Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Time Than Money

My friends and I were at a surprise birthday for one of our friends on Friday. As a conversation starter, someone asked "Who's watching the kids?" I told them it was Lisa, a friend of ours. I am in a babysitting co-op and we take turns watching each other's kids. I have only paid for a babysitter twice in my life. I go out a lot and leave my children with sitters often. I have more time than money so it is perfect for me and my family. The best part is that if any emergency comes up, I know that I have 25 women to call for help. I also feel safe knowing that all of my friends know the sitters. We know each other and I have sat for them. I never have to worry about whether my sitter can handle an emergency. They have real life experience as moms and they can handle anything.

When I have written in the past about my babysitting co-op, some people have said that they wish they had a babysitting co-op. There is no reason why you can't start one. You may think you are too busy. I just squeeze it in. I have the children here to play with my kids during the day. My kids think it is a play date. I then pick certain Saturdays when I really need hours. One Saturday every couple of months helps to keep your babysitting hours up in your "bank." It really doesn't take a lot of time.

Here are some tips to get started.

Step 1. Send out an email to all of your friends asking them to come to your house one evening for a meeting.

Step 2. Ask the friends who have said they are coming, tell them to bring at least one friend.

Step 3. Have your friends bring their calender. Ask that each person schedule at least one sit. Also have them schedule a monthly meeting day. We meet on the third Tuesday of the month. Ask your members what works for them.

Step 4. As the head of your new babysitting co-op, create a folder to keep track of the hours. Have each person that babysits email you when they have sat. Email me and I will share information about how to break down the hours. If you have one child, it is one hour per child. If you have two children, it is 1.5 hours per actual hour. It get confusing without the chart. Email me and I will email it right out to you.

Step 5. Treat your hubby with a date night with FREE babysitting. Once you go out, your husband will be sold on the idea. Free is good.

Step 6. Take that first step to start your own co-op. I can't imagine my life without one. In fact, I am in two. Yes, two. When I run out of hours, I use the other. So in fact, I have about 50 women that I rely on each month.

At our last meeting, we had a woman trying to get her child from school, to dance lessons and then somewhere else. She had a day where it just wouldn't work to be at all places at once. I said "It takes a village to raise our children." In reality for me, it takes a co-op or two.


Kathryn said...

That sounds wonderful!
Unfortunately I only have one friend that lives within 45 minutes of me. BUT, I do have family close by. That helps. :)

enthalpymama said...

Great post, Gina. I hope it helps someone out there. I have sold my sole to the co-op and wouldn't have it any other way! (Unless you have some hours you want to give me).

Genny said...

I've honestly never heard of this and I LOVE the idea! Thanks for the great tips!

Stephanie said...

oooooh, email me! (stephanie.griffin@mchsi.com) I've got tons of friends who could do this within my church! I'd love more details!

Rhea said...

I serious love this idea. Thank you for explaining it out better. I'm serious going to attempt this soon...I just don't know enough moms in this town yet, since we moved here last year.

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