8 years without a date.
First of all, I want to say that I’m not complaining. In 8 years, my husband and I have been without all of the kids three times.
My oldest was born in December 2001, and my family had moved away from Sacramento the previous year, so we had no grandparents around to watch the kids. Once, however, we visited my aunt and uncle and left Molly with them briefly while we went and picked up Chinese food. That was our first official 30 minutes away from our child. She was fine. We moved from Sacramento when she was 9 months old to Bakersfield, where my father in law and sister in law lived. My mother in law was deceased. Whenever we asked for someone to babyit, they were too busy. When my second child was born in 2004, I was at the hospital with a doula. My husband was home with the baby because we had no one to babysit.
Then, in December 2004, I had a work Christmas Party to attend, so we asked my sister in law to baby-sit the two girls. I was pregnant with the third baby at the time. She showed up an hour late, so I was late to the work function, but we did get an evening out, sorta (not really a date when you are literally sitting with your boss at the table). My third baby was born in 2005. Again, I had a doula and a friend at the hospital with me, and Joe stayed home with the other two babies because his sister couldn’t baby-sit.
In 2006, she babysat the three girls (youngest was over a year old), so we could borrow her truck and pick up a treadmill we bought via eBay. It was a 5 hour round trip. It was very nice to have five hours together. We always enjoyed just driving around when we were dating and early in the marriage. We would drive from Sacramento to Tahoe at night just for the drive. Sometimes, we’d drive to San Francisco and turn around and come back.
We asked her a few other times to baby-sit for an afternoon so we could go Christmas shopping or whatever, but she was always busy.
We moved to Fresno in 2007, and there we didn’t know anyone well enough to ask them to baby-sit. At this point, with three children under 6, it’s hard to find a babysitter you don’t think will be overwhelmed! My children don’t watch a lot of television, so they are very active. When I finally got to know people well enough to ask them to baby-sit, we moved to Southern California. Last May, I had our fourth baby, so I hired a doula to go to the hospital with me so Joe could stay home with the girls. Because I ended up with a c-section, I was in the hospital for six days! Joe stayed home with the kids for most of that and brought them to visit me and the baby every day. He stayed for an hour or two. The rest of the time it was me and Lucas alone. My mother flew in the day before I was discharged, so she watched the girls while Joe picked me up from the hospital. And that’s it.
We have one person here we think can handle babysitting the three girls, but I don’t really want to leave Lucas, who is still nursing. Joe wouldn’t be comfortable leaving him either.
Joe and I manage some alone time, though. When Lucas naps, we spend time together in the bedroom with the baby cuddling. Because the girls are so independent (take that co-sleeping naysayers!), they will often spend half the day outside, so we get some time to talk while they are playing in the backyard.
The first time we go out without them is going to be so weird! After 8 years, we’re used to being on our own and reliant on only us, but it is nice to now have someone who can be an emergency backup for us.