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23rd Nov 2015

Are Free Babysitters A Thing Of The Past?

Sharyn Hayden


I recently spoke to my mate Mairead, who mentioned that she had been out the weekend before at a family function and had paid for a babysitter for the very first time since she started having kids. Her eldest is 16.

I nearly hung up on her, except that I like my mate Mairead very much and needed further info.

‘What do you mean, that you never ever paid for a babysitter before last weekend?!’ I asked.

‘Yes’ she replied, ‘my family have always helped me out and my sister is a godsend. That’s what family are for’.


When Jacob was small, we lived far enough away from family that we always pulled in a local babysitter if we wanted to go out. Currently, we live close to family who often help us out with school runs, taking the kids to their house for a few hours daytime if we need to go somewhere child-free, but we don’t always lean on them to babysit if we go out at the weekends.

A huge part of it is not wanting to take advantage of my parent’s kindness or feeling like I’m asking too much of them (who are both still working) to stay at our house until 12 midnight or 1am if we’re out galavanting.

A few people I have spoken to about this think I’m bonkers that I ‘feel bad’ about asking family to babysit, Mairead included, and maybe they’re right. Adding the cost of a babysitter on to a night out, even for just a quick trip to the local cinema, makes for a hugely expensive night.

Let’s break it down:

Cinema tickets for two adults: €25.00

Drinks, popcorn, sweets & munchies: €20.00

Drink in the pub before or after: €15.00

Babysitter @ €10 p.h. from 8.00 pm – 12 midnight: €40

Yup, €100.00.

For the cinema.


And not that Ass Monkey and I get out a lot, but assuming we have been out, say, once a month since Jacob was born and spent an average of €40 for a babysitter per night..

Jacob is now four so that’s 12 months x 4 which is 48

So 48 x €40 = €1,920.00

That’s almost €2k on babysitters in the last four years. I’m off to a) have a lie-down and b) ask Mairead if I can borrow her family.

Does the cost of babysitters prevent you from having nights out together? Let me know at