I knew getting a babysitter would be a new obstacle in world of dating with a baby, but I've been surprised at just how large of an obstacle this can be! My assumption was the main issue was cost, it definitely adds up to add in the going rate with the mix, but that has actually been on the bottom of the issue list.
The top? Finding someone you trust to be with your baby. It's amazing how you think anyone will do before they are born, and then suddenly you're pretty fearful of who is capable of taking care of their little needs. We have a pretty good baby most of the time, but he is a reflux baby who spits up more than he keeps down. He can get really fussy at night and cry and scream without much consolation until the food moves through his little body. That seems fine for us as loving and fairly patient parents, but I have been so afraid of who will tolerate this screaming without wanting to shake the baby. Who will actually come back in a few months when he outgrows this phase? Who will know to hold him in the right position so he feels the most comfortable while it passes? I've worried for him and for the sake of whoever is watching him, and consequently, we've had more dates where he tags along than I'd like to admit because of my own rookie parent fears.
The other issue- who do you even hire? I've been a church youth leader in two different congregations in our city, and we still have a short list of who to call. Teens' schedules fill up fast, many are too busy to be called with less than a week's notice, and some of them have rates that are pretty crazy. We're learning that you really do need a list of at least five ready to go at all times or your chances aren't great of even snagging one of your bottom choices.
In spite of this, we have hired a few teens to come watch our precious bundle that we're entirely too protective of. We are learning to overcome this obstacle, because it turns out better than you'd think most the time, and dating one-on-one is important! This past weekend we went out for Valentine's Day (post coming this week) and left him with our niece who I'll now forever call the baby whisperer. I feared we'd come home at the height of screaming time to a baby who refused to eat or sleep and one stressed out sitter. I walked in to a cooing baby playing with toys who had taken two naps, two bottles, and was happy as could be to be hanging out with his older cousin.
We decided that it's time to re-prioritize and to decide to let go of some of our fears. It's time to get that list of babysitters ready and handy, and maybe even time to get one on retainer so we know we're set every Friday. We also decided that this date alone was so special, and so needed, that maybe it's time to work even harder at overcoming the babysitter obstacle and making sure all excuses are removed so we can continue to have our sacred Friday (or sometimes Saturday) nights together for this project of ours.