Why You Should Babysit for Your Married Friends

Today’s guest post comes from none other than my blogging buddy, Ally Spotts. Ally is a talented and insightful writer who blogs about faith, relationships, and life. If you’ve yet to visit her blog, you’re missing out. I’m glad to have her back on Modern Reject. Enjoy. (P.S. I’m guest posting for Malisa at her blog today, as well about How I Became a Blogger. Check it out!)

It used to drive me crazy when my married friends would ask me to babysit for them.

A group of people would be going out to do something fun – usually a group of married couples – and they would ask if I wouldnʼt mind staying back with their kids. I would think to myself, “Really? How come Iʼm the one who has to stay home with the kids – just because Iʼm single??”

The thing I started to realize is that Iʼm not the one who has to stay home with the kids, usually. In fact, most nights I get to go wherever I want and do whatever I want.

My friends who are parents are the ones who have to stay home with the kids most of the time. And even when they get to leave the house, itʼs usually to do something they have to do. Even then it costs them a bunch of money.

If youʼre single I would challenge you to re-think the way that you see babysitting for your married friends. I did and what I found was that all kinds of good things come from offering free babysitting for my friends who have kids.

You get to be an incredible blessing to your friends.

Marriages are under a tremendous amount of pressure as it is. Add kids to the equation and keeping a marriage together (forget making it vibrant and healthy) is a task that takes tons of time and hard work.

Most of the time, as singles, weʼre oblivious to this reality. We donʼt think our friends marriages are in any sort of trouble. But I donʼt know why this sounds shocking to us. Look around you – marriages are failing (even Christian marriages) at a remarkable rate.

What if you could offer the the gift of time to your married friends? What if this was the time they needed to invest in the health of their marriage? As singles we have a really cool opportunity to offer this gift.

We have time. Why would we not give it?

You need to learn what babysitting has to teach you.

Babysitting teaches me all kinds of things Iʼd rather not learn but that I need to know, like selflessness and considering anotherʼs needs more important than my own.

Usually I eat whatever I want to eat and at whatever time I feel hungry. When Iʼm babysitting I have to prepare food for someone else, first. Babysitting asks me to play games I wouldnʼt otherwise play, read books I wouldnʼt otherwise read, and eat food I wouldnʼt otherwise eat. This might not sound like a very fun lesson to learn, but I guarantee you youʼll be happier when you learn it. Youʼll have a happier life as a single and youʼll have a happier marriage someday.

If learning this lesson is going to make you happier all around, wouldnʼt you like to start learning it now?

Babysitting is more fun than it sounds.

I learn lessons that arenʼt fun to learn when I babysit but I also have a really good time hanging with the kids. Iʼm not just saying that. I mean it.

My friend Jodiʼs girls prepared a performance for me one night and I smiled all the way through as they sang and danced to Taylor Swift. I asked her daughter Ali to tell me a story and she recorded the most imaginative and hilarious story on my iPhone camera. I keep that video and every time I watch it it makes me smile.

When I help kids with their homework and watch them “get it” I feel satisfied to see them grow. I feed frozen yogurt to my friendʼs 1-year-old son and his enthusiasm and enjoyment is like getting to enjoy it myself all over again.

I get to see life from a different perspective.

The other day I was listening to a good friend talk about her daughterʼs rebellious spirit and I told her it her the conflict reminded me of me when I was younger. For the rest of the conversation she got to hear (really hear) the perspective of a daughter and I got to hear (really hear) the perspective of a mother.

The conversation gave her new insight to her daughter and prompted me to call my own mom and find resolution.

Sometimes after babysitting I go home and think, “Wow. Iʼm glad that I donʼt have kids…” But most of the time Iʼm really grateful for a glimpse into a reality that isnʼt mine yet. It helps me to think about what life might be like with kids someday.

It makes me anxious and excited and even a little fearful. In a good way.

What about you? What have you learned by babysitting for friends? Have you had friends watch your kids? How has it blessed your family and your marriage?

My name is Ally and I’m a writer, blogger and Christ-follower from Portland, Oregon. I run a lot, read a lot, think a lot, talk too much and write about it pretty much always. You can read my musings HERE.

15 thoughts on “Why You Should Babysit for Your Married Friends”

  1. This post came with perfect timing…in about an hour I have to go recruit babysitters for an event here at seminary, where we offer childcare for married students…now I have more to say than just my pathetic plea for volunteers. :)

  2. My wife and I want to know if you would like to be our friend?

    Insightful and true thanks for the post. My wife and both babysat before marriage separately and together after marriage but before our own kids. I love the perspective I gain from spending time with children. They remind me not to take myself so seriously.

      1. You can’t know how funny that is to me. I live in Paraguay, South America. When we announced we were going into the mission field and said Paraguay one of my wife’s VERY old Aunts said “That’s in Florida isn’t it?”

  3. I have been babysitting, nannying and providing childcare (for up to 15 kids at a time) for probably about 10 years and as a single girl, it makes me SO thankful I don’t children yet, and SO excited to have them one day. I’ve learned that there is no substitute for pure innocence and imagination and that reading the same thing ten times in a row helps you see the story in a whole new light. I’ve found that there is no feeling in the world like snuggling with an infant or tickling a five year old while helping them put on their shoes. The value of routine, simplicity of explanations and flaws in my own reasoning all come out in taking care of kids. It is a challenge and a joy I look forward to. =)

    1. “The value of routine, simplicity of explanations and flaws in my own reasoning all come out of taking care of kids.”

      I love that. So true. Thanks for adding your thoughts!

  4. Ally, great post, as always! My husband and I have two little ones and still try to babysit for our friends. Just recently we stayed the weekend with our youth pastor’s four (for a total of six!!) so that he and his wife could go on a retreat together. I can vouch for your statements, it is a HUGE blessing to have a night out together. The experts all say you should establish a weekly date night but who has the money for a weekly babysitter?

    On another note, I’d really be interested in hearing more about your conversation about the child with the rebellious spirit. I see both myself and my daughter in that situation and am always looking for another perspective.

  5. I agree as a single person, let me babysit! I enjoy your children and really appreciate being a part of your lives in this way. But if the only reason you ever call me is to be your babysitter, then I feel used and not part of adult life too. So let me babysit but also include me too in the fun sometimes…..just because I am not married doesn’t mean I can’t join in with other adults who are married and be respectful of the mariatal relationship.

  6. This was a great post… I am a 20 year old student and I can say I thoroughly enjoy babysitting. While I could have many other things to do on a Friday night, I love watching the parents get dressed up and compliment each other before they say goodnight to the kids and go to dinner. I will gladly give up a Friday night in order to give the parents a night to themselves to talk and remember why they got married. If I can help a marriage last, there is nothing else I would rather do.

  7. Well-written post, but it heavily relies on needing to actually enjoy and like children. Way too many people think their kids are so great that others want to take care of them. Plus, I understand how it would be really kind to give friends who are married with children a break… but, it’s their kids and their marriage. They just need to deal.

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