DH and I don't often go out on our own without the kids as that involves paying for a babysitter. Sometimes it's worth it though, especially when dinner's free as it was tonight at DH's company Christmas party. At some point in the conversation someone asked me how much we pay our babysitter per hour. She was shocked by my answer, I think because she usually has relatives babysit. I admit that we do tend to pay our babysitters fairly generously, but we do always hire adults not teenagers.
Tonight's babysitter is worth her weight in gold though. The kids love her, despite the fact that she stands no nonsense, so that's a good start. But when we came home tonight we found that she had loaded the dishwasher, washed the pots and pans and cleaned all the surfaces in the kitchen so that it was cleaner than when she arrived.
Not only that, but when she heard a funny noise coming from DS's room she went upstairs to investigate - and then cleaned up the projectile vomit that was all over his room. She woke him up (apparently he threw up in his sleep!) got him to get in the bath, and when he reappeared claiming he was clean she sent him back, (with his sister to supervise this time,) to get the chunks out of his hair. She shook the chunks out of the comforter into the yard, and put his bedding in the washing machine. (She took the clean, dry clothes out of the dryer and put them in a tidy pile upstairs, and moved the wet clothing into the dryer and switched it on.) She cleaned up a lot of the puke using paper towels and thoughtfully put them in a new trash bag ready to go right out in the garage. She then also did her best, with DD's help, to figure out how to work the steam cleaner to finish cleaning the carpet in DS's room and she remade his bed with clean sheets and blankets. And although she had our cell phone number, she didn't spoil our evening out by calling!
An experienced, well trained, babysitter - $10/hour
An experienced, well trained babysitter who cleans up your child's vomit so that you don't have to after your oh-too-rare evening out - PRICELESS!