A note of thanks to our babysitter:

Hey girl, hey! I know I tell you every time you’re over, but I can never express my gratitude enough for you! Big, BIG thanks to you!

I looked for you for a long time. It took me a while to embrace the idea of someone else watching my child. Not just watching, caring for my child. There’s a difference worth noting here. Many offers on babysitting agencies, social media, and bulletins are merely looking for a quick dollar. They know babysitting pays cash and is always in need somewhere. I’ve found people who think they can just sit around on their phones and watch TV rather than engage with the kids.

Babysitting is a HARD job. IF you do it right.

If you do it right you’re making meals, changing diapers, playing games, picking up, teaching, comforting, and being that interim parent until they return home.

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So imagine my concern giving a stranger the opportunity to mold and shape my son, to trust mommy will come back or give him crippling anxiety thinking he will be ignored for hours. I waited almost two years before the idea grew enough on me to hire my neighbor.

Even when a parent gets a break from their children (and sure they feel like they are busting out of the prison joint ready to go have some fun) in the back of all our minds we’re thinking I hope they are OK. We can’t micromanage well from miles away, so there’s a lot of slack in our reigns. We put our minds and hearts in trust. We walk a tightrope of desperation for alone time and fear of the unknown with our babies.

Hiring a babysitter taught me to chill out a little, too. I wanted every box checked and executed how I would do it. But at the end of the day when I ask my son, “Did you have fun with Miss Taylor?” and he’s happy, fed, and clean . . . isn’t that all that matters?

It taught me to live a little and let go.

It taught me that teaching my son some independence and fostering an adult friendship is important. (Of course, I prepared him ad nauseam with the Daniel Tiger episode “Grownups come back” to lay the groundwork.)

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The last time we had our sitter over, our son woke up (which had never happened) and we were not there. He was expecting us and got so worked up, he vomited on her. Every parent’s nightmare as they are elbows deep in fettuccine alfredo an hour away. I instantly sweat out of every pore in my body. I wanted to hurry home and fix the situation. I didn’t though. Don’t judge me, I am typically a bit of a helicopter parent, but our marriage was being tended to and we TRUSTED her to snuggle him and soothe him back to sleep. Which she did. We returned home and everything was fine. Aside from my inner monologue shaming myself.

When you trust someone with your child, it’s the highest level of trust there is. It’s not a quick $50. It’s a commitment.

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Dear Miss Taylor, our marriage is in a better place, and I find myself having more patience and being a better mom thanks to you. Thanks for giving hugs, reading books, and making my son smile. Thanks for being part of our family, and thank you for helping us grow.

Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.