Dear Esteemed Sitter of my three young children:
Thank you. Thank you for giving me a few hours of peace. Away from the Mom-Alarm. Away from the mountains of laundry. Away from my two year old’s wall and body art. Thank you for giving me some uninterrupted time to connect with my husband – away from the ADHD that is parenting three little ones. Even if I only slept for four hours last night, at least I can relax for just a teeny bit.
There’s just this one thing. Okay, two.
1. I don’t want to come home to kids who are awake. Not even one still-roused child. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s not “oh well!” It sucks. I want them to all be asleep. I don’t care if their feet are black, their teeth aren’t brushed, or there are small animals in their hair. I just want them horizontal. Because after a few hours of no demands, I don’t want to play mom again until the next morning. I get that you don’t get it. You probably don’t have a 2 year old who constantly draws on every possible surface, including herself, a 5 year old who manages to leave half of every meal on the floor, or a 7 year old who needs to be reminded every 3.5 seconds to do her homework. You probably don’t understand that “good days” mean you got a shower or got to complete two consecutive sentences when speaking with your partner. That’s why I’m giving you this simple rule. Kids. In bed. All of them.
2. If my kids are asleep and you have been watching Bravo for 2 hours, their dinner dishes should not be visible. They should be in the dishwasher and their kitchen mess should be cleaned up. Look, I’m not asking you to clean the house. But putting their dishes in the dishwasher and washing the one pan of mac ‘ cheese (don’t judge) that they get for a treat when we go out isn’t asking for much. And, yes, I’m asking for it.
And here’s my Grumpy Old Man story: when I babysit, for $5/hour, I felt like I needed to earn that money. So, when the kids went to sleep, I did just that. I cleaned the entire kitchen – often consisting of several days’ worth of dishes, put all toys away, and straightened up. Then, I watched TV. I’m not asking you to do all of this. I’m asking you to place, in the dishwasher, three small plates, three cups, assorted silverware, and to complete the washing of one pan. This should comprise approximately 10 minutes of your time at my house and then you can watch Bravo to your heart’s content.
(p.s. I love my children and I love being their mom. And they don’t get mac ‘n cheese that often.)