My daughter is two and last weekend, we hired our first babysitter.
This isn’t to say we haven’t left her before; we’ve just never paid someone to watch her. We’ve been very fortunate to have my sister and her new husband living just two minutes away (and they are always willing to watch her), plus several sets of friends that don’t have children who, in exchange for coming over for dinner, will stay with her after she’s gone to bed so we can hit a movie. We also have two couples that we swap babysitting with.
We’re lucky that she goes to bed quite early, so asking someone to watch her basically just means we need someone to sit on our couch, eat our ice cream and be ready to grab her in case the house goes up in flames. She never even knows we’re gone.
But it feels like a real rite of passage into parenthood to call up a teenage girl to arrange a time, pick her up, leave a phone number and instructions, and then pay her at the end of the night. I can’t believe I’m now the person hiring a babysitter, when I feel like it was just a couple of years ago that I was the one babysitting little children and wondering what kind of snacks this family kept in the pantry to be eaten after the babies went to bed.