One of the greatest phrases in my life is “Parent’s Night Out.” All of the words in the world in any combination of positive expression will never accurately explain the euphoria I feel when these words appear in my email. For why, you ask, do I have such joy when surely I must have these nights all the time?!
Not so, my friends. Not so.
You see, we have family that lives outside of the Reasonable Distance for Providing Childcare Zone and that means for hubs and I, those words offer a much needed date night opportunity with a special bonus.
“Don’t you have a sitter?” you ask in your head and sometimes out loud with a Super Judgey Tone.
Yes. We do. Finally. Now ask me how much she charges.
For those of you not in touch with the greater Boston Metro area rates for high school aged childcare, allow me to scare you with my version of financial birth control. Our junior in high school sitter charges $15-20 an hour. EACH HOUR. From the time she arrives at the door until we hug her on outta here. She’s worth every penny, I assure you. She is Red Cross certified and can do CPR. She cooks dinner and washes the dishes(I have never asked her to wash them, she just does). She follows directions sans eye rolls and texts me, just because. She is responsive. She’s a great kid and Miss O LOVES her. No, you cannot have her number.
So when you look at an average date night, if I can reach that far back in time and remember that in my day that meant dinner and a movie (as if we can still stay awake that long), you’re talking about approximately 4 – 5 hours. Do the math with me, folks:
$15 x 4 = $60 (low side) or $20 x 5 = $100
That’s right. $100 just to have the privilege of going out and paying another $100 for dinner and a movie. I’m being conservative on the dinner in that scenario and also not allowing for the latest trend in 3-hour epic movie experiences in EXTREME 3-D IMAX that cost that much on their own.
A few months ago we went to a wedding and had to get a sitter starting at 3:30 PM. Dinner started at 6:00 PM. The longer they took to cut the cake the more we started sweating. Our table must have thought we were the rudest people ever. Between checking our phones for the time and texting our apologies and revised ETA for return home, we barely got to talk to anyone. We did at least get some cake, around 10:30 PM, mind you, and a dance or two. We also got home at 11:00 PM after an unplanned stop at an ATM to get even more cash for the sitter. You can do the math on that one. It still makes me cry.
So when daycare sends around a little note saying they’re going to do a PJ pizza party and a movie at school, you don’t even finish reading the email, you just respond, “yes” as quickly as your fingers can type.
“What about that bonus part?” you ask, now that your wallet hurts just thinking about it.
It only costs $35.
Some places do it for free, which is amazing. Ours charges $35 and guess what? IT’S TOTALLY WORTH IT. Bonus = Miss O gets to play longer with her friends at a PJ party I don’t have to coordinate or chaperone. She also sleeps like a rock when she gets home. Win win.
It also means no transition State of the Union from parent to sitter. I don’t have to spend 10 minutes with small talk upon arrival and another 20 minutes reminding the sitter what the house rules are, where the cooking stuff is and what food is pre-sanctioned for Miss O’s consumption. That’s 30 minutes gained back for the date portion of the evening. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS.
I haven’t the foggiest idea what we will do with this magical gift from the daycare gods, but I know we’ll do something and that’s more than I had a half hour ago.