Ok, this week's Thrifty Thursday is going to be about one of my favorite new discoveries that I happened up this spring. I read this idea somewhere online (sorry, I can't remember where) and thought to myself "Why on earth didn't I think of this a decade ago?" But alas, better late than never. So, let me introduce you to "Late Night Date Swap"::
Do you know how expensive babysitters are these days? It's incredible! And if you have 6 kids it's all the more expensive. This is why we only have a paid babysitter a few times a year, otherwise we rely on family and just generally don't go out on "dates" all that often. Until a couple months ago, that is.
We have friends who live a half a dozen houses down the block from us. They have 3 kids very similar in ages to our kiddos number 3, 4 and 5. Here is where the magic comes in for us :: it doesn't matter if one family has more kids than the other! Whoo hoo. I always disliked date swapping for this very reason. It always seemed so unfair. Who really wants to trade babysitting with the 6-kid family? Not to many people, I don't think! So with the late night version of date swap it doesn't matter because the kids are asleep (or at least in their rooms) the entire time. It works best if you do it with someone close to you geographically who can get to your house in a minute or two -- because the timing can sometimes be a little iffy -- but if that won't work for you, you could still pull it off.
So, this is how it goes :: if it's our date night we put all our kids to bed (or put them in their rooms and threaten them within an inch of their life to not come out under any circumstances short of near death!) and then call up our friends down the block and tell them we're ready to go. Two minutes later our babysitter shows up ready to go to "work". We go out and have a good time while our friend reads a book, takes a nap on our (very comfy! -- so she says) couch, watches TV or anything else that she wants to do. See, it's a win-win because you (as the babysitter) have lost the ability to "get stuff done" after putting your kids to bed. You can't do your laundry. You can't clean your bathroom. You can't pay the bills. You really have an excuse to take it easy and take the night off. So the couple on the date is having a great night and the parent who is "babysitting" won't complain much either. The only "loser" in late night date swap is the spouse stuck at home who does still have the ability to clean or pay bills or whatever (although that's not much different than it would be if it was a non-date swap night, right?)
So there you have it. Late night date swap. Find a family and start your own. It really is wonderful! The only catch is that we are not at all used to going out late at night. The post-9 o'clock scene is a totally different one than we are used to :: we have to find new (open late) places to eat and new places to explore, but it's been well worth it! Now that summer is here we can take a late night stroll around the late or something too.