A (Kinda) Free Babysitter

The following post is from Courtney Buxton from A Work in Progress:

source: kevindooley

Have you ever wished for a date night with your husband, but feel that you cannot justify the babysitter expense?

I have. I found myself discussing it with my neighbor on more than one occasion, and finally, an idea popped into my head…

We could babysit for each other!

This is not a new idea in the grand scheme of motherhood.  Lots of people do it; just not me, and maybe not her.  I called her up and asked if we could swap nights babysitting for one another.  She said, “Yes,” without skipping a beat.

This has turned into a great arrangement for us, but there are things to consider before choosing a friend and posing the question yourself.

1. Do you like her kids?

Seriously. You will dread going over there if you secretly think of them as little monsters.  Don’t open this can of worms unless you actually like the children involved.

My friend has three girls, and I have two boys. I think her girls are sweet, polite and fun. She thinks my boys are charming. (I haven’t informed her otherwise.) We enjoy trading places in our lopsided households just to see what it is like to constantly step on miniature cars or tuck in a baby doll.

2. Are your date-night styles similar?

For example, will they stay out until 1:00 a.m., but you and your spouse have to think of ways to keep the date going until after 9:00 p.m.?  It won’t seem fair if you always wake up in a post-midnight drool puddle on her couch, but she never sees the inside of your house after dark.

My friend and I have fallen into an unspoken rhythm of being home by 10:00 p.m.-ish.  If we need to stay out later, I either ask if she is okay with it, or I get a “real” babysitter.

3. Is your spouse on board?

He will be babysitting your kids while you are babysitting your friend’s.  Make sure he is cool with that.

4. Will your friendship survive a failed attempt?

This may be the trickiest part.  Think about if you can be honest with this friend if things are not working out.  Also, be ready to hear from her that your kids were bad, or that she just doesn’t enjoy the arrangement.  Say to each other in the beginning, “No hard feelings if this doesn’t work for you and your family,” and mean it.

Now, grab your spouse, leave the babysitting money untouched, and go have some fun!  Not paying the babysitter when you get home is priceless.

Do you have any other creative ways to get free babysitting?

Courtney and her husband met in law school. They remember going out on dates whenever they wanted! Times have changed, but date night remains precious. You can read more from Courtney at her blog, A Work in Progress.
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