Confession: I’m Jealous of My Daughter’s Babysitter
I'm a mom to two little girls, and while I love them dearly, I've been eager to start adding more “me” time into my schedule. When I looked into what I really wanted, I realized I missed working. I've been a stay-at-home mom for the past several years, but the thought of going back to an office setting was slightly daunting, so I decided to take some baby steps and start working from our home office a few hours a week. Technically I'm still a stay-at-home mom 90 percent of the time, but it's nice to have a few hours to get my mind flowing again. With that said, in order to get actual work done, I quickly realized I needed a babysitter to watch my toddler.
The gal who comes over a few days a week is amazing–truly, she's every parent's dream babysitter. She's in her late 20s, but is still a kid at heart; she's currently in graduate school, and has a passion for hanging out with young kids; she's been a live-in nanny for several families in the past (and still has a good reputation with them), she's responsible (i.e. she arrives on time, unlike several other sitters we've had who just plain “forgot” to show up before), and best of all: my daughter loves her.
As I'm typing this from my little corner in the house, I can hear both of them squealing with delight. They just finished blowing bubbles outside, and are now playing ring-around-the-rosie. Before the bubbles they were making “burritos” out of Play-Doh while simultaneously participating in impromptu dance parties. My daughter's giggle bounces off the walls and ricochets back into my office–it's the kind of laughter that forms deep in her belly.
So why am I jealous? Because I feel like I'm letting my daughter down; I'm incredibly boring compared to the sitter.
When it's just the two of us (and my 3-month-old little girl), she doesn't get my complete undivided attention. Sure, we play here and there, go to parks, the library, and have play dates, but in truth, I have other things happening, and the TV is usually on as a fallback. I have dinner to work on, a house to clean, another child to care for, etc. She hears the word “no,” or “maybe later,” probably more than she should, and while she isn't jealous of her new sister often, she definitely wants to be held more–which is quite a feat when you're already holding/wearing a baby.
Here are just a few reasons why I'm totally jealous of my daughter's babysitter:
She gets complete undivided time with the coolest 2 year old around. ‘Nuff said.
She's artsy. I can draw a grand total of four things: a fish, a heart, the sun, and a flower. That's it. Our babysitter, on the other hand, is pretty spectacular when she has chalk or crayons in her hands.
She loves being outside. It's not that I hate being outside, it's that I hate being hot and feeling like I'm in a sauna when I'm clearly not at a spa is pretty much miserable. I'm also not a fan of bugs; particularly those that like to dine on my blood (and I have some pretty tasty blood). This is a huge problem since my daughter likes everything about being outside. The sitter and my daughter spend the majority of their time outside.
She has the patience of a saint. I'm a work in progress, and one thing I know about myself is that I'm impatient, especially around tiny humans. I'm trying to get better at “slow-parenting” instead of rushing her to go, go, go, but I fail … often.
“No” isn't in her vocabulary. Of course she puts her foot down when need-be, but she also lets my daughter take the reins for what they do during their time together. I remind myself that even though the sitter isn't a mom, she's done this before with the kids she's nannied, whereas this is my first time parenting. She and my daughter have tea parties with actual water (and my daughter will pour it into the teeny-tiny tea cups). The first time I saw them do this, I immediately realized that's something I never would've thought of, and if I did think of it, I probably would've thought she was too young to pour it herself.
She keeps the TV off. They are always doing something other than staring at a screen.
She gets to go home. I'm not going to lie, but this is one of the major reasons I'm jealous of my daughter's babysitter. At the end of her 3-4 hour shift, she gets to go home. Perhaps, she naps the rest of the day, binges on Netflix, reads a book (for pleasure), or maybe she gets to go shopping (or to the bathroom) by herself. All I know is that she clocks in and gets to clock out. As a SAHM, I'm here 24/7 (or 20/7 on the days she's here). I may clock out when I go to sleep at night, but I'm still very much on-call since I sleep with my oldest's video monitor on my night stand, and my youngest still wakes up a few times a night to eat.
She gets paid. There, I said it. I'm totally jealous that she's getting paid to watch my daughter. It turns out that even though I'm working again, the majority of the tiny income I'm bringing in goes straight into my babysitter's pocket.
I'm incredibly grateful and fortunate that my husband's job allows me to stay home with my girls, and I truly believe that by hiring our babysitter and having her come over a few hours a week saves my sanity. Yes, she gets the majority of my paycheck, but I get some uninterrupted time to be alone with my thoughts. I also get to run errands, which means I can do things in half the time as before.