Parenting

Why I dread driving the babysitter home

After a romantic night out with his wife, the last thing Ian wants to do is drive home the babysitter.

Photo: damircudic/iStockphoto

You’ve just finished an amazing date night with your spouse at a trendy downtown restaurant. Without the kids around, you were able to order lamb skewers and spring rolls off the tapas menu without anyone mentioning chicken fingers and fries. The conversation flowed freely and you start to remember why you fell in love in the first place.

As you drive home, you can feel the spark is back in the relationship. After pulling into the driveway, you gaze deeply into your spouses’ eyes and ask, “So who’s driving the babysitter home?”

Other than a visit from the in-laws, nothing kills a romantic moment quite like the question of who is driving the babysitter back to her house. In the world of parenting, driving the babysitter home ranks somewhere in between doing a 2 a.m. bottlefeeding and trying to cut your child’s toenails. It’s the task that nobody really wants to do, but it just has to get done.

My wife will usually claim that she’s had too much to drink and is therefore unfit to drive the babysitter home. When she orders a mojito with her dessert, I know exactly what game she is playing. So I’m often left to drive the babysitter home, and as most of you know, there is nothing more awkward than an uncool 35-year-old man trying to find common ground with a teenage girl.

The conversation usually goes something like this: Me: “So were the girls OK for you tonight?” Her: “Yep.” Me: “Did you do some homework after they went to sleep?” Her: “Yep.” Me: “Man, I hated homework back in the 1990s.” (Long silence) Me: “So, that Snooki is quite the character on Jersey Shore.” Her: “You can just drop me off here.” You see, the problem is that the drive is uncomfortable for both of us. Even though it’s only two kilometres from our house to hers, it feels like a cross-country expedition.

I do find it comical when browsing the Internet to read stories of wives who refuse to let their husbands drive the babysitter home for fear of inappropriate sexual activity. If you think there could be something going on between your husband and the babysitter, there are two things to remember: 1. You have the wrong babysitter 2. Even more importantly, you have the wrong husband. So now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’m willing to share the responsibility of driving the babysitter home.

The way I see it, we have three options to decide this situation:

1. We take turns
On the surface this seems like a fair way to handle the situation, but it’s actually riddled with pitfalls. The classic “I’m pretty sure I did it last time” argument is bound to pop up. And since both of us have had our short-term memories wiped out by having children, we could never settle this debate in a manner that is satisfactory to both parties. And because my wife likes to sneak mojitos when I’m not looking, she could render this whole system useless.

2. We play rock-paper-scissors
Again, this seems like a suitable way for two mature parents to settle a dispute. But how will the babysitter feel when she looks out the front window and sees you engaged in a best-of-five tournament on the driveway? She’ll know exactly what’s going on.

3. We increase the babysitter’s hourly rate so that she can afford her own vehicle
Quite frankly, this is looking like our best option moving forward.