Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Co-op kid swap...

Tonight Shannon and I were talking about kid-swapping and co-oping. I've been thinking lately that I really need to find someone to watch Eliana one day a week or something just so I can get stuff done at home. Since she quit taking naps I have found it very difficult to complete household tasks like laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. She likes to "help" or wants me to play with her, and I don't do well with the distractions. She went from taking a 4 hour nap each afternoon to no nap at all, and I'm finding that I really miss those afternoons to get things done! So I've had a few thoughts about what to do with her. Here are some of the ideas I've had...

* Babysitter - I could pay someone to watch Ellie for one day a week while I clean the house or run errands or get some scrapbooking done.

* Mother's Helper - I could have a younger (too young to "really" babysit, but ready for some of the responsibility of playing with and watching a kid) girl come over to play with Ellie and keep her occupied while I get things done around the house. I'd still be available if a need came up (like diaper changing or whatnot) but wouldn't have to deal with the constant barrage of interruptions. I could pay her a small amount, but not as much as I would pay a babysitter.

* Kid Swap - Erika and I already do this, though we took a break over the summer. Every other Friday I take Eliana to Erika's house for a playdate with Zoe from about 10-2. On the off Fridays Zoe comes here to play with Ellie. The down side to this is that I pretty much have to stay in town during that time (I just can't justify making two trips to town just so I can clean the house during that time) but it's a good time to run errands or bring scrapbooking supplies with me and get some crafting done at Keepsakes.

* Co-op - This is what Shannon and I were talking about this evening. Getting a group of SAHMs together and arranging a kid co-op type of thing. Two moms would stay with all of the kids, while the other moms were free to go out and get stuff done. We'd rotate weeks that we watched the kids, and (ideally) we'd have 3 weeks free during the month and one week on duty. Shannon and I are definitely interested, but we'll have to see if we can get enough moms together to do it.

* After Bed Swap - This is something we did with the Richters and it worked pretty well for a while. After the kids went to bed (around 7:30 or 8) one of the Richters would come down and sit in the house while Ellie slept and we went out for a date. The next night (we did it on a Friday/Saturday combo) one of us would go down and sit at their house while their kids slept and they went out on a date. It was a good system while it lasted, and it was nice to have the time away to read or watch TV or even craft (because I would take crafting supplies to their house and work on projects). Kids go to bed later in the summer and they're expecting twins, so I don't think we'll go back to doing this, but it's worth mentioning.

So those are the ideas on kid swapping/babysitting/and co-oping to have Ellie-free time. Since we were talking about the co-oping tonight, here are the logistical details I have rolling around in my head:

  • It's got to be on a day that works for everyone, and it pretty much has to be mornings because toddlers (at least most toddlers) still take afternoon naps. For me, Tuesday is really the only day that works, and that's really only if I find sometime other than Tuesday morning to exercise with Taylor. Of course, we keep saying we're going to exercise on Tuesday morning and we haven't yet, so that may resolve itself yet.
  • There has to be an understanding that the moms on duty can in no way decide not to watch kids that day and leave one mom in charge or leave everyone hanging. That's just not fair and it won't work if people do that.
  • You can choose not to send your kid to co-op, but that doesn't get you out of your week on duty.
  • There has to be a set time to watch the kids, like 9-1 or 10-1. 1 should probably be the cutoff just so kids get home in time to take naps.
  • I think keeping the co-op at homes within the Belgrade/River Rock/Landmark area is a good idea, just because that way we're all localized instead of having to drive all the way to Bozeman some weeks.
  • Depending on how many moms we get to participate, doing it for 3 weeks out of the month and then taking a week off might work.
  • It's a good idea to have a single person coordinate and to have a central form of communication, such as email. Google Calendar is a good tool if enough people are willing to use it.

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