I have a few more thoughts to share on babysitting.
But before I do, I'd like to preface this by saying what I write here and what I do in reality are sometimes two different things. When I wrote that going forward, we'll only pay a sitter $5.00 an hour when the children were sleeping, I can't say that I would actually execute that action at some point in the future. See, on Sunday night - I had it in my mind that we'd pay our sitter not a penny more than $25.00 for the entire night but when we got home, it was my decision to give her $30.00.
Because, we were running a few minutes late.
And because she was so sweet and the children had such a great time.
And even though there were dishes all over the table and pizza still on the counter and books all over the floor and no one was in their pajamas and all the children had marinara sauce on their faces, I had three glasses of wine in me and I was feeling rather generous.
But I will tell you - $30.00 for a sitter on a very abbreviated date night - in my opinion, is ridiculously expensive. Especially since we came home to a house that looked worse than when we left. I think that our date night should have cost us $10.00. Then again, I think that I should be able to buy a brand new pair of Keens for $30.00.
Oh, wait - look at this - I can!
(Thanks to the anonymous commenter that left me that link. Score!!)
When Charlie and I have gone out a couple times before (I was incorrect to say we've never left the kids) we've asked our neighbor to come over and sit with the children. While she tells us that she wants to do it for free, we've always given her at least $20.00. And we've never left the kids with her when they were awake. We consider it to be a win-win situation because she is retired and has an opportunity to make an easy $20.00 (while reading a book), and for us, we have a few hours out while knowing that the kids are home safely asleep in bed.
Going forward, we're going to tell sitters that we pay a flat $10.00 an hour. If they are expecting $10.00 and we feel compelled to give them more (which we probably will), then they'll think we're really awesome and extremely generous.
(Or at least not totally cheap.)