Super Sonic + the family

The BabySitting Equation

Carry the six,

Let's talk about babysitting, shall we?

I see that statement being greeted with wry smiles by the mums and dads. And the eyes of the non-parents gradually glazing over.... and there they go...

Anyway. As I said, babysitting. You may remember a time- I certainly do- when your first child was tiny and soft and new and sweet and smelt of milk, and you had lots of people offering to baby sit them for you. Not that you took them up on the offer. You couldn't bear to be parted with the little angel, leaving them only with your partner for a few hours at a time.

Fast forward a few months, perhaps a few years, and you get to a point where actually would like- or, conversely, would need- some time out from this screaming, snotty, food-covered little monster of child that demands all you attention 24 hours a day.... and all your babysitters have mysteriously disappeared.


Let's examine this further.

There are, I think, three basic types of babysitters.

The Paid Babysitter- Not as common as American tween novels would have you believe, it seems. Which is baffling. Why would someone not want to leave their children with a teenager they hardly know who is being paid $10 an hour...? The mind boggles.

Friends as Babysitters- These are either friends of yours who don't have kids- it's preferable that they have had had some child-minding experience, or have some kind of degree in kid-wrangling, so you can be confident they kind of know what they are doing. Perhaps more so than you do. Unfortunately, these are also the people most likely to mind the tiny wriggly newborn, then vanish-poof!- once said newborn becomes a toddler.
The second category here is friends who have children themselves. In which case, you will be expected to perform reciprocal babysitting jobs. I have never taken anyone up on this offer, because it scares the sh*t outta me. Look at what I to my own kids. I don't want to be responsible for anyone else's.

Family as Babysitters- Namely, grandparents. Who will tell you they adore it, but still pause slightly when you ask- juuuuust long enough for the corrosive mummy guilt to kick in. (Am I asking them too often...? Are my kids that badly behaved...? Do they think I'm a bad mum...?)

Random People Off the Street as BabySitters- This actually doesn't go down too well with anyone, surprisingly. The kids, husband, cops, DOCS. Again, the mind boggles.

And that's it. So, as we can see, options are, generally, fairly limited.

If you happen to need a babysitter, for any reason- say, a medical appointment, some time to dance in the forest naked and reclaim your sanity, a fake medical appointment so you don't feel so guilty about taking time to dance naked in the forest and reclaim your sanity, to go out to dinner with your husband, or, if you're anything like my mate Lucy, to go parking and get the windows all steamy like a couple of teenagers (gooooo Lucy!!); your chances of actually getting a babysitter are effected by the following factors-

Age of your children- The older you're kids are, the easier they are to care for (generally speaking), and therefore more likely to get a babysitter you are. Newborns *ahem* are the exception. And children over 10 years of age, who no longer need a babysitter (Right? Right!)

The Number of children that need to be sat on-Evidently, the more kids that need to be babysat, the more difficult it is to rope someone in.

Number of babysitters available- Who are sane, clean, responsible, haven't been charged with any major criminal offenses, are not drug addicts, and have read up on the new baby and child restraint safety laws.

I know. Confusing much, yes? It's OK. Don't panic. I've actually put it into a mathematical diagram for you. Really. Seriously. What are you laughing at?

All you do is plug your numbers in, and compare your score to the scale. And, as usual, click to read the fine print, mmmkay?

For example *ahem*-I have 2 kids, the oldest of which is (almost) 3. Times this age by possible babysitter- let say for a nighttime shag fest dinner date- which is 3 (my mum, my mother in law and Auntie Mickey) and you get a score of 9. Divide that by how many kids I have-2- and we a score of 4 and a half.

And, when we compare this to chart, as we can see, things are not looking good.

Let's try this again. Imagine we have 2 children. The oldest of which is 9. And 5 possible babysitters (ha!).That gives you (9 x 5)/ 2 = 22. And a half. Off the freaking scale. You lucky imaginary bastards.

So there you go. That's the equation, and it's copyright. My head hurts from thinking so much about it. Really. Test it out, on your own situation, let me know if I really am a mathematical genius. Or is this actually just a f*cking stupid formula and this whole post makes me look like a dumbarse?

Looking forward to your input. Thanks much.

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The BabySitting Equation + the family