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How to Choose the Perfect Babysitter

For many people, dating becomes a thing of the past once they get married and have kids, and not just because all their money is tied up in mortgages and school fundraisers. Going out on the town simply becomes too complicated.

Gone are the days of spontaneous road trips, late nights dancing until last call, and lazy Sunday mornings spent in bed reading the paper, followed by a matinee. Maybe something with subtitles!

No, once you have kids, even slipping away to the bathroom for a shower requires three hours of strategic maneuvering and the expert distraction techniques of Houdini.

Actually leaving the house? Together? Without the children? Unlikely, at best.

However, if you do manage to plan a night out that doesn't involve kids' menus, 3D glasses, or musical numbers performed by mechanical rodents, one of the key components to a fun, relaxing evening is choosing the right babysitter.

Hilariously helpful tips for finding the perfect babysitter, in the unlikely event you ever get to leave the house. by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

Perfect babysitters are playful enough to tolerate Barbies, yet mature enough to call 911 when "Barbie" lights matches in the dollhouse fireplace. They're patient enough to help with craft projects, but authoritative enough to prevent anyone from opening the glitter. They should be responsible, trustworthy, trained in First Aid, but above all - and this is the most important thing - they should be available on the evening you want to leave the house.

If you don't have a regular sitter, ask your friends for recommendations. If you've been housebound so long that you don't have friends, you might need to interview potential sitters yourself. Personally, I haven't left the house for anything other than dental appointments in three years, so I can't tell you what to ask during these interviews. However, I do know a few things you definitely don't want them to say:

"The court says I have to show you these papers."

"Are any of these 'teddy bears' actually nanny cams?"

"I find I don't need to disciple children as much when I wear my clown costume."

"How many episodes of Walking Dead are they allowed to watch?"

"My parole officer told me I'm one of the most resourceful people he knows."

"I bring my tarantula with me everywhere I go. But don't worry, he rarely gets out of his cage."

"Should my boyfriend come in when he drops me off, or drive around the block until you leave?"

"Experience? Sure, I've sat on babies lots of times."

"I can take them to the park, but I can't promise they won't go over their RDA for bark chips and dirt."

"If I need to take a nap, I'll just tether them to my eyebrow piercing."

Good luck, daters - have a great time! Try not to think too much about what's going on at home while you're gone; I'm sure the babysitter has everything under control. Mostly. Or, maybe you should stay home instead. You were just going to talk about the kids the whole time you were out anyway.

I originally wrote this post for In The Powder Room; it is republished here with permission.

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