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Free Babysitting in Washington, DC

chime logoA night out on the town without kids is every parent’s dream. Peace. Quiet. No baby vomit. No “I don’t like that” screamed when they see their favorite dish.

But there are so many obstacles to hitting the streets. Chief among them: childcare.

Who will watch your kid(s) while you wine and dine?

We’re really fortunate to have so much family living close by who enjoy our three monsters, but not everyone is so lucky.

The Neighborhood Restaurant Group in Washington, DC, is partnering with Chime, the new curated, neighborhood-based offering from SitterCity.com to help get parents in their locations.

From the release:

Starting July 27 through Labor Day, NRG and Chime have partnered to offer DC families the opportunity to enjoy a night out without their kids. With nearly 20 NRG restaurants you can choose from an incredible array of dining options. And the best part? NRG is going to take care of the babysitting. Thanks to Chime, your children will be in good hands. Visit hellochime.com and enter code NRG to receive 4 hours of babysitting credits ($60 value).

Basically, they are removing the biggest hassle in having a date night in Washington, DC.

Chime only serves up a handpicked selection from the top 1% of all sitters on SitterCity, and only those close to you – a perfect solution for urban and not-too-far-out parents like us, who live ~5 miles north of the city line. It’s also available in New York, Chicago, and Boston, and I have a good feeling other cities will be added soon.

And NRG has some of my favorite restaurants in the city (like ChurchKey!), making this a delicious deal for all parents to consider.

So, DC Parents, no excuse to not have a night out together. Alone. With some of the best food in town.

[Disclosure: I was invited to a media dinner, which I was unable to attend, and also received credits to use while learning the Chime experience.]

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The Changing Table Conundrum

IMG_5585Recently, I went out to dinner at a neighborhood restaurant with my wife and kids. A pretty quiet place, with a seafood-heavy menu.

Not too long after we sat down, Beanie had to go potty, so my wife took her to the bathroom, while I hung out with the boys.

A few minutes after the ladies returned, Baby Squish woke up from a little snooze.

He.

Was.

Not.

Happy.

[By the by: Have you ever met a baby that was glad they woke up? Me neither.]

As any parent knows, there are two scenarios that wake up a baby: hunger and diaper.

In this case, it was both. So we started with the more pressing one: the nasty, stinky mess in his pants.

So I picked him up – it was clearly my turn to do a bathroom run – and walked to the restrooms.

I went into the men’s room. Two urinals. One stall. No changing table.

Well, crap.

There I was – in the middle of a bathroom – carrying a soiled, screaming 3-month old, with no place to change him.

The Best Mom and Beanie came in behind me, as Bug had to go potty, too.

“Screw this. Come with me.”

It was badass, in a Terminator kind of way.

She opened the door to the women’s restroom and pushed me in.

So…to recap: There I was – in the middle of a bathroom – carrying a soiled, screaming 3-month old. And this time, I had a place to change him.

[Aside: It was my first trip into a women’s public restroom since I was so jet-lagged and deliriously hungry from a super-delayed flight into Detroit, but that is a story for another day…]

Thankfully, no women came in to use the bathroom while Squish and I were in there, avoiding an awkward situation.

And that left me with one thought:

Who the hell thinks it’s OK to only put changing tables in women’s restrooms?

Why is that allowed?

Who thinks only women should get the pleasure of changing diapers in public places?

This is not OK.

Three reasons:

  1. Moms should not be forced to change every single diaper.
  2. Dads go out and about town alone with non-potty-trained kids all the time.
  3. Some families don’t have female parents.

These reasons lead to one realistic solution: PUT A DAMN CHANGING TABLE IN EVERY PUBLIC BATHROOM.

Look, I’ll go into a women’s restroom for my kids. But it’s awkward for literally everyone involved.

So, public restrooms: be better.

 

dad's don't babysit

Dads Don’t Babysit

dads don't babysitSometimes, one parent has to go somewhere. Work. The mall. A doctor.

And that leaves one parent alone with the kids.

You never hear “Mom is babysitting the kids while Dad is out.”

But you do hear “Dad is babysitting while Mom is out.”

It may be the most frustrating, unintentionally demeaning thing I’ve heard as a Dad.

That sentiment leans on an out-dated, damaging misperception that Dads can do professional work like a champ, but turn into a chump when children are around.

Saying that Dads are just “babysitting” completely minimizes their investment in their kids’ lives.

Sure, I babysat when I was a teenager. It was great. Hang out with fun kids. Watch a movie. Eat some pizza. And call the parents when stuff got real. And then have some cash to fund weekend adventures.

But that was a long time ago.

When my wife needs to run an errand…or take a shower…or see a doctor…or travel for work…or visit a friend or family…I parent my children.

Cooking. Cleaning. Bathing. Teaching. Dressing. Transporting. Disinfecting. All of it.

Because I’m a parent 24/7 – when my wife is home and when she is not.

Am I on “Dad Duty” when I’m parenting solo? Absolutely.

But am I babysitting my kids? Never.