We finally did it! We left our kids with a non-relative babysitter! We found Brittney on Sittercity, and I loved her from the minute she walked in our door yesterday. She is 18, and lives with her grandparents and their cats a few miles away. She is going to a community college here, but the bad news is that she plans to transfer to a college in Wilmington next fall.
It was hard for Tim and I to do this, for a couple reasons. I discussed it at length several months ago. For me, it was, 'How do I justify paying someone else to watch our kids? That's MY job. I don't earn any income. So now I'm going from not only NOT earning, but now costing our family money. My butt ought to be with these kids 24/7.' Another thing is, how do you really trust someone you've only talked to a couple times to watch your kids? Lastly, we don't really need babysitters. We get by without them just fine until something like the Marine Corps Birthday Ball comes up. We have date nights in that we enjoy. And we're lame. We don't really do anything, so why start now? What it is, we decided, is an investment we make now, for a time later when we really need a babysitter, and want to be able to call someone the girls know and we trust. The idea of having no one I can call to watch my kids ever, is scary. Especially once Tim deploys next summer and I'm a single mom. I will definitely be needing some help now and then when it's just me. The thing is, if we want to have a babysitter when we need one, then we have to be using them at times when we don't really need one, so that we can get to know them and our girls can too.
So we had a long conversation about how often should we have a babysitter over in order to keep her in the girls' lives, but not break the bank. That's a tough one. We settled on about 10 to 15 hours a month, and even that hurts me because like I said, this is my only job! Tim says I should relax about that, because we do well enough to be able to pay a babysitter 10 to 15 hours a month. And I do feel good about helping a student make easy money watching my little angels:).
Yesterday, Brittney came over and we chatted for a few minutes, and then we left to go fart around at Lowe's and the New Bern (excuse for a) Mall. We were gone for an hour and a half, and we paid her $15. When we came back, we were happy to find them all playing dress-up in the playroom. Brittney is like one of their aunties. She will be coming back next Tuesday afternoon for a couple hours, and then the following Saturday night she will put the kiddos to bed while we have a date night out. She is very sweet with the girls and they seem to like her too.
But of course, we're not done looking, because she's leaving next summer or fall. But for now we have one babysitter, and I am looking forward to next Saturday night.