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The Babysitter: One Mom's Story

Sonya Versluys


It came to my attention recently that I really needed some time to myself and also some "married" time with my husband. What then do I do with my family and friends miles away? The dreaded babysitter!

Hiring a babysitter for the first time is a harrowing affair. Try as you might, it is hard to imagine leaving your pride and joy with a complete stranger. However, most parents manage it at some point in there life because they realize the importance of maintaining an identity outside of parenthood.

Not knowing anyone in our area, and turning down yet another dinner invitation, led my husband and I on a search for that one person who we would trust to occupy our child's life. We put it off forever and ever before we realized that the truth was, we were never going to trust anyone besides each other, but we still had to do it. Our sanity depended on it.

As luck would have it I came across a list of people willing to baby-sit in our local community association center and went about the harrowing task of deciding on which person it would be. We finally found "a someone", all of 17 years of age who had lots of babysitting experience, a hovering mother living close by and a real need for the money. (I hear college is really expensive these days!)

Am I confident leaving my child with her? No, but then there are not many people who earn that privilege in a lifetime of babysitting. There is always a "what if" and a million scenarios where only Mommy will do. I know because I have created them all in my head on many a sleepless night as I played out all the reasons why I should never leave my child with a stranger.

As it turns out, our new babysitter is a godsend. I remember the very first occasion when I awaited her arrival, anxious and nervous at what it meant for me as a mother and what it meant ABOUT me as a mother. What sort of person was I that I needed time away from this person whom I created and worshiped? Well she arrived and was everything a babysitter should be, and that first time, as I made up a dozen excuses for why I should call and cancel, I sat and watched them play together for a full 20 minutes before I left them alone and locked myself in the bedroom so I could do some writing. (You heard right, I never even left the house!)

My husband and I now look forward to our evenings when we can go out after 8pm and enjoy a meal without tipping over heavy and leaving before anyone notices the food stuck to the carpet. It is our time to be together and be adults with adult conversations and meanings. I'll admit, it is hard to actually have a conversation that does not include our daughter as the main subject, it is our most common ground after all, but the point is that we come home refreshed and exhilarated that there is still the "two" of us—even though there is really three.

I am proud that we recognized the importance of maintaining our relationship in this way. I would like to think that maybe I could be that super Mom who never gets tired of Barney and Teletubbies, but the truth is that I need a break and I am pretty certain that I am not alone.

Author Sonya Versluys is a mother of one daughter, and an avid photographer, storywriter, and painter with a background in Early Childhood Education and Psychology"
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