need me, I’m there for you, no questions asked. And, if you are one of my closest friends, I’m the gal there for you at 3 am.
But, there’s one thing I hate sharing. One tidbit of information that I guard with extra special care. In fact, when I’m asked to divulge this information, I cringe and I start to sweat a little. I get nervous, shifty even. I look immediately for the nearest exit and try to think of fantastical lies to throw the questioner off course. I become tongue tied and petulant and, frankly, I want the world to know:
Don’t ask me who my babysitters are because I’m hoarding them and I don’t want to share. So stop asking me, m’kay?
Before we had kids, we heard horror stories of once social beings reduced to Stone Age Neanderthals because they couldn’t escape their children. Couple after couple told story after story about missed cocktail parties, failed date nights and movies they hadn’t seen in ten years. I’d listen to these stories in horror and think, “Never. I’m never going to let this happen to us”. This mama needed to see the light of day, er, the lights on the town, more than once a year. But, I’d need qualified babysitters to make it happen so I started my inquiries almost the day our son was born.
I set about asking friend after friend who they trusted with their special snowflakes. I’d casually work into my inquiry into conversations during play dates or the preschool drop off line. I was careful not to seem like I was poaching, I was merely gathering info “just in case”, I’d say. Strangely, I’d get responses like, “Uh, my sitter only works with twins, mine in particular” or “Oh, I’m sorry, my sitter goes back to college on every single night you need her” or “Uh, I’ll get back to you basically never because you are nuts if you think I’m sharing my Mary Poppins wonder sitter with you”. I’m exaggerating a tiny bit but you get my point. No one was sharing and I was on my own.
After much searching and going through countless well intentioned yet scarily inept candidates, we found two girls who have lovingly cared for our children so we can regularly escape the madness. They are kind, they are responsible and they even stayed with us through a three-year stint when we had an antenna instead of cable because Hubby was too cheap sick of paying the cable bill. I’m not saying they’ve become a part of our family but if they wanted to move in so we could adopt them, I’m totally on board.
And, no, you can’t have their phone numbers, thankyouverymuch.
Well, for starters, what if you pay more per hour? What if you have better snacks in your pantry? Your kids might be better behaved than mine or you might allow her to bring her boyfriend along (sorry, but, NO). And, gulp, you might have PREMIUM cable and allow her to buy as many PayPerView movies as she can watch while you are gone. You might have a better nightstand to snoop in, for God’s sakes. And, let’s not talk about the possibility that you could need her on the same night I do AND SHE PICKS YOU. I’m not sure our friendship can handle that kind of stress, so let’s just agree to let me be selfish here.
I’m telling you: I just can’t take the risk that our sitter will like you better.
I’ve tasted the joy of leaving my home to remind myself who Hubby and I used to be without the worry the house will burn down in our absence. I’ve gotten to wear grown up clothes and use my real name in restaurants that don’t have screaming kids (or store owners). I’ve ordered food I don’t have to share and I’ve seen a movie in the last five years. I have my FREEDOM and I’m not going to give that up easily, people. And I don’t care how much you need a date night: my lips are sealed.
It’s taken me years to cultivate this symbiotic relationship where I pay large sums of money to ensure good childcare and being able to stay out late like a grown up. Years to build trust and at least ten holiday seasons of good tipping to get where we are today. I’m not going to just hand that information over. No way. Nope. I’m not sharing. Find your own Mary Poppins wonder sitter and keep your hands off mine.
That all being said, anyone want to go out for cocktails on Friday night? I just found out my sitter is available….