Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


Restoring Date Night


It can spark instant anxiety among all beginner parents — leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time.

The worry goes something like this: What if the person you hire, yes the one who seems so kind and gentle and appears well put together, is actually a crazy person worthy of a straight jacket?

Once you have seen the 1992 film The Hand that Rocks the Cradle starring a diabolical nanny played by Rebecca De Mornay you never forget it, do you? 

But even with all of the horror-flick possibilities wreaking havoc on your peace of mind, eventually you start to crave a break from the 24-seven cycle of parenting.

While scary, hiring a babysitter is a rite of passage.

For us, the time had come. I missed going out on dates with my husband and could visualize a delightful evening of adult civility.  

I would wear high heels and an impractical ensemble (sans milk splatters and mushed banana), carry a dainty clutch, and my tresses would be absent of crumbs. I would savour each small bite of my meal, sip red wine leisurely, and stay up past my 10 p.m. bedtime. Maybe until 11! Yes, wild, I know. 

Sure, we no longer get to indulge in late Saturday nights and slow Sunday mornings spent lazily lingering in bed, but certainly some of our former glory days could be revisited post-baby.

The last time I suggested we hire a babysitter our son was seven months and my husband visibly recoiled at the idea.

“He just seems so vulnerable,” he told me. “If something goes wrong, he can’t even crawl away!”

His concern was adorable, and very true. Our baby is now 11 months. We felt ready and, more importantly, we felt our son was, too. 

I am happy to report the night went brilliantly.

Oh yes, we checked the clock just a pinch too often, first at 7:09, then at 7:16. How is it possible that only seven minutes have passed? I asked over pre-dinner drinks.

Then a little after 7:30, we called up our video monitor on the phone. There was our baby sleeping peacefully in his crib looking like the cutest, sweetest squish we’d ever seen.

He was just fine. He wasn’t freaking out or scared. He was happy and safe, and so we relaxed just a little bit more.

After all, we were only five minutes away, you know, just in case.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.

After all, that is where all really good things begin, right?