Date night is this Friday. Let me call my sister and see if she can watch the kids for me…sike!
Unfortunately, that is not my life.
Like most military families, when we show up to our new duty station, we all have to register our children with the local Child Development Center (CDC). One of the first pieces of information they want from you is two emergency contacts for your children. Every single time, I look at them crazy wondering if they missed the fact that I literally just arrived in this new city and know 1.5 people: my husbands' co-worker, whom I just met in the food court, and the random lady that was sitting next to me in the CDC waiting room. So, no…I do not have a real emergency contact for my kids. Yes, I am about to write down the names of people who are virtual strangers and pray hard we don’t actually have an emergency requiring them to pick up my children.
This is my life.
With every move, I have to start all over and build a new “community” to do life with. This includes making new friends (that is a whole other post in itself), finding a new church, and the daunting task of finding a trusted sitter. Seriously, I loathe the task of finding a sitter! I think most parents will say they trust about two people to watch their children: the other parent and a grandparent. I can assure you, for military families, we would love for our list to be just as exclusive, but the way our lives are set up, it is just not possible. Like most couples, we desire to have a life outside of our children. So, having a sitter is an absolute must, but the task of finding one is the absolute worst. For me, it is basically a combination of prayer, recommendations, trusting my gut, and seeing if the kids seem to take to the person. Once we secure a sitter, we just continue to pray and hope there is never an issue.
Still my life.
Now insert the desire to take an overnight trip without kids. While I love having my kids alone for the exploration, I also love the option of not dealing with kid shenanigans when traveling. But, remember, we are not around our usual friends and family so finding an overnight sitter is even worse than the struggle of finding a date night sitter. Just the thought of leaving them in the hands of another person for multiple days and nights seems brings up all the anxiety, but we gotta do what we gotta do, right?
For our first kid-free getaway, a family from church graciously volunteered to take in both our kids for our overnight trip to a ball. Trust me when I say, that is so rare. We couldn’t have felt more blessed by that family and their willingness to help us out. For our second trip, we hired our date night sitter to watch the kids for another overnight trip to a ball. While we had a great time on both of these trips, the problem is they were both too short. It is pretty tough to explore when you are only staying overnight. Not to mention, with our date night sitter, we spent quite a bit of time pre-occupied with the hours passing, which equated to more dollars being spent to pay her.
So, this time around we really wanted to find a solution that wasn’t breaking the bank or leaving us feeling like we were inconveniencing a kind family. So, there I was running the numbers to see if it would be cheaper to just fly grandma over to watch the kids for our getaway or if we should use our typical sitter. Shockingly, it was cheaper to fly my mom over! So, that is what we did. This past weekend we flew to Vienna, Austria for a 2-day. 3-night trip to attend the Vienna Officers Ball. We were able to enjoy our time away and have the greatest peace of mind knowing that our kids were with their loving Grandmother. While at the ball, we learned that this is what many other couples had done, as well. Clearly, this is the way to go! The kids had a great time, bonding with grandma and keeping her busy.
I wish this was our normal life.
I recently learned that my brother-in-law is volunteering to be flown out for the next trip we want to take, LOL. Clearly, he doesn’t know what’s involved with watching a 1-yr-old and a 3-year-old alone for 3 days!.....Thanks, Mom!