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Dad's view: Why does my wife have sitter-phobia?

On TODAY Moms, we like to give Dads a voice, too! Bob Trott is a writer and editor who lives in Seattle with his wife and their adorable 2-year-old daughter. Here, he wonders whether reluctance to get a sitter is a mom thing. What do you think? Let him know in the comments!I fondly remember the last time my wife and I had dinner outtogether: We went to one of our favorite restaurants, I ate oxtail
Bob Trott worries about all the inappropriate Halloween costumes his daughter NJ will have to choose from in the future.
Bob Trott worries about all the inappropriate Halloween costumes his daughter NJ will have to choose from in the future.Courtesy Bob Trott / Today

On TODAY Moms, we like to give Dads a voice, too! Bob Trott is a writer and editor who lives in Seattle with his wife and their adorable 2-year-old daughter. Here, he wonders whether reluctance to get a sitter is a mom thing. What do you think? Let him know in the comments!

I fondly remember

the last time my wife and I had dinner outtogether: We went to one of our favorite restaurants, I ate oxtail for the first time, and my wifelet me sit facing the table of 20-something hotties who were celebrating a birthday. Without me asking, without rolling her eyes. Sure, I’ve forgotten what those women look like, but I haven’t forgotten my wife’s empathy and kindness toward a sad old married man.

Bob Trott worries about all the inappropriate Halloween costumes his daughter NJ will have to choose from in the future.Courtesy Bob Trott / Today

Of course, it’s been easy to forget what those women looked like because that dinner out occurred more than a year ago. Some fifteen months ago, to be exact. Yes, the heady days of June 2010 -- when Al and Tipper Gore separated

and  Kim Kardashian had no idea who Kris Humphries was. At home, our beloved NJ sprouted teeth Nos. 1 and 2.

In short: It was a long time ago

, because I can’t talk this wife of mine into getting a babysitter and leaving NJ at home. Our anniversary, a new job and/or a salary bonus celebration, Valentine’s Day, our birthdays, New Year’s Eve, Saint Crispin’s Day -- all of these milestones passed with us at home, feeding ourselves and the kid instead of watching with gleeful anticipation as bartender mixes us exotic cocktails before a waiter brings oxtail tureen to the table.

“I don’t leave her with a babysitter because I don’t want her waking up to strangers,” my wife says as NJ thrashes in her lap. “I think it would be terrifying for her to be consoled by a stranger when she woke up in the middle of the night when were gone.”

A valid point. But obviously there are remedies to that possibility. Remedies we once used but have gone by the wayside. 

It wasn’t always this way. For a while there we took advantage of NJ’s good sleep habits and had, on a monthly basis, a babysitting round-robin set up with others in a newborn support group we joined. The kid went down at 7:45 p.m., a fellow parent showed up at 7:50 p.m., and by 8:15 p.m. I was holding the door open at a nice eatery downtown. When we got home two hours later, the refrain was always the same: The kid slept like an adorable log.

Our next move was to take advantage of NJ’s day care’s “date night” -- drop the kid off at 6, pick her up by 9. We did this a couple of times, but my wife insisted on going home long before 9 p.m. so we were wolfing down three-course meals and racing to collect NJ before her bedtime. That is not how civilized people dine; that is how heathens dine.

Part of the problem is that we don’t have any family in the area

, and, in most cases, family is best when you’ve got to leave your child with others. Still, we have other options -- next door to us (right next door!) lives a family with two smart, friendly, highly responsible teenage girls.

I’ve tried to determine whether

the whole “not getting a sitter” thing  is a gender issue, but the results have been mixed. I’ve spoken to a couple other moms who think my wife’s 100 percent right, and a couple of dads who couldn’t care less about an evening out. But others think we’re needlessly depriving ourselves of wonderful, relaxing, rejuvenating evenings of delicious food and drink.

If I pester my wife about going out to dinner, the conversation inevitably turns to her saying, “You go out and do what you want and I’ll stay home, no worries.” And I do occasionally go out for a beer or two with a friend (there are five taverns within a four-block radius of my home, so ... yeah, that’s pretty sweet).  And, as my wife points out, we constantly go out for lunch with NJ.

But I want to have a nice evening out with my partner once in a great while without having to be on rolling crayon duty, or rushing a crying kid outside for a few minutes so she can regain her composure.

Can I get a witness, or is my wife right? How do you manage a night out?

Bob Trott blogs about his adventures in parenting at Dad Solo.

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