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A Working Mom's Thanksgiving Confession

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Each year my family takes turns sharing what and whom they are most thankful for at the Thanksgiving table. As expected, friends and family will top my list, but I must confess that somebody else--perhaps slightly less obvious--shares that high ranking with them: my children's babysitter.

Here are seven reasons why our babysitter is deserving of top billing and recognition:

1. She can play a lifetime's worth of Hide-and-Go-Seek in a single day (so I don't have to!).
My sitter has endless patience for my three-year-old's pleas to "play it again!" She also thinks nothing of waiting while he insists on "doing it himself" even when it takes ten times longer to get it done and get everybody out the door. She is patience personified.

2. She has patience left over for me.
Admittedly, I'm not as on top of it as I would like to be when it comes to mastering our family's schedule and its required logistics. I sometimes forget to prep the babysitter for what's coming next before leaving a mess and hoping for the best. Somehow, she just gets it. And she gets me.

3. She makes up for me being un-crafty.
Arts and crafts are not my strong suit. Lucky for me, my creative sitter ensures that my kids don't miss out on expressing themselves through fun projects. Because of her, we have hand-drawn fall leaves taped to the windows and lovely homemade cards for teachers' birthdays and holidays.

4. She makes my crazy life manageable.
Like all moms, I juggle my personal and work schedule, three kids' schedules, school calendars, and family obligations. As any parent can attest, the juggle can be stressful. Having a childcare provider I can count on makes it so much easier. I have endless appreciation for her sense of responsibility and the peace of mind it provides me.

5. She teaches my kids good manners.
When people comment on my children's polite behavior, I have my babysitter to thank. It's wonderful to have another trustworthy adult to help shape their character by reminding them to be respectful and to take pride in their actions.

6. She's an extraordinary team player.
When our full-time babysitter arrives and learns that my son has lost a privilege as a consequence to an unwanted behavior, she reinforces the consequence while I'm away. The same holds true for me. I uphold the authority she has when she's in charge. We have each other's backs.

7. She's fun!
My children love their babysitter, and it's party because she's so much fun. She arrives bearing games, art projects, and ideas for fun activities that I would have never thought to suggest. Her enthusiasm is infectious. Knowing that my kids will have a great time while I'm away makes leaving them for the office so much easier.

See what I mean? It's for good reason that I'll include my babysitter when it's my turn to share gratitude at the Thanksgiving table. And those who love me should probably credit her, too, for it's to her alone that I owe my sanity!