New moms are reluctant to release the care of their precious newborn to anyone else, especially to a teenage babysitter with no prior mothering experience. But there does come the time when the need to get out of the home and do something without this demanding dependent creature in your arms becomes too great. If there is a grandparent nearby, that can solve the problem, but most of us don’t live near our parents nowadays. So the hunt for the babysitter begins. Asking other local parents for suggestions helps. Then you have to make the arrangements to hire someone ahead of time. No spontaneous last minute dates.
Once a suitable sitter has been found and an hourly wage agreed upon, your worries aren’t over. You have to pick up this person, hope your child likes them and that you can be confident leaving your most precious possession in their care. Worrying and calling home to check on the situation while gone certainly limits your enjoyment while out to enjoy yourself. As more children come along, it becomes more of a challenge to find a sitter who with their limited years and lack of parental experience can handle disciplining more than one child at a time. It’s difficult enough for you to do that.
I remember my teenage years as a new babysitter earning 25 cents an hour. I knew nothing about babies or children, but I had no problem lining up jobs to watch children. Entertaining them by playing games was okay, but trying to get them into bed wasn’t easy. I felt so grownup then earning the few dollars I was paid for sitting for an evening. But now, I was the one trying to find an available sitter with or without qualifications.
Many times I ended up staying home and not attending some special activity because of babysitter problems. There is no way you can take three lively boys to an evening at the theatre or out to dinner, although we tried unsuccessfully several times. It is challenging being a parent and perhaps that’s why some young couples today choose not to have children and instead to enjoy their personal freedom. I have to grimace when I recall nowadays some of my last minute desperate attempts to find someone-anyone willing to come and watch my little brood of boys, so I could relax and have a life outside the home. (Photos of my first three sons: oldest-Frank, next-Daniel and youngest then-Brook, another son came later-Jeff.)