By Guest Blogger Ginny Olson, author of the blog MothersRest.com
Wedding season is here.
If you’re one of those lucky parents on the guest list for an upcoming soiree, here’s my #1 rule: LEAVE THE KIDDOS HOME.
Because small children really put a damper on party vibes.
Also, they demand that you share cake with them. Then they wipe sticky, red-icing-ed fingers on your skirt.
To successfully avoid such inconveniences, you need to bribe a friend or hire a babysitter.
Did you notice I italicized the word YOU?
This is a crucial point. Do not outsource the hiring-of-the-sitter to a neighbor or that nice lady at church. No matter how much you typically trust their judgement. Things can go sideways.
Why am I telling you this?
Because my cousin and I shirked our responsibility. We graciously accepted my mother’s offer to find us a sitter for our two toddlers during my sister’s wedding.
I can’t blame my cousin for what happened. He’s from out of town. What does he know about the local babysitter population?
I guess that means I should blame myself. But I wasn’t really thinking straight. I was distracted. Plus, I was the MATRON OF HONOR.
I was consumed with details: hair, makeup, shrimp cocktail, mimosas. (Also, ham biscuits. Because when you’re Southern, ham biscuits are always lurking somewhere.)
In the midst of this excitement, I forgot that my mom has been out of the sitter-finding business for quite some time. Me and my siblings are all grown up.
Plus, she was the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE. In other words, also distracted.
And, I kinda forgot to set any expectations as the hiring process began. I failed to mention my other rule regarding small children: TODDLERS AND SLUMBER PARTIES DON’T MIX.
Doesn’t everyone know this? I mean, who invites two-year-olds to a slumber party?
That’s pretty much what went down.
Let me explain.
My mom hired a pair of sitters. Two toddlers and two babysitters – this sounds great! Except for the part about the sitters being TEN YEARS OLD.
Guys, two ten-year-olds does not mean you benefit from twenty years of life experience. It literally means you get TWO ten-year-olds lording it over children who are only eight years younger. This is, like, CHILDREN HAVING CHILDREN.
But I trust my mom, so I ignored the voice inside my head that said, “Huh, ten seems awfully young.”
So with the toddlers secured safely under the watchful eyes of other small children, my cousin and I carried on with wedding festivities.
Around 10:30pm, the sitters sent my cousin a text: “Not sleeping. At all.” Bedtime for his little is 8:30pm. This was a bit of a red flag.
He left to deal with his non-sleeping child and rehome him for the night in their hotel room. I stayed to drink champagne.
At 11pm, I also got the dreaded text: “Not sleeping. At all.” This time from my cousin. Which meant it wasn’t a ten-year-old-sitter-accidentally-forwarding-a-text-message. Bedtime for my kiddo is 7pm… Ouch!
Hubby herded me home to find our child blissfully asleep. Babysitters bounced out the door, declaring, “He crashed 15 minutes ago! Toodaloo!” Obviously, it was way past their bedtimes, too.
We went to bed, terrified of how the sleep-deprived child would behave the next day.
In the morning, I noticed something odd.
There in the room where my kid spent the night was not one, but TWO pack-n-plays. Lovingly placed side-by-side, inviting them to party together all night long.
Toddlers, unlike ten-year-olds, are definitely not the target market for slumber parties. They don’t need to hang out with a buddy and share tales of their latest crushes. They need QUIET and BORING sleeping quarters.
But don’t tell my kid and his cousin. They bonded and loved every sleepless minute of it. And, honestly, it was all completely worth it for a child-free night of dancing and solo cake-eating.
Ginny Olson is the author of the blog MothersRest.com, a love letter to moms, both new and seasoned, journeying from sleep deprived to joy-arrived. When not riding-herd over two small male children, Ginny runs the career strategy firm, Brand Elements Coaching, where she helps professionals navigate the job market and successfully undertake career pivots. She also teaches Marketing for Nonprofits at the local university.
Ginny’s writing has appeared in GLAMOUR magazine, the Greensboro News & Record, Piedmont Parent, and Triad Moms on Main, as well as several mom blogs. You can follow MothersRest on Facebook.