It is a Tuesday evening and I am going out without my husband or the kids. I have a date. A speed date to be exact.
Since I started dating my husband in my early 20s, I missed out on the speed dating phenomena which was popular then. Had I ever attended such an event, I am pretty sure I would have had way more than are an acceptable number of cocktails. I would have tried to take notes. I would have nervously talked and talked and talked each poor guy to death. Who knows? Someone may have overlooked all of that and actually called me for a date. (No, I would not have called someone first.) Or I may have spent the next week picking up my phone to verify that it was in fact, still working.
Tonight, seven years of marriage and two children later, I have my chance. Before you begin to wonder if this blog is actually a front for Ashley Madison (sorry, I can’t in good conscience link to this site from my blog), I should clarify that while I am going on a speed date, it is an event arranged by the Lullaby League, where the speed dating format is used for parents to meet and interview a number of babysitters in under an hour.
Just because my speed date is to to meet a babysitter, does not make me any less nervous. What do I wear? While I still look 25 (I love that I can type stuff like that on the internet and no one knows for sure if I am lying), I don’t want to look like I am trying too hard to fit in with the university students. But I also don’t want to look so un-put together that the sitters all wonder what hellion off-spring I must have. Most importantly, I don’t want too look desperate. If the sitters realizes this event constitutes a NIGHT OUT for me, I am going to be quoted $20 an hour for sure. I opt for jeans and a 3/4 sleeve sweater, topped off with heeled booties. Jeans say I am a mom who likes comfort, sweater says I am practical, after all it has already snowed in Edmonton, and heels say I am fashionable. The way I teeter in the heels says ‘I need someone to look after my children so I can wear these more’.
The event is held at the Toy Hutch, an indoor inflatable playground for kids. I am secretly hoping someone suggests that we all try out the bouncy castle…
The speed interviewing portion of the evening has many similarities to its speed dating predecessor:
1. I want them to like me.
No one wants to work for someone they don’t like. I resist the urge to hand over my childrens’ bedtime routine and ask if they would be able to adhere to it exactly.
2. I look for chemistry.
When it comes to leaving your children in the care of someone else, resumes and reference checks are important. So is your gut. If you connect with the person, your child is likely to as well.
3. I want the relationship to be long term.
While I appreciate someone older is likely to have more experience; someone who is in their last semester of school, or babysitting to earn money to backpack across Europe is a deal breaker for me. I don’t want to have to find someone new in a few months.
4. I don’t want them to stay over anytime soon.
Not everyone drives, so how they plan to get to and from your house and where they live is important. Also, good to manage expectations around how late they wish to work, especially on a week night.
By the end of the hour I met a number of sitters whom I liked and who I plan to follow up with. I left the evening with a pile of resumes in one hand while texting my husband with the other to let him know our regular date night is back ON.
Oh, and I am pretty sure I would have a rocked a speed date back in my 20s.
Disclosure: The Lullaby League did not provide me any monetary compensation for this post, nor did they request I write one. Whether it be for regular time hours, random date nights, or me-time, the Lullaby League arranges speed dating events so that parents can meet and interview a number of different babysitters in under an hour.
This post was featured on BlogHer: http://www.blogher.com/speed-date-i-am-married and received over 200 views.