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We have two children, a 2.5y/o DS and a 5-month-old DS. I'm a SAHM and DS2 has never been left with anyone other than my husband, while I can count on one hand the number of times DS1 has ever been left with anyone. We're very fortunate to have family nearby, but I'm hesitant to let them watch my children. My sister and BIL are local and they have a 5-year-old and a newborn (both boys also) but I would not trust them because they parent VERY differently than us. My BIL is overly harsh with the 5-year-old and my sister is kind but can be inattentive, plus she believes in CIO which we are very against. My parents are also local. My dad has openly criticized our parenting several times - he also believes in CIO and has suggested it many times, he's made comments about needing to wean DS1 soon, etc. I also believe he would be more harsh than we'd like if he needed to discipline DS1. I believe my mom would follow our wishes if she watched them, but I don't know that she'd have the engergy to do it all herself and I think it could lead to disagreements/arguments between her and my dad if he suggested going against our wishes. We do have a dear friend in our AP group who has watched DS1 before - when we had a few weddings to attend, and during DS2's birth - but we feel like it's asking a huge favor for her to watch him and especially if it was both. We've offered to return the favor but her MIL is local and watches her daughter when needed.<br><br>
Anyway, I'd really like to make couple-time with DH a priority even if it's only very occasional. But, we're going to have a hard time trusting anyone with the boys. My worries are this... with DS1, he's just a little wild man. He gets into everything if you take your eyes off him, and I just worry about my parents (who we'd likely use) having the energy to stay on top of him. DS2 is a pretty easy-going baby and takes a bottle of EBM okay for DH if I'm ever not here (I teach a Yoga class once a week). My other concern is with both of their sleep. DS1 still nurses to sleep for his nap and at night, and wakes during the night to nurse (so I wouldn't feel comfortable getting him to sleep then going out). DS2 I usually wear to sleep - I have to put him in my wrap and bounce on an exercise ball. In theory, my mom could do that to get him to sleep but I don't know if he'd go to sleep for her and I hate the thought of him crying because he wants me until he cries himself to sleep. He naps 3-4 times a day and generally is only wake 2-3 hours at a time before he needs another nap (closer to 2 hours early in the day, can go longer stretches later in the day).<br><br>
I think our other problem is that we pride ourselves on being very independent. My sister <i>frequently</i> has my parents watch / help out with her older son (and it's only a matter of time with the baby...) and DH's sister has always been the same way with their mom, and we've always been proud to not ask for their help.<br><br>
I'm thinking that our best bet might be to get DS2 down for his last nap of the day at their house, then go out for a quick dinner. He'd be okay when he woke up (he doesn't always nurse upon waking like DS1, he's pretty chill when DH gets him after a nap) and we'd have a couple hours until they both need to go to bed. My other big worry is that they'd try to be heroes if either of the kids got upset. If one of them got upset and inconsolable, I'd want my parents to call us and tell us. We'd rather come home early than have our kids be very upset for a few hours. But I think my parents wouldn't want to bother us, and would try to calm them down themselves, and wouldn't call. And there'd be no way for us to ever know, so we can't really hold them accountable.<br><br>
Any tips?
 

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I mean this as gently as possible, I think you're over-thinking this.<br><br>
I can totally relate because over-thinking is probably my primary characteristic, just ask my DH, he could tell you all about it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">. I drive myself crazy trying to imagine and prevent every possible negative scenario which is totally impossible and also keeps me from doing things I want to do.<br><br>
I think the best you can do is give it a try. Maybe try leaving just your older one at first after impressing on your parents your idea of discipline and see what happens. Your son may surprise you, as may your parents or IL's. I've certainly had the unsettling experience of having my child behave astonishingly well for other people when she seems intent on sending me around the bend. In my experience of grandparents they're probably much more likely to give him everything he wants to make him happy than over discipline. We actually have a problem when we leave our daughter with my wonderful MIL, when DD gets home she expects to get all the coddling that my MIL provides and she can get a little grouchy while we remind her that things don't work that way at home. I figure it's a small price to pay for such affectionate, reliable, and devoted babysitting.<br><br>
Just like many babies won't take a bottle from their mothers but will from other people, you may find your kids are willing to take alternate forms of comfort from other people than what you usually provide, which would be good for them and very freeing for you.<br><br>
If it doesn't work you can wait and try again in a little while. One evening of distress in the company of loving grandparents won't be the end of the world. If you can't depend on them to call you in case of trouble, you call them at intervals while you're out and check in. We only recently stopped calling at least once during every outing to check on my DD who is now 4.<br><br>
As for independence, well, I think this sort of thing is what families are about. We help each other and we work together. Those are values that were strongly emphasized in my family when I was growing up and I believe in them absolutely. Besides, most grandparents are beyond delighted to be "imposed upon" in this particular way.<br><br>
I think its very important for us as mothers to nurture our relationships with our partners so making time for your husband should be a priority. If you can't use your family than you may need to just go for it and hire a younger, more energetic person to babysit, someone who will be obligated to follow your rules or you won't hire them again. We have a wonderful babysitter who we only use occasionally but who my daughter adores. She is constantly trying to get us to go out so that the babysitter can come and take care of her.<br><br>
Good luck<br><br>
Miss Chris
 

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A few thoughts-<br>
We also don't leave our kids (5 & 2) with babysitters that often. And I had/have a ton of the same concerns you do, especially when my kids were younger/peverbal. Even though both talk completely now, I still hesitate to leave them with family, as family tends to feel some sort of ownership/ "I'll do it my way" actions, or they're harsher than I prefer, or whatever. What works for us, however, is a teenager on our street who comes to our house (I've never left my kids at another's, even family's, house for babysitting purposes bc my kids know their boundaries, toys, foods, etc. here). My kids love her; she's very engaging, playful, and doesn't have the "ownership" baggage!<br><br>
Can you have a neutral person come to your house to watch them? Can you plan time with dh in the morning or middle of day, when you wouldn't be concerned about naps, feedings, etc., when your kids wouldn't have had the day to get some kinks already? Could you take the 5 mo with you and allow him/her to nap on you while spending time with dh?<br><br>
Just some thoughts. Best of luck!
 

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You are over analyzing this for sure, there are LOTS of things my dad and stepmom do with my children that are different, but different can be good.<br><br>
You have a wild 2.5 year old, sounds normal to me, they can handle it. He may act entirely different for them. I too am anti CIO, BUT and I stress this, DS made me have to hear a little crying. From about 3 months there have been times if you put him down to attend to other needs in the family he screams, I've had to deal. You kids will be ok, your mom doesn't have to wear your son and bounce him to sleep, couldn't she rock him to sleep.<br><br><br>
Honestly you need to relax a bit and go on a date, it's healthy a good...for <i>everybody.</i>
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry I'm just now checking in. I appreciate the responses very much. On one hand I really like the idea of hiring a teenager because she won't have the "ownership" mentality or the idea that she knows her own way to do things. On the other hand, money is pretty tight and if we have free babysitting available, I can't imagine passing it up.<br><br>
One thing I've thought of is seeing if another family in our AP group wants to arrange a babysitting swap. They could watch our kids for a few hours while we go out, and vice versa. I just feel like it's asking a lot to take in a toddler and a baby when they already have their own kids (especially because my 2.5y/o is very high-energy and spirited). But this might be the most comfortable option. Or, as I said, maybe having my parents watch them for a few hours in between last-nap and bedtime.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>SollysMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15500251"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One thing I've thought of is seeing if another family in our AP group wants to arrange a babysitting swap.</div>
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I like this option. If they agree to it, you're not imposing! Would you feel imposed on when the situation is reversed?<br><br>
Also, I know a few of the gyms nearby do "parents night out" once a month, and you drop your kids off for a couple hours and a small fee. I've never done it, but just another idea to consider!<br><br>
I actually DON'T think you're overthinking it. These are your kids, you're trying to raise them a certain way, protect them, etc.<br><br>
I left DS with my sister once for 45 minutes when he was 13mos. I wouldn't do it again because he wasn't really ready to be away from us (high needs kid). DH & I spend quality time by going on walks (DS is always calm & quiet) and taking advantage of naptime, things like that... I don't feel that you have to be alone together to really reconnect. I just don't feel comfortable leaving my DS with anyone yet. Just figured I'd throw that out there, because I've felt a lot of pressure to leave DS and I wish more people would say it's OK to NOT leave him yet if I don't want to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>crunchy_mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15501143"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I actually DON'T think you're overthinking it. These are your kids, you're trying to raise them a certain way, protect them, etc.<br><br>
I left DS with my sister once for 45 minutes when he was 13mos. I wouldn't do it again because he wasn't really ready to be away from us (high needs kid). DH & I spend quality time by going on walks (DS is always calm & quiet) and taking advantage of naptime, things like that... I don't feel that you have to be alone together to really reconnect. I just don't feel comfortable leaving my DS with anyone yet. Just figured I'd throw that out there, because I've felt a lot of pressure to leave DS and I wish more people would say it's OK to NOT leave him yet if I don't want to.</div>
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I appreciate this. Most mainstream folks act like we're weird/crazy for not leaving our kid(s), and like we're doing ourselves and them a disservice.
 
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