I know I run a care-finding business, but it’s always nice to hear real stories about how a caregiver has helped families, whether for date nights, working moms or SAHMs who deserve a break. Shadra Bruce is the owner of MomsGetReal.com and author of “Stories from a Stepmom.” Here, she discusses going from family childcare to a hired babysitter -- and how it helped her marriage.
I’ve always wanted to be a great mom, but do you know what happens when you stop prioritizing yourself, your marriage, and your need for time away? You become a frantic, stressed out, scary mom.
When I started dating my husband, he had three kids and a very trusted babysitter whom he’d hire weekly so that we’d have time away. And by the time we married and had more kids, my stepdaughter was old enough to babysit and was so wonderful with her little brother and sister that we never dreamed of leaving them with anyone else.
And then she left for college.
We no longer had a babysitter or anyone with whom we could trust with our kids.
That’s when the babysitter blues set in.
I was not a bad mom, but I felt like one because I did more yelling and had less patience.
I was not a bad mom, but I felt like one because I felt frazzled all the time. I was not a bad mom, but I felt like one because I felt stifled and unable to have any private moments with my husband.
But really, I was being a bad mom because I wasn’t prioritizing myself -- and my needs to be something more than Mom.
So I turned back to babysitters. Paid babysitters. Sure, I had some fears leaving the kids with non-family, but I was also fearful I’d lose my mind without the break.
I realized: I can find/teach/work with someone else I trust with my kids.
I realized: the kids will survive being away from me.
I realized: I can justify this cost, if it helps my sanity -- and my marriage.
And yes, we had some misses. One babysitter was a constant-boyfriend-talker.
But we also had some hits. One of our kids’ favorite sitters was a neighbor whose parents were friends of ours. She truly loved kids – in fact, we just celebrated her getting a Masters in Education.
What I learned? The kids could survive without their big sister taking care of them – and without us home Every.Single.Weekend.Night. And my relationship with my husband could flourish because we were prioritizing taking time for ourselves. We could enjoy being a couple, rather than just Mom and Dad.
So that’s how I got my sanity -- and my groove -- back!
What are your sanity savers?