For the first time last Saturday, we actually paid someone to watch Em and ventured out on a date. I know. We've been on dates since she was born, but usually traded childcare with other parents (my husband calls us 'reluctant consumers,' which is a nice way of saying tight wads).
Just before the two young ladies from our church arrived, I had this weird Freaky Friday moment. As I sat there writing out instructions for the babysitters, I felt like I should be the babysitter. I used to have this "Babysitter Instructions" pad that came in handy when I was about seven-years-old and playing house, but here I was, actually writing down notes for someone else on how to take care of my child. Because I have a child. I'm not playing 'house' anymore--I'm actually living it. So strange.
It doesn't feel like long ago (and maybe it wasn't, in the scheme of things), that I was the teenager entering a house throbbing with that chaotic energy of children, and admiring the dolled-up mom with her adult purse, trying to make her way past the wreckage of toys to the door. As a teenager, there was no way for me to understand the exquisite delight of a night out, without kids.
But boy do I understand now! I saw an idea online that suggested setting aside date money in envelopes, with the month written on the front. So I did it. It's not much money, but the envelopes are tucked in my underwear drawer (unnecessary detail), and I'm hoping we can manage at least one date night a month. I once heard that it's cheaper to pay for a babysitter than marriage counseling, and for some reason that idea has stuck with me.