Before you freak out, this is not a post dedicated to the books from the 80s/90s. I could talk about those books all day long, since I was Ann M Martin’s biggest fan ever and owned all her books and read them all about 10 times till I almost had them memorised. Look, I loved Claudia, Mallory and Kristy. Oh especially Kristy – she was the creator and president of The Babysitters Club and she was SO smart and confident and a real tomboy from having three brothers, and I had two brothers so I could TOTALLY relate. No, I’m not going to have a nostalgic rant about them at all, because what I am really here to talk about is forming your own babysitters club.
This idea came about from last Sunday night’s ‘date’ with my husband. We saw a comedian called Russell Howard (swoooon) and we love him so much, we’d bought the tickets a year before without thinking about finding a babysitter on a Sunday night. We didn’t want our parents having a late night and a long drive home, so we were in a pickle. We talked about paying a pro, but we’ve never tested how the kids would react to waking up to a stranger, plus we’re both as tight as a pair of skinny jeans which have been in the tumble dryer and didn’t want to add $60 or so to the cost of our evening.
The week before I’d been a solo Susan at birthday drinks, talking to a friend’s friend about how I never go out with my husband because it’s easier to leave him at home (built-in babysitter, whoop whoop). She suggested we form a ‘babysitting club’ which worked really well for her in Sydney. With no parents around, she formed a group with close friends. She would look after their kids and earn credit to have her own date night without having to pay for a sitter.
I was dead keen on this idea and asked my Mamas, a bunch of lovely ladies I met at a Plunket parenting course when Henry was a newborn. We clicked and we’ve been hanging out, having fun and supporting each other ever since. A few of the Mamas aren’t from Auckland, so they don’t have grandparents around to babysit. Others are like us, just wanting more options for babysitting that don’t cost the earth.
So we’re doing it! We will probably use a formal website like sit4sit.com, where each sitter is registered and their babysitting hours are recorded. You can use a website like this to ‘request’ a sitter and to keep track of who’s done what.
I’m so excited. Bring on the date nights! Let’s hear it for having dinner together that actually involves SITTING DOWN for the whole meal and having a conversation. I can’t wait to watch a movie without pausing whenever a kid cries out. Or to go for a walk and hold hands because there’s no double buggy to push. Tres romantic!