I have to admit I hit the jackpot in the babysitter lottery when I found mine. This June we'll mark three years since she first started out as a mother's helper, and she's now more member of the family then "kid I pay to keep my kid out of my hair." There's only one problem.
I think my kid loves the babysitter too much. Now, I know what you're thinking. I'm one of those mothers who just can't bear to share her kid with someone else. Sorry to disappoint you, but that's not it at all.
I'm one of those "the more love, the better" kind of moms. I want her to be loved by the person who cares for her when I'm not around, and vice versa. That love actually makes me feel less crappy about having to work to put food on the table instead of sitting around playing My Little Ponies with her all day.
And the love between my 7-year-old daughter and our 16-year-old babysitter couldn't be stronger if they were actual sisters. They talk on the phone. They FaceTime. She comes over to hang out at my house at least three to four times a month ... when I'm not even paying her.
As a mom, you can't ask for much better than that, can you? Someone who wants to spend time with your kid when you aren't even paying her?
Oh, but it DOES get better.
My babysitter is smart, like wants to go to medical school smart. She's also self-possessed, so confident and sure of herself at 16 that at 30 I look up to her. As good a friend as she is to my daughter, she's an even better role model.
We have stumbled across the elusive creature known in the parenting world as "the world's best babysitter." You can ask for her number, but you will NEVER get it out of me.
So what's the problem, you ask? Well, my 7-year-old daughter FaceTimes and talks on the phone with and loves to hang out with a 16-year-old smarty pants. Any guesses what 16-year-old smarty pants turn into? That's right ... 18-year-old college students.
One day in our not-too-distant future, my second "daughter," the girl who will call my kid up out of the blue and invite her over for dinner just because, is going to leave us. And my real daughter is going to be DEVASTATED. She will be losing her best friend.
Sure; they can still FaceTime. They can still call. But ask anyone going pre-med; she won't have a lot of spare time on her hands. When she does; she deserves to go have college fun when she's in college, right? I certainly can't expect her to run back to the dorm to talk to my kid or come home on weekends for cookie baking dates and sleepovers "just because."
So what's a mom to do? Do I break down one of the best relationships of my daughter's life? I don't have the heart to do it, nor do I really want to. These girls are good together. My sitter is good for my daughter.
So here I sit, instead, fearing the inevitable, waiting for it to happen. Because my daughter loves our babysitter, and my babysitter loves my daughter.
Do you worry that your kid are too attached to the sitter? What have you done about it?
Image by Jeanne Sager