By Guest Blogger Ginny Olson

This is what I hear at the crack of dawn this morning: MOMMY, WHEN IS MY DATE WITH ZACK?! Tomorrow, dude, it’s tomorrow. In the meantime, please go back to sleep.

But he’s too excited for that. Because tomorrow, he’ll get an hour and a half of pure Zack.

Who is Zack? He’s pretty much awesome: preacher’s kid, Eagle Scout, college grad. And he adores my boys. I’m not sure his girlfriend realized she was getting a package deal: great guy, plus two. Because whenever we see them, my little guys fan-boy all over him.

To quench their thirst, I have a rotational play date schedule set up. Week 1: Zack + the 6-year-old. Week 2: Zack + the 4-year-old. And repeat. They each get an hour and a half of personalized, uninterrupted time just with Zack. To go to the park or kick the soccer ball or wrestle like spider monkeys.

We discovered Zack after he returned home from a 6-month, ex-pat assignment as a nanny in Spain. (Did I mention Zack is awesome?) So we snatched him up lickety-split. And dominated his free time as much as possible.

Sometimes friends look at me strange when I mention a guy is babysitting my boys. Then a funny thing happens. Their skepticism quickly turns into: “Can you give me his phone number?”

Because, like me, they want their boys to grow up into caring, empathetic men, who want to co-parent or coach little league or mentor young people. And they need men around who showcase those qualities.

My boys have their daddy. They also have a couple uncles, one poppa, and some amazing neighborhood fathers to emulate. I love the idea of exposing my little guys to lots of different “dad surrogates.” They get to see the many faces of maleness, as they each grow and define what that term means to them personally.

This is where Zack comes in. I’ve recruited him to hang with my boys. Or, as my hubby calls it, I’ve “rented a friend” for them.

Occasionally this is an actual babysitting gig, where Zack watches both of them, cooks them eggs for dinner, chases them around the house, and herds them off to bed.

But these children are VERY different. One is an extrovert, the other wants to play quietly. One likes to wrestle, the other would prefer to shake hands.

In other words, when Zack is around them simultaneously, one is climbing on his head, while the other is trying to tell him a sweet story about a dog.

Thus, the rotating play dates I mentioned earlier, where they each get undivided attention from Zack.

Tomorrow is little brother’s turn. I hope he’ll actually sleep tonight. And I imagine he’ll be up at daybreak again, counting down ’til Zack arrives. This couldn’t make me happier.


Ginny Olson is the author of the blog, 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.

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