The One Thing ALL Parents Should Have.It astounds me that even after hours and hours...and hours, of pregnancy and parenting advice from friends, books and strangers, I was still grossly underprepared for what being a mother really entailed. I had no clue how hard it would be, or that my bundle of joy would rock the hell out of my joyful marriage. I was not prepared for the constant fear, worry and endless sleepless nights for one reason or another. Most of all, I had no clue how important it was to have a dependable person to watch my son periodically to save me from the nonstop 24/7 365 life of a parent.
The majority of the advice focused on parenting and how to rock my baby to sleep, change a diaper without getting peed on, ... not to make sure I ran from mommying a couple of times a month to maintain my sanity. Not once did anyone tell me to make sure my husband and I had at least one date night a month to reconnect and decompress from parenthood, starting the very first month. Not once did anyone tell me how hard it would be to find that one person, so start looking early.
When it became apparent that we desperately needed a babysitter, I started asking around and quickly learned finding someone was not going to be cheap or easy. It turns out, if someone has a great babysitter they are apprehensive to share their name, or worse, every parent in the zip code has the sitter on speed dial. Another option I entertained was a nanny/babysitter services that has a large group of well screened and qualified sitters. The issue is that the service has a $50 minimum, which is astronomical when you are talking about looking after one kid for three or four hours! Plus, you are not even guaranteed to get the same sitter every time, so while the sitter is qualified on paper, their personality may not be right for your family.
My son is two, and I am still looking for that one person. It's hard to leave your child with a stranger, or someone you do not know very well. Because of this, we have had to turn down numerous invites from friends and coworkers, and have all but alienated ourselves from our single or childless friends. This inability to find time to be alone together has also caused our relationship to suffer. We used to go out all of the time and have a blast. Now we do our best to get out with a toddler in tow, which is not always easy, or fun.