I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
January 28, 2009
Lately, my husband and I have been caught up in the throes of what can only be described as Babysitting Fever, which is sort of like Football Fever,except that it doesn’t involve football.
After losing our last fabulous babysitter to a student teaching job, I spent most of Christmas break trying to find a new girl- not an easy task since all the colleges in town had plotted against me and shut down for winter break.
Finally, though, I found someone. A wonderful someone, whom my daughter says “maybe might be the greatest babysitter ever.” This babysitter is so great, in fact, that when she couldn’t come on a recent requested evening, she sent out an e-mail to her entire sorority, which produced five more potential babysitters, all available on weekends, evenings, and different days of the week.
Can you even imagine? Where once I had a few sketchy names scrawled in my calendar, names like, Bessie Splutnik and Parquetta Lipshitznicki, I now have a list of Grade A babysitters! Babysitters who speak English! And don’t have criminal records! And babysitters who, most importantly, will willingly play Punky’s favorite games, like “Horse Helpers!” And, “You’re-an-Evil-Witch!-Okay-That’s-a-Little-Scary-Now-You’re-a-Good-Witch!”
Now that we had this list (one certain moms, I happen to know, would pay a hundred dollars to get their hands on), Hubs and I realized we could do the unthinkable- go out on a Friday Night!
Yes! A Friday night! Otherwise known to parents as the Date Night Dead Zone- a time when a babysitter is about as easy to find as a natural blonde in LA.
But… as you can probably guess, our Big Night Out totally didn’t go as I had expected. I wrote about it in this week’s newspaper edition of Suburban Turmoil. The full text of the column is below.
As all parents know, trying to find a babysitter for a Friday or Saturday night is like trying to find a picture of Karl Dean in women’s underwear.
It ain’t gonna happen.
Even your most reliable weeknight sitters will do an abrupt about face when you ask whether they’re free on a weekend. Those cherub-faced Benedict Arnolds will suddenly claim they have boyfriends to date, movies to see, parties to attend. They have, like, you know, lives.
So when a planned Thursday date night with my husband fell through last week, I e-mailed our babysitters about the possibility of a Friday night gig with a sinking feeling in my gut. And, just as I’d suspected, none of my regulars were available.
However, one of them was kind enough to send an e-mail to all of her sorority sisters, one that I can only guess must have included the top secret details of our endless ice cream and Little Debbie stash — because within an hour, I had five responses.
Five responses! From Vandy girls! I felt like I’d won Babysitting Powerball!
Without hesitation, I signed one up, and, just like that, Hubs and I had a Friday night to ourselves. We drove into town at seven that night with no firm plans, giddy with what seemed to be an endless array of possibilities. Little did we know that those possibilities were actually quite limited.
“How about PM?” Hubs asked. “We’ve been wanting to go there.”
“I heard PM has an hour-and-a-half wait,” I said. “I’m not really down with that.”
Instead of heading to PM, we drove around for 45 minutes, arguing, I mean, discussing which restaurants were likely to have an available table. We finally narrowed it down to Captain D’s and Mafiaoza’s. We chose Mafiaoza’s because it was closer, but when we arrived, we found a long line of people snaking out the door.
“I don’t get it,” Hubs said. “It’s never like this. Isn’t there supposed to be a recession or something?”
“Apparently not on Fridays,” I said. Sighing, we slunk back to our car in defeat. It was now eight o’clock and we were no closer to eating dinner.
Finally, we settled on Tin Angel, where we resigned ourselves to a 45-minute wait. Wearily, I sat down on a bench while Hubs went to the bar to get me a martini. When he returned, I stared at the doll-sized glass barely visible in his hands.
“Hubs,” I said sourly, “I asked for a martini. Not a mar-tiny.”
Hubs shook his head.
“Take it back and tell him the sample was good and I’m ready for the rest of it,” I said.
Silently, Hubs handed me the mar-tiny. I sipped it morosely as we waited for a table. Some Friday night this was turning out to be.
Eventually, we finished our dinner and decided to head to Lime for one last drink. I knew we were in the right place when I saw that the bar had both a doorman and a bouncer, which in Nashville means, We is hotspot, y’all.
Inside, the place didn’t disappoint. It was filled with men wearing ridiculous cashmere-blend scarves around their necks, and women tripping around in stilettos and body-baring black dresses. Since there wasn’t a seat to be found, I stood behind the chairs at the bar, clutching my coat and purse to my chest.
“You look really awkward,” Hubs informed me.
“Sorry,” I said. “I haven’t had to stand at a bar since, like, 2000. I’ve forgotten how to rock that look.”
Fortunately at that moment, a seat at the bar opened up. I sat down and Hubs draped himself casually over the back of my chair. We tried to think of stylish things to chat about.
“I’m wearing my new Snuggie to lunch on Sunday,” I told him seductively. That didn’t go over so well. I took another tactic.
“So, some collections agency has been calling every single day.”
“We paid that bill,” Hubs said impatiently. “It’s some sort of insurance screw up.”
“Well, I just don’t want my credit ruined over it.”
“Our credit won’t be ruined over a 42-dollar insurance dispute.”
“We could lose the house!”
People at the bar turned to stare.
“Sorry,” I shrugged, looking around. Where were the other married people, anyway? Obviously, I was just making conversation.
I gulped the rest of my mojito, looked at my watch, and realized our dream date had come to an end.
And so had my dream of Friday and Saturday nights out. It didn’t matter whether I could find a sitter — as long as my marriage remained intact (and I have reason to believe that it will), the weekends would never again be ‘our time.’ Clearly, they were for singles, men and women who didn’t mind the long waits and crowded bars and wanted only to see and be seen.
I looked down sadly at my lap, and realized that it still bore signs of the time my son had wiped his crusty nose along the skirt of my dress.
Suddenly, being seen wasn’t something I had any interest in whatsoever.
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>And that is why our date nights have been on Mondays or Tuesdays. Not fashionable, but we are married and just need to get away from the kids for a couple of hours. Nothing is more satisfying than sitting in an almost empty movie theater eating popcorn and candy without some little person tugging on me to go to the bathroom or that they spilled their drink. That my friend, is heaven. No matter what anyone else says.
>No kids to ‘escape’ from, but I agree with SoMo: I work weekends, and a night out during the weekdays, while less ‘exciting’, is also less crowded. Harder to manage for the standard 9-5ers Mon-Fri, but ya take what ya kin git 😉
>Ha! My step daughter was our main sitter and right before she went back to college she insisted we go on a date. We had not been out on a weekend night in so long I felt like I was in a twilight zone episode. Every movie had a line around the block. We finally ended up at a dive restaurant for drinks because we could NOT just go home before 9. We then ended up making out in our car in our own driveway till 10. It still was better than staying home with the kids. Now we stick to matinees while our kids are in school.
>My oldest daughter will be 8 in June and I have yet to find a babysitter. All the teenage girls here play sports and are busy both weeknights with practice and weekends with games.I agree though that going anywhere on a Friday or Saturday night is just not worth it. I’m not big on lines or crowds or having to wait an hour just to get a table in a restaurant.I’m glad that you and Hubs got a night out though. What I wouldn’t give for one of those with my DH.
>Two years ago, the Lord graced me by having my parents move to my town. They're less than 5 minutes away!! happy danceEven when they still lived in my home-town 45 minutes away, my daughters spent a weekend night with them often starting when my youngest would take a bottle.My girls are now 9 & 11. Daughter the 2nd stays with them on Friday & Saturday nights, Daughter the 1st on Sat. nights.My Dad's day off is on a weekday & he and Mom fetch my kids from school – 2 different schools. Those wacky parents of mine have been known to come over when we are away over a weekend (with or without the kids) & bleepin Clean My House!!I'm so lucky, blessed, spoiled, and thankful.Ame I. in West TN
>Our kids are old enough (13 and 15) that we can go out every Friday night if we wish. We usually go to a fast food place because we don’t want to wait an hour for a meal. We don’t go to a movie because the Saturday matinee is much cheaper.One Friday evening we went to a local bookstore to peruse. Since my husband and I have very different taste in books, we separated at the door. I then found out that the local Barnes and Noble is a middle-aged pick-up joint. I was followed around the store by two different men trying to make conversation with me. Ever since then, if we go there on a Friday night, we stick together.
>What I lurve is when we go to the hip spot that we always hung out in back in the day…but then become instantly aware of several things 1) We’re old2) We’re not nearly as cool as we think we are3)I’m oldand did I mention we’re old
>Sometimes double dates make date night go down easier. Pooling the kids with the right sitter makes it fun for them as well.
>Bigger martinis make date night more fun. Ha ha.
>OMG we are all SO old. Complaining about the wait? Yes, I do it too, but wouldn’t we have rolled our eyes back in the day watching Momma and Pops pull away in the wagon because the line lingered out of the door? The thing that always does it for me is the babysitting tally. Let’s see, two hours waiting on dinner, thats $20 down the drain, not including the drinks I might swill. What you don’t realize about the Vandy gals (as is the case with the college crowd these days) is that they don’t GO OUT until 11PM. When you and Hubs stumble in, they scoop up your bucks and head out because the night is JUST getting started.
>A great sitter is second only to great grandparents. Congrats – it means everything.
>Wow, what a sourpuss commentor on the newspaper site.We rarely go out on the weekends, either. We trade babysitting with some friends (on a Thursday, which is almost as bad as a weekend) so we do get to out occasionally. But like you, we’re not quite sure what to do with ourselves other than have dinner. Honestly, the best time is when we have friends over and we can play cards and drink all we want without worrying about the tab (both with the babysitter and at the bar) or who’s driving home. What I really want is to send my children away on the weekend so Hubby and I can have a date at home. Alone. 🙂
>I need to find a babysitter. My husband and I haven’t been out on a date since…well crap…I can’t even remember.
>Sometimes you have to go on more than one date before you get the groove back. 😉
>Holy shit! That’s IT. The way to end the recession is for everyone to drink CHEAP BEER!! Forget the bailout! Everyone just needs to buy a six pack of Natty Light or Lost Lake. Thank GOD that commenter broke your water…no wait, that wasn’t it… something about a bubble wasn’t it? Damn.
>This may be a weird question, but how much do you pay a babysitter? I have no idea. I’ve usually use family, but they aren’t always available. I also have two small children. (6 and 3)
>Our babysitters range from $8/hr (for one) up to $14/hr (for 2).We usually pay $10/hr for two. It seems fair. Many of them work at the preschool our daughter went to and our son goes to. Lindsay, I will trade you two PiDelts for a Chi O…?
>My goodness. The article was an honest and funny reflection of what it’s like to try to go on a date with your husband, but I got distracted by the troll over there! I can’t imagine being totally broke and worrying over someone else going out and being able to afford a sitter and nice dinner. I think I’d be too busy trying to be like that person.
>Oh, and you might try the local Y girls in a pinch. That’s been a lucky spot for me on the sitter situation!