Usually on Wednesdays, I get up with my son and sometimes my daughter joins us. I get them through changes and breakfast as I get myself ready to go to school. An amazing family at our daughter’s preschool gives her a ride home after her extended day, and she joins the nanny share of my son and another kid his age. I then get dinner started, and my wife arrives from her work to pitch in with dinner, bath, and bed.
This Wednesday was anything but routine. My daughter chose to stay in bed, thank goodness that she got more sleep, and my son was cranky. He is usually a delight in the morning. My wife dropped kids off at school and nanny share, but then had to return to get my son to a house in our babysitting co-op. I then left work a smidge early to collect my daughter from school and hop the bus to get my son. By the time we got home from there, all three of us were exhausted. For dinner, I fed the kids their lunchtime sandwiches which both had not eaten, and then I crashed on the couch while they played for a while. My son took ten second naps on my chest as a game, but he was also communicating he was tired. I peeled myself up and got the kids in the bath at which point my wife got home from her very long day. We got them through the end of bedtime routine on a day that was far from routine.
It is good to get something so different once in a while to give a bit of perspective on what our routine is and if it is working. As I write this on Wednesday night, however, I am too tired to make any sense of the day. It happened, it worked, and I’m ready for bed.
For those of you with kids and a partner, how long was it before you went out together to see a movie after your first child? Weeks, months, years?
Friday night, I got to be the babysitter for a couple in our babysitting co-op while they went out for their first movie since birth. They had been out to other things, but that first movie is a big step. I remember it being big, but I have no clue how long it took us to go to a movie or what it was. Child number two erased all of those precious details.
Wednesday, I hurried home from school in order to be there when a member of our new baby sitting co-op dropped off her infant for an hour of care. Our nanny share was still happening at that time, and my daughter was home from school. This meant that there were four children from ages 9 months to 4 years and two adults for a while. Soon, however, there were three and then four adults. It was a lot more crowded than we normally are in the late afternoon, but the kids were great with it. In fact, I think it was a bit of a distraction from the normal routine. By 6:00, however, we were back down to two kids and two adults and the dinner/bath/bed routine.
We met again to get this new babysitting co-op up and running. I really hope it does work out. Sharing the babysitting with nearby families really makes sense, and paying for childcare that is more expensive than the night out is a real bummer at the end of an evening.
Now we just have to start using it.
My wife and I were invited to a babysitting co-op a while ago, and while it is a great idea, we were just too far away from the core group of families. It never gelled, but we are starting one with the many families we have met through nanny sharing and just living in our baby-rich neighborhood.
Last month we had an organizational meeting with some interested families. From that we were tasked with creating some bylaws and tools to track babysitting.
I have just finished creating the Google form that will allow families to enter who gave and received childcare and how much time was bartered. I am cross posting in Technological Ontogeny about the technical aspects of getting this to work.
As a parent, the babysitting co-op is a wonderful idea. It is far easier to send one of us to a house in the evening or host someone’s child/children for a few hours that to scrape together the very steep cost of an evening on the town before stepping one foot out of the door.