A New Freedom

I remember the night very well. We had 4 tickets to a Jazz game and had invited my sister and her husband to go. Problem? Babysistter. We had 6 children at the time. Do you know how much you have to pay babysitters? I didn't for a long time. We just didn't go anywhere. When I asked, I was told $1/hour per child. PER CHILD?!?!?!? That's six bucks an hour, more than minimum wage at the time! No wonder we never went anywhere. We decided that it was time to see if our older kids could handle babysitting for longer than half an hour.

So, with a palpating heart, long instructions, and cell phone in hand, we left. We were gone for 5 hours. Guess what? They survivied! The house did not burn down and no one bled. That was the beginning of a very magical time in our lives, "The Time of the Built-in Babysitters". Can I tell you that I love this time in my life? If I need to run to the store, I don't have to drag a bunch of monkeys with me. (I'm not being rude, calling them that. It's just that that's how they act, like a monkey with something shiny dangled in front of it. Ooohhh! Shiny, I must see it, I must touch it, I must have it!) If I want to go anywhere, not that I have a lot of places to go, I can. I just say, "Hey, I'll be back in an hour. Watch your brothers." It's an amazing freedom I didn't think I'd ever have.

Not that there haven't been difficulties. Cell phones are fantastic, but they can also be annoying. For instance, when your oldest son and his sister are fighting and feel the need to have you referee-while you're at the movies. I can't remember which movie it was, but my husband missed about half of it, running out with his cell phone. We sat the kids down after that and had a long discussion. Ok, it was more like a sermon. We talked and they listened, mumbling "I'm sorry" every now and then. They do much better, tho', we still have the occasional inappropriate call.
ring*ring* (me) "What?" 'Mom, can I have some ramen noodles?' "Really, this is what you're calling me for?" 'Well, I was getting some, then Chip said I couldn't have any and he took them away from me. Then, I told him I was calling you and he took the phone away, so I had to go find another one and he doesn't know I'm calling.' -sigh-

This weekend is a new test. I put in a request for a day off. You know how hard those are to get in our line of work! The problem is that we've never left them alone overnight, and I want a whole day off. I tried unsuccessfully to find someone to stay, though I felt a little funny since the two oldest are 15 and 16. It came down to my options being- leave them alone or stay home. It's not like I'm going very far, I'm not. (Not like my friend whose husband had to convince her to go to Hawaii for a week. What the heck? I'd throw some peanut butter and bread at my kids and be on the next plane.) I've made it as easy as I can for the boys, finding a place for the two youngest to stay and sending my daughter to a friends'. It still makes me nervous. I don't worry that they'll have girls over or a party. It's just that whole responsibility thing. Hoping they'll do what you asked even when you aren't there to check. My fingers are crossed that I won't get any calls, for emergencies or otherwise. If they pass this test, they'll be rewarded, and so will I- with a whole new set of freedoms! "Hey, kids, watch your brothers, I'll be back in the morning!"


  1. Wooohooo! Freedom, isn't it great!? My step-mom stayed with my kids, but I think they would have been alright except for the far away activities (Nik doesn't get his license till January). And Hawaii is kind of far if something drastic happened. Nik happilly announced when we got home that he thinks he could handle staying on his own. (Translation: "please don't embarrass me by having a babysitter anymore!!") Oh and I did buy them all the food I normally don't have in the house cause I can't eat it. COLD CEREAL AND FROZEN PIZZA!! They were happy.

    Have fun on your night out!!


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