Is My Babysitter Doing a Better Job Than Me?
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I love being a big part of my kids’ lives, but it’s also exhausting. Come dinner and bedtime, I’m beat. So while the babysitter comes in fresh and ready to work, I’m ready to throw in the towel (having been up since 5am). She has the energy to negotiate three more bites, or a spoonful of broccoli, but I feel like I’ve been negotiating for hours. When it comes to bedtime, I admit, I’m terrible about being strict. Truth be told, I love reading stories to my boys. I love the extra snuggle time. I love telling them about when they were a baby, or a story about when I was their age.
So while I wish I had the energy to stick to a schedule and keep it consistent and structured, I also feel like I need to cut myself some slack. I don’t always make them finish their dinners (or eat their veggies and fruit), but I do make them three full meals a day. If they skimp on something at dinner, hopefully they make up for it at lunch. If I don’t always have the strong will to enforce bedtime, I hope they have happy memories of their mom telling them lots of bedtime stories about their childhood (and mine) and reading lots of books.
Maybe babysitters can be consistent and more structured because they watch my kids at most 20 percent of the time I do. If I had my kids 20 percent of the time, maybe I could strive for perfection or good modeling all that time. But I’m on 24/7, so even though I slip up and bend the rules quite a bit, I like to think it evens out in the end. And that I’m still a good mom.
Main image: The author and her children swim with the dolphins on a recent trip.