charles marshallBY CHARLES MARSHALL | JULY 7, 2010

Laughing Matters

Sitting pretty (Part 1)

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Sometime after you have your first child, right after you cry and thank God for this beautiful gift from above, there is the terrifying moment when you realize that you have got to escape. You suddenly become aware of the magnitude of this commitment and you start praying fervently for a release, any respite, even two or three hours away from this vortex of responsibility that you’ve unwittingly landed yourself in.

I’m speaking about other parents, mind you. My wife and I have only experienced bliss every moment of every day with our children.

So there you are, brainstorming about how you can get relief from the incessant demands, nonstop screaming, and endless fussing, when two beautiful words float into your consciousness like a beacon from heaven: baby sitter!

Ahh, are there any, more beautiful words in the English language (besides Krispy Kreme, I mean)? I think not.

When searching for a baby sitter, it’s important that you choose one that is both qualified and responsible. But before I go any further, I should define what I mean by “qualified.”

The qualifications you want in a baby sitter are:

1] Un-incarcerated – You want to make sure she is not currently in jail. Later, you might have to bend this rule if you really, really need a night away from the kids and no one else is available. But when you’re first starting out, shoot for the moon and try to get a baby sitter who isn’t behind bars.

2] Conscious – Make sure that your baby sitter is mostly awake (i.e., not in a coma). For example, let’s say your prospective baby sitter is hospitalized, but still somewhat lucid. Should you still hire her? You betcha. As long as she can keep one eye open and ring the call button, you needn’t be concerned.

That about covers it for qualifications, but it’s also important to make sure she is dependable. Oh sure, you need to be able to depend on her to take care of your kids and all that stuff, but the main thing is, you need to be able to rely on her to show up for the gig. I can’t tell you the heartbreak of planning to get away for a while, and then having the baby sitter stand you up. When this happened to me, I sat down wept like my kitty-cat had been gunned down by the Mafia. It’s that sad. There’s no coming back from that kind of grief.

But what is a couple to do if they can’t afford to hire a baby sitter? No worries, mate. There are solid solutions for this dilemma.

How to get a baby sitter when you don’t have any money:

1] Throw a party for reliable teenage girls. Invite just one girl. When she shows up, tell her you have to go out for a few minutes to get more ice. Return five hours later. Thank her for coming to your party and send her home.

2] Set up a “scholarship program for trustworthy teenage girls.” Invite your applicant over to your house for an interview. After she arrives, leave for several hours. Then come back home, tell the girl she got the “scholarship,“ and hand her five dollars. Tell her you have another scholarship available and ask her if she’d like to interview for it next week at the same time.

3] There isn’t a parent alive that isn’t aware of the benefits of Vacation Bible School. People that don’t even believe in the Bible will dump their kids at the church for a couple weeks in the summer just to get a break. So why is it only held in the summer? Why not join the board of your church and suggest Friday and Saturday night VBS? Everyone wins!

The hardest thing I’ve found about getting a baby sitter, though, is learning to trust someone else with the care of my little ones. It was a tough lesson for me because, like most parents, I feel protective of my kids. I want to be there to guide them through dangerous situations, to rescue them when needed, and encourage them when they fall.
But the thing I’m learning is that I can’t always be there. I’m not omnipotent. I’m not omnipresent. I’m not God.

And here’s the really hard part – my children don’t really even belong to me. They are on loan from God for a season of their lives. My job is to nurture and protect them as best I can and teach them that even when their earthly father isn’t there for them, their heavenly father always is.

Charles Marshall is a Christian comedian and author. Visit his website at